Stirring the Nest

Hello, my friends!

Have you ever found yourself nestled comfortably in your faith journey, content with where you are but sensing a gentle nudge from God calling you to something more? I've been pondering this lately as I've been diving deep into the early days of the church in the book of Acts. It's truly amazing how God used even the most challenging circumstances to propel His people forward in their divine mission!

Picture this scene with me: the early believers, gathered in Jerusalem, basking in the glow of incredible teaching from the apostles and witnessing thousands come to faith daily. Who wouldn't want to be part of such an exciting, vibrant community? The air must have been electric with the presence of the Holy Spirit! But here's the thing—Jesus had given them a much broader commission. He told them to be His witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Yet, they weren't exactly rushing to fulfil that command, were they? It's so easy for us to relate to that, isn't it? When we're comfortable, the last thing we want is change.

But God, in His infinite wisdom, sometimes has to “stir up the nest” to get us moving, much like a mother eagle does with her young. In Deuteronomy 32:11-12, we find this beautiful imagery: “As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him.” Isn't that a powerful picture of how God works in our lives?

In the case of the early church, the stirring came through persecution that arose after Stephen's martyrdom. It was a painful, frightening time, but look at the incredible result—”Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). What the enemy meant for harm, God used for the expansion of His kingdom!

This reminds me of Joseph's words to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” God has a remarkable way of turning our trials into triumphs, doesn't He?

Through this scattering, the gospel began to spread to Judea and Samaria, just as Jesus had prophesied. It's a powerful reminder that God's plans will not be thwarted. As we read in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

One of the heroes that emerged during this expansion was Philip, who carried the good news to Samaria. The Bible tells us, “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them” (Acts 8:5). I want you to notice something crucial here, my friends—he preached Christ. Not a set of rules or a religious system, but a Person. That's the heart of the gospel! It's not about what we do for God, but about what God has done for us in Christ.

And what was the result of Philip's preaching? Acts 8:8 tells us, “And there was great joy in that city.” You see, when we truly proclaim the good news about Jesus—His love, His sacrifice, His resurrection—it brings joy! It's not a heavy burden, but a liberating message of God's grace and mercy. As the apostle Paul would later write, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

But God wasn't finished with Philip yet. After this incredible revival in Samaria, the Lord led him to a desert road. On that road, Philip encountered an Ethiopian official who was reading from the book of Isaiah. This man was earnestly seeking God, but he needed someone to explain the Scriptures to him. Philip seized the opportunity to share the good news, showing him how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies he was reading.

The result? The Ethiopian believed and was baptised! Acts 8:39 tells us, “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.” Once again, we see that a genuine encounter with Jesus brings joy!

My friends, what valuable lessons can we glean from Philip's example? First, we need to be open to God's leading, even when it doesn't make sense to our human understanding. Philip left a thriving revival to go to a desert road—but look at the eternal impact of that obedience! It reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Second, we need to be ready to share the good news about Jesus wherever we are. You never know who God might bring across your path! As Peter exhorts us in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

Maybe you're feeling quite comfortable where you are right now in your faith journey. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I want to encourage you to be open to God stirring things up in your life. He might be preparing you for a new adventure in faith! Remember, it's not about finding a more comfortable nest—it's about soaring to new heights with Him.

Consider this: what if God is calling you to be a “Philip” to someone in your life? Perhaps there's a person in your workplace, your neighbourhood, or even in your family who is seeking answers, just like that Ethiopian official. They might be reading the Bible but struggling to understand it. You could be the one God uses to help them connect the dots and see Jesus!

Or maybe God is stirring up your nest in a different way. Perhaps He's calling you to step out in faith in your career, to serve in a new ministry, or to reach out to a group of people you've never considered before. It might feel uncomfortable, even a little scary, but remember—God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.

Today I want to leave you with these powerful words from Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” My friends, God has incredible plans for each of us. He's not finished with you yet! Are you ready to spread your wings and fly?

Be blessed today my brothers and sisters, let's thank our Heavenly Father for His amazing love and grace. Let’s be open to His leading, even when it takes us out of our comfort zones. Let’s have courage to share the good news of Jesus with those around us. And Jesus, if You're stirring up our nests, help us to trust You in the process. We know that Your plans for us are good.

Remember, my friends, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you (Romans 8:11). You are equipped and empowered to do great things for God's kingdom. So spread those wings and soar!