I want to welcome you, if you happen to be new here with us at Cottonwood or new joining us online. We're beginning one of my favorite months of the year which is November, which happens to be our missions month here at Cottonwood. And each and every week of the month of November we focus on a different thing. You've already heard through the testimony and through Keith sharing that this weekend we acknowledge that this is orphan Sunday. That part of our passion as a church is to connect and help people through adoption as well as becoming foster families, whatever it is.
I also had, earlier this week, if you had an opportunity to hear it, earlier this week on Facebook I did a Facebook live interview with Angela Paxton who is currently running for our Texas Senate. And I spent about 30 minutes with her as she is sharing her testimony. You may know her in the political realm and the political environment, but she's got an incredible testimony of being adopted, being given up by her birth mom, being adopted by a new family.
And so I want to invite you just to look and let me share just about a minute of that interview with you and then encourage you to go view the rest of it. So look to the screen.
I guess the way this story starts is that my life began as an unplanned pregnancy. And I had a birth mom who was a college student, she wasn't married. And she chose life for me. And so I was born in New Braunfels, you know, I was adopted as an infant. In fact, my mom and dad ... growing up, I always thought that the stores decorated for my birthday, right? It's Valentine's Day, everything was decorated. I told my own kids that for a long time.
Thought it was all about you.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
But, you know, I grew with Christian parents, in a Christian home. And my mom and dad, I really don't remember being told that I was adopted, it's something I grew up just knowing. It was part of what I knew about myself and you know, my parents told me from the very time I can remember, you know, "Angela, we wanted you, and God protected you, and he gave you life and there's a reason that you're here, to make a difference in the world and your life has a purpose. Every life has a purpose."
And if you missed that, I want to encourage you to go to Cottonwood's Facebook page and you can find that and view that whole entire testimony of hers which is very, very compelling and encouraging as we certainly approach this weekend, adoption and fostering weekend.
We are in the beginning stages of a series, we're entitling this whole month, "Harvest." And it comes from Luke 10:2, let's go ahead and put it on the screen so you'll see it. And notice what Jesus said, Jesus is walking along with his disciples. It would be like Jesus is with us today, as a congregation, and he told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
And really, that's what we're going to be talking about this whole month. That the harvest is plentiful. And you know, when they were walking along the road and they looked out on the harvest, it was visible to them. The disciples immediately knew as they looked around, Jesus wasn't sharing with them some imaginary field, he was pointing at a field. He was showing them a location, a space, and a place. And he was saying, "Guys, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
And the truth is, Jesus is walking along with us as the church each and every day and each and every week, every day, saying, "Listen, open your eyes. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, we should pray to the Lord of the harvest, God, that he would send workers into the field." And so today I want to talk to you about that visible harvest as well as visible harvesters. And the question becomes is, how can we be a part, a church that is a part of the harvest of God?
And here's the thought today, a visible church, a visible church involved in a visible harvest is going to share its faith, that has to be part of our DNA. That has to be part of who we are as a congregation of believers. From the pulpit to the pew to the altar to the atrium to the life groups to the home groups to all the ministries that we have, that has to be our heartbeat is that we are constantly looking to share our faith.
I want to invite you to turn in your Bibles, if you have them open, to Acts 8. As we look at Luke's book, Acts, he had already written Luke's gospel, the gospel of Luke. Now we're looking at him really giving us a history of the New Testament church. And when we come to Acts 8, I've always been intrigued by Acts 8, it's one of my favorite stories in the Bible.
You have this guy named Phillip, and we're going to talk a little bit more about Phillip here in a second, who was obviously probably saved back in Acts 2 at Pentecost. In Acts 6 he is ordained basically as a deacon to serve tables in the church. But in Acts 8, we also see him just sharing his faith, communicating the gospel to everyone he came into contact with.
And so my encouragement for us today is to look at Acts 8, see how God used Phillip to communicate the gospel to those around us and then glean some insights. Kind of the gleaning idea, harvesting some thoughts from Acts 8 and I'm going to give you five today on how you and I, individually, as well as us as a body of believers corporately, can be a part of the harvest that God has set before us.
So let's start reading in Acts 8, going to jump down to verse 26, a little later I'm going to jump up earlier in the chapter. But let's just read the story, I just want to open it up for you as we pick it up.
It says, "Now an angel of the Lord," or the Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of God, "came to Phillip and said, 'Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.'" Now listen, as we look at this passage, we all have to be open to hearing from God. And so my prayer for you and my prayer all this week has been that as a congregation of believers, but also as a congregation of individuals, that everybody in here would be open to hear what God has to say to you, just like God spoke to Phillip, that he would challenge you and encourage you.
Now, there are a number of different ways that God speaks to us. Right here, the Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord, was very clear in his communication with Phillip. Now there are a bunch of ways that God speaks to us. Not just this way, sometimes God does speak to us through a Spirit. You just sense God saying, "Man, that's where I'm supposed to be. That's what I'm supposed to do." Perhaps you saw the testimony of the Kennys a minutes ago and you go, "You know, we're in a space, in a place in life where we need to be open to adoption. We need to be open to being a fostering family." That's the Spirit of God speaking to you.
Other times, God speaks to us through the church. Man, what is the church inviting us to get involved with? And that's really what we're doing all the month of November, showing you and opening up for you and sharing with you all the different mission opportunities that you can get connected with. And so sometimes God speaks to us in what the church as a whole is doing, the congregation of the faithful believers.
Sometimes God speaks to us just when we read his Word. When we open up his Word and we begin to read something and all of a sudden God uses something we've read to tweak our interest, to liven our hearts up to say, "You know what, maybe I need to be doing something else."
Sometimes God speaks to us through circumstances. That there are circumstances in our lives that seem to not be working out or maybe we're seeing God is really moving in a certain area and the question is, will I change direction and join God in what he's doing or will I keep doing what I'm doing.
If you want to write this definition down, you can say this is kind of my personal definition of how sometimes God speaks to me and even our congregation of believers through circumstances. I think sometimes God speaks to us through our circumstances when he wants to remain anonymous. When he wants to remain anonymous, when he wants to just put a barrier in front of you or put a wall in front of you or something you used to do that God's no longer blessing and he's saying, "Hey, be open to something else." God will just craft circumstances that he just shifts our direction a bit.
And so my encouragement to you as we begin this series this month, to be open like Phillip was, to going and doing exactly what God wants you to do in an area of ministry in the church, in an area of missions here at the church. To be open to God showing you something new that he might want you to do.
Now, here's what I know. There are perhaps some people in here that you are already serving like crazy. You are stretched to the nth most parts, you couldn't work in one other thing. Great. Just be open as we go through the month of November for God to confirm in your heart that you're doing exactly what he wants you to do. If you're serving in children's or youth or missions or this, just let God confirm your doing what I want you to do.
There might be others in here that you are involved in an activity or a ministry and you've been doing it for a while. And there are times that we kind of lose our passion for a certain mission or a certain ministry and we lose our passion. Then I'm going to encourage you to be open for God is saying to you. Maybe God wants to take this season, as we go through missions month, and he wants to re-inspire you and get you to re-engage with a passion, where you would see what God has called you to do as a calling and not a task. You know, a lot of times if we aren't careful, even when we serve in church, if we're doing things, instead of what one time was a calling for us to serve in an area, that it becomes a task. That we come in and we lower our shoulders and we hang our heads and say, "Let's get it over." And we don't want to be that way in God's work.
So, I want you, if that's where you are, to ask God, "God, what are you saying? Are you saying you have something new? A new ministry, a new mission, a new opportunity, a new space and place of service?" And be open to doing what God has called you to do.
I know there are some people in here that in your ministry, as a harvester, a believer in Jesus Christ, that you're not doing much. And you know you're not. That, boy, there are times that you are asked to do this, or you hear about a need here and a need there, and you just have constantly said, "No." I want you to know when we always say no to God, we miss the blessings that God had in store for us if we would simply say yes.
So, if you are here today, I want to invite you, regardless of your past, regardless of your brokenness, regardless of your struggles in life, at least through missions month, be open to gaining information and being open for God to say, "I really want you to plug in here. I want you to be a part of this mission or this ministry."
So now, let's go back. Notice it says, "Now the angel of the Lord," verse 26, "showed up to Phillip and said, 'Hey, listen, go to the road'" In other words, do something, make some action, take some action, be willing to change some direction.
Look at verse 27, "So he started out," in other words he said yes, he said, "I'm going to go." "And on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Kandake," who is that? It says, "which means 'queen of the Ethiopians.'" It says, "This man had gone down to Jerusalem to worship."
Now let me just stop you right here because one of the beauties of what I know about our worship and our season of worship each and every week, whether it's Saturday night at 5:00 or Sunday morning at 9:30 and 11:00. Here's what I know about our worship at Cottonwood and those that join us online, we have, in every one of our worship services, we have people that have been in the faith, they are growing in the Word, they are spiritual giants and they come in and they worship. We also have people that are in here and they're growing and they're babes in Christ and they're passionate about their faith. But we also know that we have people that are here, and you might be one of them right now, you might be one of them that are looking online, that you are here and you are seeking. You haven't found faith. You are like this Ethiopian eunuch, who simply went to worship God.
And the truth is, as we look at some ideas and some points here, is I'm glad you're here. That if you are here today and you're not in the faith, you haven't found Christ as your Savior and Lord, one of the longing things that you always have in your life, apart from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, is a God-shaped vacuum in your heart. A longing for something more. And that's what this Ethiopian Eunuch had, he a longing for something more. He had a desire for God to do something else in his life.
And we can look around, and it doesn't take us long to look, there are people all around our nation and all the world that are trying to fill that gap, that chasm in their heart, that longing for purpose and real purpose and meaning in life. In other words, where did I come from? Where am I going? How should I live right now? They are longing to fill that and they'll buy books and read and they'll follow another speaker and read. They will try this religion or that religion or this addiction or that addiction. What are they doing? They are only trying to fill that empty space in their life that will always remain empty until a person who has been created by God for his glory and for his purpose, establishes a relationship with him through his son, Jesus Christ.
And so this Ethiopian says, "You know what, I have a longing to have this chasm in my life, this gap in my heart filled. And everything I've tried so far hasn't worked." So he says, "I've heard about this worship down in Jerusalem, this place and I'm going to go down and worship and maybe I can fill my heart there."
And so notice what it says, it says he went down, "The man went down to Jerusalem to worship." Pick it up in verse 28, "And on his way home," in other words, he's worshiped, now he's going back to his daily life. "In his chariot he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit came up to Phillip again and said, 'Go to the chariot and stay near it.'" Verse 30, "Then Phillip again said yes," remember yes. A lot of times if we stop saying yes to God to try something new, we will miss his greatest blessings.
And so notice what it says, Phillip said, "All right, I'll go next to it. Then Phillip ran up to the chariot. He heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet." And he said, "'Do you understand what you're reading?' Phillip asked. And the eunuch said, 'How can I?'" Unless someone explains it to him. So he invited Phillip up and he came and he sat down with him there in the chariot.
Then look at verse 32. "This is the passage of scripture that the Eunuch was reading, 'He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is silent, he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants?'" Then he goes, "For his life was taken from this earth." Then the eunuch said, "This is what I've been reading, sir." He goes, "Can you tell me, please, can you just simply, in an easy to understand fashion, can you tell me, please, who is the prophet speaking about? Himself or someone else?"
Boy, the passage in Isaiah the prophet that the eunuch was reading was that great passage talking about the suffering servant Jesus Christ. Where scripture says, "All we, like sheep, has gone astray." Everyone of us, each has gone to our own way. But God has chosen to lay upon him, Jesus Christ, the iniquity of us all.
Man, I love that passage, that man, we've all gone astray. There is a reality that each and every one of us, we are stubborn sheep. We are sinful sheep. We are lost sheep. But even when we were going away in our sin, God reached down to all of humanity, gathered up all of our sins, took them and placed them on his Son, Jesus Christ, who was then nailed to the cross. When he was nailed to the cross, Jesus wasn't nailed to the cross for his sin, but he was nailed to the cross for the world's sin.
All we, like sheep, has gone astray. Each unto our own way. But God, because of his great love for us, chose to lay upon his Son on the cross the iniquity of us all. And then he died and was buried that whoever believes in him, trusts in him, would be saved.
Now let's go on and continue to read. Notice what it said, "Is he talking about himself or someone else? Then Phillip began from that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus." What is our message? When we go out into the harvest, which is plentiful, our message is simply the good news of Jesus Christ, that God loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life. If you are a seeker here today, that's ultimately your final answer.
And so notice, as we continue to read. It says that they journeyed about, it's obvious that the eunuch accepted Christ and he looked over and said, "Look, there's water. What prevents me, or what stands in the way of me going down and being baptized?" And notice what happened, "And he gave orders to stop the chariot, then both Phillip and the eunuch went down into the water and Phillip baptized him right there."
Now what an incredible story. Phillip was doing what God wanted him to do at the beginning of Acts 8. The Spirit of God showed up to him, said, "Hey, I want you to do something else." God blessed that ministry. He got to lead an Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord. Also, in the process of that, he looked at that eunuch and says, "One of the ways we symbolize our identification with Jesus Christ is through baptism." And probably the eunuch said, "What does baptism symbolize?" "It symbolizes the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ." And the eunuch said, "Hey, look! There's some water! Let's get it done." And they stepped out and they get it done.
Now, the question for us is, if we are going to be a part of the harvest, the visible harvest, let me give you five thoughts from this passage, how you and I can be active, visible participants in the harvest that God has set before Cottonwood, as well as before you.
And here's thought number one, are you ready? Here's the first kind of person that God uses. God uses people who are committed to their faith, their church, and they understand the goal. God uses people who are committed to their faith, in other words, they've had that relationship with Christ, but they want it to grow. They are committed to their church, as well as they know the goal. The goal is always, whether it's Fall Festival a couple of weeks ago where we're passing out a million pieces of candy to a billion people or whether it's 4th at the Creek or whether it's something else that we do, we understand the goal is always to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
But you know, to be ready for this, Phillip had to lay the groundwork in his own life. We can find that going back to Acts 6. In Acts 6, this is where we're first introduced to Phillip, somewhere in Acts chapter 2, 3, or 4 he had gotten saved. But in Acts 6, what had happened is the church had grown so much that there were too many needs for the disciples to minister to. So they needed more people to join in the service, join in the ministry. And I want you to know as Cottonwood, we are always needing more people to join in a ministry, to join in a mission, to be a part of serving God and doing something.
And so what happened is the disciples called all the congregation, just like this, together. And they said, "Listen, we have these great needs, but if we, as the disciples, spend all of our time meeting these needs, we won't have enough time to preach the gospel, to pray, to share, to grow the church." So what they said is, you look in Acts 6:3, they said, "Brothers and sisters," talking to the congregation, "choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit, committed to their faith, and their wisdom," they see the big picture, they see the big picture. "And we will turn this responsibility over to them."
Phillip was one of the guys they chose. In other words, the church looked at him and said, "This is a guy that is committed to his faith, he is committed to his church, and he understands the goal." What is the goal? To share the good news of Jesus Christ in any way, in any space, and in any place possible.
So the question for you, if you want to be used by God, are you like Phillip? Are you committed to your faith? Are you committed to your church? And do you understand the big picture? Know the goal, which is always to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. If number one is true in your life, you are well on your way to being used by God.
Here's number two that we see right here. And this is a beautiful thing. God will be found every time he is sought. God will be found every time he is sought. I address those here today who might be a seeker, you're just here looking for an answer. You're trying to peer in on this God thing, or you're wanting to know what this church is all about or the gospel message is all about. I want you to know the testimony that we find right here in the Ethiopian eunuch is this, is that God will be found every time he is sought.
If you are here seeking, if you are searching after God just like the eunuch went down to Jerusalem to worship, you went to the right place, that you will find God. Someone will come alongside and share the faith with you. It'll happen through a life group or it'll happen through the platform here where I'm sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. And you will find God.
Man, I love this and this didn't just start in the New Testament. If you go all the way back to Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 29:12 and following, God promises if you seek, you will find. Here's what God says, he says, "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you." Look at verse 13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
I believe there are people right here today, that you are seeking God. I want to encourage you to keep seeking, you will be found. I believe this, and I want you to know this, I believe this with my heart, that when we leave here today, just like Phillip encountered an Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot, you're going to run into someone at a gas station. You're going to run into someone or you're going to connect with someone at a restaurant or maybe it's at your office tomorrow or it's in your neighborhood. And they are seeking.
Now the question is, are you willing to go up beside them in their chariot and share the good news with Jesus Christ. Because everyone who seeks will find God. I love what Jesus said in Luke 19:10, it's on here too. He said, "The Son of man," Jesus is talking about himself, "came to seek and to save the lost." What was the purpose of Jesus coming to this earth? Man, to seek and to save those who are lost.
Well, if you just go over and look in Luke 15, he gives you three illustrations right there. He talks about a lost sheep that we go and find and bring them back. He talks about a lost coin, he says one that we clear and clean the whole house to find that lost coin. He talks about a lost son. Jesus came to be here, to seek and to save those who are lost.
And so those that are lost around you, God is seeking them. And we need to be willing to come up beside their chariot and communicate. Invite them to church, communicate the gospel, invite them to some event that we do here. Somehow, some way connect with them.
Here's number three, you ready? We should always be flexible with where and how we share the gospel in order to reach people. We must always be flexible with where and how we reach people. In other words, we have to from time to time, and we see this right in here, as you begin in Acts 8, Phillip is doing one thing, he's reaching people. And God says, "Hey, I want you to go over and connect with this individual." And he goes over and connects with this individual. Then God says, "Hey, I want you to go here." If you continue to read, Phillip over and over, God says, "I want you to do this now, and I want you to do this now, and I want you to do this now."
We have to always remain flexible. You might want to write this down, all right? You might want to write this down, there is a direct correlation between your flexibility to listen to God and how much God blesses others through you. There is a direct correlation. The more inflexible you are about your walk with Christ, an unwillingness to try something or do something or minister somewhere or learn something. The more inflexible you are, the less God can use you. The more flexible you are, the more God'll use you.
Boy, you just think about the last couple of years here at Cottonwood or many other years. There were seasons, I've been the pastor here for 23 years and I want you to hear, the message has never changed but the methods have. The message has never changed, but the methods have. We used to be in a different space, in a different place, in a different location. Everybody who came to church wore suits and ties, including the pastor. Listen, you all are way underdressed. How many of you are glad the methods have changed a little bit?
You know, everything about it was different. We were in a smaller place, we were off the beaten path. Let me tell you what, it was tough over there sometimes. And we came to a place in the road where we were at a dead end. What did we have to do? We had to be flexible. That maybe God was telling us something different, and that's how we got here. We said, "God may want us relocate and move from where we were to where we are now."
And we were flexible to follow God. Just take the last couple of years. We said, "Hey, listen," we saw a need in the community, we saw the ministry, we had a great passion to reach young adults and college-aged students. And we were like, "Man, we're not doing it well and other churches aren't doing it well," but that's such an important pivotal moment in the faith life, in the faith journey of college students. So we put up sand volleyball courts. Hey, FYI, just read my emails, not everybody thinks it's a good idea to put sand volleyball courts outside your worship center. If you all didn't know that, they thought we were desecrating the temple.
But the reality of it is, what we began to see if young adults and college kids getting connecting with the church. Why? Because we were flexible.
We just built a chapel. Why did we build the chapel? We built the chapel because we saw that we needed to be more flexible to provide a space for weddings and memorial services and our mid-week service and our prayer services. What we've already had, we've had a deacon ordination in there, we've had nights of worship for the singles in the community and it was awesome.
We're already looking for many of those kids that have started coming out on the sand volleyball court in January, on a Thursday night probably, we're going to start a Collin County young adult and college worship service right in there. Why? Because it's about being flexible. And I want you to know, in your life, in my life, in our church's life, there is a direct correlation between how flexible you are to say yes to God and follow God and try something new and the amount of blessings that we see.
I love what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, put it on the screen. He said, "To the weak I become weak to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some." He says, "I do all this," for what? "For the sake of the gospel that I might share in its blessings."
What is he saying? I've become flexible, I am all things to all people, I am flexible, I'm willing to put down my own wants and my own desires and my own opinions and my own preferences in order to reach someone else. Why do I do it? Notice what he says, "For the sake of the gospel."
And if I am willing to suppress my own wants and my own needs and my own desires and my own opinions for someone else who needs the gospel, I do that for the purpose, which is the sake of the gospel. Then notice what it says, I get the opportunity to share in its blessings.
So listen, if you want to share in the blessings of the gospel, be flexible. There might be some here that, here in a few seconds I'm going to release you and I am going to invite you to go stand out in the atrium and walk around, there might be some here that said, "Man, I'm not interested in orphan ministry, I'm not interested in adoption." Just take a stroll. Just go out there and look. See if God might tweak your heart. If not, come back next week. We're going to have another option for you that we're involved in, that we're plugged in as a church. If that's not it, come back the next week and you will find something. And I'll guarantee if you are flexible to follow God, so you can be all things to all people for the sake of the gospel, then you will become a harvester and you will share in its blessings.
Here's number four, are you ready? If you want to be used by God as a part of the harvest, here it is. You have to be clear about the message. Phillip was clear about the message, it's the gospel. I've already said this today, but listen, our message never changes, but our methods do. Why? Because people change, communities change, world events change. What's the one thing that's always stayed the same? It's the gospel.
I've been the pastor here for 23 years. Mike sits right down here. If you don't know Mike, you need to get to know Mike. Mike was on the search team that brought me, so if you don't like me, blame him. The first message I preached in this church was about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message never changes. Every Sunday you come here, I'm going to be talking about the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. Now the methods may change, my dress has changed a little bit, hasn't it Mike? He said, "Now you know, when you preach in our church, when you come to our church, it's a suit and tie." Thank God he finally let me not do that anymore.
But the reality of it is, man, the message is always the same. It's our methods that change. What's the message? Look at Romans 10:9-13, here's what Paul says. He says, "If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified. It is with your mouth," listen to this, "you profess your faith and are saved. As scripture says, Anyone," everybody say anyone.
It says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." Now listen to this, "For everyone," everybody say everyone.
Man, he says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
That is always our message. It never deviates, it never changes, it never gets tweaked a little bit. Our methods do. Sometimes we're sharing in this area and God says, "Go over to this area." Sometimes we're working in children's ministry and God says, "Hey, let's go serve in singles ministry or youth ministry or marriage ministry." God is always moving and keeping us fresh. Why? That's how we share in the harvest of the gospel.
Here's number five, if you want to be used by God in the harvest. If we are faithful, the harvest will always be plentiful. If we are faithful, the harvest will always be plentiful. If you are a follower of Christ here today and you don't feel like you've seen God moving in your life very much, honestly look back and ask yourself how involved, how active have you been in serving and growing your faith, in serving in the church, in pursuing God's will for your life because usually there's a direct correlation. The more we say yes to God and willing to try this, "Yes, God, I'm willing to do this once. Yes, God, I'm willing to be openminded and openhearted and openhanded." That's when we're going to see God's greatest blessings.
I love, if you go back to Acts 8:6, this is before the Ethiopian eunuch, notice what Phillip was doing. Phillip was sharing the gospel. It says, "When the crowds heard Phillip, they saw the signs he had performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. So there was great joy in that city. But when they believed Phillip as he proclaimed," notice the message is the same, the location is different with the eunuch, the way he shared was different with the eunuch, but the message was still the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. "The good news of the kingdom of God and name of Jesus Christ, then they were baptized, both men and women."
Man, that's the way it is. As long as we are serving God, we will see God's blessings. You say, "How do we know that?" Because that's what we see all through the New Testament. And that's what we saw Jesus talk about.
Now, what's our challenge as we leave here today and we close with this? In Matthew 5, here's what Jesus said about us, our congregation. He said, "Cottonwood, you," and by the way you don't see it in the English here, but in the original language, that's plural. Jesus today would say y'all. Okay? He'd say, "Y'all, Cottonwood, are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and give light to everyone who's in the house. In the same way, let y'all's light shine before others that they might see your good works, your good deeds, and glorify the Father who is in heaven."
See, missions month every year is about us, if for some reason over the last 12 months or the last 12 years or the last 12 centuries, you've hid your light, you're no longer salty, but this is the time to raise it so it gives light to everyone in our community.
Let's pray. Father, my prayer today is that our people at Cottonwood, all through the month of November, would respond like Phillip did to your Spirit. To be willing to say, "Yes, Lord. I'm willing to try something new. I'm willing to see something new. I'm willing to be committed to my faith, committed to my church, and ultimately, committed to the main thing, which is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ." In Jesus' name we pray, amen and amen.