"An Encounter with the Gospel"
July 31, 2015
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the Good News about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" Acts 8:35-36
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian in the desert is one of the most wonderful accounts in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
Scripture is clear; it wasn't by chance Philip went to that God-appointed rendezvous. As we know, the Lord already knew what was going to happen by the Holy Spirit's power. He knew how that encounter with the court official from the queen of the Ethiopians was going to end.
I think there is a lesson for us in that. You see, every day we run into people we don't know.
Most of those times, we confine our discussion to a perfunctory, "hi" or "bye." Then, when we're done, we continue on going about our plans. Still, from the Lord's perspective, these encounters are always opportunities in which the Gospel may be shared.
May I give you an example?
Some time ago José showed up at the Lutheran Center in Santiago. Like the Ethiopian, José had read the Word of God. But he still had many doubts. He felt as if he was in the desert, spiritually thirsty and hungry, like someone who doesn't understand the love God has for us in Christ.
José knew the Scriptures, but he hadn't truly met the Savior who has conquered all that separates us from the love of God. It didn't take long for us to begin instructing José in the Word. Very soon after that his home became a place where the Bible and the Catechism were constantly being studied. By God's grace, José was brought to forgiveness, freedom and the promise of eternal life, which is ours through the shed blood of the Redeemer.
Just like the Ethiopian, José had invited us to sit in his chariot and walk along with him and his family. Just like the Ethiopian, José soon asked us if his three daughters could be baptized. There was no reason to waste any time!
Of course, many encounters don't have the same ending as did that of the Ethiopian or José. Thinking over those times, I have to conclude many of those disappointments happen because we haven't taken advantage of the opportunities God has laid before us.
When we met José, the Gospel took him to a new spiritual reality and now, together with his wife and daughters, he's an active member of the Lutheran Church and continues to be nurtured with the living waters of the Word of God.
How wonderful it is when we realize we're in God's hands and understand He's the One that brings into our lives people who need to hear the Gospel message! To that end, I would ask that you support God's ministry and pray for the lost as well as those who carry the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Let's ask God for His help in bringing those who are walking in the desert to encounter their Savior and Lord Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Loving Savior, thank You for finding us. We ask that Your Gospel may reach out to all those who are still walking through the desert. Help us stay close to You by reading and meditating each day in Your Holy Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was authored by The Reverend Cristian E. Rautenberg, who was born in Misiones, Argentina. He has served as a missionary, and as the director of the Lutheran School of Valparaíso, as teacher of the Biblical Institute and the Concordia Seminary of Buenos Aires. In 2007 he was sent as a missionary to Santiago City, Chile, where he is currently pastor. Since 2010 he has served as the president of the Lutheran Confessional Church in Chile. Pastor Rautenberg and his wife, Ethel, have two disabled sons: Nathanael and Matthew.
Established in Buenos Aires in 1947, LHM-Argentina (known in-country as Fundacion Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones) connects with communities in many ways. This ministry center works closely with the Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA), along with its seminary and congregations. It does this through a joint mission program. Using LHM's Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), Project JOEL (a youth outreach program), print media, radio broadcasts, text messaging, and the Internet, it shares the Gospel and empowers believers in this South American country of 42 million people. This ministry center also works closely with IELA and its seminary and congregations via a joint mission program.
Check out how an ETS workshop led by Pastor Leandro Hubner from Concordia Seminary in Argentina connected with the people of Viale, Argentina. You can do so by clicking here and reading LHM-Argentina's latest blog post.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries