Post-Lockdown Church

36 As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’ 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. (Acts 8:36-40)
Today is the last of our Everyday Devotions for this current learning series. On Sunday, we won’t just be talking about post-lockdown church. The coronavirus restrictions have been lifted and we are now permitted to be post-lockdown church together! Over the six summer Sundays, we are going to make space for people right across our church to share how God has spoken to them while we were scattered during lockdown. We are going to have an opportunity to regroup together and to hear what God has been doing in each of our lives. Then, from Sunday 5th September onwards, we are going to begin a new teaching series that will take us all the way through the Bible, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. It is going to be an amazing series and an amazing ride!

This is the last of our Everyday Devotions, therefore, until Monday 6th September, so let’s end with a reminder of the Lord’s incredible power towards us. We have spent the past few weeks looking together at Acts 1-8 as a model for how our own post-lockdown church is meant to be. Don’t miss, therefore, the final verses of Acts 8. These chapters end with one of the weirdest moments in the New Testament. As Philip emerges from the water, having just baptised his new Ethiopian friend as a follower of Jesus, we are told that the Holy Spirit took him away suddenly and that Philip at once appeared Azotus, which is many miles away. This is the only example in the New Testament of ‘Holy Spirit teleportation’. It’s pretty weird and wonderful!

When some people read Acts 8:39-40, they get so confused by what happened that they ignore it and rush on into Acts 9. When I read it, I can get distracted by the fact that the person who truly needed this miracle was surely the Ethiopian, not Philip, since he was travelling from Israel to Ethiopia in a chariot. That’s a long way!

But we mustn’t get distracted from the main thing in these verses. The Lord is telling us that he has new places for us to go together as a church, and that we can either try to get there in our own strength, which will be hard work and pretty slow, or we can try to get there in his own strength, which results in miraculous advance for us. We don’t know for sure what the Lord has in store for us as a post-lockdown church, but what we do know is that he will take us to places we have never dreamed of and in ways that we could never imagine, if we put our trust in his strength and not in our own.

Thank you for joining us for these Everyday Devotions during the last weeks of the great Covid-19 lockdown. We can’t wait to pick up our devotions again with you on Monday 6th September, as we begin an epic journey through the whole of the Bible together. See you soon!
1)   What are the biggest challenges that lie ahead of you personally over the next few weeks?  

2)   What are the biggest challenges that lie ahead of us as a church together?  

3)  How does the miracle at the end of Acts 8 speak into this? What will the Lord do for us and through us if we put our trust in his great strength to carry us?  
Father God, I thank you for all that you have spoken to me through this Post-Lockdown Church series of Everyday Devotions. Thank you that you have sustained me through these months of scattering and that you have now made us a post-lockdown church together. Please help us to be carried by your great strength into our future, just as Philip was at the end of Acts 8. Please bless and prosper our post-lockdown church, for the glory of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were brought to you by Phil Moore, who leads our team of whole-church elders.  

If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.  

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.