For years I have found myself inspired by the enormous fruit that characterized Philip’s life (Acts 8:1–40). His ministry reads like an action thriller: on the run for his life, he fearlessly stops to proclaim the good news of Jesus in Samaria; the enemy is defeated at every turn; the lame walk, and the city is transformed from top to bottom; a weird character—Simon the Sorcerer—converts to the good side, and the apostles Peter and John show up to add a further dose of God’s presence and power.
As if all of this is not enough, Philip casually brushes the dust off his clothes, and while walking toward Gaza, leads the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ (who upon returning home may have led other Ethiopian leaders to faith). Then of all things—like a superhero—Philip blinks his eyes and finds himself in Azotus, a town roughly 40 miles away.
In my response to this amazing account, I have been looking to the Lord for some kind of expression of Philip’s ministry in my own life and in others connected to Forerunners … and God has not disappointed! I often refer to this as an “Acts 8 ministry.”
A few weeks ago, while ministering in Connecticut, a mom came to me and asked if I would pray for her daughter. Rachel, 21 years old, often demonstrated odd behavior and was struggling with worthlessness and dark thoughts. After leading her through prayers of repentance and agreeing with the truth of God’s Word, in Jesus’ name I commanded the enemy to leave. Recently, I received a thank you note from Rachel explaining that she was restored and in her right mind according to 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV).
Several months prior, a friend and I were sharing our faith at a nearby park when we approached a couple of young men. Suddenly in my spirit, I knew I was to ask them if they had been abused growing up. I hardly got the question out of my mouth, and they were nodding yes. In a moment, the atmosphere changed from subtle resistance to a hunger to hear more. Soon they both bowed their heads (in this very public place) to put their faith in Jesus!
About this same time, my car mechanic made a doctor’s appointment due to various symptoms suggesting walking pneumonia. Standing in the garage, I prayed for him with apparently no effect. But the next time I talked with him, he stated, “Dave, I cancelled that doctor’s appointment. Ever since you prayed for me, I’ve been fine.”
Isn’t God good? In each of these examples, Philip’s ministry is reflected in a small way. Jesus said, “By this is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit” (John 15:8). Let’s look to God to move us into a “much fruit” reality as much as possible now, preparing ourselves for even greater fruit during the national shakings that likely lie ahead!