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June 1, 2009

Dodie Gadient, a school teacher for 13 years decided to travel across America and see the sights she had taught about.  Traveling alone in a truck with camper in tow, she launched out.  One afternoon rounding a curve on I5 near Sacramento in rush hour traffic, the water pump blew on her truck.

She was tired, exasperated, scared, and alone.  In spite of the traffic jam she caused, no one seemed interested in helping.  Leaning up against the trailer, she prayed, “Please God, send me and angel.... preferably one with mechanical experience.”

Within four minutes, a huge Harley Davidson motorcycle drove up, ridden by an enormous man sporting long, black hair, a beard and tattooed arms.  With an incredible air of confidence, he jumped off and, without even glancing at Dodie, went to work on the truck.  Within another few minutes, he flagged down a larger truck, attached a tow chain to the frame of Dodie’s disabled truck, and whisked the whole 56-foot rig off the freeway onto a side street, where he calmly continued to work on the water pump.

The intimidated school teacher was too dumbfounded to talk.  Especially when she read the paralyzing words on the back of his leather jacket:  “Hell’s Angels - California”.  As he finished the task, she finally got up the courage to say.  “Thanks so much, and carry on a brief conversation.

Noticing her surprise at the whole ordeal, he looked her straight in the eye and mumbled, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.  You may not know who you’re talking to.”  With that, he smiled, closed the hood of the truck, and straddled his Harley.  With a wave, he was gone as fast as he had appeared. (Our America Newsletter)

In Acts 10, God shoves Peter out of his comfort zone by bringing him face to face with the reality of God taking His gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48).  Peter (the devout Jew) is fetched to the home of Cornelius (the Gentile Roman centurion) for the purpose of sharing the gospel with Cornelius, his family, and friends.

As Peter shares with them, he begins, Now I realize that God does not show favoritism - but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right (Acts 10:34,35 NIV).

Do we show favoritism?  Partiality in how we spend our time and who that time is spent with?  That is a tough question.  Admittedly, it is a lot easier to live in a comfort zone of Christian friends and culture - to spend time with those we naturally gravitate towards.  Is that such a bad thing?  It is if the comfort we live in and our relationships keep us from obeying God. 

When we drive through our neighborhoods what do we see?  As we have contact with people are we concerned with their salvation?  Homeless people?  People who dress strangely?  Who are physically challenged?  People who irritate us?  Those who honor Satan and not God?  People who struggle with sin just like us but don’t cover it as well?

Do we look with disdain or consider what God’s possibilities may be for reaching them?  Do we turn away or turn to God in prayer - going through our neighborhoods praying for people open to God’s leading to share the Gospel.  Can we say with Peter, Now I realize that God does not show favoritism - but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right”?

God gives us so many opportunities to live out His gospel with those around us - to engage people in the reality of life with Jesus - to participate in The Mission.  On pages six and seven there are just a few examples of these (i.e. Lake Day, Family Beach Day).  May we be challenged by these as opportunities, not just for us to come and enjoy, but to go out of our comfort zone to bring others who need to know Jesus.