Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Journey to Rome
Texts: Acts 27, Acts 28, Romans 1:18–20
September 29, 2018
As we make the journey from summer to fall, we become increasingly aware of the hurricane season. Tranquil beaches bulge into neighborhoods as storm surges move onto shore. When disaster happens, we see the unexpected. We see those who rush in to loot stores and damaged homes, abandoned by those seeking safety on higher ground.
Another side of humanity also comes into view during times of loss and devastation. The caring side of fellow human beings becomes increasingly evident as pictures flood the news and social media. Someone just happened to be in the right place at the right time to help. Others who have trained travel long distances to areas where help is needed, putting fears of harm aside as they plunge forward exhibiting courage. That’s the way it was with Amber Hersel. Being a mom and part-time photographer didn’t stop her from traveling 12 hours from her home in Indiana to the shores of North Carolina, which were expected to be hit by hurricane Florence. She had trained and she wanted to help. A Getty photographer captured Hersel carrying a 7 year old to safety. Walking through the water, cradling the victim, she looked down into the girl’s face. Interest in the person was evident. This was a way to help.1
In our Sabbath School lesson this quarter, we’ve studied about the brave attempts of the members of the early church to reach out to those both near them and away, sharing the love and blessings they had found in following Christ Jesus. Bravery abounded, courage shone through fear, and victory was gained as new believers were added to this young church.
In today’s lesson, we see pictures of Paul as God leads and he follows, not always in the way Paul had anticipated. Not deterred by prison or angry mobs, Paul found avenues to spread the Gospel message no matter what the situation. At times, he was able to go to the people, but always he preached to anyone near. Though not a mariner, Paul became the trusted one of ship’s captains as they navigated stormy seas. Paul had a connection with God that earned the trust of others. He listened to God’s direction and became the one who had answers, the one who knew what to do in treacherous situations, the one who listened to and followed God.