8/2/20 – “Meet Philip”

Posted on : Jul 31st, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“Meet Philip”

God is full of surprises! God seems to specialize in doing the impossible. Often, we expect God to do one thing, and God does another. Sometimes we trust God to handle something immediately, and then God waits and the outcome seems to take forever. At other times we anticipate waiting for a long time, and almost overnight God has solved what appeared to be the impossible.

When we enter the season of Advent to prepare our hearts to   welcome again the birth of the Christ child, we witness the encounter between Mary and the angel Gabriel who proclaims how God is going to work in her life.  From Gabriel, Mary learns the surprising news that her cousin Elizabeth, who is beyond child-bearing years, is expecting.  About that unexpected pregnancy, Gabriel proclaims: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  Gabriel speaks these words to Mary so she will realize that if God can make the impossible happen for Elizabeth then God can do amazing things through her.

On Sunday, I am going to introduce you the apostle/disciple who learned this very lesson firsthand. His name is Philip.  We encounter him in the story of the feeding of the 5,000, which happens to be one of the few stories from Jesus’ earthly ministry to appear in all four of the gospels!

We know this story well of how Jesus took 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish from a boy’s lunch box to feed the massive crowd.  But what we probably do not remember is the chaos that led up to that miracle.

Jesus was with his disciples on a mountain top.  He had been preaching and was taking a break. As he preached, more and more people climbed the mountain to take in his message. Before he could say his final “amen,” the crowd swelled as far as the eye could see.  The disciples fully expected the crowd to disperse now that the service was over. But the crowd did not move. I imagine they wanted to hear more! Then, Jesus looked to his disciples and said, “Let’s give them lunch!”

It seems that Philip spoke up and said this was impossible with their meager funds and the little bit of food they had in their backpacks. I imagine he really said to Jesus, “Are you out of your mind?”  

Jesus then performs this miraculous feeding frenzy as the means to teach Philip and the other disciples that with God in our life anything can be possible.

Do you realize the power that comes to us when we have God in our lives?  So often, we limit God’s power with our excuses.  How can we avoid being like Philip and let go of our excuses and limitations and invite God to use us to do these amazing things that God is waiting to do?  The word “impossible” does not seem to be in God’s vocabulary. Let us remove it from ours!

I realize that preaching an extended sermon series is a tricky business as most of you will need to miss a Sunday here for there, especially over the course of the summer!  So, if you wish to keep up and not miss an apostle, then I invite you to send me an email with the date of the Sunday you missed, and I will be happy to send you that sermon.  This is my email:  joemcgowan@aol.com

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Joe McGowan, Guest Preacher



A Reading from John 6: 3-13

Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” Jesus said this to test him, for Jesus already knew what he was going to do. 

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, Jesus told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.


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Time: Aug 2, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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