The Cross-Cultural Neighbor

Dr. Davis Chappell preaches on Philip and the Ethiopian on Pentecost Sunday – week six of Brentwood United Methodist Church’s series, Neighbors.

This week’s challenge: Give. You may call this “reverse hospitality.” According to Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements in their book The Simplest Way to Change the World, “Reverse hospitality is where you take something to your neighbor’s house to bless them. This can be delivering soup to your ill neighbor, providing a meal to a family who just brought home a newborn, or taking cookies to someone who just moved in down the street.” This week, you are challenged to give something to a neighbor.

Ideas to complete this challenge:

  1. Write a handwritten note introducing yourself and attach it to homemade cookies or store-bought candy. Knock on their door or leave it on the doorstep.
  2. Attach a note to a bag of un-popped popcorn and write, “Just “popped” over to say hi and get to know you better!” Be sure to leave your contact information so they can respond.
  3. Looking back at week 3, have you approached that person with the sign on the corner of your commute? They may appreciate some cookies or a gift card.


26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled 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 baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized 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 traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.