The North American Baptist Fellowship president, who also is executive director-secretary of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, told the worship audience, “I have a hunch that God is not particularly concerned about the lines we have drawn.”
Peter learned to color outside the lines to lead Gentiles to Christ, said Goatley, recounting the Acts 11 account of Peter’s experience of entering the home of a Roman to share Christ after receiving a startling vision from God.
It was a story of Peter’s unexpected experience of crossing the border between Jews and Gentiles to evangelize Cornelius, Goatley observed.
“The church establishment calls Peter into question,” Goatley said. “But it wasn’t Peter’s idea to color outside the lines; it was God’s revelation.
“As soon as God colors outside our lines, some of us are stressed,” he added. “[But] God is in the habit of calling us outside the lines we have been coloring inside.”
One outcome of crossing borders and coloring outside the lines, Goatley said, is that “God shows us what God is up to. When we get a glimpse of what God is doing, we are able to go beyond our cultural traditions.
“If God invites you, it is a good place to be,” he said. “Can you imagine what would happen if the church was open to the revelation of God?”
Peter had a positive influence on the religious establishment, he noted. “Rather than punishing Peter, they praised God. May God help us to color outside the lines.”
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.