For most of us, a new school year has begun. A time when we come back and see old friends we haven’t seen for a while. We have changed, many times physically, emotionally, and maybe even spiritually. We have been changed by summer experiences and relationships of which only we know.

What was your summer like?

How have you been changed?

Let us now listen for where God meets us in these changes.

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When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t believe he was really a disciple. Then Barnabas brought Saul to the apostles and told them the story about how Saul saw the Lord on the way and that the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them about the confidence with which Saul had preached in the name of Jesus in Damascus. After this, Saul moved freely among the disciples in Jerusalem and was speaking with confidence in the name of the Lord.

Acts 9:26-28

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The new person Saul had become was unknown to the disciples, and they were afraid. The disciple’s fear of the unknown reminds me of an experience I had in college, the first day of freshman year. There was an evening social where everyone went to meet other people. It was a soccer field full of watermelon and anxiety. People were too nervous to look each other in the eyes. Finally, I turned to the person next to me and said, “Wow, this is the most awkward event I have ever been to.” And suddenly the ice was broken, and he and I started making friends.

Back to school can be a time when everyone is anxious and nervous, especially if you are surrounded by people you don’t know. It is important to calm down and look for friends, to remember that everyone else is also nervous and looking for friends.

And when we start sharing stories with others, we may be able to move a little more freely and speak a little more confidently.

Randall Curtis

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Lord, thank you for bringing friends into my life to walk with me. Help me to be a friend to those who need someone to walk with them. Amen.

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Before you go from this place, take a deep breath.

Open your heart to the possibilities that come from change.

Have no fear.

Rest in the assurance that God is with you, wherever the way may lead you.

Randall Curtis

Randall Curtis is the Ministry Developer for Young Adults and Youth for the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. Randall is also the President of Forma ( and a regular podcaster at the Easter People Podcast ( He blogs at Randall lives in Arkansas with his wife, daughter, two pugs, and nine tortoises.

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