Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What does community with believers look like?  How do or should our families live life with other families? We were discussing this topic at our Colonial Woods Community Group last week using Acts 2:42-46 and 4:32-35 as jumping off points.  There are four main purposes that the apostles and the early church had for themselves:  teaching, fellowship, eating & prayer.  And what was the result of all this:  "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (2:46).

A couple of notes that I find interesting:
  • They met daily, not just once a week.
  • To meet with that many people likely meant they would have been outside - thus drawing a lot of attention to themselves and causing an almost infectious presence of the Kingdom.
  • The Lord is the one who was adding people to their number, it wasn't based on the works of the people.
  • They had "Great Power" in their sharing about the resurrection of Jesus and in the provision of their needs.
I'm struck how 'unlike' the American Church is to this model.  While teaching is central to the church - eating, fellowship and even prayer are seemingly given cursory glances.  It's certainly not out of lack of trying!  Pastors today run themselves into the ground trying to make fellowship and prayer a priority of the Church.  The issue is not lack of effort or lack of knowledge, but of vision...

I think we often think, "Hey, I'm a good person: I go to church, give my money, send my kids to children's church, pray as a family a little bit.  What else does God want?"  Well, that particular question would take quite some time to answer - which I may throw some insights towards that in the future - but God asks, demands, and deserves everything.  Check this passage out:
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
For the folks listening to this passage back then, the cross was a device of torture and death - not one of glory and hope like we think of it today.  Jesus was basically saying, "If you want to be my disciple, you have to deny any rights you have - even your right to life - and do everything I ask." [I love the rest of that passage also, but don't have time to discuss it here.] That doesn't sit to well with my "American Cultur-ed" ears!!  What may God be telling us we need to give up in order to follow Him?

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