I have so enjoyed the start to 2015. I find myself so excited that I am waking up at random times throughout the night thinking and dreaming and hoping for what God might do in our church.
Hope. It is a wonderful gift.
And each of us have our own hopes, expectations of church that are colored by our upbringing and our values and even our brokenness. Today I wanted to share some hopes that have ignited from reading of the early church in Acts.
I love how Major Ian Thomas described the early church (of course he may not have come up with this quote... but I heard him say it first). The Major would say the early church was "incorrigibly happy, utterly unafraid and nearly always getting into trouble"
As I read Acts 2:42 I noticed our vision for this year - devotion. The early church was:
- Devoted to teaching the Word
- Devoted to fellowship with other believers
- Devoted to breaking bread together
- Devoted to prayer
Of course devotion flowed out of relationship to a person - Jesus.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. - Acts 4:13
They were known for their relationship with the Creator of the Heavens and Earth!
Out of relationship and devotion there was fruitfulness and offense (see how I tied our vision for the year into it?)
- They had a reputation for unity (the state of being united or joined as a whole) - Acts 2:44
- They were generous to those in need - Acts 2:44
- Their family grew - Acts 2:47
- They shared the Word with boldness and their prayer meetings were off the chain - Acts 4:31
- They were of one heart and mind - Acts 4:32
- They had grace to share Jesus with others - Acts 4:33
- People esteemed them - Acts 5:13
- Did I mentioned lots of people got saved? - Acts 5:14
- They didn't mind suffering for Jesus' name - Acts 5:41
I don't know about you, but I am excited reading this. As you read over these passages, here are some questions to consider:
- Which one of these is the most exciting to you? Why?
- Which characteristics need to be restored in you personally? In our church?
As you think on both the things that excite you and places we need to grow in personally and as a family, pray with confidence knowing we are asking in accordance with the will of God (John 15:7)!