As our faith family continues to be “Empowered” through the study of the Acts of the Apostles, now is a good time to not only be present in the life of our church, but to also evaluate our daily practices of living into the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:43-47 is a glimpse into the life of early believers. Their daily lives were consumed by spiritual disciplines. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” NRSV
I am amazed …
… by planes, bullet trains, fast automobiles, technology, love, passion and grace. All of these things astonish and shock my mind. I’m awestruck at demonstrations of immense power and ability. At the risk of sounding like a simpleton I confess that I am just overwhelmed by massive, fast, powerful and glorious things. Maybe this is why as I journey deeper into this thing we call a “Christian Life” and the truths of God’s Holy Word, I am caught up in wonderment with God and how His Holy Spirit works.
Every time I think about the beginning of the Church I am astounded at how the Spirit moved and worked powerfully and miraculously in the lives of simple men and women. There was hardly a scholar in the bunch. Most of this “Jesus Sect” were people of low degree. They were at best touching the mainstream of society. There was hardly a person that we identify as a professional save for persons like the physician and the tax collector. To know that the Spirit of God worked powerfully in these “mere Christians” is a beacon of hope that God can use even me.
I enjoyed going through The Story together as a church. It was neat to all be studying the same thing and to be reminded of the broad, overarching upper story of God’s work in the world.
After The Story it seems best to explore something that gives us a picture of what life looks like if you truly find your place in The Story.
When someone truly finds their role in God’s Story they live lives like those found in Acts.
Jesus speaks to his disciples and says “you will be my witnesses.” I wonder if they knew what Jesus was talking about. We often hear something and understand something different – this is very common for me. Let me explain this to you. You grew up speaking English and your vocabulary has changed over the years. I grew up speaking Spanish and I have long tried to learn English and it has been very difficult.
When someone tells me something sometimes I understand and sometimes not. Sometimes I think that I understand. Beau always says to me, “Tú comprende?” and my answer is “Noooo.” You can determine by my answer or my behavior whether I really understand.
What is interesting here is that the disciples lived with Jesus for a long time. I wonder what they understood when Jesus said to them, “You will be my witnesses.”
In The Story we read of Paul’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys. Everywhere he went he experienced hardships. He recalls to the Corinthians that he was a servant of Jesus Christ. He reminds them he had been in prison frequently; been flogged most severely; had been exposed to death again and again. Five times he’d received from the Jews, 40 lashes, minus one; three times he’d been beaten with rods; stoned once; three time shipwrecked and spent a night and day in the open sea; has had to be constantly on the move in danger from his own countrymen. He had been in danger from rivers, bandits; danger in the country and at sea and danger from false brethren. He had labored and toiled and gone without sleep, was hungry and thirsty, cold and naked. Besides all these things, he had the worry and concern for all the churches. Even with Satan on his heals with every step he took, he did not feel weak because Christ was with him.