Acts 2:46-47 (NIV)
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Our local church’s youth summer camp just ended last week. I was there at the beginning, unfortunately I was not able to see the entire event through because I have to get back to work and I also needed to attend a family matriarch’s funeral.
Twenty six (26) souls accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour at the end of the summer camp. Atop that are 100+ young souls that are now once again fired up to serve Jesus. Wow!
I am one with the Church in celebrating the rebirth of these souls. I am very excited about what God will do through our newly revived fervor.
But this piece is not about the celebration. As I’m sure there would already be many who would say things about that. This piece looks forward. This piece would be about reminders for I choose to be the voice that’s rarely heard…
We need to take the fire from of our special activities and bring it over into our daily lives.
“Every day they continued… with glad and sincere hearts.”
We are all fired-up. And that is well and good. But we need to be aware that there is such as thing called euphoria. It is a proven medical and psychological condition that there are special times and situations that makes us feel exaggeratedly happy and confident. But this feeling does not last long and it does not carry over to our normal lives.
The challenge for us is to get back to the daily bumps and grinds, to the usual rigours of normal life while continuing on with God’s work. To be out of the comfort zone of our special activities and still be going strong.
We ought be wary of gimmickry and pageantry.
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God…”
Please notice how simple yet effective the early Christians were in doing the work of the Lord.
There were no feasts. But they shared food and ate together, rich and poor alike, they shared a table. There were no personalities, each person as important as another. What brought them together was a common belief. That the Son of God was born of a virgin and He died and rose again for all mankind.
Isn’t that what true Christian fellowship is? That we gather together not because there’s a special event, but we regularly meet because we have Jesus and we would want to meditate on His word.
There were no mention of singing or dancing. But they did praise God. They might have sung or danced but the scripture didn’t made mention of that, did it? Our generation so easily associate praise with singing and dancing because that’s what we grew up with. But I can imagine the early Christians gathering together praising God with just their own words. Not words crafted for them by other people but words that come directly from their heart. Words of testimony that declares God’s work in their lives. Words of prayer that are mouthed directly from the human core.
Isn’t that what praise is? That when “the music fades and all is stripped away” we simply come to bless the heart of God.
And though we are given the luxury of having the resources to add comfort, style and drama to our gatherings. We need to make sure that the essence of what we are doing still stands strong and tall above all else.
The Way We Live Together Should Win Souls
“… enjoying the favor of all the people.”
The early Christians lived together in such a way that they’ve won the favor of all the people. They’ve won the favor of not just fellow believers, but of everyone. They loved and served one another in such a strong way that non-believers were encouraged to join in.
Among the believers. No one was left out. Everyone belonged. The rich and the poor. The weak and the powerful. The young and the old. Man or woman. Everyone had their place in the fellowship.
Like the early Christians, we ought to be careful that no one is left out.
Like the early Christians, our relationship with each other ought to be enticing for others to say that our God is indeed true. Our life together should be a living testament for Jesus.
Let’s give God all the credit.
“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Things happened, not because we have great leaders. Surely not because we have invited great motivational speakers and certainly not because the worship leaders and the band were awesome. It is about God at work and not about anything else.
We all know this already right? Good.
Let us just be careful not to make it about the personalities or about the activities we conducted. Sometimes we make it about other people (sometimes we even make it about ourselves) or about something else. How? Please let me continue on…
We think things like, “Let’s invite him to speak again next year. He did such an awesome job!” We also think things like, “Let’s do that activity again next year. That definitely did it!” Looking back at who did good and what went well is doing due diligence. But please be aware. Inviting the best people available to do the job would be one thing, but planning our activities around them would be a different thing all together. Working out the best activity is one thing, but to associate success with an activity is another. If we aren’t careful. We’d end up saying things like, “He should be the one who needs to be in front. He’s the only one who’s capable of pulling that off.” And we’d end up saying things like, “We should definitely have that activity again next year, that did the trick. There’s no substitute for that activity.”
God can work mightily through whomever and whatever. And by saying such things, we unconsciously strip God of the credit.
Let us remember that it was the Lord who added to our number. It was His work, not ours. Only He and no one else should take the credit.