“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.” Acts 2:42
Our lives are busy. It was great to have a few weeks of a limited schedule, called a vacation or in today's lingo a “staycation.” It was good to be able to “sleep in” and not have a schedule to keep. It was also a chance to look ahead and envision what the fall and winter months might hold.
It was also a time of reading through the book of Acts again (our sermon emphasis for September) and be reminded again of the birth of the Church. I was again reminded of the trials and tribulations and the joy and celebrations that were a part of the birth process of the church. One day three thousand were added to the church (Acts 2:41 and another found the Church under severe persecution (Acts 8:1). It was a roller coaster ride at best.
It was also a time of intense discipleship. The verse highlighted above indicates that the early church was daily learning about what it meant to be a follower of Christ. They were anxious to live the life they had been called to live. Discipleship was taken seriously. It meant something to be a part of the Christian community. Prayer was also a part of the daily fellowship as was the breaking of bread. The sharing together was one of the most important elements in the early life of the church.
Our emphasis for September will be on discipleship. The Church seems to have lost its emphasis on discipleship. Jesus' instruction to the Church was to “go and make disciples.” Disciples who follow in his footsteps. Disciples who live out the faith daily. Disciples who go the extra mile. Disciples who are committed to making other disciples.
I am often tempted to respond to those who complain about church attendance and membership with the question: How many have you invited to worship this week? The answer is probably: none. We all think this is someone else's job. Surely we are not expected to be inviting people. We open the doors, etc. But invite...|
Of course the answer is yes. We are called to ”go and make disciples.” This is accomplished, not by staying away and complaining about what the church is or is not doing. But by our being together in “teaching, fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.” In other words, we need to encourage one another. We need to be supporting one another in ministry. We need to be gathering for study and prayer. And, of course, sharing a meal – enjoying the fellowship that comes with table fellowship. There is something about a meal together that draws us closer. A time to share, to laugh, and to share our stories.
One recent evangelist program revolves around a meal. The Alpha program, popular in some areas, begins with inviting people for a meal and then sharing our faith. The early church knew the importance of such events. It was how the church began to grow.
I invite you to read again the book of Acts in September. Join us for worship, Bible Study and other activities and invite others to join us. Who knows – we may be surprised at what God will do.