DAY ONE – Monday – Read Acts 2:41-47 SOAP Acts 2:42
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
O – This description of the early church takes place after the Day of Pentecost and Peter’s sermon. Over three thousand were added to their number of believers that day! What characterized the early church?
- Taking in and baptizing new believers
- Devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (preaching by pastor, today?) Continually and faithfully (AMP)
- Fellowship with other believers
- Breaking of bread (communion) AND/OR meals together
- Great things were happening (wonders and signs)- sense of awe within the community
- Commonality in belongings
- Helping each other (selling possessions and helping others in need)
- Regularly attending the temple together
- Sense of unity within the body
- Breaking bread in their homes (eating meals together)
- Praising God together
- Having favor with ALL the people (community)
- New believers added to their number
I see a few themes here. First of all, there is a sense of community, of life together as a body of Christ. It goes beyond the “Sunday service” to regular life. It’s not just what we consider “spiritual” things like communion and prayer, but meals together, and supporting each other in need. Secondly, there is a sense of “like-mindedness” in the community. There are words like “every”, “common”, “all,” “together” used in these descriptions. Thirdly, there is outreach, as numbers are added to them day by day. It is not a closed community! Finally, there is a direction to their praise and prayers. They praised God, prayed together, and gathered in the temple for corporate worship.
A – How is this worked out in my life? Or how SHOULD it be worked out in my life? I need to be actively involved in my church community. Do I support those in my church? If I hear of a need, do I respond? Do I find times to gather with them – living out community life?? It needs to go beyond my Thursday night small group meeting to taking the time to actively seek out people who may need support, or just plain fellowship. I do love my small group, and the elements that make it a spiritual community – a meal together, study of the Word, and prayer for each other. But even that time needs to be expanded to personal time – to support and encourage. Do I continue to pray for needs after I hear of them? Do I write them down so I can remember to pray – and then celebrate God’s answer?? My project this week is to set up my prayer journal so I can do exactly that! Finally, am I working to help expand the kingdom? Am I seeking out those who don’t know Him – in my neighborhood and surrounding area? While this week is short, as I will be traveling, I need to think of ways that I can positively impact my neighbors. (thinking – cookies delivered for Valentine’s Day, maybe a coffee/tea afternoon for the ladies…) One practical thing that I can do is pray for the “word of the year” for my fellow group members!
P – Father God, instill in me a sense of community – here in Indiana. Give me the heart, and the desire to reach out, beyond my comfort space, to support and encourage other believers. Impress on me the needs, and the ways to help meet them. Father, help me to actively pray for needs, and find ways to remember – and keep remembering those requests. Help me develop a heart and lifestyle of prayer – not for my needs alone, but for those of others. Bring my heart to you – make me a whole-hearted follower of Your ways and Your word. Father, may You be glorified in my life today, this week, and all the time that You give to me to life for You.
Let us Break Bread Together – Witney Phipps – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOocN76fLHo