Monday, August 1, 2016

The Ice Cream Church

"We're gonna make homemade ice cream this afternoon," my friends told me after Sunday School. "Would you and Sam like to come have some?" 

"Yes, we would," I told them. Sam loves ice cream. If I were as thin as he is, I'd eat ice cream every day. Just like he does. I wouldn't be as thin as he is for long, though.

Over the course of the afternoon, the ice cream plan evolved. We'd combine our lunch leftovers and have dinner together, too. 

Sam watched as I put the peas and pork into transportable containers. He looked confused.

"If we're eating ice cream at 6:00, how're we gonna make it to church on time?" 

"We don't usually have a service on Sunday night, Sam. This is what we'll do instead of a church service in the building."

"Ice cream is church?" Sam looked confused.

"In a way. In the first century, the churches met in homes. They loved each other and cared for each other in a way that stunned the world. It drew people to Jesus. 

Sometimes, we gather in homes and have a meal together just like they did. We'll share what God has done and is doing. We might not have a devotional talk, but it's still church, because we're the church."

"I think I'm gonna like ice-cream church." He grinned.

Ice-cream church. I laughed, but he was right. 

That evening, we ate our combined dinner, then sat around the table with bowls of ice cream. We shared our lives and our victories, our concerns and our triumphs. It was the church being the church, and it was a beautiful thing.

It had been a long, hard week. I'd volunteered at Global Outreach every morning last week. I'd finished Hosea in the afternoon. The emotion of the weekend's protests had combined with the already overwhelming week, and I was drained. Happy with what God had done, but drained. 

I left ice-cream church in a better frame of mind. I was still tired, but I'd shared my load with friends who understood it, and they'd done the same. All our loads had been lightened a bit.

As the body of Christ, we're not just parts of the body, we're family. When we function as a family, we're at our best. Last night, I was reminded of that all over again.

As we begin this new week, let's do the things the early church did. Let's stop in the midst of our busy lives long enough to share a meal and pray together with at least a few members of our family of faith. Let's do it with glad and sincere hearts, just like those first followers did. 

A meal together. It's such a simple thing, but God used it in a powerful way to draw people to Him more than 2,000 years ago. I think He might use it again. Let's give it a try. 

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles... They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-43, 46-47 NIV

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Tupelo Thankful

Here's the link to the world-wide prayer guide: The Prayer List 

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