Friday, April 21, 2017

When the Twenty-First Century Church Acts Like the First Century Church

I'm writing today from Colorado Springs, where I'm attending a meeting at a well-known international ministry. 

Most of us on the national Physician's Resource Council have been meeting together twice a year for a decade or more. Over the course of those years, we've become family.

A young physician visited with us yesterday. Last night, he made a comment that, in a way, summed up what we do. In addition to learning more about the ministry and wrestling with the most difficult issues in medicine to help with ministry position statements, he said, "You do a lot of two things: Eat and pray." 

We all laughed, but, in a way, it's true. We have three meals a day with snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon. It's not more food than usual, but we sit down to eat these meals around tables lined with people we love, and that's unusual. For physicians, a seated meal that won't be interrupted is a luxury. 

He's right about the praying part, too. Our meetings begin on Thursday. We always start that day with a thirty-minute devotional, followed by an hour-long prayer time. After every speaker has finished their presentation, we pray for them. 

At the end of the day, we pause to be sure that each person's most pressing needs have been mentioned, and stop to pray for those needs, too.

The more I've attended these meetings, the more I've realized how much like the first century church they are. 

"And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe..." Acts 2:42-43 nasb

When I hear all that's being accomplished through this ministry, I do feel a sense of awe. This is the way the bride of Christ is supposed to function, and it's beautiful. 

If we're to be all Jesus intended, we'll spend time together, gather around the table for meals, share our burdens, pray big for our needs. We won't do it once in a while. We'll do it regularly. 

That's why mid-week "family night suppers" with our church families are so important. It's why church small groups that meet regularly are encouraged.

When the 21st century church steps away from our busy lives to function as the first century church did, things will change. We'll share each other's burdens. No one will struggle alone. We'll pray more. Eat together more. Love more. 

When we spend quality time together, we'll gain more than good meals and lots of prayer time. We'll also become full of love and unity for one another.

If we feel isolated, disconnected, and alone, perhaps we need to reconnect with the body of Christ and do what the first century church did. "Continually devoting themselves..." 

Today, why not invite a fellow believer to share a meal. Spend some time together. Share your hope, dreams, concerns. Pray for each other. 

Be intentional about being the church and watch with anticipation. A sense of awe over all God does is sure to follow. 
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Choosing a Lifestyle of Love Even When We Don't Want to Risk It 

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Jordan, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

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