Summary: one of a series on Acts
Cycles of life
Some people worry about what they feed their puppy. Puppy Chow is strange thing for people to worry about in my opinion. To me it’s a bit silly - I guess I’m just not into pets like some people. Americans spend billions of dollars a year on food for dogs! And Purina gets its cut because there is a cycle of life - four different stages.
Life is made of cycles
For example there is the water level in Rock Lake where I grew up. Sometimes it’s high and sometimes it’s low. I remember growing up as a kid and hearing all the concern about the levels of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior - the lake was low and the talk was that Chicago was drinking up the lake! Years later I lived in St. Joseph, MI and watched houses washed into the lake because of the abnormally high levels! There is a cycle of highs and lows!
The Church has a cycle of life also.
Cycle 1: Birth and adolesence(looking upward) - the Puppy years
Cycle 2: Growth and change (look forward)
early maturity - strength and vigor
Cycle 3: Mantainance and stablization (look inward)
dangerous. This is the comfortable years at the fireplace dog
Cycle 4: Decline and death (look backward) This leads to toothless memories and daydreams
The Pentecost church is a marvelous example to us - a "Cycle 1-2" church
1: Evangelism and witnessing was their heartbeat
not a program.
A lifestyle. Friends sharing with friends constantly. They weren’t gunfighters who notched their belts when they "got" someone. They were loving and caring friends to the people in their world.
On P 67 of a book by Ralph Neighbour "Knocking on doors; Opening hearts" the author tells a story of evangelism and outreach. This story changes the way we approach people - or it should!
One Singaporean said to three Christians eating in a hawker’s stall, "Do you happen to be Christians?" They asked, "What makes you think so?" He said, "Well, you seem to be quite different from most people I know. That make me think you are Christians. But, you don’t act like the rest of them I have known." They asked, "Really? How did the other Christians act?" He said, "Like they were tigers perched in the tall grass beside the road, ready to spring on me with their claws!"
2: They were devoted selves to several things
Note the devotion. Church was priority in their life.
Church was not something they did. It was something they became! Certain elements became simply a natural part of life!
Tt was as natural as breathing. Do you think about breathing? Only if you are sick!
If you think you ought to pray; study; fellowship...
That indicates that you are sick! Do something - fast before you get even sicker!
3: They met from house to house & in the temple
They had close small groups where there was real intimacy. They also had great celebrations with masses of people!
The best of both worlds! This changes the way we approach the mission God has given us.
A: From the classroom to the group.
Sunday School is not Holy and God given method and we are going to change methodology! Jesus method was to preach to the masses; to teach and lead the 70; and to mentor the 12. He was closest to the inner 3 - Peter, James, and John.
B: From the sanctuary to the celebration.
One is open and expansive the other is huddled and defensive! The celebration is public and proclamation.
The sanctuary is clostered and isolated.
Worship should be challenging and fun. There really isn’t a style that is wrong. God is going to pleased
with whatever we do - as long as it is real worship.
The goal is to bring everyone into worship - to being in the presense of God.
Here at BCC we are still learning! And it is great fun to learn! Worship is an occasion of joy and honor of God by all of us.
C: From the organization to the organism
We need less focus on structure and more focus on relationships. Now we do need structure. But isn’t all that important.
There is very little in Bible on structure of church. There is much more concern about leadership and care for lost. There is less focus about who is in charge & more concern about who is hurting. There is less focus on legalistic spiritual measures & more about knowing Jesus.
Several years ago I visited a friend at his business and asked the question, "Who is in charge?" Rod Darrah’s answer was, "Who’s in the lead?" He went on to explain that they were less interested in a person’s position than they were in the person’s ideas and work.