Summary: How can we experience the joy and power of the Christian life like the early disciples?
Experiencing the Joy & Power of the Christian Life
Intro - Vacation
Well, it is good to be back. My family and I had a great time on vacation to start the New Year off and it was a refreshing and relaxing time for us all.
I am so glad, too, that you were also able to have a vacation from me and be blessed and refreshed by Tom and Billy these past couple of weeks.
As Laura and I got back from vacation, we like many, as we get into the New Year, take this as an opportunity to make some changes. We were able to break out one of the gifts Laura got for Christmas. A new Scale!
I didn’t like this new scale at first. I didn’t like it because it weighed me accurately versus our old scale that told me I was lighter than I actually was. But after I got over the initial disappointment, I was glad to have something accurate, because then I could make better decisions. Both Laura and I decided to start the year off losing a few pounds. I want to weigh less by about 12 to 17 pounds.
Now to actually weigh less versus jsut wanting to weigh less are 2 different things. I can’t just will myself to weigh less, although sometimes I try. Laura and Melanie make fun of me because when I step on the scale, I often take a deep breath, hoping the air in my lungs acts like helium and produces a lower number on the scale.
You can try this yourself, but I am here to tell you it doesn’t work!
So apparently and somewhat unfortunately, I am not going to weigh less unless I do something differently than I did last year.
I can’t get up tomorrow and just think lighter and, wala, I am.
So, if I want to go from where I am now to 12 to 17 pounds lighter, some things in my life have to change. I have to either eat less or exercise more or some combination of those to produce weight loss in me. It is not just going to happen because I want it to.
Now this is true not only if we want to weigh less, but for our life as a whole. As we take opportunities to look back over our lives and examine our lives, there may be areas in our life that we would like to see changed, but we need to realize that any change is not going to happen just because we want it to.
We don’t just become the person we may want to be by trying harder to be that person. Unless different actions are taken, things will not change. Unless I do something different than I did this last year, I should not expect to see different results at the end of next year or the year after.
But what are those things we need to do?
Well, that depends on what we want to see in our lives.
For Christians, as well as for most people, I think we would like to experience a joyful and productive life. We would like to make a difference in our world.
If we look back to the early church, we see those early Christians really making a difference in the world and experiencing some pretty powerful things going on through them.
Do you ever look back and wonder why the life your living doesn’t seem to be being lived with the same power and why you may not be experiencing the same joy that seemed evident in many of the early Christians despite their poor circumstances?
Sometimes I think we believe they must have been some kind of Super Christian, but I would argue that what they were experiencing was, for the most part, what should be an example of the normal Christian life.
If we aren’t experiencing that same power and joy of the Christian life, why not?
This morning, I would like you to turn in your Bibles to Acts 2:41-47.
I want to take a look at some things that were happening in the early church and take a look at what these Christians were doing so that we too might be able to experience the Joy and Power of the Christian life.
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.