Summary: Family Devotion: What We Should Be Doing Together
Family Devotion: What We Should Be Doing Together
We’ve spent the last month looking at the early church that’s found in the book of Acts. For 3 of those four weeks, we looked at the idea of community, of becoming a family in this church like we see in that church in Acts. I’ve been very encouraged by the responses that I’ve gotten from people over these last three weeks. People truly want to be a community and, from what I’ve heard, you’re willing to do some of those things that will help to make that happen. That’s good because it’s going to take that kind of intentional effort on all of our parts to stay connected even as we see God’s blessing of growth in this place.
Now that we’ve looked at the benefits, the building blocks, and the barriers to community, I want to turn our attention to what our priorities need to be. Being a community is just one aspect of being a healthy church. You can see many different examples of community in the world today, most of which have nothing to do with God or Christianity. There are lots of groups that, on some level, fill the needs that we have to belong, and the need for support, and the need to be complete. There are groups that are built on the togetherness of the people and on what they share in common, the same building blocks that we have for community here. The difference in the church, what sets us apart, and what allows us to see God meet the needs that we have in ways that other groups simply cannot do, is what we choose to stand on.
We had a family reunion a couple of years ago at Mahaffey Camp in Western PA. Now, if you want a case study in community, it would be this group of people. Each of the seven children is in some sort of ministry and truly loves the Lord and also enjoys a wonderful relationship with each other. Each of the cousins, from my little one year old cousin to my cousin that’s pushing 40, truly loves each other and enjoys being together. The older cousins take the little ones up into the woods to catch salamanders, just like our aunts and uncles used to do with us. When we all gather together, there is nothing that comes close to the enjoyment of being a part of this family. In keeping with tradition, we all gathered, one evening for a family picture. Now, our family keeps growing. I have aunts still having babies and the cousins are all getting married and starting their own families, the community is getting bigger and bigger every time we meet. This makes it tougher to get a picture together. My uncle had the brilliant idea of standing people on a picnic table. Eight people climbed up on this table and the rest of us stood beneath it. We smiled and tried to look appropriately happy for the picture and then we heard a creak. It was soft at first and then it got louder and the table began to sway. People began to bail off of it but it was too late and the table came crashing down. Everyone got away except for my cousin’s husband. They had just been married and this was his first family event, he ended up getting his leg stuck, we thought it was broken, but he was just sore for a few days, welcome to the family!
Our numbers had grown so large that to accomplish what we wanted, we tried to stand on something that was not designed to support us and we crashed. As this early church community grew, their health was not just in the fact that they were growing numerically. A growing church is not necessarily a healthy church. Their health was in what they chose to stand on, what they were devoted to, their priorities both on an individual and a corporate level.
AC 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Those are the four solid legs that the church community stood on. As we grow here, there are a lot of things that we could choose to stand on as a church. There are a lot of programs and causes that seem to make sense and that we could give our time and attention to. But unless our base of community is firmly supported by these four legs, eventually, as we add weight, as we grow, things are going to begin to creak and groan and everything will come crashing down with the potential for a lot of people to be hurt. We are called to be a people who are devoted to the things of God.