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Summary: How to experience the power of community...

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Finding Spiritual Community in

an age of lonely Individualism

Acts Series: “Completely Irreligious, Yet Radically Christian” Part 5

Pastor Jeff Christopherson

February 9, 2003

Acts 2:42-47

Canada, 2003 A.D.

We are individualistic – the idea of community seems strange.

• Our relationships are transient.

• Our commitments are generally selfish.

• Our transparency is carefully hidden.

• Our satisfaction is elusive.

Key Passage:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

de-vo´-ted v, tireless persistence

HOW TO EXPERIENCE THE POWER OF COMMUNITY:

1. Expect to change.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”

A Hunger to know God through His Word is the clearest evidence of a life transformed.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts…” 2:46

D.L. Moody, “The Bible wasn’t given for our information, but for our transformation.”

A) Opportunities to grow in your faith:

• The Alpha Course (100)

o 10 week seminar designed especially for pre-believers and new believers.

o Facilitated by Tim & Susie Griffin.

o Runs Tues. or Wed. at 7:00 pm; begins late March or April.

• Growing Strong (101)

o 9 week seminar designed for believers growing in their faith.

o Facilitated by John Rios.

o Runs Sundays at 9:00 am; begins March 2

B) Opportunities to grow in your teaching:

“You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)

• Being Mentored (201)

o 1:4 ratio – developing:

discovering habits for a healthy faith

discovering my S.H.A.P.E. (life-mission)

discovering my natural style for evangelism

o 13 week mentorship

• Mentoring (371)

o Need 5-8 facilitators (equipping provided)

o Being a part of The Sanctuary’s Lay Pastor Team

2. Experience ‘Koinonia’ (Authentic Friendships).

“…and to the fellowship…”

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” 2:44-46

The Sanctuary Blessing Exchange:

• Launching Sunday, March 9th

o Allowing another to strengthen my weakness, and

o Using my strength to meet the need of another.

• As anonymous as possible - brokered through our church office.

3. Gather around Jesus.

“…to the breaking of bread…”

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” 1 Corinthians 10:16

“When two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Matthew 18:20 (Message)

This Week: Our Home Churches will be celebrating communion.

March 1st: Our first New Community Celebration, Burlington

4. Ask God to reveal Himself through you.

“…and to prayer.”

Prayer was the central activity of the early church. God’s guidance was discovered through prayer. God’s power was unleashed through prayer. No significant work of God happens outside of prayer.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE PRAY:

A) God does ‘God-things’.

“Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” 2:43

B) People are attracted to the authenticity of our community.

“praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people…” 2:47a

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)

C) Reconnected lives become a natural occurrence.

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” 2:47b

Scripture passages from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Home Church Discussion Guide:

FINDING FRIENDS & Communion

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. How would you describe your next-door-neighbour’s community of relationships: a) non-existent; detached? b) shallow and superficial? c) close and intimate? 2. Why do you think our culture has chosen isolation over community? What are the benefits of isolation? What are the benefits of community? 3. Read Acts 2:42-47. The 120 has grown to 3000. How would you describe the ‘atmosphere’ of this new community? 4. What do you find most exciting about this early church? Why? What, if you’re being honest, do you find most threatening? Why? 5. What can our Home Church learn from this example? What adjustments could be made? 6. As you prepare to share together in communion, thank God in prayer for the individuals in your Home Church (remember that Jesus’ body was broken so that we could participate in the Body of Christ).

 2003, Jeff Christopherson, The Sanctuary

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