Summary: The early Christians devoted themselves to: 1. The Apostle’s teaching - learning. 2. The Fellowship - worship. 3. Breaking Bread - friendship. 4. Prayer
This description of the early church is truly amazing. Something had happened to these otherwise ordinary people. The people who were a part of this church no longer thought of themselves — their own rights and possessions — their whole identity was a group identity. They found their meaning and identity in each other rather than their individual selves. They realized that they were a part of something bigger than themselves. They were connected.
Did you ever play connect the dots when you were a child? Do you remember the coloring books where there might be a few lines and then just a bunch of dots? It wouldn’t look like anything until you began to connect the dots, and then a picture began to appear. That’s what we want to do today. We want to connect the dots so that we get the bigger picture of what it takes to be a church. We want to get connected. We get the picture when we begin to be connected to God and to his people. And when we are all connected to each other, then a picture begins to appear — and it is the face of Christ. When we get connected with each other we also connect the dots for the world and they begin to see God.
Dr. Edward Hallowell has written a book simply called Connect. In it he says, “We are a nation of doers. We hurry from place to place, filling our lives with all kinds of activities, sometimes over-scheduling our kids and ourselves. But what really sustains us emotionally, psychologically and physically is connectedness, the feeling that we are part of something that matters, something larger than ourselves that gives life meaning. Just as there is a vitamin deficiency, there is a human contact deficiency and it weakens the body, the mind and the spirit. Its ravages can be severe — depression, physical illness, early death. Or they can be mild — underachievement, fatigue, and loneliness. Just as we need Vitamin C each day, we also need a dose of human contact everyday with other people.”
This church exists to connect people to God and each other. That is why we changed the name of our Wednesday small groups to Wednesday Connection. But even though we may have a few hundred people here on a typical Sunday, not all of us are connected. Some are merely observers. You are a part of the worship, but you don’t know many other people, because you are not in a small group or you don’t participate in one of the outreach ministries. You need that connection. This church is not a place to attend, it is a family to become connected to. If you want to be spiritually and emotionally healthy you need to actually be connected to this family.
As I read the second chapter of Acts I was enormously impressed by the connectedness of the church. I noticed four things about that church. The first thing it says about them is: They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. In other words, they devoted themselves to learning. They wanted to know more about God and his Son Jesus Christ. They wanted to know how God wanted them to live and what they should be doing. They wanted to know more about Christ and how he reflected the heart and character of God. It was not a chore for them to learn, they were fascinated by these new truths and couldn’t seem to get enough. They were committed to learning.