Monday, April 11, 2005

Teaching Summary (4/7)

Last Thursday, we had another great night of getting together and connecting with one another. We continued our series through the book of Acts. This time, we looked at "Being a Connecting Church", based on Acts 2:42-47, a pivotal passage about what a church should look like:

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."

From these verses we see that the early church learned together, spent time together, shared meals together, prayed together, shared resources together, and worshipped together. Through their unity and deep connection, needs were met, they had glad and generous hearts, and they had a favorable reputation with outsiders. No wonder so many were being added to their number. What they were experiencing- genuine relation connection with each other and with God- meets the deepest need in the human soul.

Too many people grow up in dysfunction. Too many are stuck in relationships where they aren't treated as anything but a hassle to the other person. Too many of us are convinced that this is all we will ever be. So we run to psychology and brain medication. We run to the internet and television to feed our escapism. We run to the store or the fridge to spend or eat ourselves out of our funk. But what we really need is to know that someone cares that we're more than what we fear we are. Or as Larry Crabb puts it in his book Connecting, "[When] someone sees us as we are and still delights in us, still believes that we could become responsible, giving people, that someone sees us as fundamentally acceptable. Courage develops, hope appears...a hope that exists because it sees something in us that is absolutely terrific- a belief that there is life in us."

That's connecting. And that's what every soul is searching for. And that's what so many churches do so poorly.

Too many Christians are known for how judgmental they are. As a result, they don't know how to "delight" in other people and give them hope because they can see life in them- even a future life.

While some churches fail in their judgmentalism, many others fail in superficiality. Too many Christians think that "community" is a matter of coffee after a service. That we've "fellowshipped" if we've talked about the weather or our kids.

Real community comes from really connecting. One of our mottos at Harvest is "a place to connect and go deeper." We cannot earn the right to go deeper until we connect with people. But unless we go deeper, we haven't truly connected. At Harvest, we are committed to avoiding both judgmentalism and superficiality in our quest for authentic community.

Join us this week as we proceed to Acts 3 and look at "Being a Compassionate Church".


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