Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's All about Relationships, part 1

The Celebration Sunday was focused on God’s people in community. We looked at the Acts 2 passage and discovered in it that everything that they did in the New Testament Church was about Relationships.
I have to believe that these first new believers had their heads spinning as they realized that much of what they held sacred in their faith: following the law, worshipping at the Temple, making animal sacrifices, no longer were the way to know God and follow him. Everything was turned upside down as they discovered the way of Grace!
At first it feels strange to not do the things that we are so used to doing. But, as we let the unfamiliar become our new familiar, we begin to get excited and embrace the new way. The new way for the first Jesus followers, who by the way, were called “The Way,” discovered that what God really wants is Relationship! That’s why we were created: to be in relationship with God and each other.
So, once they found out how wonderful the new freedom is, they began to let it permeate every aspect of their lives. They began to get together every day; and enjoy one another. The first thing they did together was Eat! They shared communion through the whole meal and let it be a really amazing experience as they shared how God had met them that day. They also focused their worship on God through exploring the Scriptures, prayer, caring for one another and praying for miracles and healings, which happened on a regular basis all around them.

Acts 2 tells us that everyone was in awe because of the miracles being done around them. God was showing off his powerful love in bringing forth healings and miracles, as he encouraged them in their new way of following them.
They also made sure that no one around them went without what they needed. No welfare or government assistance was needed because the new Jesus followers understood it was their privilege to care for those around them. They gladly sacrificed so that others would not suffer.
The Church of the 21st century is in many ways at the same place of the first Jesus followers. Much of what we held sacred is shifting and God is showing a new pathway for how to follow him. The basis and foundation of that pathway is that it is all about relationships. We can stop working so hard and enjoy being together as we let God’s love surround us so much that it can’t help seeping out to those around us.
This small band of Jesus followers made such an impact in their world that none of us will ever be the same. Is it possible that we have the same opportunity to live in such a way that the next segment of history is affected by our very lives? I hope so, let’s begin by letting God love us well as we love one another and the world.

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