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Not a Building

By October 30, 2020Church

For better or worse, much of my early childhood theology was shaped by Vacation Bible School songs – and not all of them were created equal.

  • Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide
  • Father Abraham had seven sons, seven sons had Father Abraham
  • The wise man built his house upon the rock

I still like that one … especially when the foolish man’s house goes splat!

Unfortunately, some of the cutest songs taught the worst theology. Take this one for example: Here’s the church and there’s the steeple. Open the door and see all the people.

The church has never been a building. It’s always been a community of people committed to following Jesus.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. – Acts 2:42-47

Notice the language Luke uses to describe this new community:

  • They devoted themselves
  • Everyone was filled with awe
  • All the believers were together

They weren’t 3,000 individual believers trying to figure this new Christian thing out by themselves. While they responded individually to the gospel, their response also put them into a relationship with other Christians.

What was at the heart of this new community called the church? What were they devoted to?

They were devoted to biblical teaching. Today we have access to both the Old and New Testaments. We can turn to books in the New Testament to find what it means to follow Jesus. We can read letters from Peter, James, and John.

They had Peter, James, and John in the flesh!

From the beginning, the church has been a learning church. To be a part of church doesn’t mean you have to be anti-intellectual. Quite the opposite. It’s why we read and teach from Scripture.

We don’t have Peter, James, or John in flesh; but we do have what they wrote. We learn about Jesus from apostles teaching.

They were devoted to relationships. This is what the Bible calls fellowship. When you attend a Rockies game, have you ever noticed the instant camaraderie between fans of the opposing team? It’s like every other Dodger fan is a long-lost best friend. (well, maybe not)

Why is that? It’s simple: they share something in common and they are outnumbered by the opposition.

Imagine being one of the original 3,000 Christians. As incredible as that sounds, you’re still outnumbered. You are definitely in the minority. It was only a few months ago that your friends and neighbors had sentenced Jesus to death. You’ve changed but your old friends and neighbors haven’t.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Christian fellowship is like a bicycle wheel. There is a rim on outside with spokes that run to the center of wheel and are joined together at the hub.

As the individual spokes become closer to the center, they begin to overlap with each other as they join in the center.

Each person who believes in Jesus is bonded to the center – to Jesus. The closer we are drawn to Jesus, the closer we are drawn to each other and the more we interact and support each other.

Discipleship is less about the individual and more about the community.

They were devoted to prayer and worship. To be fair, it’s not like these Jewish Christians had never prayed or worshiped before. But they had never prayed in the name of Jesus before.

Because of Jesus, their worship had new dimension of praise. They were no longer looking to be saved; they had been saved. And it led them to worship.

A dependence on prayer and a desire to worship are not only indicators that God has done something within you … it’s also an indication that you want God to continue doing something within you – through you.

You might call these three devotions the “rhythms of the redeemed.”

During these times, not only do we have the opportunity to rediscover the true nature of the church … we have the opportunity of being the kind of church God intended us to be.

Experience and Background

  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in management and leadership
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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