Prayer Focus for Fast - Day 4

Church Vitality
Acts 2:42-47

Who doesn't want to be part of the church described here? That's a compelling picture of what church family can be by the grace of God. I'd like to think we're experiencing elements of this together, but I also know we're not reflecting the fullness of this beauty quite yet. But let's move that direction. Let's not settle for superficial relationships or being nice people. Jesus has more sweetness of community and fellowship available to us if we'll follow him there together.

If only it were that easy and not so terrifying, right. But we all bring our scars, sensitivities, sins, selfishness, disappointments, and fears to church with us. In some cases, we bring more of them to church than any other environment. But Acts 2 is telling us what's possible with God. We can reasonably hope for this kind of community and connection if we submit ourselves to Jesus and embed ourselves in a community that treasures Jesus. So, what if we all gave ourselves to that together. Let's think and pray about what we can do to nurture this kind of community together. Let's consider how we might make Acts 2 a living reality for Generations:

  • What does my allocation of time, resources and attention indicate I am devoted to in life?
  • Of the four things they were devoted to in v. 42, what am I most withholding myself from and why? And how am I going to devote myself more faithfully to that this year?
  • What disappointments or frustrations have I experienced in church before that are keeping me from engaging more fully where I am?
  • We see worship, hospitality and generosity taking place alongside these other things they were devoted to. What ministry is God calling me to personally and concretely, that would nurture more rich community among my church family?
  • How can I honor and encourage those ministry leaders (i.e. gospel community leaders, bible study leaders, next Generation leader, worship team, etc.) who are serving and loving me/us in a personal way today?
  • As they were daily together at temple and in homes how can I rearrange my schedule and life to devote myself more to the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ?
  • Who does God want me to invite into life with God's people where they could taste and see the goodness of the Lord? Who am I praying for to come alive to God through union with Christ?

Acts 2:42-47 doesn't sound like most of our church experiences. But it's the kind of new community that Jesus creates by the power of the Holy Spirit. But we can't create it by the power of our individual personality or collective sophistication. We need God to come down to us. And he loves to visit poor, weak, frustrated, cynical sinners like us who are desperate for help and willing to come to him.

We talk often about the Lord's work in the Lord's way... Acts 2 is giving us a glimpse into that. This is not just an account of what God was giving to them and doing among them... it's also an account of the ways of God. We will never grow so mature in the Lord that we can afford to not be devoted Scripture, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers. There is no advanced Christianity that gets us beyond awe and reverance at God. There is no version of real spirituality that gets us passed our need for gathering together for worship and meals. And there is no elite faith that frees us from needing to give and receive from one another. Life with God includes these normal rhythms and simple practices from beginning to end. If we move past them, we move past our need for the Lord. So, until he returns, let's give ourselves to these things for the Lord's sake, and for the sake of our own souls.

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