Doing Church in a Whole New Way

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last weekend I went back to Omaha and played tennis with my friends who I played with 11 years ago. I have not played a competitive tournament match in that time. I noticed that the players I once kept up with were now more advanced than I. So why am I not keeping up anymore? I'm talking about the same guys I played back in the day, so we have each aged the same. The difference is this: 11 years ago I was in better tennis shape and more fit.

 Back in the day I was hitting tennis balls 5 days a week for at least 90 minutes at a time. It was a passion of mine to play and practice. Over the last decade many of my friends continued to engage the sport with the same focus. They practiced and played matches by the dozens. My game had withered away. I had fun in the tournament I played this weekend, but I was not fully prepared to play the good players I used to play or to face the test of the "tough points."

Our text for Sunday will be Acts 2:39-47. It is a portion of the story of how God called the church into being. The grammar in this text is of interest to me. The words tell of a faith that is active and alive.

"…they devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and prayers..." Acts 2:42

"…they broke bread at home with glad and generous hearts..." Acts 2:46

"…the Lord added to the numbers those who were being saved…" Acts 2:47

Note how active this language is in the verses above. God is up to something and commanding that the people be engaged in what God is doing in the world. The story of Acts 2 was not a one-time vaccine. The call to faith was intended to be fully participatory and actively engaged in every moment.

God calls the people to Acts to engage the church. To immerse themselves in preparation, participation, pastoral acts, and public witness on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit will gift the people and offer all that is needed for the journey. When we practice our faith with regularity and allow God to grow our spiritual gifts, we will be ready for the tough times that are inevitably ahead. However, to fully embrace the opportunity of God's calling we have to respond to what Jesus is up to in our lives. If we say “Oh, I'm saved. There's nothing for me to do,” we will not be prepared to face the "tough points” in life’s journey.

John Stott, in his wonderful commentary on Acts, says this:

"After Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit) there were 3,000 Christians in kindergarten! They were learners, they were preparing themselves! The reality is that all of us are always in preparation, seekers after truth, learners. The Christian life is not a one-time event, it is a continuous journey! We must always be growing, always studying because if we quit growing, stagnation comes to you, to me, and to the church!”

Each day God calls you to live in the church (community of faith ) in a whole new way. May you heed that calling and engage it. GGCC’s website and other communications hold many invitations from God to become more engaged in God's Kingdom and to allow God to fully transform your life.

See you on Sunday.

Still in one peace,

David J Jensen

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