May 10, 2017
It all started in Acts 2. A bold sermon was preached by Peter, eloquently using the Old Testament in leading up to his piercing words, “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” (Acts 2:36) Imagine those words sinking in, if he was talking to you in that audience. What a lump there must have been in many throats. The result? 3000 were baptized and added to the church that day. (Acts 2:41)
Speaking in the power of the Spirit, Peter launched the church that day. Acts 2:46 says, “They worshiped together at the Temple.” I love this verse because the place for Jews became the first building for the church to worship! From the beginning, the church was the people not the place. That’s still true today.
My first African church service was outdoors under a tree, or maybe in a school. I don’t remember, except that it was a simple church of first generation believers meeting where other community meetings take place – under a tree or at the school. That’s all they had, all they needed to get started. Church was the Maasai believers, not the tree or classroom.
My church experience in Indochina was up on the third floor of a non-descript building. Not detectable, no signs, but inside the packed room of 50 was a nice stage, good lighting, powerpoint and good music. Cheery faces, God’s Word in their language, lunch after as they “shared their meals with great joy” (Acts 2:46). Church was the people of Indochina, not the apartment.
Our Navajo partners relaunched the Red Sands church the beginning of this year, now called LIFEhouse, in a remodeled building with their new Navajo pastor, Brad Jones. Brad and Bonnie are our global partners and they meet in a building easily identified as a church. But they would say the church is first the Navajo believers, and the building God has given them a blessing where LIFEhouse meets.
Believers meet in so many kinds of places these days – theatres, strip malls, old car dealerships, homes, caves, karaoke rooms, drive-in theatres, and now online. So many forms, yet one Lord and Savior over all. That was Peter’s message in Acts 2 and it’s the message today. The church is the believers, the places they meet are as diverse as the Body of Christ.
When you enter your place of worship this coming weekend, remember that believers all over the world are entering their meeting places to worship the same Lord Jesus. What a privilege to be part of God’s global Church.
Til next week, Dan