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Friday, January 30, 2004

An “Acts 2 Church” 

Pastors, key leaders, and now pew sitters describe the ideal for the church as an “Acts 2 church.” What this usually means is the ideal definitions are “They devoted themselves…”and “They broke bread in their homes.” The small group movement has energized this phrase as support for the movement. However, I’m concerned with our limited reading of the second chapter of Acts.

First, I think it is limiting to suggest that the ideal for the church can be found in one chapter. The chapter is a response to one event—Pentecost. That may be a little bit like suggesting that the ideal time of a persons life is at birth and we should strive to return to that event. Certainly there are some wonderful traits of birth that motivate us, like innocence, however, I don’t see it as the Mecca of life.

The second chapter opens with the apostles gathered in a room for Pentecost. A wave of fire falls upon them and Jesus’ promise is fulfilled—the Spirit arrives. The bewildered crowd began to hear the wonders of God in their native tongue. It is possible to see this event as God’s invitation for all to join the family. God is coming to them not in His “native tongue” but in the common language of every people group.

The chapter moves to Peter’s speech. One interesting phrase that Peter uses is “Men of Israel…(22).” This is appropriate because these are Jews that have made a pilgrimage for The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). But, it is also strange because of what just happened—everyone heard in his or her native tongue. Possibly Peter is not aware that this movement is no longer a family gathering of Israelites or Peter has recognized it and now calls all to be a part of the family of God.

For me, this is God’s coming out party to the entire world.

The chapter ends with the churches response to the day. (42-47) This is the part of the chapter that we are somewhat infatuated with. “They devoted themselves… They broke bread in their homes…They had everything in common.” All of these are wonderful responses but aren’t we forgetting something? “Everyday they continued to meet in the temple courts.” (46) It is only part of the story to suggest that the ideal is meeting “house to house.”

In Acts 2 we find gatherings in homes, in temple courts, and in the large gathering of a crowd. The ideal of the church has many spatial possibilities for gathering together and finding family.

If we are going to promote an Acts 2 church maybe we should consider the whole story.

Lord may we see the entire story.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Omni-God 

In response to my last post, several emailed, called, and blogged back a concern that I was messing with the Omni-ness of God. Most were concerned that I was belittling God or at least making Him less than what He is.

The Omni-ness of God is a big conundrum. In fact, I think it is too small to think of God as Omni.

For example, we think of God as omni-present. However, we also believe that God can’t be in the presence of evil. Omni argues that both cannot be true. Yet, it is.

So, more to point of the last post, could it be possible that God is both Omni-knowing and an Omni-learner?

As Spencer Burke says, “Thinking that Jesus came to earth for us to experience God is only half the story. It is possible that it is as much God coming to experience us—to experience what it is like to be human.”

Lord may my definitions of you not get in the way of your holiness.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Faith--a new experience with God 

For some time now I have been interested in the qualities of God that are different between the first testament and the second--and why.

In the first testament there is the "Thus saith the Lord" voice of God. And, there is the voice of God that exhibits grace--"I am God, not man." These two voices at times seem in conflict. Perhaps God is trying to figure out how to relate to us as much as we are trying to figure out how to relate to Him. And so, Jesus comes.

The second testament exhibits the same frustration however, Jesus makes a decision that grace trumps law every time.

As God finds out what it is like to live as human, could it be that He is refining the way He hopes we will relate to Him?

For example,
[f]aith is the distinctive word of the New Testament, as much as love and far more so than hope. Faith occurs once or twice in the Old Testament, perhaps two hundred times in the New.
--London School of Economics sociologist David Martin


Is faith the dominate way Jesus decides that we are to relate to God? Why does faith make such a main stage appearance in the second testament?

Lord may I experience what faith is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Root of Sin? 

What if the root of sin is good--not evil?

What if sin is the excessive and unhealthy ways we express the passion of the soul?

God sets the soul on its way with a passion that is pure and good. When I explore that passion in excessive ways I sin. Thus, the root is good.

This helps me change my perspective on "how" to deal with my sin. I'm not sure that sin emerges from "the evil within." What if it emerged from an excessive use of good?

Lord, help my goodness to produce good.

Monday, January 19, 2004

If I only had a purpose... 

I'm driven. Ask anyone who knows me. I have an italic bent to my life.

But, do I have a purpose? Does God have a purpose for me?

If He does He seems to be a little confused about it. I mean, why does he keep it so secret? Why is it so illusive that over 20 million bought a book to discover it?

If God has a purpose why does He make it so hard to find?

What if He doesn’t have a purpose but, possibilities? What if God’s plan is emerging and liquid not static and set?

Lord, help me to find the person and not the point--passion and not purpose--You and not it

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