Relax and clear your head. Listen for the voice of God. What is God saying to you today?
Acts 5:12-16 (NRSV)
Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.
Signs and wonders. Huge attendance and an altar call that would “wow” even Billy Graham. Miraculous cures and plenty of respect. This is the church—or was the church.
Why did so many people flock to hear these itinerant preachers? Was it the power of their preaching, or the strength of Peter’s shadow?! Was it the novelty of their message? Was it simply that they didn’t have Netflix or year-round basketball leagues or smart phones to distract them? I don’t know.
But I do know that the early church relied fully on God. “Believers were added to the Lord” because there was something compelling about the Spirit at work in and through those first-generation Christians.
The early church reached out to people—body, mind, and soul—with truly good news. They offered what they themselves had received in Jesus Christ: peace, restoration, and redemptive grace.
The church grew without endowments or creeds or a marketing plan, without institutions or buildings or pipe organs. It grew without entertaining youth programs or Bible-toting political candidates.
What about your church—or mine? Are we growing? If so, are we growing for the right reasons?
Great and gracious God, I pray that our church will be your church. Make me your willing servant, Lord, to work for your kingdom with joy, hope, and great expectations. May our church be attuned to your voice, transformed by your grace, and true to your mission. Amen.
Go with God.