A Different Kind of Life
We aspire to be like the first Christians...
January is the time of year when the Overseers of LakeView Church have our annual prayer and vision retreat. We’ve spent the fall asking God for direction, and we come together in January to share what we’re thinking and discern God’s leading for our congregation in the next ministry year. We also spend a few hours in prayer for the people in our church family.
Four years ago, we wrote down several statements that described the kind of church we believe God is calling us to become. As we are preparing for this year’s retreat, I have been praying through those statements, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you.
Our aim is to be an Acts church. We aspire to be like the first Christians described throughout the Book of Acts. We want to be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit to be unapologetically devoted to God’s Word, to worship, to the fellowship, to ministries of mercy, and to prayer. We long to see the power of God revealed through miracles, healing, life transformation, wisdom, and prophecy.
When I read through the Book of Acts, I am filled with wonder at the miracles they witnessed. So are many others. One of the most common questions I am asked as a pastor is, “Why don’t we see miracles today like they had in Acts?” This is a great question! In actuality, I think miracles are far more common today than we realize. Still, we can’t help but notice that the modern church appears to lack the power that seems to have been the norm for the early church. Naturally, we wish God would be at work in and through us in the same powerful way he was at work in and through them. So, how do we get there?
It’s true that the first Christians experienced many miracles. They also “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). They devoted themselves not just to learning but to obedience to God’s Word. They devoted themselves to the fellowship of believers. And they devoted themselves to the mission of Jesus in the world. I believe that as a result, they also witnessed amazing miracles. The miracles accompanied their commitment.
I am convinced that if we take God’s Word seriously and “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ… standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,” (Phil 1:27), we will see amazing things. In other words:
If we live the way the Acts Church lived, we will experience what the Acts Church experienced.
Many of us are too busy scrolling to notice. But God is calling us to a different kind of life. A Spirit-filled, Jesus-shaped, God-empowered kind of life. The thing is, we have to give up our lives to get it.