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“We have to get back to the way the early church ran things!” exclaimed Ralph to a group of bible students who had gathered at the campus coffee shop to study before class.

“Yea, they all shared everything and were always filled with the Holy Spirit” added Jenifer confidently.

“We have to get back to the way the early church ran things!” exclaimed Ralph to a group of bible students who had gathered at the campus coffee shop to study before class.

“Yea, they all shared everything and were always filled with the Holy Spirit” added Jenifer confidently.

“But the church today has become big business, selling books, bibles and T shirts. They are all about the latest and greatest gimmick to draw people in but have lost the power of the Holy Spirit” said Mark while they all sipped their lattes, espressos and assorted refreshers. 

“We need another out-pouring of the Spirit like on the day of Pentecost, when the church was born, where we can get back to the basics and just love one another” replied Ralph as others sat down to study the third chapter of Acts.

While the notion of going from house to house to fellowship and study the bible is a grand idea there will always be problems to overcome no matter the venue. Those in the early church sold all their property to have all things in common and distribute funds to the people in need because they believed Jesus Christ was returning any day. However, looking back in retrospect we see they missed that mark by at least a couple thousand years. 

However romantic it sounds to walk to a home fellowship in leather sandals or tear off bread from a freshly baked loaf while pouring wine out of a goat skin bag, the fact is the first gathering of believers had their own problems to overcome.

One couple in the early church, Ananias and Sapphira, lied about how much money they had given in an offering and God took them home. Many members of the church wanted to be waited on and served but in doing so missed an opportunity to give to others. Stephen, the first martyr of the church, was stoned to death for telling the truth about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Simon, a known sorcerer, wanted to pay for the gift of the Holy Spirit so that he too could work miracles just like the apostles. 

In every situation God will work out all things for the good to those who love Him and are called to His purpose to send us out into the world to show others His great love for them and show the way to His kingdom. His ways are perfect and timing unique, He doesn’t make mistakes so nothing God does is an afterthought or anything you do is insignificant to His purpose. 

An example of this is the story of Philip who is told by an angel of God to go out into the desert toward Gaza where he found a man from Ethiopia. Philip found the man sitting in his chariot reading from the scrolls of Isaiah. When Philip asked the man if he knew what he was reading he answered and said “How can I unless someone guides me?” Philip begins to explain the section of scripture he was reading.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:5-7

God choreographed this encounter with the traveler from Ethiopia. This scripture is a prophecy describing Jesus Christ some 700 years before his birth in Bethlehem.  Philip was directly in God’s will successfully leading the man into the kingdom of God.

So while we all have the choice to discuss the latest worship songs we like or don’t like, argue about scriptural interpretation or what the next church program will be about, we might be better off to make ourselves available to serve others from our church’s kitchen. We might better spend our time praying with someone, comforting someone or just being available for God to direct us into the path of a complete stranger. And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you gave…

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