It was a crazy day. Right after Sunday Celebration about 8 of us drove out to Chicago to meet up with the Northwestern church plant group. Then after our meeting we fellowshipped over some Chicago-style pizza and then some of us drove back to AA. By the time I was in bed, it was well past 2AM.
This Sunday we went over Acts 1:12-2:13. Instead of just hearing a talking head, we broke up into groups and read the passage and tried to answer 2 simple questions: 1) What was God doing? 2) How did the people respond? I told everyone to just track God and see what He was doing at this moment in history. The discussion was great.
Some conclusions that we came to:
1) The phrase “all together” (1:14; 2:1) is repeated. We realized that coming together in unity creates an environment for the Spirit of God to work in a powerful way. I am wondering how many times we miss opportunities to experience God’s power because of the discord and strife within the church. We allow differences to separate us. No wonder the Apostle Paul was a stickler on promoting unity within the Body of Christ.
2) The word, “suddenly” in Acts 2:2. It is just like God to work in ways that we might not expect or that we aren’t ready for. It is amazing to see how many preconceived ideas and notions we have in our lives. Too often, we expect God (and even demand God) to work in a certain way that is consistent with our worldview, but rarely do we ever question our beliefs. I am wondering if the reason why all throughout the Bible, God works “suddenly” and out of the ordinary is to bring glory to Himself. How can anyone take the credit for anything good when we know that if a miracle happens it is an extraordinary intervention of God? This keeps us humble and dependent on God for everything.
3) The response of the people. We notice some key words in Acts 2 – “bewilderment” (v. 6), “utterly amazed” (v. 7), “amazed and perplexed” (v. 12). I like the Greek word for “amazed” – it has the connotation of “to put out of wits, to astound, insane, to wonder, to be beside oneself.” This is something we are lacking in the churches today. When people step into the church they are no longer amazed and in wonder. Instead we are bored, jaded and apathetic. This is so inconsistent with what we see with the 1st century church. What would it be like to see a church like this in the 21st century? I think there would be a lot more of the almost 3 million people in Chicago experiencing God and being “utterly amazed.”
We are building some good momentum for this church plant. It is truly a God thing and we are “amazed”!