This update posted by Pastor Pete while Pastor Seth is in India.
We had another good visit to Evanston yesterday. I realized through the evening that we were laying the foundation for this church plant not only through the knowledge and principles gained in studying the Word together, but also in the relationships and community that are continually being built. God has given us one another because “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We need to continue growing closer to Christ and closer to each other if we want to build a church that will transform the world.
After eating dinner, we broke up into smaller groups to discuss Acts 9:32-11:18, and then we came back together to share our discoveries. Some pivotal events occured in these chapters as the story of Acts shifts momentarily from Paul to Peter. God taught us many lessons in these stories; here are just a couple of things that we learned:
- As one of Christ’s disciples, Peter observed and participated in Christ’s ministry of healing and preaching God’s Word. Peter now demonstrates these same traits by raising a woman from the dead, preaching the gospel, and bringing along his own disciples as he ministers to people. Reading this, we knew that this pattern of discipleship and ministry needs to be continued in us.
- Up to this point in Acts, the gospel had not been preached to the Gentiles. When Peter visited Cornelius and shared the good news with his household, a new frontier of ministry opened up to the early church. The Gentiles, having received the gospel and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, were now also included in God’s kingdom. We saw God’s heart for the nations in this passage, and were encouraged to be people who reach out beyond any worldly boundaries to become a multi-ethnic church that engages in God’s mission to the world.
In the end, we saw that these things happened in the early church because a few people were obedient to God’s calling. Even though they didn’t understand why God directed them in certain ways, they stepped out in faith and trusted Him to fulfill His purposes for their lives. Moving forward with this church plant, we want to be people who are obedient to His voice just as these early disciples were.
We ended our time together by praying for God to use our church to make him known to every tongue, tribe, and nation. We prayed for the AMI missions teams currently on the field, for evangelism in the Northwestern campus and the Chicago area, and for obedience in our own hearts to follow God’s leading. I knew that He would be pleased to answer our prayers because they reflected His heart for the world.