Mick’s Memo – The Spiritual “Big Bang”
My men’s group has started a study of the early history of the church found in Luke’s inspired history we call “Acts” or “Acts of the Apostles”. In Chapter 2, we find the record of the spiritual “Big Bang”. At the beginning of the chapter the disciples are obeying Jesus’ command to remain in Jerusalem (instead of returning to Galilee) until the Holy Spirit empowered them (Acts 1:4-8). On the day of Pentecost (an annual Jewish feast), their wait ended abruptly. They saw a miraculous manifestation of the Spirit resting on them and suddenly they were empowered to communicate in languages they hadn’t learned. The multinational gathering of Jewish pilgrims attending the feast were bewildered to hear these uneducated Galileans speaking in their native languages.
Peter seized the opportunity to explain the miracle and give witness to Jesus before many of the same people who had participated in Jesus’ execution 50 days prior. This time, filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit and courage of someone who knew God had raised Jesus from the grave, Peter stood for Jesus instead of denying him in fear. Weaving the events of the recent weeks and prophecies from the OT predicting the events, Peter informed them that they had made a tragic mistake. They had denied the evidence Jesus had given for His being the Messiah and had willfully crucified Him. He then affirmed that he and the other disciples were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrected body, confirming Jesus’ deity and Messianic fulfillment.
They got it. They felt deep conviction and asked Peter what to do about it (Acts 2:37). He told them to repent (change their beliefs about Jesus and their relationship to Him) and be baptized (identify with His people, the church). Luke then records that 3,000 believed and were baptized, THAT DAY!
The “Big Bang” started that day and kept exploding for the next 3 centuries. The next few verses of Acts 2 describe that early explosion…
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
It describes the essential elements of a healthy church in any age—devotion to teaching and spiritual growth, loving connection, vibrant worship, sacrificial sharing of resources and bold testimony to Jesus godly life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. That formula succeeded despite fierce opposition and the religious backdrop of either hedonistic paganism or judgmental legalism. Their message was simple based on their experience of the resurrection. It is well represented by Peter’s conclusion in Acts 2:36… “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
I believe the religious backdrop of our time is challenging (discussed in last week’s memo). But I don’t believe it is any more challenging than that of the first century. I believe “big bang” potential for spiritual impact is possible in our time and our place. The image of God is still present in the conscience of our generation. The desire for genuine love is still a powerful force. As we follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbor and love one another as He loved us their will be life changing influence. Ask the Lord for empowerment to be a catalyst for another “big bang”.
Special thanks to the volunteer construction team. Great progress was made last week! Thanks to our recent Guatemala team volunteers who spent a week doing serious manual labor at the transition home site. Thanks to the 67 Class leaders and students who prepared a delicious meal for the Guatemala round table report. Thanks to our musicians, actors and tech crew for the hard work they are doing to prepare for this year’s musical, The Replacement.
This weekend we will continue our series “What is God Really Like?” considering God as the “Ultimate Connector”.
Looking forward to seeing you!