Acts 2 – The Rest of the Story
Acts Chapter 2 describes one of the most exciting events in history – the birth of the church. Jesus’ followers are gathered together in a room in Jerusalem, and suddenly the sound of a strong wind filled the room, and what appeared to be flames settled on each one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in known languages that none of them had the natural ability to speak, and they went outside and began proclaiming great things about God in these languages.
The international crowd that had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost began to hear these proclamations in their own native languages, and were amazed that these Galileans could speak them, and this caused amazement in many and ridicule in a few- “They are just drunk with wine”.
“No!” Peter proclaimed, “What you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:16-17
Peter continues to connect the dots between what the Hebrew prophets said about the Messiah and Jesus, who had just been crucified 50 days earlier, proclaiming Him to be the Christ, the Messiah.
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. Acts 2:37-41
What an exciting event! The “Fire” comes down from Heaven, miracles happen, and thousands get saved! We love telling this story. We love experiencing the powerful moves of God!
This is where most of us stop reading. But it’s not the end of the story. In fact, it is only the beginning step of the true birth of the Church. It is what happens next that has made Christianity the fastest growing religion in human history.
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
As a result of this miraculous event, the followers of Jesus, now more than 3000 strong, formed a community, where they spent time listening the Peter, John, Matthew, and the others teach them the things Jesus said and did. They shared their meals together and talked to God and worshiped Him together. They shared their material possessions with one another, meeting each other’s needs.
Why did they begin to interact with one another and form community? It was because of the common element among them- The Holy Spirit. They had true “Koinonia”- partnership with one another participating in what the Holy Spirit was doing- True Fellowship. This was the glue that bound them together.
This Community devoted themselves to learning about Jesus and understanding God’s morality and His purpose for their lives. They submitted themselves to the will of God and allowed The Holy Spirit to rule their lives. As a result, they began to sense changes in the way they thought and acted. We call this process Discipleship. Studying God’s Words, talking to Him on a regular basis, worshipping Him, and most importantly experiencing His Presence still are the important elements of modern dis
cipleship. It has not changed since this time.
With this new formed Community devoted to Discipleshipand caring for the needs of one another, God continued to do miracles among them. He spoke to them individually, directing their words and actions as they allowed Him. Things out of the ordinary began to happen more and more, they realized it wasn’t just coincidence – it was God! Prayers were answered! Sick people were healed! Relationships were restored! Needs were met! The disciples were continually Amazed by what God was doing!
With this Community, Discipleship, and Amazement happening, people who didn’t know Jesus were got curious and began to inquire: “What is going on here?” It was very natural for the disciples to respond with their own testimonies about what God had done in their lives. Naturally, they also began to invite them in to share their meals. They began to help with the material needs of these inquirers. They began to talk to God about them, and God responded. What was the result? God added to their numbers daily.
“Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Peter cried to the crowd on that day. It that a message for our times? Nothing really has changed in human nature, despite what modern sociologists and behavioral scientists might wish. And it would seem that God’s solution for that generation would apply to ours.
Community– who is in yours? Who do you share your meals, and life with? What do you talk about/ How are you impacting those in your community? Your hospitality and will build community.
Discipleship– How devoted are you to experiencing God through His Word and through regular times of worship and prayer? How often do you open your Bible each week? Are you giving permission to the Holy Spirit to change the way you think and act? I often begin my day reading a chapter of Proverbs and giving the Holy Spirit permission to direct my life- although I am very hard headed and hard hearted at times. I need Him to change me!
Amazement– Specifically, what one of the most amazing things God has done in your life? What was the last amazing thing He has done? There are many specific amazing things that God has done in our lives these past 30 plus years. The last amazing thing is opening another café in Vero Beach.
If you have true Community, if you are an active Discipleof Jesus, and if Amazing Things are happening around you, people will take notice. They will become inquisitive. As you engage them and pray for them, God will draw them to Himself. That is what happened to me when I moved to Maui in 1981. My cousin invited me into his Christian community. I began to hear and experience amazing things. I learned much about the Love of God, His Character and His ways. I was and still am being transformed.
I hope this is happening in your lives. Michael
We just lost a Legend, one who walked out his gift boldly and obediently as unto the Lord. God touched the world through him. We can almost hear Jesus telling him, “well done my good and faithful servant…enter into your rest”.
Billy Graham, the world- wide evangelist…knew who he was, what he was supposed to do and where he was going after he finished here on earth… A life well lived and loved. He ran his race well and completed it till the end. Quite the inspiration to the many of us running that same race for our King, our Savior, our Lord, our Heavenly Father…the One we long to please and give our lives to as an offering of use for His eternal glory bringing Faith, Hope and Love to this fallen world. I Love serving and honoring my Father who is in Heaven and those He has given to me to share my life with.
I have had the honor of sharing my life with another legend in my book. He happens to be the one I believe God chose for me 30 years ago to be my wedded Husband, best friend, lover of my soul…We have been the most effective refining tool of God for one another… lots of work to be done with us both…hard headed, intense, passionate, rough, sometimes too careless/free, get disorganized and sloppy so fast (its unbelievable),etc…
Yet in God’s faithfulness and providence He has used every fault and weakness in us to produce lives of trust and the need to apply faith and the constant revelation that without this Faith, it is indeed impossible to please God and to get His will done.
Over the past 30 years I have observed my husband be that man of constant application, trust, humbling, growing, becoming, doing, ever persevering in the good and bad times. A man who tries and keeps trying…a man who has so many capacities and abilities yet gets challenged to keep stretching out and becoming more of who God wants him to be. Its never enough and he never arrives and we both continue to “beg” God to please show up because the needs are so great and impossible with just mere human efforts.
I have come to tease him as we have had needs of him being a designer, carpenter, plumber, master roaster, cold brew expert, buyer, seller, fund raiser, printer, painter, Chief, etc….There is little he can’t do. All because he trusts, obeys and acts upon the leading of His Heavenly Father.
I am so grateful to be doing life with a legendary kind of person with his priorities in line with mine and we have in common four magnificent individuals, Mikaela, Lukas, Arielle, & Moselle who we have the opportunity to do life with via our Rio Coco Café ministries.
God is birthing so much from this venue….our hearts and minds get blown away constantly as we see the many lives becoming transformed and touched …first starting with us, our kids and those that we love and get to work side by side with ….the process of discipleship and evangelism becoming an everyday reality for us. It is a beautiful thing and we give thanks to God and the inspirational people who have gone on before us doing the impossible…like Billy Graham, we all want to live out our call and present ourselves approved of by God. Laura
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