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The early Christians devoted themselves to
Apostle's teaching
Breaking of Bread
Fellowship
Prayer


Ok... they went to church, heard great sermons and had a pot luck dinner afterward. Right?

Maybe. Maybe they did more than that!

Apostles's teaching.
Way back then, the apostles were there among the people and they taught the people. Great. And, we have many of their words written down, so we can continue to review these words every week when we meet collectively. That way and through daily Bible reading and meditation, we, too will be devoting ourselves to the Apostle's teachings.
Now, let's dig a little deeper. The apostles were 'sent out' to enlarge the Kingdom. They planted new works. They improved existing works. Then, they sent others out. If we are going to listen to this type of teaching ~apostle's teaching~ we are going to be listening to people who challenge us to go out, plant new works and who challenge us to labor in new works. If we respond to this type of teaching, we're going to do it. This is what extends the Kingdom beyond the status quo... continually being sent out to do ministry. Every one of us has a ministry - a special work that God calls us to do. God wants to enlarge our ministry. We need to be stirred by the apolstle's teaching to actually do it ~~ to be sent out to take responibility for and to do the ministry (service) that God has prepared us for!

Breaking of Bread.
Hmmm... maybe they were hung up on having communion all the time?
Well, probably not.
Breaking bread is eating together. And, when they ate together - they set aside a solemn moment where they used the cup (what they were drinking) and the bread (the bread they were eating) to remember Jesus together. We, of course, have turned this into a rite. While there is nothing wrong with sharing communinion when we congregate, if we only celebrate then, I think we miss something. By just celebrating communion in our 'services', we miss the opportunity to declare Christ to those friends and family who gather with us for meals. We often wonder how to share Christ with them. How about at the next family gathering we celebrate communion and ask them to participate if they have come to the point where communion is REAL in their life... the place where they have appropriated Christ's sacrifice for their sins.
And, let's not forget to gather and eat with other believers. Life can be too busy. It can push shared family meals and meals with the other members of the body out of our lives. Let's guard against this and break bread together.

Fellowship.
God himself is a community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He made us in his image... We are not complete unless we are in community with him and in community with each other. The early church DEVOTED itself to fellowship. Do you know that surveys say that the average American can name only THREE people who they feel really care about them and their welfare. That includes spouses, parents, children, friends and members of their church. This is a national crisis. We wonder why civilation around us is unraveling -- it is because relationships have unraveled. There is only one cure - just as they did, we need to devote ourselves to following Christ. We must devote ourselves to being involved with others ~~ to really care for them, to spend time with them, know them, understand them, serve them and love them.

Prayer
Prayer... We can think of prayer and worship as an event. And, if we are not careful, that is just how it works out - prayer and worship become an event that happens on Sunday morning. But, God wants prayer and worship to be a lifestyle. Every day. We should pray and worship in our hearts, prayer 'closets' (which might just be our car on the drive in to work!) and at all times. When we gather with other believers, we have the opportunity to gather in His name as well. If we gather in His name, Jesus shows up. He is part of the gathering. While He is there, we need to take the time to talk to him - together. Whatever we bind in heaven will be bound in earth; whatever we ask according to his will, He will do. God moves us to prayer and then He moves. When we gather, let's not gather just for fun and enjoying one another's company. Let's invite Jesus to also be in our midst and also make our requests and thanksgiving known to Him.

The early church gathered for the Apostles' teaching, for the breaking of bread, for fellowship and prayer. Let us likewise devote ourselves to all of these things!!!
Amen!

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Comment by Juanita on October 26, 2011 at 8:17pm
For tweeting:  http://j.mp/sQp1St
Comment by Juanita on April 25, 2009 at 9:52pm
If anyone wants to tweet this on twitter... Here is a tiny url: http://tiny.cc/nGC02
Comment by Dave Knauss on April 6, 2009 at 1:00pm
Dear Juanita,
I read at the heart of your post's four categories the business of "relationship." Enlarging the Kingdom is successful only with building relationships. Breaking bread together is most meaningful with deep relationships in place, and a great place to build ones not yet in place. Fellowship is relational with each other. Prayer is relational with God. Salvation itself is totally relational. One cannot be saved without coming clean with God in confession and honesty. One cannot grow (sanctification) without deepening a relationship with God. The older I become, the more I am convinced that everything regarding the Lord is based on relationship. Christianity is a relationship so deep that He calls it "being grafted into His vine," "abiding in Him," "being nourished by His breasts (El-Shaddai)," and "having intimacy with Him" as deep as intercourse itself. Why do you suppose the first thing that happened to Adam and Eve after their sin was their loss of relationship with God walking together in the cool of the day? Doesn't the catechism say the chief end of man is to have a relationship with God for us to enjoy Him forever (and He with us)?

Thanks so much for your refreshing reminder of what really matters to God!!!
Comment by Dr. Bill Smith on March 31, 2009 at 1:08am
And just imagine, when Marriage Feast of the Lamb is held with his bride we will also do these and it won't be a "quiet, fall asleep 1hour event" :)
Comment by Mo on March 30, 2009 at 6:25pm
Great blog - I am heading out the door to "break some bread" with my Life Group (potluck! woohoo!).
I love that they sought for themselves the truth and were dilligent to insure the Word being taught was only taught in love and truth and not for selfish gain.
Comment by sharon hargraves on March 30, 2009 at 3:27pm
Juanita...
A timely and thoughtful post. Very beautiful. Thank you!
Comment by F. Anthony DelGrosso, Jr. on March 30, 2009 at 10:26am
I especially liked your comments on the breaking of bread. Taking a few minutes during a corporate meal is far more in liking with how "communion" was done by the early saints, and it is much more impacting than crackers and grape juice.

Regarding the Apostle's teaching, I would offer that there is a continual unfolding of revelatory apostolic teaching by modern day apostles. Of course, the foundational apostolic doctrines of the faith are already established, but I am speaking about "the present truth" that Peter alluded to in his second letter 1:12. This fresh revelatory teaching by apostles, appointed of God in these last days, is integral to the Church coming into maturity and destiny.

Blessings......................Anthony
Comment by Carl Gottstein on March 29, 2009 at 9:32pm
you speak with so much God givin clairity and insite it brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart, Bless you. Juanita your open spirit hears the voice of the devine, and it is our blessing, what your saying needs telling, The sacred is what is abused so throughly by the politician who forgets this holy nations birth was forged in a sacred bond with God, our father. We insist our Reps understand this as a matter fact, not a quaint belief system. Carl4NY
Comment by Gary Ernsthausen on March 29, 2009 at 7:37pm
Very Good Juanita! See, I don't need to write one , you can do better than me! We just need to work on the Fruits of the Spirit to be in our lives so that the Spirit will dwell within! We must overcome human nature each day with God's help.
Comment by Val on March 29, 2009 at 7:09pm
Juanita,

As always, there is an enlightening in my soul when I read your posts! I am learning so much here. God has truly sent me here to be taught by you and everyone on this website! As I stated when I first stumbled in....I have found a place of peace...I have found home. Thank you God, for sending me here and for all of the blessings in my life. Thank you for never giving up on me! AMEN!

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