Last week I started a new teaching series at The Dwelling Place entitled “Going Deep.” It was prompted by something I posted a few days back where I said “Going Deep is our part, going Big is God’s part.” As I was reflecting on Acts 2 I noticed something that jerked me back like a dog on a leash.
We have a tendency as church pastors and church planter to give in to the pressure to produce. Much of our insecurities can be manipulated by the pressure of perceived expectation, that we must make it grow. Since we are the experts, we must do something to make that thing get bigger. After all it is the consumers measure for success. If it’s not succeeding then we are not succeeding. Let me say to all of you in ministry, “What a load of CRAP!” Success? I remember what my Father said to His firstborn, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” This is it. I am my Daddy’s son and He loves me.
Moving on. After finishing a previous series where we looked at what our mission was, I was tempted to work up a mission statement, package it well, capture it in a clever statement and then….jerrrrrk. I saw it.
“And they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers……praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42,47
The new believers devoted themselves……it produced favor and the Lord added to their number.
Devoted in the Greek means “to be earnest towards.” It is a compound word for “forward” indicating a direction and movement towards; and to be strong, steadfast or endure. In the context of verse 42 it means these new believers were moving forward in a stronger and more earnest relationship with Jesus, their leaders (Apostles) and each other. In other word they were GOING DEEPER in Scripture and teaching of the Apostles, deeper in fellowship, deeper in the practice of faith and deeper in prayer together.
When we enter into this deeper devotion and a missional, incarnational focus on those around us, it will produce favor. Going deeper in relationship and love with God and people is an attractive thing. When you find something you really love, don’t you want to tell someone or share it with someone. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” If you don’t want to share the experience of what you have, you might want to check and see if you had it in the first place.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
God cannot be contained. When we try to put God in a box and contain Him, it becomes something other than God. It just becomes religion and not good religion at that. Life has to have room to grow or you kill it. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7