Week 2- Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations: Faith Forming Relationships refers to all the ministries that help us grow in faith outside of weekly worship: Bible studies, Sunday school, small groups, and retreats where we learn in the community of other Christians. By these practices we mature in faith; we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God.
Prayer: God, you have made the heavens and the earth. You have revealed your beauty in creation
and inspired the book that we are now about to study.
Please help us now as we read together.
Take us deeper into understanding more about you
and your love for us.
Although we rarely say the words, “spur one another” there is a great need to surround ourselves with people who speak truth into our lives and can help pick us up when we feel low. Who are the people you can count on? Do you have people (locally) who you meet and fellowship with?
What is a mature Christian like? A mature Christian is continually growing in Christ, constantly thinking and acting ore like Christ. Though Christians will never be perfect while living in a sinful world, God’s goal still is that we become like Christ. What areas are helping you the most: prayer, Bible study, Christian fellowship, and intentionally growing a Christ centered relationship?
What’s the test of Loving one another? Peter failed. Big time! Yet… Jesus chose to build his Church upon Peter and his future obedience. God measurers love by obedience, not by warm feelings and emotions. In his first epistle, John said that believers know that they love one another by loving God and carrying out his commands. Love and obedience are so closely connected.
Fisherman, tax collector, a thief, a zealot? Jesus didn’t recruit Harvard grads. He went to the most unlikely places for students to follow Him (a teacher and Rabbi). This doesn’t mean that they were the wrong people, because God always uses and equips those who are called. This should give us great hope. God can and will use all of His children for something. We all have a purpose. The challenge for many is to allow God to use us. And… to find contentment and satisfaction in where God has placed us.
FRIDAY- Acts 1:12-14
Take special note! Friends, students, men & women, family… they were all gathered together. Praying! There is something powerful about joining together in prayer. Perhaps you’ve heard Jesus’ words from Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” I’m certain Jesus’ friends, family, and followers wanted to be close to Him during this scary moment of time.
SATURDAY- Acts 2:42-47
Did the first Christians live communally?Are we expected to sell our possessions and give to the poor?They voluntary shared with each other, but they weren’t required to share in order to become believers.Some find the roots of socialism in these verses, yet the key phrase dispels that notion, “who had need.”Nevertheless, their example shows how the gospel can rearrange everything in our lives.These communal arrangements were not meant to model economics for every Christians community.Still, it shows the radical changes brought about by the Holy Spirit.