We probably all wish we could push the 2020 Reset Button. Admit it, it’s been a crazy year with unexpected worldwide events that have affected everyone’s life. No matter your economic status, your religion, your ethnic background, your country, we’ve all been affected by this. No one on earth can simply ignore this and say ‘out of sight, out of mind’. That simply isn’t the case. It’s on our mind and in front of us everyday. So the question for the church becomes, “Lord, what would you have us do?”
I don’t think His answer will be, “Hit the 2020 reset button.” In fact, I think His desire is for us to Reset the way we’ve been doing church. God is calling His people to wake up and get back to what His desire for us truly is, what His church model looks like, and to begin moving with the Spirit in greater power; realigned for His purposes and not our own.
Church leaders all over, in every ministry, have been forced to stop the way they had been doing church, and to reassess how to move forward. I’ve heard many talk about wanting to get back to normal. But if that’s our take away from this, then I think we’ve missed the point. Instead, we should ask the Lord what His normal for the church looks like and then pursue it wholeheartedly.
Let’s hit the RESET BUTTON!
Acts 2: 42-47 They devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
So this is what ‘normal’ church life is supposed to look like!
Let’s examine this a little deeper and make sure that as we begin to go back to meeting together, having children’s ministry together, reassessing how we are going to ‘do’ church again together, we have a clear picture of what it’s supposed to look like. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to do things the way we’ve always done them for the sake of feeling cozy, safe, and secure. I want the ‘more’ that only God can bring by His Holy Spirit! I want the greater things in the Kingdom to become my new normal! I want to align myself with God’s desire for the church even if that goes well outside the comfort zone I’ve created.
2020 Reset Button—-According to Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching--Bible Study
They devoted themselves to fellowship–Being Together
They devoted themselves to breaking of bread–Communion and Meals
They devoted themselves to prayer–Prayer Lifestyle
They performed signs and wonders in awe of God–Moving in Holy Spirit
They had everything in common—One Mind, One Spirit
They sold their belongings to give to those in need—Generosity
They met daily in the temple courts–Daily Corporate Worship
They ate together in their homes–Grateful Hearts
They praised God together–Shared Testimonies and Praised God
They experienced favor in the community–Favor
Their numbers grew daily–Evangelism/Salvations
Look at this list and honestly assess your own experience. Is this what the church has looked like for you individually and corporately? What will your 2020 Reset Button look like?
Study the Word of God, don’t just listen to a sermon, take notes and go home and study the scripture. Don’t just know about the Word of God, truly know the Word. In a time and world full of misinformation, we need the Truth–now more than ever!
I won’t lie, due to the pandemic, this has been hard. The question we have to ask is, Are we being intentional about staying connected? This is important! It is encouragement in discouraging times.
COMMUNION AND MEALS:
Another difficult task since the pandemic started has been having communion and church meals together. Start in your home. Are you having communion together with your family? with your church? in small groups? And let’s not forget eating together. When’s the last time you ate with the church family? It’s been a while, but does that mean we can’t meet with one other family in the church and share a meal together? If everyone met with one other family and did this, we wouldn’t feel so alone and disconnected.
Is this a priority for you? It was for Jesus! It was for the early church! Let’s realign ourselves with what truly matters and discover why it mattered so much to them. I want to know God as a friend, but I realize I can only know my friend as much as I spend time with them. Do you spend time with God? chatting? sharing life? It’s in this place we discover Him as Friend.
MOVING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT:
The people were in awe! Have we been in awe of God lately? I hope so. It would be amazing to live a life that is constantly in awe of our creator. I believe the church of Acts truly lived this way. That’s what happens when you devote yourself to knowing God. And it sure doesn’t hurt to see His signs and wonders being performed daily! This is normal christianity. When did we lose sight of this? Let’s ask for a baptism of His Holy Spirit and begin stepping out in faith and performing signs and wonders so that once again the world and the church would be in awe of God!
ONE MIND, ONE SPIRIT:
They had everything in common. You know what that says to me. Unity! The church was in agreement with each other, because they were aligned with the Holy Spirit, sharing the mind of Christ. Let’s agree to focus on where we are the same, and not become divisive about our differences. Unity is required in the body of Christ!
They gave their own belongings to the poor. They sold things when necessary to meet the needs of others. This is sincere generosity. They didn’t live without property or belongings, but they didn’t view them as their own. It was all for God’s kingdom and His glory.
DAILY CORPORATE WORSHIP:
Wow! I’ve always imagined what this would be like in my daily routine. I remember for short periods of time we would meet together at different houses every night for praise, prayer, and dinner. It was awesome, but short lived. How do you sustain daily corporate worship? You don’t—-the Spirit does! When revival takes place people meet daily for hours on end in huge corporate worship and prayer gatherings sometimes for weeks, sometimes for years. What sustains this? The Holy Spirit! I want a move of the Holy Spirit so powerful that it pushes everything out of my daily routine until all that’s left is Jesus and All I want is Jesus!
I love this! They were so thankful to the Lord, that they had to share what they had (whether a little or a lot) with others. Eating together became the church culture. Rotating dinners at different houses, and joyfully celebrating together what the Lord had blessed them with!
SHARED TESTIMONIES AND PRAISED GOD:
One thing I have realized over the years about eating together with a group of believers—-the conversation always leads to testimonies and praise of what the Lord has done and is doing. No wonder these two coincide in this passage of scripture. How encouraging it is to the church to daily be reminded of the great things the Lord has done and is currently doing in the lives of those we love.
God poured out favor on the church, even in the midst of persecution. The locals in the community recognized the love they had for each other and for their neighbors. This doesn’t go unnoticed. It says that they had favor of all the people. If the world doesn’t know what you’re about, favor can be hard to come by. The church with favor is not one who does everything behind closed doors in hopes that the world won’t judge you. The enemy can have a hay-day with that.
What happens when we do church God’s way? The church grows daily! The church has been so scared to use this as a litmus test, and yet has been using a tainted version of this as a litmus test for years. I know pastors have talked about their numbers, their church growth. Are we focusing on numbers or on hearts? Are people being saved, baptized, delivered? Are lives being transformed? Is your church actively pursuing evangelism in the everyday conversations they have with people? Is the churches love for each other and the community drawing men to Christ? God doesn’t care about numbers, he cares about hearts!
Don’t be afraid to hit the 2020 reset button—-just don’t expect things to go back to the old normal. Look forward to the NEW normal of what God wants for His church. It will probably look a lot more like the church of Acts, then the church of 2019.