How did we get here? I mean, how did the Church ever becomes so splintered? When reading the Book of Acts it is clear there were divisions and controversy. One of the biggest was, “What are we (the Jews) going to do about all the Gentile believers in our Messiah?” Paul experienced the divisiveness of the Church at Corinth. Some were bragging that they followed him, others Apollos, and others the favorite apostolic flavor of the day. And yet, the Church as a whole continued to advance with a unity that is remarkable. How was that possible when we look at Christendom’s dysfunction today?
Recently, I’ve been teaching through the Book of Acts in the Carpenters Class at Wayside Chapel of San Antonio, Texas. Consider this as your invitation to join us if you live in or near the area. We’ve been discussing the fact that the Apostles laid the foundation for the formation and advancement of the Church. They taught others what they had learned firsthand from their Teacher. They understood how important it was to only teach that which had been entrusted to them. The result was that what people were taught, believed and acted upon rested solidly on Jesus’ own teaching.
The newly born Church of Acts 2 was characterized not just by unity, but also by unanimity. They were of “one mind.” The result was that they were focused on one objective. Their objective was to tell the story of their resurrected Lord beginning in Jerusalem, extending to Judea and Samaria, and reaching out to the farthest reaches of their world. Their labor of love continues to this day. We are their fruit.
Since the dynamically charged days of the earliest Church, Satan has done everything he could to disrupt what God wants the Church to do. Of course, ultimately he will fail miserably. But in the short run (about 2000 years), he has effectively derailed much of Christendom with his original question in the Garden of Eden.“Did God really say?”
But, it’s not all doom and gloom! There are places where God’s people are once again devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching as it is reflected in the New Testament. In many of the underdeveloped countries of the world, the people of Messiah’s Body are growing strong, both in what they believe and in what they are obediently doing. Many of you have heard reports of the rapid expansion of the Church in previously closed countries. Even in Israel, where it all began, there is a new sense of God’s Spirit moving again in the land where Immanuel walked.
Back to the class that I teach. Recently, God has been bringing a number of young couples to join us. Several of them have been obedient to God’s calling on their lives by adopting unwanted children and adding them to their own families. This is a lengthy and costly process. This is particularly so because most of these young couples have adopted special-needs children from outside of the United States. They are truly an inspiration. One of these young men, Levi, told me that their motivation comes from what they read in James 1:25-27.
But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Levi and Christy have put walking feet on their faith by deciding to adopt a special-needs little boy from China. Last Sunday, the Carpenters Class was presented with an opportunity to experience in a small way the “one mind” atmosphere of the earliest Church. We have begun to pray along with this couple for the child that they will add to their family in the months ahead. They don’t know who he is, but God does. In just a few weeks, all the paperwork will be completed. The costs for this adoption will be approximately $40,000. One of the ways that they are raising the funds necessary is by participating in a local marathon sponsored by The Chosen. On October 26, 2013 the Chosen Marathon will be run in New Braunfels, Texas. Some participants will complete the full-marathon, others just the half-marathon. Some will run, others will just walk. One-hundred percent of the registration fee for the participants goes towards the adoption fees of their new little boy. Disciple Daily is a global network of disciple makers. We have people interacting with us from all around the world. As far as I can recall, we have never spoken to you about financially supporting Disciple Daily, although there are costs. We believe that God’s work, done in God’s time, will never lack for God’s supply. He has been very faithful and we lack nothing.
A number of the Carpenters Class attendees have elected to participate in this marathon and support Team Pool. We would like to invite you to join the Carpenters Class support of Team Pool in the adoption of their new family member. You don’t even have to be here to participate. Anywhere in the world you can register as a “sleepwalker” participant. The cost for registering as a “sleepwalker, in the half-marathon event is just $85. Our prayer is that from among the Disciple Daily network God would raise up enough participants to cover the entire cost of the adoption of Baby Pool.
Imagine having believers in Messiah Jesus from all around the world praying for the adoption of this little boy and making a unified statement through their provision for him financially! Now, wouldn’t that be something to praise God over? If you would like to register as a “sleepwalker” in support of Team Pool, you can do so here. Once you have input all of your information, you will be given a list of teams raising support. Please select “Team Pool.” One final note. If you would like to join us in New Braunfels for the actual run, that would really be awesome and make a powerful statement about our God!
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
“Of One Mind” is the lesson that this idea sprang from. Watch it now and share it with others.