Many people allow their minds to wander or sleep during a church service. Look around and see how many people are paying attention. Today’s church gatherings often lack emotion. What are they missing compared to the first church recorded in Acts? “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 the people” (Acts 2:46-47).
In the first church, “everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43). The original apostles are not here, but the One who gave them their power is. The Holy Spirit is still dynamic in the lives of Jesus’ active followers. Yet, many uninvolved people think Christianity is boring. Perhaps they have forgotten their “first love” (Revelation 2:4), or maybe they don’t “know” God personally.
Experiencing a miracle reassures one of God’s love, attentiveness, and power; He still supernaturally helps and heals people. Throughout the world, people are experiencing the Lord’s assistance and miracles (events that defy science, not just coincidences). We need to talk about these occurrences so the next generation can be filled with awe, and learn about our Lord and His active involvement in people’s lives. By speaking about such things, we praise God and give Him the glory He deserves.
I remember a stirring church service in which members shared their experiences of when God answered their prayers and displayed His power. My heart was filled with excitement from listening to how the Lord was working among His people. I specifically remember the two miracles talked about that day, over 30 years ago.
Luke recorded that the first Christians met together in the temple courts and also in each other’s homes. The unique bond that frequently occurs in small group Bible studies is strong. The prayer, learning, communion and fellowship that occur in small and large groups have something in common — the Holy Spirit. The Spirit unifies the hearts of Christians — real Christians who have a personal relationship with the Lord. Have you felt that bond when conversing with another Christian for the first time? Even though the Bible reveals the Spirit’s many roles, He is often underestimated.
Jesus said, “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). The author of Hebrews advocated to “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25). Christians routinely need encouragement, teaching and reminding of God’s commands and principles, and a time to pray with each other. Do you experience that inner peace after praying? Fellowshipping with other Christians is not only enjoyable, but also produces glad and sincere hearts that uplift you throughout the week.
My favorite Sunday school class begins with the question, “Where have you seen God lately?” This gives the classmates an opportunity to report on God’s goodness and honor Him. Hearing what God has done for others creates excitement, hope, and encouragement that He’ll also intervene for me. Spoken testimonies fortify my faith. They generate expectant prayers knowing that God hears them, and then to be on the lookout for His activity. Sharing how the Lord rescues, heals, protects and provides, reminds one how loving and powerful He is. David repeatedly stressed the importance of telling others what the Lord has done (Psalm 9:1; 66:16; 71:17-18; 77:11-14; 78:4,7; 96:3).
Praise God that the revival in eastern Tennessee has generated excitement, lit fires in people’s hearts, and resulted in new believers. Let’s pray for all church services and small Bible study groups to become more vibrant and Spirit-filled, so we can be inspired to live for Christ and serve Him wholeheartedly!