Its Friday night and I need to start preparing a sermon. I work a day job and I have church meetings during the week so sermon prep starts on Friday on a good week. Sometimes I am forced to take a rest on Friday night and start Saturday AM.
I have preached two sermons on the end of Acts 2 (verses 41-47). The mini-series is called decoding the DNA of the Church. The first sermon was on the phrase, 'They devoted themselves to ...fellowship' . The idea is that the real life of the early church the key essence of who they were (which we often miss in the 21st century church) is that the early church practiced their spiritual disciplines in the context of community.
In modern society, how many people take their meals alone. The most common scene is of a young man, even a young family man is of him taking his meal alone. Prayer is the same. In the church we are taught to pray primarily alone. Spiritual disciplines are practices alone. We do our bible study alone. Devotions are something we do alone. But the scripture says, "they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching to the breaking of bread and to fellowship and to prayer. All these things are devotions practiced in community. The church was devoted to daily living their spirutal disciplines together. The early church practiced their spiritual disciplines in the context of community. This devotion manifested itself in the daily life of the beleiver. The frequency of their devotion to fellowship was daily. This devotion to fellowship is extremely liberating. We in the 21st century church struggle so consistently in our journal toward sanctification and personal transformation. We beleive something like the folowing. Healthy individuals make healthy families which make healthy churches. But the reality is more like the following: "Healthy churches make healthy families and healthy churches make healthy individuals." It is the community and the practicie of these uniguely Christian disciplines of prayer and corporate meals and corporate bible study that breeds healthy lives. The church is the disicple-making organism which transforms life. Spiritual disciplines and spiritual life practiced outside the context of community is not a spiritual life which is in line with the DNA of the early church. It is this life disconnected from community which undermines the growth of the individual and the freedom of the believer to enter the New Covenant Kingdom story.