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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 the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The Church Scattered (For a Season)
Day 1 • Life Together ApartCommunity … Together … The book of Acts says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common” (Acts 2:44). Part of the foundation of Christianity is community, what Bonhoeffer called “life together.” In the Time of Corona we are forced to do “life together apart.” Even though we are scattered, we can continue to live out Acts 2:42-47—with some creativity. Here are two concrete ways to do this in this season:
- Teaching: Agree with a friend or friends to read a specific book of the Bible together and talk on the phone about passages.
- Prayer: Find a prayer partner for this season—someone you know well, perhaps been friends with for many years, or maybe someone you have met at church recently. Set a time each day to call each other and to pray together.
Day 2 • ScatteredRead Acts 8:1-8 and 11:19 One of the difficult and painful things that happened to the early Church was that the believers became scattered, in large part due to persecution (today it is due to a pandemic). To be scattered is to experience dislocation, loss of rootedness, and loss of a sense of belonging. It can be disorienting. In 2020, we are living at such a time. Reflect: How are you experiencing this scattering up to this point? As Pastor Brian Rice said on Sunday, this is for a season, but not forever! Pray: Consider the ways and times God has provided for you over the years. Pray and thank God for his faithfulness through every season of life. Ask him to provide for you now in this challenging season.
Day 3 • The Circle of FriendsRead Romans chapter 16 Now underline or circle the name of each person in that chapter. Consider the depth of relationships the Apostle Paul had with these people all over the ancient world.
- They were friends.
- They were ministry partners.
- At points they struggled and suffered together.
- They had rich memories of being with each other.
- They practiced hospitality with one another.
- They spurred one another on in faith in Jesus.
Day 4 • A Generous PresencePerhaps the greatest gift we can give each other in these days of turmoil is a generous presence, as was mentioned by Pastor Brian Rice in the sermon last week. A generous presence is being engaged with others, desiring to know the real answer to “How are you?” It is appropriately empathizing and sympathizing. Read: Philippians 2:19-24. This is one of the most intimate and tender statements that Paul makes about any of his friends. He says of Timothy, “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare” (v. 20). This is exactly what a generous presence is about. Pray: Who is God calling you to have a generous presence with today? Send a note or pick up the phone and call them.
Day 5 • God’s Love in the Time of CoronaRead Romans 8:31-39 This is such an amazing promise by God to all who follow Jesus Christ. If God is for us, who can be against us? As we wrap up this week’s devotions, spend time reading, reflecting, and praying through Romans 8:31-39 and the rich promises of God to you!
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