After our great 19th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION (f.y.i. our 20th Anniversary is Sunday, September 18, 2016), we have been impressed by the Spirit to take a fresh look at the New Testament Church. We not only want to be the people God wants us to be, we want to be the Church God has called us to be. In fact, if we are the Christians that we say that we are, then our Church will be the Church Christ says that it should be. The Church is not actually made of bricks, steel, concrete, and wood. While we admire great architecture, and though we are amazed at the sacrifice of time and treasure that has gone into the building of great Church buildings, that is not actually the Church. The sheer effort that generations of Christians have expended in the building of fantastic churches is certainly impressive. But that is not the Church. The church isn’t a building or anything man-made. It isn’t the pipe organ or the drum set. The church isn’t a pew or a theater seat. The Church isn’t a choir or a praise team. The church isn’t a robe or blue jeans. The church isn’t candlelight or a light show. THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IS MADE UP OF ALL THOSE WHO HAVE RENOUNCED THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL AND ALL HIS WORKS, WHO HAVE WITH TRUE REPENTANCE FORSAKEN THEIR SINS, BELIEVED ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, IDENTIFIED AS LOVERS OF HIS WILL AND DOERS OF HIS WORD AND HAVE THE CLEAR WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT THEY ARE BORN OF GOD. The Apostle Peter exhorted the First Christians, “You, as living stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ...you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar (purchased) people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God...” (1 Peter 2:5-10). It is in the pages of the fifth book of our New Testament, “The Acts of the Apostles” that we read the account of the first Christian Church. It is easy to impose on the Bible our preconceived ideas of what that church must have been like. We are 1,982 years away from the first Pentecost. Those trained in Roman Catholicism come to the text with their ideas and experiences. Those who are Protestants will read the text through the filter of their theology. Baptists, Pentecostals, Campbellites, and Wesleyans will all emphasize one aspect or another. But it is our prayer that as we ask the Lord for a fresh vision of what our church should be, that we will set aside our ideas and prejudices and simply let the Word of God teach us. As the Lord wills, we will focus on these essentials of the FIRST CHURCH. 1. TRUTH THAT TRANSFORMS 2. SPIRIT THAT EMPOWERS 3. WITNESS THAT REVOLUTIONIZES 4. FELLOWSHIP THAT EDIFIES (Builds up) We are praying that as we delve into the history of the First Church we will experience for ourselves that amazing melding of our spirits into the will of God for the Church of the 21st Century. Throughout history the Church of Jesus Christ has faced incredible opposition and persecution. It has endured false teachers and hereticks. It has been relegated to obscurity and ignored. The Church has been ridiculed, opposed, threatened, and buried. But we are a resurrection people! Our Founder was opposed, persecuted, mocked, ignored, ridiculed, opposed, threatened, crucified, and buried. And like Him, His Church has risen. ACTS2DAY is our aspiration! We want the Acts 2 experience today. And we want others to realize the joy of Acts 2!
We hope that you feel very welcome and that you will sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in the services. As we worship it is our prayer that those on the platform and those in the congregation will “HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH” The greatest Church Growth textbook was not only written about the Spirit that baptized, purified, empowered, and directed the first Christians, it was written by that same Spirit—that Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead! Within the 28 chapters of our New Testament book “The Acts of the Apostles,” Dr. Luke not only tells us what happened at the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, he explains why it happened and how the Church grew from a band of 120 gathered in an Upper Room in Jerusalem to a world-wide crusade. In the second chapter of Acts we read that at the Christian Pentecost, “The Lord added to the ekklesia daily, those that were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) “Ekklesia,” a Greek term we translate “Church” means literally “Called out Ones.”
Throughout history the ekklesia has persevered in times of persecution and endured in the face of opposition. Time and time again the ekklesia has survived, revived, and thrived after being left for dead. Neither heretics nor compromisers have kept the Church militant from pursuing her holy mission. Jesus promised, “I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. He is keeping His Word. “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. + + + As we begin our 20th year of ministry, the Holy Spirit has given us a fresh vision for His ekklesia, the assembly we call Faith Community. The second chapter of Acts will be our paradigm. We’re praying that that purifying power and presence of Pentecost will fill every heart. We’re praying that our preaching, our teaching, our witnessing, and the daily living of our lives will be Spirit-driven. We’re praying that the Lord will add to His Ekklesia those that are being saved. And we’re praying that this Ekklesia will experience the peace, and love, and joy the first disciples knew. Here’s how the Church began! We believe Acts 2 is for Today! ACTS 2: 41 PUBLIC TESTIMONY BY BAPTISM Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. EMBRACING DOCTRINE of the APOSTLES 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine ENJOYING FELLOWSHIP and fellowship, and
PARTAKING THE LORD’S SUPPER in breaking of bread, and PRAYING in prayers. MIRACLES 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. GENEROSITY 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. WORSHIP 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, HOSPITALITY and breaking bread from house to house, CONTENTMENT & JOY did eat their meat with gladness UNITY and singleness of heart, PRAISE 47 Praising God, and FAVOR having favour with all the people. GROWTH And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. ACTS2DAY is our aspiration! We want the Acts 2 experience today. And we want others to realize the joy of Acts 2! Thanks for being here today. We are praying that the Presence of Pentecost will sanctify every heart, that the power of Pentecost will strengthen every soul, that the truth of Pentecost would fill every mind, and that the witnesss of Pentecost would be proclaimed by all who have joined us in this Crusade for Souls!