As we read in Acts 2, the Christian Church is very much alive. They are growing, inspiring, and transforming the world. How do they do this? Summarizing John Piper:
1. Burning conviction
2. Really GOOD news in the midst of a broken world
3. Christian communities marked by purity
4. Christian communicties without classes or discrimination
5. Charitable service
6. Readiness and willingness to give all away, even to the point of death
Unfortunately, Christianity in America is pretty much focused on only number 2 with a little 1 thrown in. And I can understand why...the ACLU has taken of the case of descrimination 4
3. Has been eradicated because of a myth that since "we are not under the law", we must not really worry about purity.
4. The ACLU and government makes sure that we do our best not to discriminate. Of course, this doesn't actually bind people of different classes and races together like the early church did, but we've let that be enough.
5. Charitable service is now the sole property of non-profits and government programs like welfare and food stamps.
6. We have either bought into the lies of consumerism and are unwilling to give, OR we do not associate with enough people who are poorer than we are so there is no one to give to.
Obviuosly many of these things are very good and helpful to many people, and I firmly believe that God is at work in many of these things. Is it possible that this is the hands and feet of the Church outside of the Christian communities of old? Or do we as the church need to reclaim these lost tenants of our faithful service to follow in the footsteps of Jesus? Do we stop supporting non-profits and begin including that in the work of the Church? Do we seek out people who are different to make them well-respected and honored people in our relationships? Do we seek out the poor and find ways to give beyond the 10% that some of us give?
And what should we pray for? That God would drive the Christian Church in America underground so that we can find our way again? Or that somehow, we would all come to our senses and begin afresh?
May we continue seeking the heart of Our Lord today and tomorrow, never stopping in this race until it is finished.