Men’s Weekend Away

Last weekend I took this crew…

here… beautiful isn’t it?

Besides the food, soccer, late nights and laughter, I decided to try something slightly different this time.  We had two long “sessions” where we just read through Acts together.  The rules being that if anyone had any questions or comments – they stopped us and we discussed whatever was brought up.  As it turns out we only got as far as Acts 2 but a few valuable things were learnt in the process…

1) It underscored my belief in the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture.  The Bible can both be understood in a simple gospel outline and it is able to be studied in-depth in 66 books and many worthy PhD and academic studies.

2) The value of doing hermeneutics in community was again brought home to me; as the questions raised and insights discovered were often things missed by me.  My understanding of Acts was made all the richer for the interaction and questions of my brothers.

3) As a group of Christians from differing theological traditions it was refreshing to see the commitment to the centrality of the gospel.  The issue of tongues came up (how could it not) and what was our (both charismatic and non-charismatic) response – it is a side issue.  What is significant is that when people are filled with the Spirit – they talk about Jesus!

4) This led to a discussion about what the Spirit filled life really looks like.  Acts 2 is a great picture.  It is telling the gospel, living the gospel and people being saved by the gospel.  I think one of the mistakes Reformed theology often makes is that – we ask the question, “What does it look like to be Spirit-filled?” but we stop after we see Peter boldly proclaiming the gospel.  The answer to this question must continue through into 2:42-47.  Being Spirit filled certainly does mean that we proclaim the gospel but it cannot stop there – the gospel must be proclaimed and lived!

5) There is a communal, radical, self-sacrificial lifestyle that is committed to the teaching of the apostles that is evident in the life of a Spirit filled disciple.

6) We all acknowledged that there is something about this section of Scripture that is incredibly attractive to us.  But yet it is seldom our experience of church… What we asked ourselves is the difference between us and them?  Between then and now?

7) We thought the clue might be in the incredibly communal nature of the passage.  “They” or “their” appears 7 times in the passage.  What happens with us is that we are so often distracted by the seemingly important things of this world.  We find it incredibly difficult to remain focused on the Kingdom, on eternity, on being missional.  Why does it appear to be different for them?  Because they gathered daily to be taught, encouraged and experience the life of the Kingdom.  For us it is mostly a couple of meeting a week that we squeeze in among things.  For the first church I imagine it was an entire new identity, a new lifestyle, a new community.

8 ) It cannot be a co-incidence that we read at the end of this passage that; “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (2:47)  Spirit-filled lives being lived and the gospel word that makes sense of these radical Kingdom centred lives is attractive to a world hungry to experience the life God made us for.  And it goes without saying… so I’ll say it… the Spirit is at work in and through such a community!

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~ by John on August 10, 2008.

2 Responses to “Men’s Weekend Away”

  1. john, Have not read every word above, but wanted to tell you that I am so encouraged for a few reasons: (1) you seem to be used by God in a setting that can only be aptly described as in the place God wants you to be when he wants you to be there – I know that is true of every event, but it seems confirmed by what you are sharing.

    (2) where the Word goes, change follows – either offense, salvation, or other – it seems here that, at the very least, you are being transformed as you teach and lead – continue in this way, regardless of whether you church plant / what you end up doing in the future – this is the only way to get the gospel across for real – by being real in relationship. (3) ethnic / racial / even denominational barriers are no match for the gospel – and hearts are open to each other, rather than being closed because of rigid stubbornness (something I am still learning to let go of).

    cheers for now
    Paul

  2. Hei John,

    1st I must say you are good at what you do, blogging that is.

    2ndly reading your blog makes me relive the whole expirience and actually challenges me because now is the time to put what I learnt at the weekend into action. Yoo this has just showered me with blessings.

    P.S. You asked in your blog what was the difference between the church then and the church now. Well for one we have bloggig and they didn’t.

    Much Love
    Lelethu

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