Great Power and Great Grace

Great Power and Great Grace

As we do every October, we take this month for our Stewardship focus. This month’s Worship series will feature several voices from our congregation, all focused on the idea of Generous Living.

This Sunday’s message will be presented by two persons. First, we’ll hear from Craig R., long-time member of this congregation and capable leader in several areas. Craig was profiles in our Meet Our Members segment, and you can read more about him here. Craig brings a heart-felt perspective on the impact of the ministries of this congregation. After Craig speaks, we’ll hear briefly from Pastor Bob.

In this text from the book of Acts, the author describes a remarkable community. John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible describe it somewhat poetically:

Every individual person were of one heart and one soul – Their love, their hopes, their passions joined: and not so much as one – In so great a multitude: this was a necessary consequence of that union of heart; said that aught of the things which he had was his own – It is impossible any one should, while all were of one soul. So long as that truly Christian love continued, they could not but have all things common.

Imagine what such community could accomplish, surely living into God’s image as the body of Christ!

Acts 4:32-37 (CEB)
32The community of believers was one in heart and mind. None of them would say, “This is mine!” about any of their possessions, but held everything in common. 33The apostles continued to bear powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and an abundance of grace was at work among them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. Those who owned properties or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds from the sales, 35and place them in the care and under the authority of the apostles. Then it was distributed to anyone who was in need.

36Joseph, whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (that is, “one who encourages”), was a Levite from Cyprus. 37He owned a field, sold it, brought the money, and placed it in the care and under the authority of the apostles.

Consider these questions:

  1. Have you ever experienced—or even heard of—Christian community like what is described in this section of Acts? What does (or could) this look like in today’s context?
  2. Wesley describes a community wherein, “every individual person were of one heart and one soul…” Does this seem possible today? Does this seem achievable today? Why or why not?
  3. If this “truly Christian love” was a reality today in this faith community, what would be possible? What could be achieved? How would lives be touched?

Post-Worship Update on 10/29

Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).

Sunday’s worship service included a Stewardship message from PB UMC member Craig Roberts, who gave his background story and how he came to join this congregation more than 20 years ago. While Craig noted that this congregation’s commitment to inclusion is what brought him here, it is our longstanding dedication to our underserved and underprivileged neighbors through our weekly Project Grace ministry.

The text above reminds us that the earliest Christian communities understood the importance of koinonia (Meriam-Webster: intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community). And so we took time as a community to share how this spiritual community has shaped us and formed us and nurtured us as people of faith.

Consider these questions:

  1. How has this spiritual community shaped you and formed you and nurtured you as a person of faith?
  2. How are you called to participate in this faith community? Are you fulfilling this call? If not, what is holding you back?

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