*NOTE: As I am overcome with projects at work, dealing with a broken vehicle, and attempting to prepare for a sermon this tomorrow, this week's [Subversive Underground] will feature a blast from the past. Hope this blesses you.
BBQ WAFFLES ANYONE?
By Keith Giles
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had….There was no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”- Acts 4:32-35
As I read about the early church in the book of Acts I am amazed at their simple devotion to one another, to the poor, and especially to Jesus.
Reading about how “there was no needy person found among them” I am humbled and inspired. As I see their eagerness to share, not just to give an offering, but to take what is their own and give it away to others who are truly in need, I long to know this kind of “koinonia” or “Agape Community”.
How did they do it?
As someone who has been involved in ministry and on staff at various kinds of churches over the last sixteen years, I know first-hand the frustration of reading the book of Acts and then trying every possible program and gimmick available to duplicate this kind of simple Christian life within the congregation I’m helping to pastor.
Anyone who’s ever tried to lead a group of believers, or to pastor a church knows the pain of this same frustration. We attend seminars taught by high-powered business executives turned church consultant gurus. We buy their books, their tapes, and we try every possible way to produce the fruit we see in the book of Acts within our own church body.
What happens is, we get larger churches, we get happier churches, we get culturally-relevant churches, we get hip and cool and slick, but the one thing we don’t get is more like the people we read about in the book of Acts.
Why is that?
Here’s my oversimplified explanation. Let’s pretend that what the early Christians in Acts were great at was making waffles. They made the best waffles known to man. Their waffles were legendary. We read about those amazing waffles and we determine to make waffles like they did. So, we go to the successful culinary experts in our modern world and we ask them for advice. They tell us to buy the biggest Barbecue Grill we can find, the one with dual propane tanks and the built-in meat thermometer. They tell us to get the complete serving dish set, all the chrome cooking utensils and even a chefs hat and matching apron. We buy it all and we even put a cross on it to make it holy. Next we start trying to grill up some waffles, and of course, those waffles are lousy. No one wants our waffles and we can’t understand why.
Why won’t we accept the fact that, unless we start trying to make waffles the way the early church did, we’ll never ever be any good at making waffles?
Very simply put, I feel very strongly that if we don’t do what they did, we’ll never get what they got.
That’s why we’re starting “the mission”, so that we can begin to learn from The Holy Spirit how to actually love, and share, and give, and live out our faith the same way the early church did for over 300 years.
Even the big business executives agree-“The systems you currently have are perfectly designed to give you the results you are now getting” (Peter Senge).
If we want different results than what we’re getting, it means we’re going to have to completely change the system we’re using.
I’ll be mixing up the batter in the kitchen, please don’t forget to bring the syrup.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he 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.”- Acts 2:44-47
[orginally sent to the subscribers of the underground newsletter on Jan 24th, 2006]