#18 Keeping first things first things. "They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer." [Acts 2:42]
I was recently on a Mission India conference. I was truly blessed. I was able to hear from so many people about the mission work going on in India. Literally millions of people are hearing the Gospel - and receiving the Gospel - for the very first time. The theme of the conference was, "the end places." What the leader of Mission India remarked during the conference was simple, "if these are the end times than we need to be in the end places." What he meant by this was something simple - God is doing something amazing in India. I have seen it myself. People are hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receiving it in droves. Christianity is growing like wildfire there. God is doing an amazing thing. Therefore, they are asking the question, "if God is doing something amazing there - we need to be there!" I totally agree.
Yet, I also believe God is - and wants to - do amazing things right here also. And as I listened to testimony after testimony about what God is doing, something hit me. These Indian Christians - and these Indian churches - are keeping first things first. I was listening to what the church does there - and they were simply doing what the 1st century Apostles did.
* They dedicate themselves to the Word of God. No question about it. They want to make sure that the Word of God is primary in their lives. They soak it in. They read it. They pray over it. They make it a daily habit for long periods of time. The Word of God is primary in their lives.
Do you know that in Indian churches if the preacher preaches for less than 45 minutes they believe that he has not done his homework and they are disappointed. I'm serious.
* They hang out together. Indians love to be with one another. They love to be around people and they have no qualms about just being together. They take the time to be together.
* They eat together. And they often make more, "just in case" other people arrive.
* The church leaders pray unceasingly. They go around villages and pray for their villages before they approach people. They pray their way through every situation. They truly pray over the sick and ill. Mostly because they understand that prayer is the only weapon they have.
And do you want to know what they see? They see miracles - legitimate miracles - happen every day. Now, this list above - what does it sound like? It sounds like what the Apostles dedicated themselves to. The word of God, the fellowship, the breaking of bread [in which I would include the Lord's Supper] and prayer. And listen what happened to the Apostles when dedicated to this. It's v.43 of the Acts 2:
"Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders were happening through the Apostles."
We as a church need to keep first things first. We need to be dedicated to the things the Apostles were dedicated to - our Bibles. Our being together. The Supper. Prayer. This is what the church ought to be about. If we are, our worship will excel, our discipleship will excel, and our outreach will too.
Lord, help us to be Acts 2:42 people. Amen.