"Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria......Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word." vs.1, 4.
I was almost excited when I read chapter 8. The early church in Jerusalem, was forced to scatter, to leave the only "church" they knew. This scattering, caused them to preach the tell the Gospel to knew people, new neighbors, and plant new churches. Later in chapter 11 we will read:
"Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch" (11:19)
Those early disciples were forced to leave their "first church", this lead to planting of other churches, including the great church in Antioch! The persecution and scattering the enemy meant to destroy the church, God used it to grow and further establish his church. I look back at what happened to us when we had to leave IOM. This “scattering” of us led to the launching of Kids of the Kingdom, Community Dinners, Monday night Worship, Limestone Flea Market service, and the Downtown Rescue Mission training and Worship. The church was designed to be a movement. To scatter then gather, scatter then gather again. When the church ifs forced to leave and takes with it nothing but Jesus is when it is most effective.
I am learning that the church is at its best when it is fluid, underground, subversive, and countercultural. It is the unknown, quiet, humble stealth acts that the church changes things.
Pray over you life, the life of ODC and the life of your ministries. Have you been stuck, complacent, or comfortable in a season of “gathering”? Pray that the Holy Spirit will motivate you and guides you into a new season of scattering. Pray God leads you, leads us as a church and reveals to us our new “Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antiochs in which to start new house churches and ministries.
Please share what verses you dwelled on in Acts 8, your thoughts or questions with us in the comment box below.
As we start week 2 in Acts, a reminder here that I posted last week of what we have committed to during these 28 days of reading through Acts.
I am asking all of us as a church, as a family, as a community of faith to come together and pray over these ministries and the future and vision for ODC. I would like us to dedicate ourselves to pouring ourselves into his word and prayer as we seek God’s will and direction for our lives and ODC. To aid us in this I am asking us to commit to one another and join together in these 5 things.
1. Starting this Monday, , spend the 28 days following reading through the Book of Acts of the Apostles. There are 28 chapters in Acts, so we will read one chapter a week for 28 days. Spend time in S,O.A. P.S. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer, Sharing) daily on each chapter. Pray then over your ministry and ODC’s.
2. Start up/join in a Band Group. We need to both encourage and hold each other accountable to time in the Word, Prayer, and our daily walk with Christ. Do not delay, pray to God who to ask you which one or two persons to invite to join you, and do it. No excuses, no delays.
3. Set aside just one hour a week (you can do more than one) away from distractions and spend that hour in solid prayer.
4. Fast one day a week in prayer. Read Isaiah 58 on fasting for guidance or contact me if you have questions on fasting.
5. Daily Lunch + prayer: Everyday when you sit down to lunch, you pray over your meal. After your prayer over the meal, and a 30 second prayer over ODC and its ministries for God’s vision and leading.