Pastor Adam closed out the 21 week study of the book of Acts by casting a vision for the legacy of Rockhills and the legacy of The Church as a whole since its inception in the book of Acts. The two broad categories are: 1) to have a radical commitment to Jesus Christ, and 2) to have a courageous demonstration of love. He pointed out the legacy of The Church will always be in question if we are ever about anything other than helping people find and follow Jesus. That’s what the book of Acts is about. That is what Rockhills aims to be about as we approach our 10 year anniversary and move forward.
Pastor Adam’s prayer for Rockhills is we would be the church God intended and the people God intended. Most people who have a problem with church don’t have a problem with Jesus, they have a problem with the people who follow Jesus. So why does there seem to be so much controversy about church? Adam pointed out that throughout the different seasons of church history, the church has gotten off track, people get off track, we can politicize church and Jesus, we can get judgmental, and we all have hurts and pain we often don’t want to deal with and that cause us not to love as we are called to love. That can occur in part because we cannot accept how loved we are, and in turn, are not able to share the love of Jesus with others. In spite of all that, throughout the ages, The Church has remained. God is still able, throughout the generations, “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21.
INVITATION: Join with us this week as we complete our journey in Acts and Paul’s missionary journeys, as well as think about how deeply we are loved. This great love for us is not only for our own sake, but given to us freely in order that we might give it away for the benefit of others. As Rockhills moves forward in the continuation of the legacy of The Church, how securely are you “rooted and established in love?” (Ephesians 3:17)
MONDAY: Acts: 28:1-10: Paul’s drama continues. If being shipwrecked on an island isn’t enough, he gets bit by a snake! The islanders decide that because he wasn’t killed, he must be a god. Paul, rather than live into that, continued to live for Christ and give God the glory. What about you? Is God the God in your life, or have you let yourself become your own God?
TUESDAY: Acts 28:11-31: Paul gets to Rome and is given freedom to speak as he awaits his trial. Verse 30 indicates this period of time is 2 years. Most people do not enjoy waiting. Most of us fight it. We typically want to be moving on to whatever is next. However, throughout Scripture God seemed to place people in periods of what seems like useless waiting. Did you know during this time of waiting, Paul wrote some of the other books in the New Testament? These were written as letters to the churches he had planted on his missionary journeys. What is your attitude and posture when in a season of waiting? Are you frustrated and impatient, or can you lean into it to see what God may have for you during the wait? There is a difference in useless waiting and active waiting. What if your “next thing” is actually occurring right now during the wait?
WEDNESDAY: Ephesians 3:14-15: Paul wrote Ephesians during his wait for trial. He wrote it to the church in Ephesus. YOU are part of God’s “whole family in heaven and on earth.” As a believer in Jesus, you are part of The Church – the body of Christ. Spend some time today asking the Lord to “search you and know your heart” (Psalm 139) regarding your attitude toward The Church in general and perhaps Rockhills in particular. Adam quoted Andy Stanley: “Most of the things you resist about church are things the church should resist.” Are you unfair in your judgment of The Church as a whole or the church you attend? Could you be part of the problem rather than part of the solution?
THURSDAY: Ephesians 3:16-19: These verses seem to indicate some connection between knowing how deeply loved you are and the power, strength and inner healing of the Holy Spirit. Your image of God and image of self (and how loved you are) radically affects your life and how well you are able to love others. If Rockhills is to move forward loving God and loving others, how might you shift from only a head knowledge to a heart knowledge of how loved you are? Author and psychologist David Benner says: “Neither knowing God nor knowing self can progress very far unless it begins with a knowledge of how deeply we are loved by God. Until we dare to believe that nothing can separate us from God’s love – nothing that we could do or fail to do, nor anything that could be done (has been done) by anyone else to us (Romans 8:31-39) – we remain in the elementary grades of the school of Christian spiritual transformation. Genuine transformation requires vulnerability. It is not the fact of being loved unconditionally that is life changing. It is the risky experience of allowing myself to be loved unconditionally.”
FRIDAY: Ephesians 3:20-21: God works “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” in us to accomplish His plans and His purposes – including the continuation of The Church. His power is at work within us “in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.” Do you want to be part of glorifying Jesus by the continuation of what first began in the book of Acts? Perhaps this quote of Dallas Willard will be further inspiration for you. “To glorify God means to think and act in such a way that the goodness, greatness and beauty of God are constantly obvious to ourselves and to all those around us. It means to live in such a way that when people see us they think, thank God for God, if God would create such a life.”