Daily Devotion - April 5, 2021 - Resilience

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – April 5, 2021
Reading:
Acts 11:19-26
Weekly Theme: Partakers of Eternal Life
Today: Resilience

This past week, Holy Week, there was a repetitive item heard on the news pertaining to the decline of the church. The statistics were based on church attendance which is now at 47% based on people who attend church at least once per month. Weekly attendance is down to 37%. While this news is discouraging, it can and should be an impetus for change. In fact, change is already underway and has been for some time. Church as we know it today, is not church as described in the book of Acts, an account of the formation of the first church. The church is the body of Christ, a term used by Paul, which was not intended to be defined by a single statistic that reflects weekly attendance but rather to describe a community of believers who carry out the mission of sharing the gospel.

Today’s reading gives an example of how the church should function through the example of Antioch Church as they moved forward, despite being scattered by persecution. The church is not confined to a building but is defined as a scattering group who do not restrict their mission to a specific group of people but rather go out to minister to all people to tell them about the good news of Jesus Christ. The personal example of Barnabas provides us with an example of what each person within the church community should be doing which is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  With resilience, Barnabas shared the good news because was willing to go; in other words, Barnabas was sent, and then went to Antioch. He kept his eyes and ears open to look for God’s prevenient and intervening presence. God goes before us to prepare spaces, places and faces in which people are ripe to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Barnabas was very aware of God’s presence and ministered by encouraging them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Barnabas was a good person, full of the Holy Spirit, and faith, and God used him mightily to bring many people into relationship with the Lord. Barnabas then went to Tarsus where he connected with a new convert, Saul (later named Paul). Barnabas and Saul went back to Antioch, and for a whole year they met with this new church and taught (discipled) them the good news of Jesus Christ.  Barnabas' actions of  evangelism and discipleship are the mission of the church and are not intended to take place in a building but take place by a community of believers who have resilience.  Do not let statistics discouraged, but be more encouraged than ever to go forward, out into the community, at work, at school, at the grocery story, to share the love and the teachings of Jesus Christ with others.

What is the good news (gospel) that Barnabas and SaulàPaul shared? The good news is that Christ came to show us how to be good, faithful people and poured out his Holy Spirit on us to equip and empower us to share this message: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever should believe in him will not perish but will have eternal life”. Jesus came to show us how to live, how to love, how to be a community of believers; he died to take on the penalty for the sins of the world, so that all who believe will have the blessing of eternal life. Eternal life is not just something in the future, but it is a life of love, hope, joy, and peace, to also be experienced now through the church. And yes, it also means everlasting life that will never end. The church was established by God to share this mission until Christ returns. The church will continue with resilience. Just as the church of Acts suffered persecution, so does the church of today suffer persecution. Yet in the end, the church will prevail so that others may come to know Christ until he comes again. Amen… so be it!

Dear God, thank You for eternal life! Help us be the Church by spreading the good news of Jesus and eternal, abundant life You offer through his life, death, and resurrection. In Jesus. name. Amen.

 
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Sunday School
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Bible Study will resume on September 12, 2021.
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