Tag Archive: early church


Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Yesterday, my pastor continued a series entitled, “Transformed.” He began with the reminder that we are called and invited to do as Jesus did unto the world.

 

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – (John 14:10-12)

 

The Lord is sending us as His ambassadors to move things back toward the kingdom of God. We are charged to walk through life with our eyes wide open and our hearts at the ready, so that we can see what is out of alignment with His perfect plan, and hear Him as to how things ought to be. Because He is in us, we can play a part in moving things back to God’s intended order. Our giftings and callings are not just meant to be utilized as a gift to the church, but rather as a gift to the world. When we reach out to the world around us, lives are touched and communities are transformed.

 

Often our own hesitation is opposition, however, the disciples and the early church took root and grew in a time of persecution of the worst kind. Ostracizing, imprisonment, flogging, stoning and crucifixion, were common fates among early believers. Despite the demise of many, Christianity spread like a wild fire in a dry forest. “Christianity that fails in a tough environment, may not be TRUE Christianity.” – (Pastor Jon McIntosh) If we are truly being His hands and feet to the world, broken lives will be made whole, as He alone has the capacity to redeems all things. God can do abundantly more than we could ever hope or even begin to imagine, if we are only willing to walk in His ways.  May we rise up and embrace our charge, and go forth to share the gifts that God has placed in each of us with the world.

 

For those who are saved,Forgiveness is Free

our lives are transformed;

the faithful drew near,

and love was outpoured.

The gifts of the Lord,

in another seen;

used for His glory,

now we are redeemed.

May we too rise up,

in love freely give;

the best of ourselves,

so others might live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us the way to love well. Thank You that You send Your Spirit to empower all who choose to invest their lives in You and invite Your presence to come. Thank You that in You, we can do the very things You did. Forgive us for forgetting the tremendous power that resides within us, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and move mightily as You call. Lead us to love others in such a way, that people cannot help but turn to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we go forth in faith, operating in the gifts that You have given to share with the world around us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him as a young leader in the early church. “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” – (1 Timothy 4:14) In Timothy’s case, he was gifted with the ability to lead. He was granted wisdom and understanding beyond his years, and was called and commissioned to be a leader in a church that was struggling with some strife.

 

The same words that were spoken to Timothy, still apply to us today. “Do not neglect your gift…” In the ERV, it says “Remember to use the gift you have…” Our talents are improved through use, yet lost by neglect. What we have been given has been done for our Father’s glory, and we ought to treat them accordingly. What gifts and abilities has God given you? How can you use them to serve the Lord for His glory? May we utilize the talents that Christ has birthed in each of us, to give glory to our great God.

 

Let each of us use,Gifts Given to Glorify2

gifts given in grace;

meant to encourage,

the whole human race.

If you prophesy,

then in faith, speak out;

if you love to serve,

then do so devout.

If you’re called to teach,

then teach well His word;

if you encourage,

let great words be heard.

If you’re called to give,

do so graciously;

if you’re meant to lead,

do so unto Thee.

If your gift’s mercy,

then let kindness reign;

with great cheerfulness,

let Christ be made plain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place in each of us, gifts that are meant to be used for Your glory. Thank You for the numerous examples throughout the Bible and history, of those who have faithfully utilized the gifts that You have placed within them to serve and honor You. Forgive us for neglecting to nourish and utilize that which You have place within us, and teach us how to grow and develop in the gifts that You have given. Show us how we are meant to use our time and talents for Your glory, Lord God. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we exercise the gifts that You have given. Be glorified O God, as we go forth, growing in the gifts that You have given for Your glory. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

When a problem was identified among them, the leaders gathered the disciples together to discover the source of their dissent.  Once the issue was identified, the Twelve determined a need to appoint others to assist in administrative tasks, so they selected those who were full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.  “They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6)

We are given a great model of how to run things well, through the example set by the early church.  Even if the arena is not a church setting, wisdom ought to direct leaders to gather and identify those who are gifted with strengths in the areas of need, and then those selected ought to be placed in a position to perform the given tasks, with the blessing of the leadership.  Thriving businesses, schools, corporations and churches, all seem to utilize this model.  No one leader attempts to do everything, but rather those meant to lead, keep the main things the main things, and delegate administrative tasks to individuals who are gifted in those given areas.

How can we be a part of the solution, rather than perpetuating the problem?  If we see a need, we can help fill it if we are able; if not, we can identify the lack, and bring it to the attention of those who are in charge.  Our ability to help is often limited more by our willingness, rather than our skill set.  If we have a heart after God and a mind set to serve, there is likely something that we can contribute.  May we each be willing to do whatever He calls us to do.

Leaders gather,As We Are Available

recognize a need;

seeking helpers,

to the Lord, they heed.

For the faithful,

in whom Spirit dwells;

ready to move,

to answer Him well.

May we be those,

on whom they can call;

willing to answer,

trusted to install.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us an example of how things ought to be, through the example of the early church.  Thank You that You still provide the very same faith and Holy Spirit in us, that You did in them, to allow us to operate in the same way.  Forgive us for grumbling rather than taking action or seeking answers, and help us to be willing and available to be part of the solution.  May we help take the weight off of those You have placed in leadership positions, so that they may best do that which You have called and equipped them to do.  Let our lives lived in love be both an encouragement to the faithful and a witness to those who know You not.  May many be drawn unto You, and come to know You as their personal Savior.  Be glorified in all that we say and do, and let Your authority be evident among the body of believers.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

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