I'm delighted to welcome a guest, Jill McSheehy, to the blog today. Jill is a writer and Bible teacher who blogs on her faith, family, and garden. After publishing her first two books, Glory in the Garden: 31 Days of Devotionals and Flourish, she pursued her lifelong dream of writing a Bible study for everyday women seeking a deeper understanding of Scripture. Jill, her husband, and their two children live in Arkansas.
Today's post is taken from her new Bible study, Journey through Acts. Be sure and note the information on how you can order it--with a discount. (Hint: I've never "been" a coupon code before, but I am now!)
More than a Church Pot Luck
If there’s one thing I grew up cutting my teeth on in the church besides the richness of Scripture, it was the mouth-watering casseroles, sides, and desserts of church potlucks. We called them fellowships, of course, because that’s a Bible word. And truly, our church fellowships hold fond memories for me. But as a church girl from my momma’s womb, it’s easy to gloss over the word “fellowship” in verse Acts 2:42, as if it’s another church get-together.
The fellowship spoken of in this passage of Acts is so much more than the monthly church potluck. The Greek word for fellowship can be translated as “close association, commonality, participation, sharing, the outcome of close relationships.”
Consider the group of which this passage speaks. Originally 120, the first church expanded to three thousand people in one day. Besides the sheer number, this group comprises not only those native to Jerusalem but those from many nations who were visiting during the spring feasts. Most of these people were strangers. In addition, except a core belief in the one true God, chances are these early believers carried the cultural clashes and differences you would expect from a group of such diverse origins.
Yet through the Holy Spirit’s work in them, they are said to have everything in common. Even more striking is the result of this commonality in verse 47: “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
The relationships among this patchwork quilt of believers are so unique that onlookers want to know what they had and be part of it. They made Christianity look good!
Does your church, Sunday School class, or small group have that kind of relationship? That kind of quality?
If not, what can you do to foster commonality and develop closer relationships in your group?
If you do have the blessing of close fellowship, let me challenge you one step further. The closeness of fellowship between these believers is a fellowship so attractive and open that others not only marvel at their closeness but seek to become a part of it. You see, it’s one thing for us to have our tight-knit band of believers. It’s another for that band to welcome newcomers. Our groups need to have the fellowship that not only attracts but also invites. It says, “What we have in Jesus is so great, but we don’t just want it for ourselves. We want you, too!”
What can you do to make sure your group doesn’t become a Christian clique but invites others in?
Thank you, Jill, for reminding us that we can't be clique-ish if we belong to Christ. (Convicting and true!)
Want to read more? Order Jill McSheehy’s new Bible Study, Journey through Acts. Enter the code DENA15 to get 15% off and free shipping!
Jill is also hosting a Journey through Acts Facebook group starting January 16th, where she will provide weekly video lessons and discussions. Members of the group also will get free downloadable memory verse cards. Click here for more information.