When I look at the early Church in the book of Acts, I see a church community who was drawing people in. Here’s what we read:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 2:42-47
I notice something conspicuously missing. We don’t read much about the beliefs of the Church. We have Peter’s sermon just before this. We see the Gospel of Jesus. The forgiveness of sins through his blood, the need for repentance, the receiving of grace through faith, and the hope of the resurrection. However, after Peter’s sermon, the growth of the church seems less dependent upon belief, and more so a result of actions springing from belief.
Right theology is critical to faith. As we talk about in our current preaching series, Vantage Point, God’s Word concerning all things is higher, fuller, and deeper than my thoughts, feelings, or opinions. What he says is right, good, and true. In the second chapter of Acts, however, we see the ethos of the Church come alive. That is, we see the characteristics of the people’s hearts and the culture of the church born out of its beliefs and spilling into its practices.
Sharing the Lord’s Supper and Prayer
Giving up of possessions (Generosity); Giving to those in need
Meeting together regularly
Sharing meals with one another
Multiplying a posture and attitude of gladness, joy, and community
I love the ways in which White Oak works to exemplify this ethos.
Helping Nate’s Toy Box collect Christmas gifts and other items to help families in need in the Colerain area. 265 families and 669 children were served.
Helping Ross Local School families during the holiday give gifts with 50 people served.
Sharing love with children overseas by contributing 197 shoe boxes filled with gifts for Operation Christmas Child (2,556 boxes were collected in our region).
Earlier last year White Oak helped with funds for new storage shelving for SON Ministries serving neighbors with needs in the Colerain community.
White Oak, you stepped into generosity by gifting $10,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness helping families in our city with resources and services.
We should celebrate these things! We should praise God for the work that he’s doing! As we speak, we have teams forming at both our Colerain and Ross campuses dreaming, praying, and considering how we can use our buildings and properties to serve our communities Monday-Saturday. We are re-thinking what it looks like for White Oak to exist not just in but for our communities.
Every opportunity you see at White Oak this year is an opportunity for you to put actions to your ever-growing faith.
As we dream and plan for 2022, my hope for White Oak is that each of us consider not only what we believe (trusting God to align our hearts with his), but also what we do with our faith. Each of us has been gifted with time, talents, money, and other resources which we must use to fuel ministry impact and form our lives around Jesus. From the beginning, this is what made the Church attractive to outsiders… and the Gospel spread!
Ready and willing to DO faith with you,
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church