This Sunday at Blueprint, I’ll be preaching Acts chatper 1, and we’ll spend the next 7 months (at least) walking through all 28 chapters of the book. At this juncture in the life of Blueprint, it’s critical that we take the necessary time to walk through a book like Acts. To date, we’ve been in the city almost four years now and have experienced some “success” as a church. Although our building is small, each week it’s packed to capacity three times over. People come to worship, are encouraged, and then leave each week.
And that's where there's room for improvement.
Some share life with others in the congregation throughout the week, but there is a good number who don’t. With all of the things that are going “right”, it becomes increasingly easy for us to begin to celebrate and settle. Complacency can start to set in. The funny thing about complacency is that it only really becomes a potential problem in the lives of those that have achieved “something”. The more successful you are, the more you’re in danger of falling victim to complacency. What that means for us as a church is that since God has blessed us, we are in danger of becoming complacent.
I think we all understand this reality and potential to fall into complacency. What we try to do, however, is cure complacency by rallying a group of people and telling them how much they need to be on “mission.” We’ve all seen how effective that has been. It’s produced a lot of great catch phrases about evangelim and missions with very few actual converts. So, it’s important that we go back to the Scriptures and look at a time where the church began and how it exploded. We’re going to go back to the beginning to remind ourselves of a few things that I really believe will create a major shift for us as a church in the way of missional living. We need to establish a new normal for the typical Christian experience, and the book of Acts does it in at least three ways:
Erasing moral victories by erasing the ambiguity of our role
You don’t have to be a Christian for long to know that we as Christians measure “success” by so many different standards. Church attendance, building size, reputation in the community, how much we serve the community, fame, recognition, etc. We want to erase all of that. We are called to be witnesses. Our identity is rooted in the fact that we are a group of people who are witnesses to the goodness of our God. A God who rescued us from our self-destructive lives and is willing to do the same for any and every one. Once we understand this is our identity, we can quit settling for moral victories and start celebrating the victories that actually matter.
Exposing the potential of what can take place with a group of people who faithfully fulfill their role
When you look at Acts, you see that we have all the resources at our disposal to start a revival. In a matter of days, the church in Jerusalem exploded from 120 people to over 5,000 people. Simply by witnesses talking about what they'd seen and experienced. We live in a city with a population that is 100 times as large as Jerusalem, and we have the same Spirit that they did. We have all the resources at our disposal for revival to break out. What we’re lacking are individuals who are faithfully fulling their role.
Anticipation and expectation of the supernatural
Lastly, as we walk through this book, our goal is that you would see and understand that God’s supernatural works follow His word. Where witnesses are talking about Him, there is an expectation that He’ll use His word (as he has since the creation of the world) to bring light into darkness. Anticipation that God won’t leave us out to dry is in my opinion the best motivation for mission. He’s doing all the heavy lifting.
The church is built on the back of witnesses. We pray that you’ll see that, you’ll feel it, and you’ll embrace your role as one the building blocks of God building something amazing in Atlanta.