Chapter 12: Acts 2 Community
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 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, 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.
/Angela/ “Please come,” urged May, a banker’s wife known to many in our Lujiazui gathering as our mentor and prayer leader.
“I don’t care whether you bring any food,” said May most reassuringly. “What matters to me is that you come.”
And so many of us ladies did. Every Thursday clustered together in prayer support for each other, thanks to the committed stewardship of May and a few friends.
“I made some carrot cake,” Janet’s message beeped bright and early. “Can I bring some by?”
Then there’s Mei (pronounced the same as May). “Hey, do you need uniforms?” she texted me. Before I could respond, I received another text from her. “Okay, done. Got them for you.”
“I have an extra pair of bed sheets,” Kat pulled me aside after a prayer meeting together. “Do you mind if I bless you with it?” When you first land in a foreign place and can’t find all the designs and colors you like immediately, such gifts are a godsend.
I did not know any of these women when I first arrived in China. The only thing that threw us all together was we knew Christ and we all wanted to be like Him. Some were veterans at this expatriate game, they knew how to function and discover their place of ministry here. Others were barely hanging on as aliens themselves in this strange place, but what they learned and overcame they also shared. They passed on generously the help and resources to whoever was in need of it.
What does "Acts 2 community" mean?
In Acts 2 the people in Jerusalem were in an unusual situation. Many of them were visitors to the city from foreign lands. They came to observe the Jewish festival, but they weren’t planning to stay. When they heard Peter preach about the resurrection of Jesus and the fulfillment of God’s promises from the prophets, it changed their lives. They wanted to grow deeper in their understanding and practice of this new dimension of faith. They didn’t know how long they would stay in Jerusalem, but they wanted to drink in the fellowship and eat fully of the new realities of this communion with God and with fellow believers.
For us living temporarily in Shanghai, not having the typical family connections and facing challenges to our faith, we also experienced real community among the multi-national group of believers brought together for a season.
Generous listening is what we give each other as we spill our beans, one after another. In China, maybe it is the very transient lifestyles of many expatriates here but many of us recognized the urgency and shortness of available time together. One moment we share bed sheets, uniforms and cake. The next moment, we share without bridled inhibitions the sordid details of our lives. The heavens cannot but help split and shine its light on us at this willingness to be so vulnerable. In turn, many of us rose from spectator stands to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
/Ron/ Look at what Jesus did with his followers. He gave them three years of learning. Even during that time he sent them out on mission trips, service projects, healing assignments; but after three years, he was gone. Then they had to really put the lessons into practice and see if these truths really work, to see if God would prove true to His promises. Jesus did not leave them alone. He gave them the freedom from sin won at the cross and also ongoing power through his Spirit to go out and make a difference. That same freedom and power is ours as well if we will let Him have us and use us.
“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. ”
1 Corinthians 2:13-14 ( Translation by Ron Oltmanns)
Each day we are given an opportunity to share and bless others with a word of prayer.
In Houston where we currently live now, I continue to cultivate Acts 2 community friendships. Here’s one prayer I (Angela) received recently. I hope it blesses you as you pray the prayer.
(Shared from a friend – I share)I pray for healing for all who are sick physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.I pray for all those who have been hurt by the words or actions of others.I pray for peace in all the household where peace is only a memory, where chaos and confusion has become the norm.I pray for the brokenhearted, the mistreated, the deserted, and the lost and lonely.I pray for those who are struggling to make ends meet, for those who have given up, and for those who are weary and worn by life.I pray for those who are in search of something better and they’re not sure what they’re need, I pray for clarity.I pray for broken marriages, broken friendships, broken relationships, and broken families. I pray for restoration completely and fully.I pray for the homeless, the sick, those in adult care facilities, in the hospital, in hospice and those who are in the process of leaving this world.I pray that they place their hope in Jesus and trust and believe that he is there and that they are never alone. I pray for the families of those loved ones, the caretakers, and all that are involved in their care.I pray for my family and all families that the spirit of the Lord be up on each and everyone of them, his wisdom, his protection, his guidance, his love, his grace, his mercy, and his favor.I pray for that person who has given up, ready to throw in the towel, and feels that their life has no purpose and their absence in this life would not matter.I pray that the Lord‘s will be done in all of our lives and we continue to lean on him and trust him in all things.In the name of Jesus,Amen.MinisterKathy M Bronson 🌎🦅