If you had the opportunity to attend a ROCC service yesterday, you know that for the next few months Pastor Beaty will be covering Acts 13 - Acts 28. Recall that in the fall our small groups went through the first 12 chapters of Acts before taking up the study on John's Gospel. The break in these chapters is fairly natural as the first twelve deal specifically with Peter and the early church, while 13 picks up with Paul and the early missionary journeys and congregations.
I thought I would comment briefly on a verse that David touched on during this introductory sermon; Acts 13:2. Here, the believers, (teachers and preachers), are found at the church of Antioch. Among them are Barnabas and Saul (Paul). The main point is not that they had gathered together, although community and fellowship are shown routinely to be of great importance, but that they are spending this time together seeking out guidance from the Lord to be used for His glory. They are 1) worshipping the Lord, 2) fasting and 3) praying.
Most of us have a pretty good idea what is meant by fasting and praying. But what about worshipping? Several thoughts probably come to mind, from the highly reverent to the wildly charismatic. Bowing, singing, meditating, lifting of hands, tithing, serving, on and on. My thought is that all of these are valid forms of worship and the heart of the matter is always more important than the outward gesture. However, to fully comprehend this passage and the intent of "worship", look no further than the King James translation where the original word used for worship is found. In the KJV, verse two states that they "ministered to the Lord". Hmmm, ministered? To me this implies an effort to fully devote one's energy, talents and desires. When we minister to those in need, it is a giving up of something for something better. Collectively contributing to lift someone up, either physically, mentally or spiritually. Knowing that our act is of much less value than that for which we are ministering to achieve. Truthfully, it may not give us any clearer indication of what the followers were actually doing, but it does give us a better idea of their intention and spirit.
So, I kept thinking that when we are called to a time of worship, do we / I treat it as if it were an opportunity to minister to Him? Do we give of ourselves through this time? Wondering that if we did, while also being devoted to prayer and fasting, would we more often see the results that this group of believers experienced, ".... the Holy Spirit said ......"
"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.