Fingerprints of the Church
As Thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded to count our blessings. The turkey handprints from our childhood days serve as a reminder of God's personal and individual love for us! God made each of our fingerprints uniquely! No one else has your fingerprints! Similarly, there are 10 "fingerprints" in Acts 2:42-47 that uniquely identify the New Testament church. As we give thanks to God this Thanksgiving and every day, may we do so by imprinting our homes, the church, our communities, and our world with these characteristics!
1. Doctrine - The church is devoted to boldly teaching Truth (Acts 2:42)
2. Fellowship - The church demonstrates love toward one another (Acts 2:42)
3. Communion - The church remembers Christs' death till he returns (Acts 2:42)
4. Prayer - The church prays so that the truth can be proclaimed more boldly (Acts 2:42)
5. Reverence - The church reveres God - think Ananias and Saphira (Acts 2:43, Acts 5)
6. Wonders - The church is zealous about what God continues to do in our lives and in the lives of others. (Acts 2:43, Eph. 3:20)
7. Generosity - The church sacrifices for brothers and sisters in Christ so that no one is in need. (Acts 2:44)
8. Harmony - The church is united in love and purpose which yields harmony. (Acts 2:46)
9. Praise - The church praises God in all circumstances as illustrated beautifully in Acts 16 by Paul and Silas while in prison. (Acts 2:47)
10. Evangelism & Discipleship - The church actively sows seed anticipating both growth and harvest for the Kingdom of God! (Acts 2:47)
The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. Heart disease is used to describe the conditions which are related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries, which makes it difficult for blood to flow throughout the body. There are many symptoms associated with heart disease that alerts a person there is a problem with the heart....such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, & shortness of breath....just to name a few. We can protect our heart from heart disease by eating healthy food, exercising, and avoiding things such as tobacco & alcohol.
Spiritual heart disease has been and will continue to be the leading cause of spiritual death, separation from God. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said in Mt. 22:37, "You shall love the Lord yourGod with all your heart, soul, and mind." Just like physical heart disease, spiritual heart disease has symptoms. Some of those symptoms show up in our lives. Consider the following: spending more money on entertainment than we give God, placing kid or adult sports before worship, sporadic assembly attendance, little or no involvement with the "Body," lack of service to others, or deficient prayer life & Bible study.
We can protect our hearts from spiritual heart disease by working on our hearts in the following ways: worshiping in Spirit & Truth; being involved in the Church with our time, talent, and money; serving others instead of ourselves; and increase prayer & study time. We all must consider the words of an old familiar song...."Have thine affections been nailed to the cross? Is thy heart right with God? Are all thy powers under Jesus'control? Does He each moment abide in thy soul? Is thy heart right with God?" While we are still breathing, we have an opportunity to change from having spiritual heart disease to having a healthy HEART! As one of your elders, I encourage you to examine your HEART so the blood of Christ can freely flow through you.