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good morning friends how are you my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting it’s really good to see you today we’re in the middle of a series on this incredible book act but firstly just a little sort of in-house stuff last week um it seems like I just went short on the sermon I didn’t give you everything that you were supposed to get 30 minutes is not a real sermon in my book I’m just you know and some of you are like 30 minutes this is great like is this the new normal no it’s not the new normal and we had this awkward moment at the end of the first service where I said like with the click of the fingers and now the band are going to come back up and there was no band they have this great little tradition they’ve been starting off grabbing a coffee in between the first service I mean I don’t expect anyone to listen to me twice I wouldn’t want to listen to me twice so they have their moment of sharing together and

all those different things and and so they were still happily in this moment of community of fellowship and as I did the click moment no band whatsoever um and so it was definitely awkward for just a few moments really all that to say my main drawing point from all of this is you guys still owe me 10 minutes from last week if you’ve heard of rollover vacation this is roll over sermon time so if the normals 40 minutes just think like 50 minutes just prep yourself for that kind of thing and uh and everyone will be happy that’s just you know we’ll be good we’re in this series on this book I won’t go for 15 minutes uh this book acts uh and really this book if you were to give it maybe a more accurate title it’s not really acts of the apostles which is its traditional title yes this is the book about things that they do in the world around them if if luke this biography of Jesus life is what Jesus did yes in some sense this book is what they do but

they don’t really do it by themselves do they for those of you that have any familiarity with it this book is really at its heart it it’s a partnership it’s maybe the acts of father son and spirit as they partner with humanity think about that song we just sang that reflected the work of father son and spirit in this this church and how it has grown and and developed over a couple of thousand years this really is is maybe a more accurate title these are people that are partnering with God in a way that have never been done before something has changed and we’ll get into just what that is that has changed but it will be true to say this book is our book there is nothing that happens within these pages as startling as miraculous as it is that cannot potentially happen if you as the person you are a partner with this God who is father son and spirit the things that happen are possible today in the same way and yet there is this wrestling that we’ll

come up with or or wrestle with occasionally do we copy it or do we learn from it what are we supposed to do with this book is everything in there just for us to copy the way they do church all of those different things or are they just like us a group of people trying to figure out what it is to follow Jesus in their particular world are the actions description or are they prescription is it what we could do is it what we’re supposed to do because as the church for a couple of thousand years has wrestled with this book well there’s some stuff that we’ve just kept doing with we’ve taken on board and said this is maybe the way to build a community this is the way to live in the world around us and yet there’s other things that the church worldwide has maybe stopped doing as we get to acts chapter 16 we’ll read a story where paul who has become one of the central characters at that point will end up in a town called philippian during

the course of events will be thrown in jail as he interacts with the people there the jailer and his family every single one of them choose to follow the same Jesus that paul is following and paul in this one moment says okay we’re going to baptize you right now on the spot in this moment now as the church grew over the next couple of hundred years what you found was as the roman empire became strongly christian it became politically advantageous to become a christian and so the church kind of changed its way of acting in the world instead of just baptizing people instantly what they would do is something like this they would say well following Jesus is really hard it’s not someone not for someone who’s faint-hearted when you take Jesus teachings and read them for you why don’t you decide if this is something that you want to commit to and if after a year you’ve decided yes I’m in come back to us and then we’ll

baptize you and you can join the community do you see the way that the actions of the worldwide church church started to tweet now we could say that they were wrong to do that but it is at least something to wrestle with is this book trying to tell us what to do or is it just trying to show us how a group of followers of Jesus might wrestle with just what it means to follow their him in this particular world so as we jump into chapter 2 where we’re going to take off where we left off last week this is the first few verses of chapter two when the day of pentecost came they were all together in one place suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them all of them were filled with the holy spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them

this is this experience of this first group of Jesus followers I don’t know that they knew much about what was happening I don’t know if you’d have asked them to give you some kind of theological reference point whether they could have done that but they are in the experience in the moment and then we get to see the the view of those outside of the experience outside of the moment the crowd that gathers says we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues amazed and perplexed they asked one another what does this mean what does this mean and last week for those of you that were away we wrestled with this word spirit what does that mean on one hand the word spirit in most ancient languages is simply the same word as breath the thing that gives life you have breath and think about your breath even just you and I as common human beings walking around our breath has this ability to give life right we

see someone who needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and our breath even breathing out has enough oxygen to kind of sustain that person and if that’s just us imagine what the breath of God is able to do it’s one of the things that this peter character will unpack he starts to say he’s imagine stories where God breathes on a group of people and and the transformation that might happen there what we read in this early part of acts is that the life of the spirit is transformative it takes people and it changes them but I would suggest it’s not just about the individuals what we’re reading here is also deeply it’s a corporate experience God is doing something with this group of people and we’re going to tap into a couple of old stories along the way so before we get to this this is our key text for today I’m going to read you some of the earlier part of the text we got to chapter 2 verse 13 last week I’m going to read verses 14 down

to verse 36 and then 36 to 47 is going to be our key text for today that sounds like a lot of reading and if it sounds like a lot of reading it’s because it is a lot of reading so if you have a text in front of you feel free to open it and read along then peter stood up with the eleven raised his voice and addressed the crowd fellow jews and all of you who live in jerusalem let me explain this to you listen carefully to what I say these people are not drunk as you suppose it is only nine in the morning no this is what was spoken by the prophet joel in the last days God says I will pour out my spirit and all people your sons and daughters will prophesy your young men will see visions your old men will dream dreams even on my servants men and women I will pour out my spirit in those days and they will prophesy I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth belows blood and fire and pillows of smoke the sun will turn to

darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the lord and everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved fellow israelite israelites listen to this Jesus of nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles wonders and signs which God did among you through him as you yourselves know this man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and for knowledge and you with the help of wicked man put him to death by nailing him to the cross but God raised him from the dead freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him david said this about him I saw the lord always before me because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices my body will rest in hope because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead you will not let your holy one see decay you have made known to

me the paths of life you will fill me with joy in your presence fellow israelites I can tell you confidently that the patriarch david died and was buried and his tomb is here to this day but he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him an oath that he would put one of his descendants on his throne seeing what was to come he spoke of the resurrection of Jesus that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead nor did his body see decay God has raised this Jesus to life and we are witnesses of it exalted to the right hand of God he has received from the father the promised holy spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear for david did not ascend to heaven and yet he said the lord said to my lord sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet peter takes what has happened and he ties it into all of these older stories he pulls different passages from the old testament says see this was coming

all along and then he invites them to a response therefore let all israel be assured of this God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both lord and messiah when the people heard this they were cut to the heart and said to peter and the other apostles brothers what should we do peter replied repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the holy spirit the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off for all whom the lord our God will call with many other words he warned them and he pleaded with them save yourself from this corrupt generation those who accepted his message were baptized and about 3 000 were added to their number that day they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching unto 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 saw 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 that’s a lot let’s pray God as we wrestle with this text we’re in all sorts of different places we have people looking at faith asking if you really are who you say you are we have people that have been on this journey for a long time and we as a community are on a journey asking who are you shaping us to be as we look at your earliest community help us to ask difficult questions help us to change our behavior in those moments where you challenge us would you take those that are afflicted amongst us and comfort us bring us hope

would you take those that are comfortable amongst us and would you afflict us and challenge us to new things would you take this book that is alive because you say you breathed on it and would you use it to breathe on us may we become alive in new ways amen okay so back to the start verse 36 therefore let all israel be assured of this God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both lord and messiah and when the people heard this they were cut to the heart and said to peter and the other apostle of the apostles brothers what shall we do so for those of you that grew up in church I grew up in a pentecostal church so we did this moment regularly in services where we would say towards the end if you need to know Jesus what we want you to do is get up from your chairs and we want you to walk down to the front of the church now I grew up with a fairly strong guilt complex so I probably made this journey about 300 times I’m

not actually exaggerating in any way shape or form there was one moment where the pastor of the church looked at me and said you need to go back to your seat you shouldn’t be here it may be the only time in history that someone has been banned from responding to a message in church and if this creates some fear in you that you might be called to do the same thing here um then no I won’t do it here it wouldn’t be appropriate but this was this moment that peter sort of leads them through there is this moment of response to the message of Jesus and the question we might ask is what exactly at this point are they responding to what do they know is is there like a common theology that they might have they’re certainly not a common language we’ve been told they’re from all sorts of different backgrounds they’re from all sorts of different ethnicities they don’t have much in common at all some of them have a connection to

judaism some of them are what are called God theorists they sit on the outside there’s almost nothing that we can take and say everybody there has this in common the one thing that they are responding to is this they believe that when peter and the other followers of Jesus say Jesus died and rose again they believe that they’re telling the truth that is their one theological belief that they have in common and perhaps they have this sense of guilt or some sense that all is not right between them and God there’s maybe this need for some kind of forgiveness and this belief that Jesus died and rose again which which really you would say changes everything this is what peter invites them into and and peter tells them you need to repent and be baptized that word repentance many of you will know is simply a turning around it’s you’re going in one direction you turn and you go in another direction his suggestion is you are walking away from

God you are invited to walk towards him and then there’s this one external marker that they’re invited into be baptized to show the world that you have made this decision and then he says down here at this bottom part the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off for all whom the lord our God will call this just a hint there in this moment of how wide this story is going to get up until this point it’s essentially a jewish story and we get just this hint that it’s going to expand beyond that and as we get to acts chapter 10 and chapter 11 we start to see people called gentiles pulled into the story and the church has to wrestle with do they fit here do they belong and yet the incredibly surprising good news of acts is just how wide the story gets anybody can jump into this story and we’re told that about 3 000 were added to their number that day picture that for a moment a community of 100 people or a group of people of

a hundred suddenly has 3 000 added to it in today’s church well this would be a moment of deep panic what do we do with these people we’ve got a room for 400 ish maybe people and now we need to find room for 3 000 there’ll be all sorts of people asking questions do we have enough small group leaders for this group like do we have a way to disciple them how are we going to contact them how do we get them to sign up to the email chain all those different things that we might ask in the modern world and yet for this group of people none of those questions seem to matter simply 3 000 people come into the community and everybody says that’s okay we’re going to figure this out this this is going to work the thing is that and for some of you that have traveled with us for a little while you may have got sort of hold of the idea that there’s quite often a story behind the story and I would suggest that this story we’re reading

today is really impossible to understand without understanding another story from the old testament central to the jewish identity of who they were was this story of exodus this whole nation of people had been slaves in the land of egypt they’d begun as visitors they’d be go gunners people that were welcomed in and during the generations that passed this group of people had become slaves to the egyptians and in this spectacular moment God rescues them and leads them out of egypt in to the desert it’s a moment of great celebration and again something that jewish people a story that they would tell over and over again this is what God did for us and if you have a bible in front of you you can turn to deuteronomy chapter 16 if you don’t know where deuteronomy is you can look in the front because there’s a little thing that tells you where all the different books are this is deuteronomy 16 verse 1 to 2 observe the

month of aviv and celebrate the passover of the lord your God because in the month of aviv he brought you out of egypt by night celebrate this moment where God rescued you but what’s fascinating is this the group of people that God rescued were not all jewish they didn’t have a common identity when we read this story in the the book exodus what we’re told is this the jewish people left and a whole other group of people went with them the hebrew word is a mixed multitude a ragtag bunch a bunch of weird people that gathered together with nothing in common no common language no common experience no common ethnicity if that sounds familiar maybe it will become more familiar in a few minutes this group is pulled out into the desert and yes they celebrate the fact that God rescued them but there’s this question in amongst this group of people who are they what is their common identity that the estimates

are that somewhere between half a million and two million people left in the exodus from all sorts of different ethnic backgrounds with all sorts of languages with no common experience other than that they were slaves together and God leads them out into the desert and yes there’s a rescue yes there’s a supernatural experience but who are they and so standing on a mountain we’re told that God gives them the law he gives them 613 commands to obey so everybody knows on the outside who they are they live in a particular way that is distinct from everybody else around them and then he gives them one marker which I can’t display without a small infant male child a pair of scissors or other some other such device and a license to practice medicine because they also circumcised their male children and that was the one common marker that they had outside the law this group of people needs an identity they

don’t have one they’re just a mixed multitude of people from so many different backgrounds and so you see that God says something else to them celebrate the fact that I rescued that you but celebrate something else too count of seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain the time you begin the harvest then celebrate the festival of weeks to the lord your God by giving a free will offering in proportion to the blessing the lord your God has given you this is deuteronomy chapter 9 chapter 16 verse 9 remember that you were slaves in egypt and follow carefully these decrees this second celebration 50 days after the passover became about celebrating the law that God had given them celebrate the fact that I rescued you then celebrate the fact that I made you a community I gave you an identity I pulled you together and gave you this common experience celebrate the community I made you so think

about this story lurking in jewish consciousness for a few hundred years even a couple of thousand years you have passover then 50 days pass and then you have this festival called shavuot or pentecost 50 days 50 days after passover they have this moment of celebration of becoming a community you could say that this jewish people became a community on pentecost you might even go further and say they became an alternative community on pentecost because this community does not look like any other community around they believe very different things they live in very different ways they have different practices to everybody else around them in this moment thousands of years before the story we’re landing in today this group of people celebrated becoming a community so think of yourself as a first century jewish person think about how this story starts to grab you when you realize that Jesus dies on

passover and he’s raised to life again spectacularly beyond all expectation you get to encounter him and for 40 days he teaches you about what’s coming next but concerningly his common messages I’m leaving this story to you you guys are the ones that are going to be responsible for it in the future and as these days begin to pass and Jesus returns to his father there’s 50 days that slowly take over and then you find yourself on this day pentecost 50 years later where your nation celebrates becoming a community and there’s just in the air some lurking suspicion or expectation of what happens now what comes next the jewish people celebrated rescue and then 50 days later celebrated their community and now this new group of people celebrate their rescue and 50 days pass and the spirit is given peter even says if you join this community in this moment you will receive the gift of the holy spirit you will be pulled in and this 3 000

people that join the community on this day they become part of a community’s birth they become a community on pentecost that’s why for a couple of thousand years people have talked as about pentecost as the birth of the church the moment that it came to life they become an alternative community on pentecost too but this community again is different to every other type of community this jewish community has been based on obeying laws it may have had the circumcision thing as a an identifier but that’s not particularly visible to the outside world but nor is it anything to do with internal change in this moment this new community is founded on one thing and one thing only they are people of the spirit now it’s only possible for for that to happen because of what Jesus death and resurrection mean so I’m not trying to minimize that but the one thing this community have in common is they are

people of the spirit they are people who something has happened to internally and that starts to spread to the external that is the marker of this community they are people of the spirit and now trying to understand what will read as this community shapes she is shaped it really is affected by this question of what do we call community today because I would suggest this community we’re about to read about is so different that almost none of our experiences outside a real Jesus community really compare to it at all what do we mean by that word community what do you and I call community it might be something like this we gather around a table with friends there is a joy in that community maybe that’s the best example we can find of real community maybe family biological family is another example but there’s others that are a little weird thus the office environment what is it for a group of people to gather around

simply the business or the type of work they are involved in is that real community as we’ll wrestle with community later there is the common experience of supporting the same team I would love to talk a little bit about the ryder cup but I actually don’t want to right now for some reason being a european and if you know you know and if you don’t you don’t know so let’s just move on but there is that experience of supporting a common team maybe some of you have kids that are in kids sports and so you know like the the joining together in wrath of of soccer parents or some other parents that are upset about the way that things are going and to show it’s not just a gender issue I have both genders just getting very salty about a particular thing there’s this common experience that pulls people together and I can tell that this is in england because I see an umbrella located in the back left corner and only in england do we sit in the

pouring rain watching our six-year-olds play soccer and treat it seriously I think but maybe you guys too too not in colorado I’m sure um and sometimes this just gets wild right because because people take these things very seriously there is a building of community of a type around them I took this picture on the way home yesterday this is the back of someone’s car they want you to know that if you’re voting in douglas county for the school board please could you vote for holtzman martinez lund and watkins because community matters and even this recognizes the word unity within community there is something important there some type of connection but this is not an endorsement of these guys because my neighbor would like you to know you should vote for myers winniger williams and peterson so take that into account when you go to the ballot as well what do all of these experiences have in common we call them

community but in reality they are defined by one thing what can my community do for me we’re happy with these types of community until the moment they no longer provide us with what they want we have a group of friends if they upset us we find a new group of friends potentially at least we work in an office environment when the company no longer provides us with the benefits we think are worthwhile we choose to leave we think about all of these when the political parties that we support when they don’t live up to what we think is the right standard we choose to move on and vote for a different political party when our kids move to a different soccer team where we start supporting that team every one of these things has this in common our understanding of and our commitment to community is generally based on the following equation what does my community do for me at its at its core most of our

communities are still very me centric and the moment that that equation doesn’t make sense well it’s over the unity lasts while the equation makes sense while it works so that’s our baseline really I would suggest for community it’s really quite me centric and so now as we move on to this last part of acts chapter 2 and we start to wrestle with the type of community father son and spirit will create well we start to see something in practice I would suggest is very very different indeed so verse 40 this is what happens to this 3 000 people that join this community on this day they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship and to the breaking of bread and to prayer everyone was filled with all the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles all the believers were together and had everything in common they sold pro property and possessions to give to anyone who had need is this community centered

primarily around what the community can do for me it’s not there’s multiple occasions where people do things for this community to enter into it that don’t benefit them on the surface at all they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need one of the fascinating things about this passage is this that this is the passage that karl marx took and based communism around he simply took God out of the equation and discovered that it doesn’t work without God in the equation but what took place here was incredibly supernatural and incredibly hard to believe this is a group of people that take their possessions and find them in common how does that benefit the best of the people that are the the best off surely these are people that are entering into this community for something other than self-interest something very fascinating is going on here every day they continued to meet together in the temple

courts they broke bread in their homes and eat 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 this community that we see shape around the spirit is doing very unusual things has very unusual standards for what’s normal this is an alternative community centered around a new organizing principle me for my community and my community for the world these people enter in with no particular expectation that it has to benefit them they are giving generously into the community and then this community is deeply concerned for the world around it and this is why the earliest christians when parents decided they couldn’t afford to keep a child and left them out on the streets sometimes to die this is the community that said we can’t allow that to happen we’re bringing them into our community this is the

community that when plagues hit cities they stayed behind to care for those that are sick this is the community that made very remarkable decisions about how they lived decisions that don’t always make sense when we think about community as an equation does this work for me they jumped into something long-lasting sometimes for not obvious reasons and there’s one passage particularly one moment in this text we just read that I find deeply fascinating that I’d love us to focus on for just a few minutes they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts that word sincere is this greek word aphotos it simply means no stones they lived a life on a pathway with no stones why would the writer use such an interesting piece of language what does he mean by that and so from home I brought some stones I think my neighbor thought I’d gone crazy because I was digging these up this morning at some ridiculous

hour and I’m just gonna spread them out there a little bit this word has this deep connotation or root in this idea of what it is to walk along a pathway and when it describes this community he says it’s like they’re living life on a pathway that doesn’t have stones all over it imagine yourself walking bare feet and the pain that these stones cause you and I’m actually going to demonstrate it for you just a little bit because we know if you’ve got this kind of stones in your driveway they actually hurt a great deal to walk on uh I have an uncle that’s a farmer and he could just do this without any pain whatsoever but for whatever reason he compares this experience ouch of these earliest followers of Jesus he talks about life essentially as this experience of struggle of toil and for this community there is something happening that their experience of life is different think about where you may take this metaphor think about the

fact that so often we are burdened and and broken by so many things there is so much struggle we feel like we are maybe stooped down bending over just trying to survive on this kind of pathway covered in stones think about your conversations with many people in the world around you doesn’t it feel like we’re living in a society where we don’t have ease between us there is so much struggle in just having a conversation there are so many divisive viewpoints that we can’t actually share dialogue we are people that are constantly on edge we are people that are walking pathways that feel like they are covered in stones and we don’t actually know often how to deal with that one of the most beautiful pictures this writer gives us is this is a community that met together in english with glad and sincere hearts but in greek with this idea of it wasn’t like walking on stones with these people it doesn’t mean that their struggles

disappeared completely it doesn’t mean that life was easy but for whatever reason something this community provided felt like it smoothed the pathway it wasn’t that they didn’t have disagreements we just talked about the fact that they have different languages different backgrounds all of these different things and yet for whatever reason something about this community brought people together from all these different backgrounds and instead of my experience of standing on these stones it was like the experience of life was different for these people this is maybe the compelling thing that drew people into this community that said to them no I want to belong to something like this my question in life is is why do I feel like I encounter so many stones why is it like a pathway is so often strewn with so many difficulties so many struggles whether it’s me personally or my interaction with others and it’s not that I

just expect them to go away but I’m just I’m just compelled or excited by this experience of this group of people who said no they met together and it was like the stones were gone it’s like the pathways were smooth what does that mean and what do I do with all of these stones that I encounter because the presence of stones especially my interactions with other people means that actually the easiest thing to do is to just pick them up and throw them at people and that seems to be our experience of the world today there seems to be so much throwing of stones and other things it feels like we struggle to just exist together and that applies to the church as well as to the world what do we do with all this how do we find this genuine community that this group of earliest followers of Jesus found where they could live in this delightful unity and it felt like the pathway was smooth so the writer glenn pickham has these few ideas around

what builds genuine community with that word unity highlighted maybe some of these things speak to what you need from a community but also to what you are able to provide to a community there’s this idea of hospitality that a community has to welcome people in and you and I maybe have to embrace that challenge what does it take to include someone what does it take to do what this acts community does and pull in the outsider but there’s also this idea of solidarity if walking on a pathway strewn with so stones is painful and hurtful if people are coming in with that experience of life what does it take to stand with them and not fix the problem but to lift them up to say I’m here for you to support you to to help you in this what does it take for a community to come together in mutuality and and say we can do more together that the idea of the earliest church is that they came together and they transformed

the world around them because they were united people all of those things maybe have challenges for different parts of this community different people within this community but there’s another one that I just felt compelled to talk more about today there’s a fourth strand to this and it’s this one it’s humility and the idea attached to that is this I could be wrong it seems like for a community to clear a pathway of stones to have that genuine sense of unity that this question of human humility is is an important one it’s maybe something that we feel like we’ve lost today in the world I heard this interview a while back that just I found so fascinating and it connected to this idea of humility it was an interview with a conscientious objector during vietnam now different people had different reasons for becoming conscientious objectives some of them it was just simply fear and again I’m not criticizing that but this person

had a specific principle that he said led him to refuse the draft he was an anabaptist and this is how he described his system of beliefs he said as I read the sermon on the man I read that Jesus said when somebody strikes you on one cheek then you should turn the other cheek I decided when he said it he was speaking literally he decided that that meant that he should become a pacifist now again we could disagree with his theological perspective and that’s absolutely fine but what he said is this when he made this decision life was no easy journey often what happened is these people that made this protest they ended up serving in mental institutes in a time where there was no security for them they would work with prisoners that were often violent this man describes being beaten regularly and he describes his everyday life as I literally picked up thesis cleaned up urine to the point that it just became part of how I smelt he said

there was this moment where I sat down for the first time to eat a meal and realized I hadn’t even noticed that this stench was in me I gave up washing my clothes that I wore to work I just simply existed this way for 10 years imagine having a principle so strong that you could live 10 years with that kind of existence many of us might say we’ve never had a principal tested to see if we would do something like that and yet this man lived this experience that in itself I find extraordinary but it was what he said next that I found to be the most extraordinary part of the interview as I read the sermon on the mount I read that Jesus said when somebody strikes you on one cheek then you should turn the other cheek I decided that when he said it he was speaking literally but of course I could be wrong but of course I could be wrong can you imagine holding a principle so deeply that you can serve in this way for 10 years but be able to hold it

with such humility that you can take this principle and say in conversation but you could be right and I could be wrong someone once said that the wisest word in philosophy was the word perhaps to be able to take an idea and say perhaps it’s right perhaps it’s wrong but but I actually can hold it loosely my feeling about our struggle with community uh my feeling with this idea that we are constantly walking on stones in our interactions with each other is maybe that somewhere we’ve lost some of this we hold principles or beliefs about things outside of particularly who Jesus is perhaps and we hold them so strongly that we can no longer say perhaps to them we can no longer say perhaps I’m wrong and yet this community that is gathered around so many different people of different language backgrounds different ethnicities can come together around this concept of who the spirit is and this internal change

and they seem to be able to let the rest of the things go and to hold them loosely and I wonder if we can today I wonder if we’ve lost that ability mother teresa of calcutta said we learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully and it seems like that’s what this man did for 10 years as he interacted with the world that he was given this community that we see early in acts centered around this very unusual principles the fact that it pulls in people of so many different backgrounds so many different environments and they live together in this path they describe as having no stones was compelling and the lord added to their number daily those who were being saved as we wrap up my question is what what type of community is this one here can it reflect that early acts community can we take those principles can we be an alternative community centered around a new organizing principle me for my community and

my community for the world or are there just so many stones on the path are we just weighed down by so many things are interactions between us now just so broken that that we can never be this community that Jesus dreamed of and the spirit created as we are challenged individually my question as a final question is what will you bring as you follow the spirit into community this is a community that is about me for my community and my community for the world and that type of community is compelling I’m going to invite the worship team to come back on stage and we’re going to close God as we wrestle with this idea as we wrestle with this picture of a first Jesus-centered community that is empowered by your spirit we recognize that we are those people many of us followers of yours many with the same internal experience of a spirit that dwells within us and yet we often feel different to them we often feel like we are

walking on pathways strewn with stones and we are lifting burns we cannot carry them with our interactions with people feel so broken so maybe even unfixable would you speak to our community would you challenge us as individuals what is it that we hold so tightly we can no longer say perhaps is it an essential like who you are and what you did in the world or is it something that maybe belongs on the edges maybe something we have to learn to say perhaps about maybe we need to learn to articulate those words again but I could be wrong God for this community for south my longing is for hospitality my longing is for solidarity my longing is for mutuality but my longing is also for humility thank you the way you have made us as individuals thank you for the way that you can bring us together in community may we embrace the challenge that you give us for those that come in feeling broken down hurting in these moments would you come alongside them would they know the gentle presence of your spirit as we sing would you be with your people amen