Acts 1:6-14 “Stop Looking Up?” JUMC 20110605

1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”1:9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.   (~NRSV)

Why are you staring into space when there is much to be done.
Witnesses of the rocket and shuttle launches report the awesome power and surreal experiences of feeling the earth shake and the blasts of millions of pounds of fuel and force to over come the grip of gravity and within two minutes the massive piece of technology disappears.

Why are you asking Questions that are not the most important ones.
The Disciples were hoping that Jesus return would be for the revealing of the mighty kingdom that the Jews and the disciples had hoped to see. In the middle of their questions about Jesus’ ministry starting up by their expectations, Jesus is lifted up, out of their sight and control.

The Rules have changed, and so has the community..
The band of Disciples had grown into a much larger following than Jesus and the twelve. There were several hundred by now. We witness the transfer of power from one person, to the faith community of Apostles.

What is an Apostle?
One who leads disciples.  Some say, “I’m in on shape to lead, I have enough trouble following Christ my self.”

We start as followers, then we become disciples, and the moment we affirm Christ as our Saviour, we too become Apostles.

How do we do it?
We gather with other disciples for regular worship, fellowship and prayer. Men and women together, blood kin and faith kin, together we are the body of Christ for the world.

We don’t become Apostles, We already are, by having accepted Christ for ourselves.
Christ through the Power and Witness and Work of the Holy Spirit empowers us.

Community: Regular Gathering
Purpose: Prayer and Teaching

Too often we go to the extreme of distancing ourselves from the title of Apostle, not even Disciple..
We act as if not talking about it makes it not true.

What is our Response?
Build the Faith community through Regular Fellowship with Prayer and Teaching.

While we debate paint and plaster, traditions or doctrines, more and more people walk or drive past without joining our fellowship.

Our Number ONE calling is to build Christian Fellowship
Our Number ONE activity is to pray and study, TOGETHER.

We are responsible for community in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth.
That means we are responsible for building community in our members, in our county, in the USA, and Uganda and Honduras and where ever else we can go.

How important is our reputation? Does it really matter to us? Because no matter what we do or leave undone, we will have one in this congregation, this community, this country and the world.. What if we were undoubtedly known as the people who pray.

Not just a few of us, but all of us.  Some silently, some loudly, some with repetition, some extemporaneously. Some at home and some on the radio, some at restaurants, banks, schools, ball fields and gas stations.  Some at meal time, others at early hours and others late into the night.Here is the challenge for our congregation: We will intentionally become a people of prayer, together.
Here is our mission for year two together: We are going to practice prayers, share prayers, teach prayers, test prayers, experiment with prayers, we are going to be Christ’s people of prayer, together. When ever and where ever we meet.. We are going to be a people speaking to God and listen for God’s direction.

Q: Will you join me in gathering more regularly for prayer and study?
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