September 11, 2016

A Sanctified Mess: People

Acts 2:41-47

About three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship . . . .

—  Acts 2:41-42

After I had knocked on 950 doors, introducing myself and Jesus to neighbors in the hope of starting a church, 15 people came to a meeting at our home. Dick was there, a retired navy man, his throat and voice damaged from cancer. Some others were Don, a curiously intelligent real estate man; sweet-­spirited, artistic Angie; gentle, hard-working Tim; Dean and Erica, a young couple with three kids; and Andy, a fun-loving chef and guitar player. These people were looking at each other with all the ­polite enthusiasm of strangers in a dentist’s waiting room. My friend Ron was there too—and if this was like a group in a waiting room, he looked like he was scheduled for a root canal.

All of these people became Ron’s new friends. They also messed up his well-ordered world. In this way Ron met with a joyfully unhinging side of sanctification: church. Christians need a church community in order to grow spiritually.

Pentecost was messy too. In one day 3,000 people came to faith in Christ, and then they got involved in each ­others’ lives. Before long, people had expectations and made mistakes. Some wanted special atten­­tion, and critics made trouble (see Acts 5-6). Nonetheless, God was there, guiding the whole sanctified mess to enjoy new life in him.

Lord, thank you for gathering us, and help us to find you here too; grant me joy with the other forgiven sinners who worship with me. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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