September 11, 2016

A Sanctified Mess: People

Scripture Reading — 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.