The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Lent Devotional: Acts 2:42-47

Today’s devotional is authored by Brad Brown 

Acts 2:42-47
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Reflection
What is the church?

Is church a building we go to on Sunday mornings? Is church a service we attend to sing praises and hear preaching?

If there’s one thing quarantine in the midst of a global pandemic is doing for me, it’s reminding me that the church is a people. Jesus’ people. This is why we can say in a time like this that the church isn’t “closed.” The church’s building may be closed. The church’s service may be live-streamed. But the church, the body of Christ, is very much open.

I’ve loved this passage in Acts 2 for many years. It warms my heart and brings me joy to think of how the first church operated—they devoted themselves to studying the apostles’ teaching (which is now written down for us in the New Testament), praying, eating together and taking communion. We’ve continued these practices as the church. I always feel convicted, though, when Luke tells us: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing proceeds to all, as any had need.”

By “all things in common” he doesn’t mean that all members of the church liked the same sports teams or had the same favorite foods. The church was made up of all walks of life, both sexes, and all social statuses. He means that the church members shared what they had with one another. No one held too tightly to their money or possessions. Luke goes on to say that people sold their possessions to have money to give the poor in their body.

I believe this generosity has fallen out of practice in many of our churches, unfortunately. The American mentality of “what’s mine is mine” often reigns in our greedy hearts. I know it does in mine. But if there was a time to repent of this, it is now.

How can we be the church in a global pandemic? Yes, we continue to fellowship with one another—albeit virtually—and continue to study Scripture and pray. But perhaps now is the time to take a page from the early church’s book and make sure that none in our body go hungry. Now is the time to consider the needs we can meet. This can be buying someone’s dinner or giving a lonely friend a phone call.

Jesus came not just to heal people spiritually, but physically as well. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. He showed compassion to the poor and the outcast. Let us serve the Lord Christ by loving his body well. You can contact the church office, office@shadesvalley.com, if you would like to be an errand-runner for those in our body who need to stay home. This is a tangible way we can serve Christ’s church! And it is my prayer that even in the midst of a pandemic, the Lord will add to our number daily those who are being saved.

 

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lenten Sermon: Philippians 4:2-9

The Path to Peace
Philippians 4:2-9 (click here to read the entire passage)

On Sundays during Lent, there will not be an email devotional because a sermon will actually be preached on the passage for that day. Today’s sermon has been posted and may be found by searching for “Shades Valley Community Church” in your podcast app or by simply clicking here.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: John 16:25-33

John 16:25-33 (click here to read the entire passage)
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33)

Reflection
My kids sat on the edge of their seats as the world of Fantasia was being destroyed right before their eyes.

I had decided to show them what any self-respecting 80’s kid would call a cinema classic… The NeverEnding Story.

The basic plot is about a boy, Bastian, who reads a book about the world of Fantasia… and the lines between fantasy and reality get blurred as the world of Fantasia is being destroyed and Bastian is the only one who can save it.

And as Fantasia is destroyed, and tensions mount, it looks like all hope is lost. It gets super intense and emotional for little kids.

You 80’s children know what I’m talking about… “Bastian, call my name!”

Anyway, the point is that as my kids grew nervous and tense… I was totally calm and at peace. Why? Because I’m an unfeeling, unemotional, callous monster? No! Because I knew what is coming.

I knew the end.

This is the logic of Jesus in John 16. He tells his disciples about a coming hour of difficulty and suffering… and then actually dares to claim that he has told them all of this SO THAT they may have peace! How is that supposed to work? How is telling them that they will experience suffering supposed to give them peace amidst their suffering?

It works… because Christ tells them and us the end.

We know the end.

“In the world you will have tribulation. BUT take heart; I have overcome the world.” Christ has overcome the world and he will set all wrongs right! We know the end! And so we can have peace even as our world goes through a pandemic and things seem so uncertain… we know the end!

The end is redemption… reversal… resurrection!

That is the same ending that gave me peace on the couch as I watched Fantasia fall apart… I knew that redemption, reversal, and resurrection were coming. I knew that Bastian would not only save Fantasia, but he would be given the ability to reverse all the destruction and death it has experienced. He will bring it back perfectly and so I had perfect peace.

We can have peace to… because we know the end.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

 

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