To Act or Not: Should we use the Acts Church as the guide?

church-model080211A lot of people these days believe the church should be trying to do exactly what the early church did in Acts. This is actually where all the small group craze came from.  Much of the church growth movement is keyed on this principle as well. So do I think mimicking the Acts Church is how we should do things? Yes and no… You see, the Bible has a lot of information on what God wants the Church to do. We have Acts but we also have Ephesians, Timothy, Titus and more. Let us look at this closer beginning with some points about Acts.

There is no question , the early church gave a good model. Acts 2:47 says, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Some experts have estimated the church in Jerusalem had over 100,000 members. That is larger than many cities.

There are many important principles to follow for Church government. Here are ten examples:
1) Churches should rely on the Holy Spirit’s power. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Church members should have the Lord Jesus controlling their lives. They must let the Holy Spirit take control. Leaning on the Holy Spirit is mostly what is needed.
2) Churches today must nurture a warm fellowship. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common.” (Acts 2:42-44) With a warm, loving and inviting environment new Christians can be loved and grow in the word.
3) Church members must meet together to study the Bible. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:46-47) They used the temple courts and they met house to house. Both types of meetings occurred. So we must meet at church and we must break bread together and study in our homes.
4) Churches must expand the vision of God. He is in Control. “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is.” (Acts 4:24) We already know the Church will survive and Satan is already defeated. Fear thou not because we have all the resources and strength we need. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Christ will build His church!
5) Churches must harness the power of prayer like they did in Acts. From the beginning there has been a spiritual battle going on. Spiritual battles are fought on our knees. Jesus said, “This house will be a house of prayer.” Our Church is to be a house of prayer. In Acts it says, “they prayed” 48 times. Churches need to pray like they prayed in Acts. Churches need God’s power to make us different from the world. (Acts 1:3-4, 14)
6) Churches should be united, generous, loving, and charitable. Our church should be a giving church. The church in Acts was a giving church. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold.” (Acts 4:32-34) We all need to be united and with one mind. Our church should be the place that the needy are cared for. We should learn how to sacrifice for others like the early church did. We should be a powerful testimony to our community. (Acts 2:44-45)
7) Churches must involve everyone in ministry. We find in Acts chapter 6 how this was done. The apostles found men that were specifically shaped and called for ministry. An example is ‘Greek men to minister to Greek widows.’ No one pastor can do everything. God and the Holy Spirit gifts the entire church. The Pastor feeds the flock through preaching and teaching. The rest is up to others. Our churches need to be able to help people discover their Spiritual gifts and then plug them in. The early church sent people out on mission is the community to add to the growth. Don’t allow people to come and just sit on the sidelines. Use the talents and gifts they bring. Not just any people can minister, however, as the position of Deacon is to be filled with men who are currently full of the Holy Spirit. Not one that was filled at one time, but one filled with the Holy Spirit now. Deacons can bless the body and they can bless the Elders by allowing the Elders to devote more time to the Bible and to prayer. Deacons are “hands on” – somewhat a “Buildings and Grounds” people. As they grow they could be appointed to Elder positions. God wants leaders full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, unity, prayer and to stand in agreement. God raises these people up.
8) Churches need to read the Bible and be devoted to the word. It should be heard from the pulpit, it should be read, it should be memorized and it should be meditated on. The only thing that can change lives in our churches today is the Gospel and the Word of God. We need to be devoted to reading the Bible. (Acts 2:14-40)
9) Churches should love and worship with joy. In the early church they practiced Koinonia. What that means is they would fellowship with one another. They were committed to one another and loved one another. Our church members need to protect, care and help one another unlike the world. We also should celebrate Christ together. Church should be enjoyable and we should express our emotion in Church letting go and worshiping with joy. (Acts 2:42, 46-47)
10) Churches should be reaching out to the community for Jesus Christ. The early church reached people for Christ daily. “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:40-41) Evangelism is commanded and we are told to be a witness throughout the world.

Can it work to try and mimic the Acts Church? In the next post I will give you my opinion and expand on what I think we should doing with our church structure.

To go part 2 just click HERE. 

In Christ,

The Tubthumper



Steve Davis, Spiritual Leadership Examples from the Book of Acts.,
Rick Warren, How to Have an Acts Church, (accessed May 1, 2014).


Egypt beerEgypt brewer  Egypt

There never was and probably will never be a culture that integrated beer into their religion like the Egyptians. They consumed beer as part of the temple rituals and they offered beer up to the gods as a sacrifice. The Egyptians had gods for each and every stage of the brewing process. There were so many gods it was hard to keep them apart. The Egyptians believed that Isis, the deity of nature gave beer to mankind. They also believed that Hathor, the goddess of joy, invented the processes of brewing. They also had Menquet, “the goddess who makes beer” and her inscription was on the temple of Dendra. In Egypt it was all about beer. Beer was revered so highly as a holy substance that a god was necessary for each act of a human connected to the process. To give you an idea as to how important beer was in the Egyptian world there was one Egyptian myth that credits beer with saving all of mankind. This is the story: Ra, the sun god was being plotted against by mankind and he dispatched the goddess, Hathor to defeat his human enemies, however, later Ra recalled the fierce wrath of Hathor and so he took pity on mankind. Ra brewed up a huge amount of beer, likely over seven thousand jars and he dyed it red to spread over all the vast fields where it would reflect like a mirror. Hathor passed by the fields on her bloody mission and stopped to see her reflection. She then stooped down and drank some of the beer. She became intoxicated from the red beer and forgot her intentions and thus mankind was spared.

Let us put the mythology away and understand that Egyptians made one of the most important contributions to beer in history. They were the very first to explore the health benefits of the brewed concoctions. They came up with over seven hundred prescriptions that include beer as a medicine in the Ebers Papyrus. (The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an Egyptian medical papyrus dating to c. 1550 BC. Among the oldest and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, it was purchased at Luxor, (Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers.  It is currently kept at the library of the University of Leipzig, in Germany.) It was so important that barley brew was seen as early as 3000 BC in the ‘Book of the Dead’ because it was necessary in order to get to the afterlife. This is precisely why beer vats were found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs by archeologists.  egyptian brewing process

One interesting point to make is that beer was not drank from a glass. It was drank from a large vat through a reed. Cups and glasses were inventions developed much later. So when men drank beer they brushed a heavy layer of floating grain mash aside, pushed the straw down into the vat and began drawing the lower liquid up through the reed.  I’ll bet that was some thick and bitter stout.

The fascination of the Egyptians over beer came to shape the course of western brewing. The Egyptians taught brewing techniques to the Greeks who in turn taught it to the Romans. Herodotus, the Greek historian wrote a detailed treatise on beer in 460 BC and the value of beer as part of a healthy life was lectured by Sophocles, the father of theater. The Romans captured the brewing skills and passed them on through the course of western civilization. By the first century there were over two hundred types of beer being brewed throughout Europe. The Romans believed that beer gave them strength and energy. Beer was drank by the soldiers before battle and the Roman athletes put it down by the gallons. This could be the reason the Latin word for beer is cerevisium, which means “strength.”
The Christian influence:
The brewing of beer also existed in the British Isles long before the Romans had it. It is not recorded how it made its way there but this is important to remember as I will be addressing the production of beer in Ireland.

It is very interesting the arrival of Christianity and the Christian influence over the empire with its controversies regarding alcohol never diminished the Romans love of beer. For early Christians, the consumption of alcohol was not an issue and drunkenness was the sin, as taught by the apostles. Beer and wine, when used in moderation were welcomed by the early Christians and were used as a part of daily life. Christians did oppose the drunkenness and immorality that came from excess consumption. Historians have noted that the positive Christian perspective actually encouraged the brewing. It was as much as sanctioning the temperate love of beer and welcoming in the beer as alternative to high alcohol drinks.

Beer was a big part of life as Christians captured the Roman world with their ideals and carried the Gospel to non-Roman lands. As an example, St. Patrick introduced the Christian Gospel to the pagan land of Ireland back around the turn of the century. Mescan, who was St. Patrick’s personal brewmaster was always at his side. So yes, beer did play a role in winning Ireland for Christ.

Another way we see the importance of beer to medieval Christians is how many patron Saints of beer are celebrated by the Catholic Church. Right at the top of the list is St. Arnold who said, “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer cam into the world.” St. Bartholomew was the patron saint of mead drinkers. Mead drink is fermented with honey. St. Brigid was a famous Irish saint form a leper colony and he asked God to turn bathwater into beer so the lepers could taste the brew. Apparently God did so, according to the Catholic Church and that is why Brigid received his sainthood. St. Columbanus came upon a pagan gathering that was about to sacrifice a keg of beer to the gods. Columbanus preached and the result is that the idol god was sacrificed instead and the beer was revered and thanks given to God before consumption. All of these saints and their stories are part of the medieval worldview.

When the Roman Empire was born beer was there. The Emperor Charlemagne loved his beer and insisted the quality and availability be improved throughout his domain. St. Gall, Charlemagne’s chief brewer is known throughout history for his ministry among beer-loving Celts.

The church gradually became the primary brewer and wholesaler of beer in society because of Charlemagne’s reforms and the eager work of the monasteries throughout the Christian world.

Join me next time for more on the Christian beer influence and the Monks brewery’s in the monasteries.

God bless your day,

The Tubthumper

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Day 21 praying for election, 19 to go.

praying10In the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.  Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. (Psalm 63:3-4, 7)

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Heavenly Father we give You praise, glory and honor today as we acknowledge You, Creator of this universe, the only living God, and Your Son Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. We praise You for Your grace, mercy, and lovingkindness.

Father we come to You in repentance for the condition of our nation because we have turned away from You. We repent of the six things that You hate according to Proverbs 6:16-19, as we are guilty of all. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness, and the one that is an abomination to You: he who sows discord among the brethren. Father we ask for Your forgiveness as we forgive each other.

Lord, we thank you for our blessings. May we as a nation look to You with thanksgiving in our hearts for the blessings You have poured upon us. Let us forever rest in the shadow of Your wings and shout for joy with praise, for You are a most gracious God.  Father, You bless us even beyond our understanding.

Dear Lord, our eyes are open to the decline of America and we want to put this nation back on track with You but we cannot do it without Your help. We want Your Name to be glorified again across this land. We need Your help to elect a new administration in 19 days that will acknowledge and honor You and Israel. Father, without You we can do nothing. We pray for wisdom, strength and courage.

Father, renew our strength, give us new hope and make us “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In Jesus name we pray. Amen.