I’m currently reading through the book of the Acts of the Apostles for my quiet time. It’s been such an enlightening experience looking through the eyes of the early followers of the Way and peeking into their experiences as the Church first entered the world. It must have been an exciting time.
But as the church scattered abroad, I can’t help but wonder if the Apostles ever thought, “I wish things were the way they used to be.” I mean, the church was pretty successful for a while remaining in Jerusalem. But Christ had told them to go around the world. And around the world they went.
Churches sprang up everywhere. Starting in Jerusalem, then Antioch, then Corinth, Rome, Philippi, Ephesus. . . the new movement spread like wildfire. How many times do you see phrases like, “and about three thousand were added to their number that day,” or “and a great number of people were brought to the Lord”? Over and over again we see the church surging in the number of people reached.
“Remember when we were all in Jerusalem? Man, those were the good ol’ days! When we were healing people in the big city, sharing all we had, giving speeches in all sorts of languages. I never even studied Italian, and there I was, speaking it!”
As I read through passages where major changes were taking place in the early Church, I began to feel nostalgic. I began to miss the days just a few short chapters ago when all the believers assembled in Solomon’s Colonnade.
Just a few months ago, Liquid Church was a group of believers meeting in one place. Early on a Sunday morning, I could walk up the Hyatt stairs and brush past Mike. We’d walk together up to the top of the stairs and chat with Lauren and Tom. The stage would be shared by both David’s moving vocals and Jens’ intense shreds. Bobby and I would lead the same group of kids in learning and worship.
But so much has changed since then. David and Jens no longer share the stage. Mike and Tom no longer greet people on the same set of stairs. Bobby and I no longer share the lesson for children.
Watching Mike introduce the service in Morristown brought me back to those days. The days when “all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.”
And I found myself thinking, Remember when we were all in Morristown? Remember when we gave away gasoline and car washes? Remember when we raised money to build wells in Africa? Man, those were the good ol’ days!
But I’m wrong. No, these are the “good ol’ days.” The moments we’re in right now are the ones to treasure and make the most of. It’s nice to remember, but without those difficult changes, Liquid would have half the impact that it has now. And the Kingdom of God is moving through New Jersey twice as fast as it would if we were all still meeting in Morristown.
After the church spread out beyond the borders of Jerusalem, these words were written: “The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.”
See how far we’ve come?