Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
Dear Members and Friends,

This model of the early church seems unbelievable to us. How could it be that everyone was so willing to give up everything they owned to be a part of this group of Jesus’ followers? Was it possible that everyone was that selfless? People just sold their property and donated it all to the cause. What about their own families? What about having security for their future? Were those who had really willing and able to take care of those who didn’t have? This model is completely foreign to us, and quite frankly, if we tried it today, we would be investigated by the IRS and Pastor Paul might very well get some prison time.

Clearly, this communal living is not practical for 21st century America, but there are some incredibly wonderful qualities possessed by this 1st century Christian community that we should emulate today. First, they were of one heart and soul. There was a oneness, a togetherness that they felt for each other. When there is harmony and love in a congregation, it is a beautiful testament to the concept of a family of God. This is truly what we are called to be.

Secondly, possessions were not important. They freely gave them up for the greater good of the community. They took Jesus’ words to heart when he said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our focus on worldly goods is in sharp contrast to what Jesus desires of us. Certainly, what we possess is of no importance to God and gets in the way of our commitment to him.

Thirdly, they were able to completely focus on their mission and God granted them the power to do his work of evangelism. The result was God’s great grace upon them all. If we can forget about the unimportant things in life and concentrate on doing God’s will and serving him with all our heart and soul and mind, we will be filled with God’s great grace.

Maybe, we can’t go to the extreme like this original Christian community, but we can try our best to live in love, unity and oneness. We can share with those in need. We can lessen the focus on unimportant possessions. We can dedicate our lives to proclaiming the Good News and serving the risen Lord in all that we do. And, as a result, we can experience the joy and peace that comes from receiving the wonderful great grace from our risen Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Lord's service,

Rev. Paul H. Knudsen
Pastor Paul's April Message
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)