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Rethink Church

Rethink Church

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Published by F. Remy Diederich
Hundreds of churches close their doors every year. What's wrong with this picture? The early church didn't have that problem. Maybe it's time to rethink church. This is a series of ten messages that walk through the book of Acts in the Bible as it documents the spread of Christianity from Jews to Gentiles (non-Jews). The early followers of Jesus were Jewish and were challenged at the thought of including unspiritual Gentiles. What they learned could revitalize our churches today.
Hundreds of churches close their doors every year. What's wrong with this picture? The early church didn't have that problem. Maybe it's time to rethink church. This is a series of ten messages that walk through the book of Acts in the Bible as it documents the spread of Christianity from Jews to Gentiles (non-Jews). The early followers of Jesus were Jewish and were challenged at the thought of including unspiritual Gentiles. What they learned could revitalize our churches today.

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Published by: F. Remy Diederich on Sep 06, 2010
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06/28/2011

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A study in the book of Acts
By Remy DiederichCedarbrook Church
 
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This document contains:
 
Part One - Acts 1-11:
 Including Others
 
Part Two – Acts 11:19-28:
 New People, New Ideas
 
 
Part Three –
Acts 12: Confronting Your Powerlessness
 
 
Part Four – Acts 13 & 14:
A Church for Outsiders
 
Part Five – Acts 15 – the church is for everyone by Andy Stanley. (audio only)
 
Part Six – Acts 15 –
 R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the church
 
Part Seven – Acts 15, 16
– Four Lessons from the Journey
 
Part Eight – Acts 16:
Infant or Believer Baptism?
 
Part Nine – Acts 17:
Are We Relevant?
 
Part Ten – Acts 16
: It’s not about religion. It’s about the power of God.
Rethink Church
Part One;
 Including Others
 Acts 1-11Remy DiederichCedarbrook Church6.27.10What do these three movies have in common;
The Empire Strikes Back, The Bourne Supremacy,The Dark Knight?
They are all movie sequels. Sequels are stories that follow an original story.
The Empire Strikes Back 
is a sequel to
Star Wars
.
The Bourne Supremacy
is a sequel to
The Bourne Identity
and
The Dark Knight 
is a sequel to
 Batman
. If you are lucky, the sequel is just asgood as the original.Did you know that there are a few books in the Bible that have sequels? Moses wrote a series of books. Paul wrote a series of letters. And this summer I want to look at the sequel that is a followup to
The Gospel of Luke
. It’s called the book of 
 Acts
.Both books were written by a doctor by the name of Luke. Luke traveled with the apostle Pauland so he heard a lot of first hand stories about Jesus and the early church. And thankfully hedecided to write many of those stories down into two books. The first one we call
The Gospel According to Luke
that tells the story of Jesus and the second one is just called the book of 
 Acts.
 It tells the story of the early church.I think the book of Acts is one of the most interesting books in the Bible. In fact when people ask me where to read in the Bible I recommend reading one of the gospel stories (Matthew, Mark,Luke, John) and then Acts because Acts is full of stories about God moving; there are miracles,there are jail breaks, there are shipwrecks and stonings, there are fights…it’s great spiritualaction adventure.But what I really like about the book is that it gives us a glimpse of the church in its infancy.Studying anything in its infancy helps you understand its DNA…what makes it tick. And I think 
 
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we always need to keep the early days of the church fresh in our mind so we don’t lose our wayand start to drift. It’s so easy to drift isn’t it? It’s so easy to just get religious and neveraccomplish what God has called us to do as a church.I want to use our study this summer to help us rethink what church is all about. We’ve beenrethinking church for the last seven years here but a lot of us are new to Cedarbrook over the pastfew months and I want to get everyone involved in rethinking what church is about.Let me warn you; it’s uncomfortable to rethink church. Rethinking church makes you ask hardquestions; questions that you may not want to answer; questions that might force you to see ashallow side to your faith and your church experience and questions that might cause you to stopold behaviors or start new ones.Now, I’ve taught my way through the first ten chapters of Acts over the last two summers. Sotoday I want to summarize those chapters with five points that you’ll find in your notes.This is what Luke says in the opening verse…
 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…
Acts 1:1
 
Look at that word “began”. Luke is implying something here. He’s saying…in my first book Itold you what Jesus
began
to do. Now, in this book, I’m going to tell you what he’s
still doing
.That’s my first point; Jesus is still working in people’s lives. The book of Acts is one story afteranother of what Jesus was still doing on the planet. And Jesus is still working today. Let’s watcha video that talks about that. visithttp://www.theworkofthepeople.com/index.php?ct=store.details&pid=V00564 The first thing we see Jesus do in the book of Acts is send his Spirit into the lives of his people.Up until the book of Acts people went to the temple to experience God. In fact there is a verydramatic story told about how God filled the temple with his Spirit in the Old Testament. But inActs Jesus sent his Spirit to
live inside of people
not a building. God’s new temple was hispeople. That’s very important to understand because the transformation that you see in thesestories comes from the Spirit of God living inside of them.And when God’s Spirit filled his people it had a powerful impact on them. Listen to whathappened next…
 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals withgreat joy and generosity --all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
Acts2:44-47There are four words here that really stand out.
together. shared, generosity
and
 joy
. When achurch is full of the Spirit the people want to be together, there is a lot of sharing and generosityflowing and that brings joy. I’ve seen those things around here and I love that because thesequalities are a sign of a healthy Jesus-centered community.

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