They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
I am watching Black Friday chaos. People stay bleary-eyed, sleeping in the elements for days, getting trampled and pepper sprayed and, I bet, going into debt for the privilege. I have never, even on Christmas and Easter, experienced this at church and we NEVER pepper spray! For a few, church is as basic to their week as breathing. For many, it is a priority but it can be easily replaced by a promising engagement. And for most, church is a twice or so a year event or no event at all. I think Jesus needs a marketing makeover. Elmo and Xbox are lord. Wal-Mart and Target are savior.
The early church, described above in the passage from Acts, depicts a "Black Friday" experience of new believers and hyper-dedicated church members. Life with God became a priority for me when I realized what I was doing, even though successful for the most part, was going nowhere. I felt empty even when surrounded by people, trinkets of the successful life and personal success. This is a good story but hardly compelling advertising.
I am struck by verse 2:47 above. We provide an attractive invitation but only God closes the deal. I can live an authentic life as can those who follow Christ with me. But not through lost leaders or deep discounts. Only through faithfully following our Lord. And that means not calling our own shots. We let God call them. A disciple's life
I hope by word and deed that my life and the lives of those I lead make Christ attractive. Guilt and coercion cannot be in my toolkit. How attractive have you made your life? Does it point towards Christ by what you say and what you do? If so, Jesus can work with that. If not, Christ will help change that. The world needs us. We have what lasts beyond Black Friday.
By the way, I get to church at 5:30 am on Sunday in case you camped out overnight for a good seat. See you Sunday.