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Who’s sitting in the pew next to you?

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By Jess Thompson

How do you describe your relationship with those with whom you attend church?  Do you really know most of the people that you worship with or do you perhaps just know their names? Are you and your fellow brothers and sisters more like family or like strangers? Francis Chan’s book “Forgotten God” shares an example of what I am afraid is a very serious problem in today’s church: “A while back a former gang member came to our church. After a few months, I found out the guy was no longer coming to the church. When asked why he didn’t come anymore, he gave the following explanation. I had the wrong idea of what church was going to be like. When I joined the church, I thought it was going to be like joining a gang. You see, in the gangs we weren’t just nice to each other once a week — we were a family.”
Now in my own understanding, isn’t that a pretty sad, yet pretty accurate description of our churches today? Don’t we just “greet” one another on a Sunday morning and that pretty much sums up our church family life?
Let’s look at how the Biblical church family lived and how we as Christians should strive to do the same.
Acts 2:42-47, 42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43: “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
44:“All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
46-47: “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.”
So, the Bible describes how early Christians lived, yet how we most often live is nothing similar.
Early Christians were “together,” “fellowshipping,” “breaking bread,”, “enjoying favor,” ultimately sincere in heart.
Furthermore, they were selling their possessions to see that any of them that were in need did not do without.
They were quite simply a family. How often do you break bread with those you worship with? Do you know the names of most everyone you attend church with? They are your family.
If we as Christian families try to emulate early Christians and actually started living like they did, who knows, God might just add salvation to our numbers as well.

Jess Thompson is a resident of Lawrenceburg. Reach him at jessinlawrenceburg@gmail.com.