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God’s church crossed generational lines from the start

September 16, 2023

Daily Scripture

Acts 2:14-18, 37-41, 47

(This week we share videos highlighting ways members of the Resurrection family have shared faith. Today Pastor Robert Johnson talks about how he shared the faith he learned from his parents with his daughters, not mainly by “preaching” but by investing time in them.)

14 Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! 15 These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young will see visions.
Your elders will dream dreams.
18    Even upon my servants, men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy [from Joel 2:28-32].

37 When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” 40 With many other words he testified to them and encouraged them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought about three thousand people into the community on that day.

47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The book of Acts said the Holy Spirit’s stirring coming had very specific, tangible, measurable results. It shaped Peter’s preaching to declare, in a culture that tended to exalt age and experience, that “this promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away.” That message touched so many hearts that in one day, the early Christian community in Jerusalem went from about 120 members (cf. Acts 1:15) to roughly 3,120 members! And it was not a one-day event—the Spirit’s power kept right on changing lives for the better (verse 47). One thing that made that early Christian movement so dynamic was reflected in the apostle Paul’s counsel to his younger friend and colleague Timothy: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure” (1 Timothy 4:12).

  • Where do you fall on the age spectrum? Do you still, at least at times, think of yourself as a child? As a young person? As an adult? Do you, maybe a bit regretfully, accept that you have reached middle age? Does the dreaded word “old” nudge at the edges of your consciousness? Or has the calendar, and maybe a health issue or two, firmly planted you in the “senior” category? No matter what your age answer(s), when God calls you do you ever think some version of “I’m too young,” “I’m too busy” or “I’m too old”? Spend as much time as you need to in prayer, until “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” is a divine promise that includes you, wherever you are in life’s trajectory. And let the Spirit guide you as you respond to God’s call.

Lord Jesus, I live in an age-conscious world that tells me to do almost anything to look as young as I can, yet often scorns young people’s views on important issues as not worth hearing. Fill me with your Spirit and equip me to share your love with all ages for the rest of my life. Amen.

GPS Insights

Carol Cartmill

Carol Cartmill

Carol Cartmill is Lead Director of Mission Ministries for Resurrection, A United Methodist Church. She provides leadership to mission programs that maximize the congregation’s involvement in life-changing ministry beyond the walls of the church, locally and across the globe. Carol applies her passion for equipping people for ministry, practical experience from working in a multi-location church setting, and an educational background in organizational management and leadership. She is married to Jim, mom to daughters Lauren and Kristin, and “Grammy” to Hayley and Eloise. In her free time, Carol enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors golfing or gardening, or indoors looking for inspiration on the Food Network.

For the past 8 years, the children from Resurrection’s Vacation Bible Camp have partnered with Mission Ministries on projects that benefit local area and global projects. The kids have inspired generosity in the larger congregation each and every year. One year in particular really stands out.

During the pandemic year Resurrection offered an online version of VBC. The VBC children were encouraged to donate money for clean water in Malawi and children’s ministry set a goal for the kids to raise enough funds, $5000, to drill one borehole which would supply water to an entire village of people. A video was produced by our friends in Malawi that highlighted the challenges faced by children in Malawi, many of whom carry large containers of water from unclean sources several kilometers every day, just so their families will have water to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundry. Our VBC attenders were encouraged to try carrying a 5-gallon container of water for themselves just to get a taste of what it might be like for the Malawian children.

One dear boy, Hudson Sands, really took the challenge to heart. He was facing a serious challenge of his own–brain cancer–but he didn’t let that stop him from completing the water carrying challenge and contributing his own money to the cause. All of our VBC kids did great and raised enough money to complete 2.5 boreholes. When Pastor Adam shared the story of what the kids had done, congregants (of all ages) were inspired and donated enough money to drill over 80 boreholes! The example set by our youngsters was amazing, and they have done similarly over many years with incredible results!

Now we don’t usually put name plaques on our projects–we like the local church and God to get the credit–but we made an exception for the well Hudson helped make possible. Hudson left us that year, but his concern for others left a legacy that brings healthy water to a village in Malawi to this day. My colleague, Sheree Reece, and I were privileged to be in Malawi for the borehole dedication in 2021.

Sometimes we lead our children in the faith and sometimes our children lead us. God’s kingdom works that way, and we are all the better for it!

PS – I fit the more mature category referenced in the GPS, and I’m confident God’s not finished with me yet!

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.