THE GATHERING: WHY GATHER?

Acts 2:41-47 - PJ Lewis - We begin a new series this week called "The Gathering", where we will be looking at the reasons why we gather together on a regular basis. In our culture, individualism is praised. And we see a God who lifts up and promotes community far more than individualistic thinking. He is a God who has always been in community, and has created beings who are meant to live in community, including the establishment of the church. Individualism tends to breed self centeredness and consumerism. Interdependence breeds selflessness and service.

THE GATHERING: WHY GATHER TO HEAR THE WORD?

Nehemiah 8:1-12, 1 Timothy 4:13 (also Ex. 24:7, Deut. 31:11, Josh. 8:35, 2 Kings 23:1-3, Luke 4:16, 1 Thes. 5:27) - PJ Lewis - In our Christian culture, there is great value for a personal devotional time, a "quiet time", a time where we read the Word or listen to a message for ourselves. But this focus has sometimes diminished the importance of the value of hearing the Word corporately. As we look at all the scripture and the history of the church, the Word is meant to be shared and taught in public, in larger groups, not just personally. There is something that happens when we all hear the Word together that cannot happen when we study the Word alone.

THE GATHERING: WHY GATHER TO SING?

PJ Lewis - Ephesians 5:18-19, Colossians 3:15-16 (also, Job 38:4-7, Ex. 14-15, book of Psalms, Song of Solomon, 1 Chron. 25:1-7, Luke 1-2, Rev. 14:1-5, Rev. 19) We were created to worship God. And just reading the book of Psalms shows us that music and song is an important way to express praise and worship to our God. But are we to do this only privately, or is there value and added purpose in singing to God with others? Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 suggest God has a reason for us to not only sing praise to God individually, but to do it corporately. Let's find out why together.

THE GATHERING: WHY GATHER TO PRAY?

Luke 11:1-4, Acts 2:42, Acts 1:12, Acts 4:23-31, Acts 12:12, 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, James 5:14-16 - PJ Lewis - Why pray? The Bible is filled with commands and examples of the importance of prayer. Jesus taught His disciples to pray. The church was devoted to prayer. But do we also see the importance of praying TOGETHER? The Bible is also filled with examples of corporate prayer, especially as the church is gathered together. What's so special about praying, not only privately, but corporately? Let's find out.

THE GATHERING: WHY GATHER IN SMALLER GROUPS?

Hebrews 19-25, Acts 2:41-47 - PJ Lewis - Why did the church gather together at the temple and then in smaller groups in people's homes? They valued what God valued: community and relationship. This week, we look at Hebrews 10 and see once again that God did whatever it took to bring us back into healthy community with Him. And then we see that He wants us to be in healthy community with each other, to gather and spur one another on to love and good deeds. Smaller gatherings with people you build relationships with seem to be the best context for this.

THE GATHERING: WHY GATHER FOR COMMUNION AND BAPTISM?

Coleman Diffenderfer - Jeremiah 31:31-34, Luke 22:14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Matthew 28:16-20, and Romans 6:1-4 - Communion and Baptism have been given to us by Jesus so that we can; celebrate, remember, and proclaim who Jesus is and what he has done in our lives with the people he has placed in our lives.