I listened to Acts 8 this morning while eating breakfast (this is a new rhythm I am experimenting with – yesterday I listened to Acts 7 while lying in bed before my feet touched the floor – not sure about using the Bible as my snooze alarm though…). Why am I experimenting with new rhythms for getting into God’s word and prayer? Simply put, our old rhythms have been shredded.
For most of this year Sandi and I got up in the morning, exercised a few days per week, had breakfast, helped get the kids off to school, and went to our jobs at 3DM by 8:30 where we spent 30 minutes in worship, the word, and prayer. These were firmly established rhythms for us, and they worked.
However, we no longer work for 3DM and Sandi’s new job starts at 8 a.m. I think they call this the “real world”.
So, what are we supposed to do when life throws us a curve? How do we maintain healthy rhythms for abiding in Christ, times of solitude, exercise, praying together as a family, and building redemptive relationships with spiritual explorers when the bottom falls out of our routine?
Back to Acts 8. We read in verse 2 that a great persecution broke out against the church after the stoning of Stephen and “all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria”. Talk about your routine getting interrupted! These were the same believers we read about in Acts 2 who met “every day… in the temple courts” and who “broke bread in their homes.” They had a beautiful rhythms of temple courts (public space where they worshipped and taught God’s word) and personal space (where they ate meals together and experienced deeper community in their homes).
These believers no longer lived in Jerusalem (no more temple courts) and were driven from their homes. They had to find new ways to daily connect with God, one another, and people who had never heard of Christ in a brand new place. How did they do it?
Luke doesn’t give us many details on that question, but he does offer a key insight in verse 4: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
In spite of the suffering, the hardship, the loss, and the destruction of the life they knew in Jerusalem, these disciples saw themselves as God’s sent people, period. Their new rhythms for UP/IN/OUT flowed from their identity as God’s beloved and sent children. The “what” of daily rhythms grew anew from the soil of “who” they were in Christ and what he was asking them to do. Namely, to go and make disciples.
So, far Sandi and me right now, the important questions revolve around our identity in Christ, and his over arching calling upon our lives. From there we will pray for wisdom as we establish new rhythms that are:
- In alignment with our identity and calling
- Scalable (we start small and simple)
- Integrated (they flow with the current of our lives and calling and don’t feel forced)
Another way of saying all of that? We follow the grace of God that always goes before us and prepares a way.
Would love to hear your thoughts!