Acts 2: 42-47


Are you connected?


Introd.  The importance of being connected. 

          Show pictures of fire hose                bridge

          Microwave            light             cable car

When any of these items are not connected, they become useless.

A connection is something that brings two things together

Connections are very useful

          Hold things together          Protects

          Transfers power from one thing to another

Imagine what would happen if the connection was broken.

We are connected to many things:

          To the internet      get jobs      

          To our heritage   To our families

          To all kinds of electrical appliances

Are we connected to the right things?

All our technology and intelligence hasn’t produced a connected society.  After thousands of years, western civilization has advanced to where we bolt our doors and windows at night while jungle natives sleep in open huts. 

As the church began in the book of Acts, we find a passage that describes this early church and in it we discover that the people were connected to three things:  God, each other, and to the community.

Acts 2:42-47

Vs. 42  worship – connected to God

Vs. 44-45  common interest in each others welfare

Vs. 47  all the people  kept adding to their family

I.  Connected to God   John 3: 1-8 

Nicodemas was a religious man; honorable member of the council  but somehow he didn’t feel connected to God.  Something missing in my life – you have it – I don’t. 

How do I get connected to God?  Be born again.  How?  Just like you had a physical birth that brought you into the world; you need a spiritual birth that brings you into my world – my kingdom – the kingdom of God. 

Throughout the NT, we find this question asked in many different ways but the essence of the question is this:  how do I get connected to God.  

The answer is through Jesus who is our high priest – our intercessor – the one who goes to God on our behalf and forgives our transgressions and makes peace with God for us. 

We stay connected to God through spiritual disciplines

Video  are you there? 

The scriptures    consistent worship          dialogue around issues of faith        acts of service          meditation

Some of those disciplines will be stronger than others.

Heb. 4: 16 tells us God wants us to stay in communication with Him:  “let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”

II.  connected to each other  Acts 4:32-35

one of the things that I always enjoyed about being on a sports team is the connectedness that you felt.  We were in it together . . . and if you weren’t you were not going to win.  Helped each other, laughed with each other, challenged each other, held each other accountable.

Played practical jokes   Dr. Reardon illustration.

No one is an island – we all need some one -

What connects you to each other          common interests

          Revolve around your stage in life

When you are a teenager, normally your best friends are those who are teenagers – they can identify with your issues, problems, and your interests; 

 have small children – you look for others who have small children – when you are retired – you identify most closely with those in your stage of life – it is a natural commonality because your life issues are similar.  As you become an adult, surveys tell us your best friends are usually 10 years either side of your age.

          Revolve around hobbies/interests

Most of you have some kind of hobby that you enjoy – boating, fishing, golf, knitting, woodworking, collecting various things, photography, shopping, watching tv, traveling – the possibilities are endless.  When you find someone who shares your same interest, there is the possibility of a connection. 

          You have a favorite sports team, or you enjoy the symphony – it gives you some common ground with which to connect.  Obviously the more hobbies or interests that you have the greater your chances of connecting with other people.

          One of the things we do in welcome class – what do you like to do? 

           Revolve around your faith

Most of the closest friends that I have and feel connected to share my value system of faith in Christ. Does not mean all your friends should be Christians.  Even if they are not in my age category or we don’t share common hobbies or interests, our faith draws us together.  That is why people can walk in the door for the first time and feel comfortable – there are some people here like me.  Different race, age, background but they love the Lord just like me.

The big decisions we make in life; we try to make sure the person we are connected to shares our value system.

One of the things we need to do better as a congregation is to help you connect to one another – Molli’s responsibilities is assimilation. We can’t force it; we can only give opportunities – some won’t work. 

Welcome class  small groups          ss classes

Camping groups          Wednesday night classes

various ministries          music teams

Chance for you to be connected to someone who shares your faith and value system 

If we are going to do something with our life, we need to be connected to God, to each other and to our community.

III.  connected to your community  Acts 1: 7-8 

What connects you to your community   what motivates you to serve the community?            passion

We must be careful that we don’t spend all of time in being fed and none of our time in giving out to others.  It is important that we develop friendships around our common faith; that we develop a regular system of worshipping together; that we find a person that we can share candidly and honestly with about our life issues.

But we cannot isolate ourselves from the world.

 Acts 1  says go; Matt. 28 says go – we have the greatest grassroots system in the world – tomorrow we will be in schools, neighborhoods, factories, offices, arenas, fitness centers, Y’s, little league fields, grocery stores and many other places of gatherings.  There will be people there; many of them will be hurting; some will be desperate; all need a connection to God.  Through our lifestyle we can show forth the beauty of Jesus or show forth the selfishness of mankind.

We need to be intentional about something – not about everything but about something.  It can be one of dozens of things in which we can impact our community.  Our Jerusalem is the area around Bayside – Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, East Lake, west Hillsborough – that’s our immediate mission field.   We need to discover what kind of needs are here and how we can meet those needs.

What if Bayside were to close its doors and the community never noticed.  It would be a shame if people said:  I don’t know who they are because they always stay to themselves. We can’t do everything but we can do something. 

          We are not all passionate about the same thing.  If you are not passionate about your ministry; it will be easy to give up and quit when the trials come.

The secret of connecting with your area of service whether it is inside or outside the church is to discover your passion.

          We have people in our elementary program that have taught children for over 20 years  - passionate about it   love it   willing to go the extra mile   put up with the problems and be faithful in their attendance   Why?  Passionate about their ministry?

          Each year our band does concerts in our community – why?  At Christmas we have a program called sounds of the season – most of you come but really it’s not for just you – it’s an opportunity to invite the community to meet us and for us to welcome them to this place.  Why Shawn and his team are passionate about music.  Eggstravaganza – VBS  Carol, Jeanne and our children’s staff are passionate about reaching children.  More than half of those in attendance will not be from Bayside. 

Individuals who visit the jails              make wooden toys for children with cancer

Visit grace house                    human trafficking

Poor in Honduras                         homeless in the county

Widows in our church                       pregnancy center

The good news of Jesus is too great to keep to ourselves.  we earn the right to share the good news by our service to our community.  We show that we are concerned about them as individuals, as families and people who have needs. Many will never come to Bayside – we must maintain a kingdom mentality – we are not an exclusive franchise.

Northwest HS in McDermott Ohio   Jake Porter  disorder chormosonal fragile –x     mentally challenged   physically he was fine   loved football  - went out for the team – showed such heart, the coach couldn’t cut him. – came to every practice – dressed for every game – never played  last game of senior season, his coach Dave Frantz went to the opposing coach and explained the situation – they agreed that if the game was out of hand, Jake could go in for one play – didn’t want him to get hurt – practiced take a handoff and fall down to one knee.

Few seconds to go in the game – 42-0 northwest losing – Dave called time out. Opposing coach sprinted across the field  - must have changed his mind   put Jake in and we’ll let him score.  What happened next is an Ohio football legend    Jake was confused  - he was suppose to fall down.  No no  run   the opposing players even the referees said run Jake  so he ran   for 49 yards he ran  scored

Fans exploded with joy – grown men cried – players hugged him.  Many years from now, no one will remember the score of that game – but everyone including Jake will remember the moment he scored a touchdown.

Community victories are greater than individual achievements.  20 years from now, few people will remember individuals but they will never forget what Bayside has done for our community.  I need you to help me – connect to God   each other   to our community.

Which of these three are you not connected?  Its time to start.