April 17

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

“So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.” vs. 41

According to Luke Peter got quite a response to his Pentecost sermon in Jerusalem. While the number 3000 can be questioned, there’s no doubt that not long after Jesus’ crucifixion, many Jews joined the ranks of the believers. Some of them may have been in the crowd shouting for his death, but when they heard Peter’s words they were convicted and wanted to know what they could do to make up for what they had done. Peter invited them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, receive the forgiveness of sins and be filled with the Holy Spirit–and thousands were baptized. Some wonder if that sort of thing could ever happen again. We live in a time when some congregations are declining in membership–some receive members by baptism only occasionally. Pastors are wondering if we are witnessing the last days of the Church. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and new strategies are being plotted–surely there has to be some way of reinvigorating our congregations and filling them with the spirit of Pentecost. It’s almost as if people see no need for repentance or baptism and are bored with the good news of Jesus. Of course believers know that Christ has risen and isn’t going away, but shouldn’t there be more excitement about the new life he offers? Maybe the old, old story needs a makeover! People are wondering!

Thought for the Day: What can reinvigorate our congregations?

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