“This is that!”
Those were Peter’s words at the beginning of the book of Acts (2:33), which followed his declaration that the promise given through the prophet Joel was being fulfilled in the here and now. God had said, “In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and you sons and daughters shall prophesy…” (Acts 2:17). The message of the Church of Jesus Christ at its genesis was not simply something that could be heard; it was something that could be seen. Christians are called to live in such a way that we can speak of God’s faithfulness to act in this world by allowing him to act in our lives. This is that!
For all our arguments and articulations of for intelligent design or the historicity of the Bible or the resurrection of Jesus, I’m convinced that our greatest witness to the world comes through Peter’s present-tense formula. In other words, the Christian God—indeed, the only true God—is not Father, Son, and Holy Bible. According to the Holy Bible, God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So when we speak of the God of history, we are speaking of the God of today. We are declaring what God has done in Christ and demonstrating what God is doing by the Spirit through us: This is that!
This is what some are calling “Incarnational Apologetics.” It’s what John called “the Word made flesh.” It’s what the formerly blind man John’s Gospel meant when he said, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know. But I know this: I was blind but now I see.” It’s what Paul was referring to when he said, “…not persuasive words of wisdom, but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” It’s what Jesus meant when he promised, “I will send you the Spirit of truth…who will bear witness about me.” Or, in Peter’s formula, simply: “This is that!”
In light of all this, I wanted to share a few things that our youth has been up to—some of the things we are doing to point to the God who is at work in our midst today to conform us to the Way of his Son:
This: Outreach to Build—in November we (through a generous donation from one of our parents!) purchased and built a fence for a widower in our community with two children!
This: Common Good Christmas Store—we partnered this Christmas with The Common Good to collect gift items for low-income families to be able to purchase at a reasonable cost. They were able to purchase gifts with dignity and all the proceeds went to The Common Good’s after school program!
This: Firewood for The Common Good—in addition to the gifts we collected, our students worked hard to split wood donated by Bret Setzer, which we sold on Sundays after church to raise money for The Common Good ministry. We ended up making over $1,000 dollars for them!
This: Outreach to Embrace—over the past year we have built a partnership with Embrace Church in downtown Lexington. On the first Monday of every month we help prepare meals for the homeless, eat together with them, and then help lead a worship service.
All of this is that which Peter was pointing to the day the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it is our greatest proof to the world that God in his infinite generosity continues to pour out his Spirit on all flesh. I’m just glad to be able to witness it myself!
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).