``And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved'' (Acts -47, KJV).
There is a lot of talk today about the``Hebrew roots'' of Christianity--- some positive, some negative, and some sheer speculation. One thing is clear, though: people do want to strengthen their connections with the church that was founded through the apostles on Pentecost.
In a recent (April 11, 2004) Chicago Sun Times article about religion on the internet, reporter Dave Newbart writes, ``A report released last week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 64 percent of Web users reported going online to further their faith. That translates to nearly 82 million Americans, the report's authors said.''
What's the connection? Simply stated, it is that the need and desire of Christians to have daily communication has not changed in 2000 years. The medium has changed, however. Today, by means of internet forums and chats and clubs and websites (including Grace and Knowledge), Christians have a greater opportunity to ``go from house to house praising God.'' Though I did not participate in the study in the abovementioned article, I most certainly am one who has found a home on the internet where I can interact daily-and depending on the discussion, even hourly-with other Christians. (We do not always agree, but if you read the book of Acts, they didn't always agree either.) If you need a good place to take your dull spiritual iron, an internet forum like the CEM (Christian Educational Ministries) Forum can be a very good place to get the rust knocked off.
Some amazing benefits can be found in daily online fellowship. First of all, there is the strengthening of your own personal faith that comes from being able to talk to people who share your faith in Jesus and His peace. Second, it is a way to find comfort in a world that seems to have abandoned the name of God except as an epithet. Every one of us has a personal tradition of faith. Some of the things that we have picked up along the road are gems so rare and beautiful that the Pearl of Great price comes to mind. Other things we have picked up along the road are of no value at all, and we may not know it because we have not stopped in a long time to examine what it is we are carrying. An online community is a good place to do that.
Going back to the book of Acts, we see that God granted great growth to the church through the daily interaction of the saints together. This can also happen today. When our faith is strengthened and we are encouraged, it is a great deal easier to follow Christ's command in Matt. 28:19-20.
Not all online communities are created equal, any more then all churches are. Be careful, but I would recommend the CEM Forum to most of our readers. It is a place where you will find friends who are true believers, people still growing and desiring to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.01.On 18 May 2004, 20:59.