Efficiency | A New York minute, Johnny Carson quipped, is “the time it takes from when the lights turn green till the guy behind you starts honking his horn.” Yes, New Yorkers think simple tasks should be done quickly – street-walking, food-ordering, MetroCard-swiping. Even complicated tasks – stock-trading, eye surgery – must get faster. Yes, efficiency is king. But when it comes to Christian community, how should we measure efficiency?
Fellowship | In the months following Pentecost, the church grew from 120 disciples worldwide to over 5,000 Christians in Jerusalem alone. As it grew, however, it was persecuted. Here, James was beheaded and Peter was imprisoned. But “the church was earnestly praying to God for him” . There was a network of home churches in Jerusalem that was praying. When they got down on their knees, God sent an angel to Peter on the night before his trial. That angel broke him free and led him past the guards.
Faith | Yet, God didn’t release Peter because their faith was perfect. In fact, when he arrived at Mary’s home, most of them didn’t even believe it was him! When the servant girl heard his voice through the door, she got so excited that she forgot to open the door and returned to tell the others: “Peter is at the door!”  But they didn’t believe her: “You’re out of your mind … It must be his angel” . When they finally opened the door and saw Peter, “they were astonished” . Then he told them what happened and how God answered their prayers.
Response | Who knows how long these home groups had been praying for Peter. They weren’t measuring efficiency in units of time, but by the degree to which they were getting involved in what God was already doing in their midst. When they met together and prayed, He did transforming and empowering things – even when their faith was imperfect. And as a result, God was glorified to use them to open the hearts of many to the gospel of Jesus.
Prayer | Lord, We long for you to do great things among us. Therefore, teach us to measure efficiency by our love, compassion, joy, holiness and zeal. Make us bold witnesses – in our homes and on our knees – for our lives are short. Let us not be satisfied with ordinary fellowship. Instead, for the sake of your name, let chains fall off and your people set free among us. Amen.
 Acts 12:5 NIV1984 |  Acts 12:14 NIV1984 |  Acts 12:15 NIV1984 |  Acts 12:16 NIV1984