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When God Moves, Our Desires Shift

by Abi Foerster on February 13, 2024

“Courage is a value. My faith is the organizing principle in my life, and what underpins my faith is courage and love, and so I have to be in the arena if I'm going to live in alignment with my values.” Brené Brown


No one was meant to go through life alone. We need each other. We understand we are all on our own journey with God and that our faith is supposed to be personal, but it was never meant to be private. We believe that healthy, life-giving relationships are where real life-change happens and where our faith is worked out. We share our lives with each other through small group communities because we all need a group of friends who can push us, comfort us, and encourage us.  

This past Sunday in worship, I began to lay out our plan to move to a monthly gathering we are calling a Ministry Huddle on first Sundays of the month, beginning Sunday, March 3 (the time is still TBD but likely late afternoon).  The purpose of this gathering is for the various members and leaders of our ministry teams to come together to support one another and to pray, learn, celebrate, break bread, and plan our next faithful steps as a community.  We believe faith is better together and this shift will help us to be more effective in sharing Christ with our community beyond our walls.

In fact, our wrestling with the following question has led us to move in this direction:  What if we were as intentional about the community we help create outside the church as we were cultivating within the Church?

Please Read Before Continuing:  Acts 2:42 - 47 / Galatians 5:22-26

In Acts 2:42, we see that the disciples devoted themselves (devoted means they “gave themselves to” and / or abandoned themselves to these things, unselfishly) to four things: “the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”  They were unified and together and the fruit of the Spirit grew in the believer’s lives.

In verse 42, we see that they seemed to feel, intimately, their dependence on God. They prayed all the time. Look at the trend we see in the book of Acts:

  • Someone gets into trouble. They pray.
  • They have a need. They pray.
  • They’re scared.  They pray.

Jesus left them in a state of total dependence.  They’re together as 3000; but v. 46 says day by day they went places together, broke bread together in their homes. The word “together” appears over and over in these verses. Together praising God; together in their homes; together going to the Temple.  We see that they are both a big and small group. A big group is like a team gathering for the big game (let’s say, the Super Bowl!) or an orchestra poised and ready to play a concert; and small groups are like a family where they loved and served each other, and their personal needs are met.

Notice that the number that is being added in vs. 47 is not coming from the church service. The initial 3000 came from Peter’s sermon. The “many being added” in verse 47 are coming from the people meeting house to house. These people were loving, and praying, and serving, and giving. They were devoted. They gave themselves to these    things. This was a response to the Gospel and the coming of the Holy Spirit.   

A countercultural community is a people who are tired of living the predictable patterns but who expect to encounter the miraculous. These are the people who are tired of living the same old life. They long to live the life that Jesus has called them to.  Ultimately, when the Spirit moves, we discover our desires and priorities shift.

Last week, this point was driven home during a continuing education gathering for NOVA district clergy where the speaker (author and consultant) Brian McLaren shared about a church named St. Andrew’s that is located in Covehithe, England.

This church was originally built on the bequest of a wealthy resident and was once a magnificent building.  However, the upkeep quickly became too expensive for the small village to maintain. From the day the first stone was laid, the church was disproportionate to the size of the village, whose population never exceeded 300 people. By the late-1600s, the community of faith guided by the Holy Spirit made the decision to dismantle the larger church and erect a smaller one on the site, built with materials from the original structure.  Being relevant, effective, and true to their core purpose was more important than maintaining the status quo.  Surely, this decision took courage and love of Christ and one another.

What was extraordinary to learn is that the rebuilt 17th-cetury church is still in current use, while the ruins and iconic tower of the 15th-century church also remain and are continuing to be maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust.  

St Andrew's Church 2024

The 17th-century church that’s nestled within the walls of the original 15th-century ruin is romantic, picturesque, and very unexpected.  Let us also be guided by the Spirit here in our own ministry setting so that hopefully, our congregation looks back four hundred years from now and says, “This is a community that understands the importance of being both a big and a small group to spark real life-change.”  To God be the glory.


  • If you could change one personality trait in yourself, what would you change?
  • How would you describe each fruit listed in Galatians? How are the fruits of the spirit more than niceties? You are invited to explore different translations online.
  • What characteristics should mark our relationships?
  • How do our values compare/contrast with God’s values in this passage?
  • What is one of God’s values that you can live into this week and how will you do it?


Gracious God, too often we live for ourselves and not for you and for others. Help us to be guided by your Spirit to reset our values and our rhythms so that we, too, are bearing fruit. Show us the way to live under your values, not our own values. Use our lives to serve those who desperately need your goodness and love so that we continue to build up the community of faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Tags: holy spirit, church mission