Why Acts?

September 14, 2023
pastor rob cattalani
Rob Cattalani

What can the early experience of the Church teach us about what it means to be God’s Church today? That is a question we will explore together Sunday mornings this fall and in the first months of 2024 as we take a look at the birth and growth of the Church recorded in the Book of Acts.

We’ll examine the nature of the Church when it first started — how it was formed and how it grew. How did it come to have the influence it did in such a short period of time? And how did it manage to thrive under such great opposition?

In a little more than 30 years, the Church goes from the center of the Jewish world (Jerusalem) to the center of Gentile world in those days (Rome). In this time the early Church experienced growth through a series of spiritual dynamics — dynamics that form a pattern for the new life and growth of the Church in any era… including our own.

Here is the key: The source of this new life is the Holy Spirit of God.

For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:5

In the Book of Acts we discover two worlds — the broken one we all inherited and an alternate world created by the Spirit of God.

The regular challenge for the church is to stay spiritually alive to the Person and calling at the center of this new world. Like the people of God in the Scriptures, we find that the first world is regularly pulling us away from God and His purposes for our lives. And when our hearts are not full of God, they become full of the world– like a sponge thrown into a mud puddle.

At such times what we need — personally and corporately — is a revival. Not to be saved again but to be renewed in our faith and in our witness. This is a sovereign work of God but one we must work to sustain and grow. We do this through what is often called resurrection practices: dependent prayer, a deeper engagement with God’s Word, life-giving community, sacrificial giving, and an orientation toward mission.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:46-47

The overall goal of this study is to stimulate a spiritual renewal in the life of our congregation. One that will naturally flow outward to a community and world in desperate need of the hope of the Gospel and an experience with the grace of God.

It will be comprised of three parts:

Part 1: A New Life  

This series in Acts 1-5 will focus on the core elements of renewal proceeding forth from the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Part 2: A New Mission

This series starting in January will cover the spontaneous expansion of the Church to Gentile areas in Acts 6 -15, which represents the first challenges of bringing the message of the Gospel to a pluralistic society.

Part 3: A New World

This series in Acts 16-20 will cover the missionary journeys and expansion of the church in cities throughout the Roman Empire.

You can go further in this study in your small group or with a friend using the weekly sermon guide available on the Messages page of our website and our new season of “Between 2 Sermons” videos on YouTube.

I look forward to learning and growing with you over the months of this study. Praying with you for God to do a powerful work of renewal in our church.

About The Author

pastor rob cattalani
Rob Cattalani

Pastor Rob grew up in Rochester where he came to know Christ in his first year of college. After a couple years at the Xerox Corporation he decided to pursue a Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. Pastor Rob was a pastor in Texas for nine years and then served as a missionary in Europe for a year. He answered the call to be Browncroft’s Senior Pastor in 2005, and his favorite part of his job is teaching and preaching God’s Word.

Further reading

We’ve Got It Backwards: NTS Camp and the Faith of Our Students

This past week, 34 Browncroft students and leaders traveled to Houghton University for five days of Never the Same Camp (NTS). They gathered alongside 600 students and leaders from other churches in the Rochester/Buffalo area to grow in community with each other and with God. I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in this experience with them, and let me tell you, the things I witnessed during this week were eye-opening.
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Browncroft’s Wolof Ministry and Bible Project

In 2024 Browncroft is celebrating the 25th anniversary of our partnership to reach the Wolof people of Senegal! One new way of making an impact that we are excited about is the sending of $25K of the Browncroft Reach 2024 ministry funds to help make God’s Word available in the Wolof language.
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God Is Moving at Browncroft

As we wind down the school year and officially head into summer, I am thankful for our church and the ways that God is moving through the hearts and lives of so many.
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