Some people are frustrated with the church and want to give up on it. Matte reminds us Jesus left no option to follow Him while isolating ourselves from other believers. Christians would be known by their love for one another and if you want to be used by God, Matte writes, “then you need to learn to love His church.” (13)
He takes us through the book of Acts where we see that the gospel (and the church) was unstoppable. The same power of the Holy Spirit that turned the world upside down is available today. “The first-century church set a pattern that is still the model for producing explosive results in the twenty-first century...” (19)
There are many lessons Matte brings out of the Acts narrative. He writes of the primary importance of prayer, paying attention to God's timing, the tension of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility, believers caring for the needs of one another, paying attention to the opportunities God provides, and preparing for persecution.
I like that he reminds us, “Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. But once His power comes upon us, we can do anything.” (24)
Matte's emphasis is on the first half of Acts. He adds many examples from his own life, that of his church, and experiences of others to illustrate his teaching. I did feel that he told plenty of stories about successful ministries in his own church. Some pastors of smaller congregations may find those stories a bit intimidating.
I recommend this book to those looking for a very readable look at the early church as seen in the book of Acts. There is good encouragement to actively participate in the mission of the church.
Food for thought:
“The church is all about Jesus. Anything else is not the church.” (67)
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Gregg Matte is senior pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church and founder of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University. He and his family life in Texas.
Baker Books, 224 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.