Disciples and Apostles
We usually don't distinguish between the terms Disciples and Apostles, though there is a difference. "Disciples" refers to learners or students; while "Apostles" refers to messengers. Here's a definition of Apostle: A special messenger of God: a person to whom Jesus delegated authority for certain tasks (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary). All of Jesus' Disciples, became Apostles at Pentecost. The list also includes Paul, Barnabas, Stephen and James, brother of Jesus. "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16
. There is scripture to support the inclusion of Timothy and Silas in the list of Apostles. But that's about it.
All of the Apostles devoted the remainder of their lives to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. All, except John, died a martyr's death. They gave their lives for Jesus, just as He gave his life for us. In addtion to this unique designation, Jesus' imparted special powers to the Apostles. Here's a partial list of miracles performed by the Apostles:
- Peter & John healed the lame man (Acts 3:1-11; 3:16).
- Peter's shadow fell on the sick, healing them (Acts 5:15-16).
- Philip cast out demons and healed the lame (Acts 8:7; 8:13).
- Peter & John laid hands on believers who then received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
- Paul & Barnabas healed the crippled man. (Acts 14:8-10).
- Paul & Silas cast a demon out of a slave girl (Acts 16:16-18).
- Paul raised Eutychus from the dead. (Acts 20:9-12).
- Paul unharmed by poisonous snake bite (Acts 28:3-6).
- Paul healed Publius' father of fever and dysentery (Acts 28:7-8).
- Paul healed all sick people on Malta (Acts 28:9-10).
- Paul & Silas freed prisoners with an earthquake. (Acts 16:16-40)
Jesus performed many miracles some of which are recorded in the gospels. "There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written." John 21:25.
Christians don't have a problem accepting the miracles performed by Jesus as truth. After all, He was the
son of God. But it is important to realize that the Apostles were empowered to perform miracles. They were not God as Jesus was, but they were comminsioned by God and given special powers.
As followers of Jesus, we are Disciples. Perhaps the ability to perform miracles was not meant for us. But we see signs that God is at work and doing His thing. An example is our own transformation at New Hope. This won't hit the Richter Scale, but it has been somewhat of a miracle. A few years ago, we were a church on the brink of extinction, one of many small churches destined to fall by the wayside. Through a series of events that defy logic, we are still around and hosting Fifth Sunday dinners for 85 people. Our District Superintendent and Pastor had never heard of New Hope when they were sent to us. With their leadership and others who just showed up at the right time, we have
redone our sanctuary and Fellowship Hall and revitalied our worship experience, through activites and fellowship. We are still a work in progress, but make no mistake it's God's plan that we are on. Call it a miracle, call it coincidence. Or just the abundance of God's blessings.
From Pastor Sandra
This November we will celebrate four important events:
November 5 – The first Sunday in November is All Saints Sunday; All Saints Day is November 1; the first Sunday following is celebrated. United Methodists set aside this day to honor all of the everyday saints. This celebration is to commemorate all who have lived and died in the faith and now rest in the arms of Jesus. We recognize and celebrate all our everyday saints who from their labors rest. We remember Christians of every time and place who lived faithfully and shared their faith with others.
November 5 - Charge Conference, led by District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Frederick Yebuah. Charge Conference is the time that United Methodist update “the business aspects” of being a member of the larger body of United Methodists.
November 22 – Thanksgiving Eve Service (6 pm, brief service of Thanksgiving and Blessings, with the Sacrament of Holy Communion)
November 26 – Christ the King Sunday. This is both the Last Sunday after Pentecost and the last Sunday in the Christian year. This is a transitional Sunday leading directly to Advent, the Christmas cycle, and the new Christian year. People begin to think about Christmas and the observance of Christ the King can help us prepare by stressing the continuity between the celebration of the kingship, or sovereignty, of Christ and the expectation of
Christ’s coming again in sovereign glory which opens the Advent Season.
December 3 – The First Sunday in Advent/Hanging of the Greens Celebration. Advent means “coming;” we celebrate these days of Advent in expectation and preparation for Christ’s arrival. The Advent Season is a time for reflection and preparation, but its mood is joyful. Additionally, New Hope will prepare for Christ’s coming with the hanging of greenery, adorning our sanctuary. Hanging of the greenery is associated with everlasting life; greens such as cedar for royalty, fir and pine boughs for everlasting life, holly symbolizing Jesus’ death and ivy representing the resurrection will be used. The first candle – purple – will be lighted in the Advent Wreath, symbolizing expectation.
We invite each person who receives this newsletter to joyfully worship with us on any and all occasions at this time of year when we thank God for our many blessings.
Buncombe Street UMC, Greenville for the second time blessed New Hope Church Family and friends with an inspiring Great Day of Singing on Oct. 29th. We are truly thankful for the closeness, the friendship, the Christian fellowship that the two churches share in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.