by James Merritt

This content is part of a series.

Set on Fire (1 of 7)
Series: Ignite
James Merritt
Acts 1-2


1. Without question, perhaps the most famous well-known name outside of politics and entertainment would be Billy Graham. Of all the stories I've ever heard about Dr. Graham, probably my favorite is the time when he was going to a certain city to do one of his crusades. There were some critics who didn't particularly care for either his style or his methods. They didn't want him to come. They called a press conference and said, ''If we let that man come to our city and preach his message he will set the church back fifty years.'' That got back to Dr. Graham who smiled and said, ''I don't want to set the church back 50 years. I want to set the church back 2,000 years.''

2. Every time I read about the early church, in the Book of Acts, I understand why Dr. Graham made that statement. When you read about the early church in the first few chapters of Acts and then you look at the church today, you can't help but ask the question, ''What happened?'' As a pastor, when I read in the early church things like 3000 people being saved in one day, people coming together and sharing what they had with others freely, and I see how the early church exploded and in one day grew by a factor of 26 going from 120 people to 3,120 people. Then I observe ordinary people, shepherds, farmers and fishermen bearing witness to anybody that would listen about Jesus Christ, I have to say as a pastor, ''Now those were the good ole' days!''

3. What is even more incredible is they did what they did without buildings, budgets, or bands. Financially, they had no money. Politically, they had no influence and numerically they were just a tiny fraction of the world's population. Yet, the church to this day has never seen such explosive growth and such tremendous power. I raise the question, ''What was different?'' What did they have that we don't have? Yes, it is true that the church today is bigger than it has ev ...

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