Upward, Inward, Outward

Steve Petroelje

READ : Acts 1:1-14

“You will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth.” (v. 8)

After a sloppy game, a basketball coach may spend an entire practice concentrating on the fundamentals—the basics of the game. These may include setting solid screens, squaring up to the basket, or rebounding with aggressiveness.

Through the next fifteen devotionals, we will concentrate on the basics of being the church. These basics can be divided into three areas. Think of these “fundamentals of the church” as pointing in three different directions: upward in worship, inward in growth, and outward in mission.

As he prepared to ascend into heaven, Jesus called the disciples to be his witnesses. Acts says that after the disciples witnessed Jesus’ ascension they were found gazing into the sky. The angels asked the obvious question: “Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?”

In light of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and the Great Commission he has called us to fulfill, we can’t afford to stand around sky-gazing. As individuals and churches, we must worship the Lord, build up the body of Christ, and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. These are the basics we must faithfully and diligently put into practice.


God of mercy, mold us by your Spirit into followers and churches who upwardly praise your glorious name, inwardly build up the body of Christ, and outwardly testify to your saving grace. Amen.