| Re: Thanks chanin....|
That's the kind of dialog I had hoped this thread would turn in to. BTW, I think what you are doing in your home church is awesome and admirable. Would you like to catch us up to date on how that has progressed over the last year?
| 2005/2/3 8:15|
Santa Clara, CA
Gave this some thought and others may feel free to go ahead with another thread on the whole G-12 thing, only with this caveat, that it be done with courtesy to one another and fortunately we are blessed to have some great brethren here who already know that.
So without degenerating it into that here, will just comment that as in most everything it's not always black and white but agree with you that as it is setup and laid out from the guidelines it can be most problematic. It may have been in that thread Chanin linked that there are some horror story's of control and manipulation. Also have a friend who attends a church that is running the program and it is of the WOF camp to begin with.
What I had hoped for, was that there are others out there who have enjoyed home meetings without heavy organized church influence, and would like to share a testimony about it. Edify and encourage. That is my heart. \o/
And it shines through brother. Think there is much to that statement; "without heavy organized church influence" Seems a big difference between 'structure' and 'control'. A twist on this would be the 'church service' I attended last weekend in the park with a humble but uncompromising 'preacher', one of 'own' here. The reason for the quotes is that he is as much a servant as he is Gods spokesman and it showed as he not only spoke to the homeless attendee's but served and is serving, taking in a dear elderly lady off the streets into his home.
Obviously this has had a profound effect on myself and it is all in the seemingly subtle simplicity of it all. The beauty of a conversion and baptism and the spontaneity of a sister leading us in singing "Amazing Grace" as he came up out of the water.
And I don't know the half of it. This has been going on consistently for I believe 15 months now.
Feeling apologetic for so much rambling at times throughout all these threads here and one of the lessons I picked up under the radar so to speak was that I need to reel it in a bit and think and pray more before hand.
Yet still the compulsion and here is partly why and where it fits into Krispy's thoughts earlier.
This 'site' is and isn't many things and agree that it cannot be a 'replacement' for a complete transparency all the time. But yet for some and will include myself here, there is a desire to find what I like to call 'like-hearted' fellowship. And wherever that can be found, even imperfectly (of course it always is) the draw is always toward that, be it in 4 walled church, outside or in a 'home' setting or even in this strange but beautiful gathering here. The positives are the perspectives and the distances that can be covered, it's stunning to think that we can fellowship with someone in India or Denmark or England or China, all over the world, don't think I will ever ceased to be amazed by that.
Many do pour out their very hearts here and their love for the Lord, sharing and helping us all grow more and more into His image. The opportunities to pray for one another, weep and rejoice together... The ability to be challenged in our heart and change our mind!
What brought me here originally has been redundantly espoused a bazillion times but it truly changed my life and in the biggest way made me realize the most important thing, that it changed 'my' life by the realization that it isn't about 'me'. Which is exactly what seems to be promoted in so much of our modern day 'Christianity' even all the while making the opposite claims.
Some Dr. Tozer for perspective:
"When the Apostle Paul said with yearning, That I may know Him, he was not speaking of intellectual knowledge. Paul was speaking of the reality of an experience of knowing God personally and consciously, spirit touching spirit and heart touching heart.
We know that people spend a lot of time talking about a deeper Christian lifebut few seem to want to know and love God for Himself.
The precious fact is that God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life, and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship. This means that there is less of me and more of Godthus my spiritual life deepens and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will!"
And this ultimately is what it is all about. Liken to what happens here as a disciple making venture, the sermons and the fellowship all geared toward that 'end' even with all the tentacles that go in different directions. There is a sense of family as well as 'church' here and with the limitations still I have met and been privileged to come into more contact with the like-hearted than ever before. Count so many here true friends and brethren and my love for you all knows no bounds. It gets expressed in an often bumbling, fumbling manner....rambling always rambling. But much growth and tremendous blessings I have seen worked by the Lord through all of this amongst the brethren, so pardon my usual gushing it is not an means unto itself but unto Him.
Been 'out of 'church' for over a year now as I felt led to leave, not for selfish reasons but just to try and 'regroup' and find out just what the Lord wants. From the extremes of WOF to a more 'normal' but modern setting with all the latest programs and such, dear people, love them but couldn't shake the spiritual reality that something was 'missing', not 'perfection' or 'what's in it for me?' But where is/was the Presence of the Lord?
No man is an island, nor is a gathering the 'church'. Often times and sadly it can be just a social function with spiritual overtones.
But what am I doing?
It's difficult in that the pull is often toward 'shouldn't you be doing something... for the Lord?'
But am finding that even more difficult is to just plain...
Wait on the Lord and His timing.
And in all honesty and from much that I have gathered here and in other resources that stemmed out of the brethren's comments both dead and alive, there is an old train of thought that we can do a greater harm in going out before we have been reduced to nothing but Him and there is still much work to be done in that area, much to be absorbed into the heart from the head, much to learn still. All I know is that I want to be obedient to the sense of; "[i]Whatever He tells you to do, do it[/i]" Regardless of how long it takes and while the tension rages between compulsion and constraint.
So, there it is, the progress of a dead man walking and his struggle to develop a spiritual vocabulary to give expression to what the Lord is doing. Sorry if I got all off track here, there is much to be praiseworthy of the fellowship in cyberspace methinks even with it's drawbacks and to come back to the question at hand I think there are many who are just searching for some reality in fellowship no matter where it takes place.
| 2005/2/3 9:47||Profile|
There does need to be structure... that scriptural, and how that structure is to look can be found very easily in the Bible. Today, however, especially in America the typical structure we see is far from scriptural. We don't see denominations with it's "Presidents" and committees and all of that.
Scripture teaches plurality of leadership. Elders, not "one man show" pastors. When Paul wrote to the Galations, or Corinthians... he was not writing to the Corinthian Church on 2nd Ave down by the Exxon station. He was writing to the believers in the city of Corinth. These folks met in homes... and they were linked together... and were overseen by a group of elders. When these house churches met together one would have a song, one a teaching, etc etc... and history shows us that they shared in the Agape Feast... otherwise known as the Lord's Supper. It wasn't the shot glass and saltine crumb we know today... it was a full meal with a special emphasis on the bread and fruit of the vine as symbols of Christ sacrifice.
The object was fellowship. Fellowship is not looking at the back of someone's head for an hour while we watch the show at the front of the theater... I mean sanctuary.
What we see on a typical Sunday morning in a typical church is nothing more than a lite version of the Catholic Mass... without the mass. Less filling... tastes great.
| 2005/2/3 10:05|
I've thought about starting home groups. My favorite singer, Keith Green, had a home church. My former Church started out in a home.
The home churches in my area, much like the institutional churches in my area, are pretty messed up though. Most of them are WOF.(I usually make that into and anacronym W.O.lF.)
| 2005/2/3 10:55||Profile|
The home churches in my area, much like the institutional churches in my area, are pretty messed up though.
That can happen... thats why it's so important that we closely follow Pauls guidelines for leaders in his letters to Timothy & Titus.
One problem that gets some house churches off track is that at times you get people in who have left the institutional church because of hurts... and even out of rebellion. I think most people in the house church movement were motivated in that direction because of bad experiences. However, if a person wallows in that and doesnt move beyond the hurts... it can be a problem, and soon the group is more focused on being mad at the institutional church... and not focused on Jesus.
As for WOF... dont get me started! I'm w/you! ... nuff said.
| 2005/2/3 11:40|
The church I attend started as a home church. I think it's great, if that's where the Lord wants you to be.
It's so important to have others to be a part of the body (forsake not the assembling of yourselves). I'm thankful for the fellowship and hope and pray that folks don't use the internet as an alternative.
I think cyberfellowship is okay but it's not the same as being "live."
| 2005/2/3 11:53||Profile|
| Re: Brother Mike|
Glory to God. From one rambler to another, thanks for rambling. I was blessed. Hugs. I totally agree with your post.
I am currently in a "pentecostal/holiness" church that is really focused on worship. The pastor is not in a hurry to do anything but be sensative to the Holy Spirit. Visitors who love the Lord come and testify that they sensed a manifestation of His presence when they entered in. Of course the saints are the true tabernacle, but it's the worship I think that makes the difference.
About the internet. I've seen amazing things happen here. What I really like the most is for the most part it's "blind". I can't make any value judgements about the way you look, what you wear, what kind of car you drive, etc. All I get to see is what God sees, the heart. I like that alot. I've seen miracles take place, deliverence, live worship. And now, I'm here. I am so blessed by this place. A freind of mine refered me here. I'm so glad he did. I have discovered a collection of folks that desire more of God in their lives, and love men of old who preached holiness that comes as natural as can be when there is a personal and ongoing relationship with God. Alleluia.
So let us all give thanks for all the blessings God has for us and is sharing with us.
I have seen so many divine appointments online between the messenger and the recipient who may be half way around the world.
I went to India in 2001 at the invitation of a pastor there whom I had never met before. It was the most awesome experience I have ever had. I was living on the high road of love and fellowship with folks that loved me, prayed for me, and treated me far better than I deserved, even though they had so very little. I still correspond with them via this internet. My heart is to return to India again before I get too old.
I guess I brought this topic up because I desire others to experience the blessedness of being in a meeting with like minded believers under the influence of the manifest presence of God. To me, it is just unequalled. Anyone who enters in can tell it, even unsaved. They may not understand, but they cannot deny that they have been influenced by the presence of God. Can we afford to overlook such an intimate opportunity to bring blessing on ourselves, our families, and hopefully, the lost? I think not.
So I would encourage anyone to give it a try. We are hoping to get a meeting off the ground this coming Saturday Evening. Please pray for us and that God will pour out His Spirit on all who gather there. I'll let you know what happens.
God bless you again, Mike. I love you my brother. I need your encouragement, your testimony, everything. I love those Tozer quotes too. What a man of God. Love it.
Hugs all around to everyone here. As our brother here so well stated, it's never been about "us", it's always been about Jesus. Get connected by faith to the living God, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.
| 2005/2/3 12:37|
I guess I brought this topic up because I desire others to experience the blessedness of being in a meeting with like minded believers under the influence of the manifest presence of God.
"The manifest presence of God", as you call it, happens anytime 2 or more believers are gathered in his name. It's not an experienced based phenom. I get a little unnerved by that only because I know a lot of people who worship God in a quiet reverent manner... and people who worship God in a contemporary manner. Lets not dismiss that. The Lord is always present when there is unity (true unity, not ecumenism) among the brethern in His Name.
Other than that... I like what you have to say.
(I used to be "Charismatic" when we were in the institutional church ... so I am not speaking about something I dont know about.)
Your brother in Christ...
| 2005/2/3 13:03|
| Re: Thanks Krispy....|
I live across from Jimmy Swaggarts Church. I went to most of the services at the Thanksgiving Camp Meeting last year. At the last service on Sunday night, the praise team and choir sang till they were sung out. The musicians played until they were played out. Then we all sat in silence for about 45 mins. The "manifest presence of God", that "something" that is discernable was so alive and wonderful. Everyone there knew it, eveyone sat in silence "before" the Lord.
Each persons relationship with God is just that, personal. As long as it's going on, they don't need to attend "Worship 101". The first time I experienced "His presence", I was in a catholic church at a men's retreat. I was hungry for God and in desperate need of deliverence from myself. I had no prior church experience except catholic. Nothing. All of a sudden, God showed up in my heart. I was engulfed with His love, His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness. I began to weep. It had nothing to do with what was happening in the building. I ran outside. The whole night sky was filled with a zillion stars. They all seemed to be worshipping God. I stood alone in the middle of this parking lot and worshipped. It was awesome and unforgetable. So I am not questioning, judging, or commenting on anyone's personal experience but my own. Hugs in Him.
| 2005/2/3 13:44|
Just to throw in my small experience, I saw a lot of worldliness in the house church worship I attended about 2 years ago. One I was invited to, the bible study was in a mansion. When the lady I was with went (nonchristian) went around telling people she was an AWOL army recruit, and would the government call her in because of 9-11, the church people had no idea how to respond to such things. They didn't tell her anything biblical at all, nothing. They just were shocked. I was still a new christian and just taking this all in, wondering how these christians (?) would respond in love and truth, it was disappointing they didn't know how to speak God's will. Another house church meeting started out strong, evangelizing and wholeheartedness, but after a while, it was not growing to holiness, but rather worldliness and money, after the leader got a church leadership position with salary. I could see favoritism for those with money and popularity, falling away from Christ's teachings and just too worldly.
I believe if Christians would stop treating christianity like a social club, and follow Christ, and love God wholeheartedly like we are supposed to, we will have much more wisdom and true love for God, and not having fellowship be lowered and lowered to the point of overwhelming disobedience.
| 2005/2/3 14:15||Profile|