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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Home fellowship things to ponder

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dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Home fellowship things to ponder

This past week, as I prayed, I "received" a word that I did and do think was from God. As I tend to do, I typed it down. I prayed further and shared it with my wife. We discussed it. And she asked me if I was going to share it with our Sat night meeting. I said that I might and that I thought it was something that could and should be tested by others there.

I shared it. And, it was -- in a nutshell -- an urging to prepare for comjng dark times, that we have only a small amount of daylight left on the day of preparation before sundown comes when no one can work. I referred to Hebrews 4 and to the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew and to 1 Cor. 7:29-31. By preparation, the idea was clearly expressed that we spiritually prepare and not tat we hoard ammo, hide and buy MREs.

We drifted over into some end times talk, but that was not the point.

There is one brother in our group who is adamantly opposed to any such talk. He wants to live life and ignore scare tactics on a topic that never seems to come to fruition. He scolded us all for the topic as "fruitless" and then proceeded to say that .... we need to prepare not bunker down. He said the word "prepare" 4-5 times.

I smiled as he scolded because it was clear that all he wanted to do was avoid talk of the end. He said as he finished "I know that makes me an outsider in the room but I just don't see where this is helpful." I said, "B., you just agreed with us. You said prepare or equip 5 times because I was counting." I affirmed the examples he gave where equipping is not being done.

Several things surfaced in my mind that I bring here.

1. It is clear, to me at least, that darkness is on our doorstep and that Christians need to be prepared. The watchman function in the body is not much benefit if we cannot urgently but lovingly say so. We do not have to try vainly to solve for all minds the differing views about Scriptures and the time of the end. Must we avoid it, though?

2. I never thought that an urging in this way would get a deeply visceral reaction from this brother. He is a practical guy and is not very rooted in many doctrinal things, and has no problem in confronting what he sees as mere tripe. That is a help. At the same time, it points up the tensions that personalities present when you gather. Thoughts from those who gather in homes is appreciated.

3. We have been a bit bogged down by discussion relevant to only some in our group as relates to the local church (that we just left in the past few weeks) and things drifting into griping. When we left that church, one side benefit we hoped for was that it would liberate the group from that discussion. It seems to be the case, but it has not altogether, though. There is a couple who was never part of that church who continue to discuss what our lives should be from a view of "this is what is wrong with church". They also seem dissatisfied with what we are doing. How can you sort of shepherd a brother of strong will and strong opinions gently?

I will share this. My heart is becoming more tender toward these kind people who meet with us. Two people who I thought would not return after we withdrew from our local church have remained fully involved. My wife and I keep praying and sharing with each other that our hope is that
God will bring us into contact with whoever and from wherever He wills and to nudge them into fellowship. This past week, an extraordinary and surprising contact happened thru my wife's work that....and I will not reveal it here .... saw a fellow come who might have been the next to last person on earth I would have thought would darken my doorstep. He is a believer and stayed alone afterward talking with, listening to my wife and me until almost 2 AM Sunday morning. He left saying, "this is what the church needs to be doing". ***Side note: Even my brother who got riled up about the end time talk had said 'what we are doing here is happening more and more.'***

For the first time since we started this, it feels like a group of people that feels a personal responsibility to each other. I hear, personally, the Spirit urging me to gentleness and mercy and compassion to the group.

I would love to hear feedback from those who meet small in how you navigate through any of this if any of what I posted here strikes you in any way.


_________________
Tim

 2015/4/20 10:20Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5085
NC, USA

 Re: Home fellowship things to ponder

I think some people are frustrated by "dark times are coming we must prepare" talk because they hear little of PRACTICAL value.

HOW do we prepare
WHAT should we do that we are not doing now

I think if practical suggestions were made ALONGSIDE the warnings people would take it better.

It is too simple to warn without going the step further of providing practical advice. Otherwise folks will be worried that they WON'T be ready because they have no idea what to do. Therefore they prefer not to hear about it because ignorance is bliss.

Just my two cents.


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Todd

 2015/4/20 11:14Profile
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

It frustrates me as a believer too. You do not want to frame who we are as Christians around gloom. You want to walk in the reality of power, love and a sound mind. He has overcome the world. Tribulation is, in Jesus, not the death knell of good cheer. It is the reason for it if I understand Him rightly.


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Tim

 2015/4/20 11:43Profile
AbideinHim
Member



Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3292
Louisiana

 Re: Home fellowship things to ponder

Tim, I am in a small fellowship of believers, and at one
time we we had a larger gathering until our pastor began
to teach on the book of Revelation, and that believers
would be going through the tribulation.

I believe that a true shepherd as well as true apostolic
and prophetic ministry will prepare the saints for what
is coming.

There are some endtime ministries that teach the trouble
that is coming on the earth that leave the people in
fear and dread.

God wants His people to know the victory of Jesus Christ
over all of the power of the enemy. The Lord is raising
up a company of overcomes that will not fear death, and
that have absolute dependence and trust in the living
God to meet their needs.

The Lord has commanded us to watch and pray, and He has also told us to not let our hearts be troubled or afraid.


_________________
Mike

 2015/4/20 21:25Profile
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

One of our older brothers in the fellowship had a light heart attack Sunday and a stent inserted yesterday. As we were all trading calls, texts and emails to do what we can to help the couple, the,following came to mind and I sent it out to everyone.


"Something after our discussion Saturday night that needs to be emphasized. First, I’m thankful that we meet in a way that we can test each other and what we say. The gifts of the Spirit are working when we lovingly rebut each other as iron sharpens iron. That happened Saturday night. Before I shared any of what I said, I had told [my wife] earlier in the day that my hope was that what I shared would be subject to testing. Not for lack of certainty as to God’s voice, but for the want of His voice while we gather. We long for New Testament fellowship. While we lack, we are also promised that He will supply what we lack. It doesn’t happen all at once, but I’m convinced that He is doing so in and among us.

[The brother] truthfully brought up a valid response to what we’d said. It is easy to be swept up in the kind of heart that says, “Oh, Lord, I’m going to cower in a corner in Jesus’ name. Perfect us, Lord while we are huddle up and mourn.” It was and remains a point that we need to heed.

In Romans 5, Paul said this:

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

We exult in tribulations. The exultation of God in troubles is part and parcel of our justification by faith. If we do not believe that – in troubled times -- the Holy Spirit pours love for God and love for each other and love, too, for those who will come to know Him by our witness, then there isn’t much to our belief.

What does “exult” mean? The original word means, literally, to be able to point out what you see from where you are with your head held high. It comes from a root word for “neck”. It brings to my mind a giraffe being able to brag to a lion about the view. We may look like lunch to the devourer, but our enemy doesn’t see Who we see coming.

In tribulation, in dark times, we need not fear the loss of light in the world. What everyone else around us may curse while they grope, we bless because we have a superior view of Who is coming. This is a real, living hope that belongs to each of us in Christ. It is so basic to who we are in Him that Paul includes mention of it in the most essential part of our relationship with Christ: justification.

Are we guilty of sin? Yes, but we have a superior view of the One who paid for our sins and rose again.

Are we sick? Perhaps, but we have a superior view of the One by whose stripes we are healed and who, in our frailty, brings His grace to bear in us to perfect us in our weaknesses.

Are we headed for dark days in the world? Sure, and it must be so. BUT, while it must be we have a superior view of the One who is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and we have better promises and a better covenant and a better hope.

We don’t cower. We don’t retreat. We exult. We stretch out our necks and with the better view of God’s work and His promises and Jesus’ own “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”, we see what the world cannot.

We are not flippant or frivolous in this. We are not using levity to cover up underlying fear. We are confident in the Lord our God. So, we exult.

This is a discipline, if I might say so, that we must learn. We talked about preparing and equipping. Y’all, if are going to put our faith where our praises are, if we are going to put our actions where our talk is, we must exult in tribulation. We must start developing the habitual thought life of acknowledging the superiority of God over our troubles, the supremacy of His Word over circumstance. And while troubles may, for each of us, be more or less “troublesome” for the present, the times will soon enough challenge us to exult. The preparation of the gospel of peace (see Eph. 5, armor of God passage) includes our justification and peace with God through Jesus; it also, by necessity, then includes our exultation of Him in troubles.

The Holy Spirit will personally provide Himself to us in measures that make this possible. That’s His promise."





After that, the brother sent me a message where he acknowledged that what he had said was from a place of frustration with the world not being sensical. It highlights, in my mind, that God is working to show each of us that the world is truly nonsense and that His Word is truth.

Personally, I am not frustrated anymore but I was. I am learning that there is a difference between the church and the "Christian world". The latter is a costume, like lipstick on a pig. The pleas for repentance extend first to the Christian world to cease and turn to the life in Christ that He gives and that He expresses through His body (church). This would be revival, I suppose.
But, my frustration with it is over because Ithe world by any name is the world. It will act accordingly. We should not expect the world order of things to bear the fruit of Jesus the Vine. We should hear from Him who speaks to us in prayer so that we peacefully, patiently know those who have yet to truly surrender to Him, to mark them for prayer and not as those to follow.


_________________
Tim

 2015/4/21 9:33Profile
Theophila
Member



Joined: 2007/1/15
Posts: 363


 Re: Home fellowship things to ponder

3. We have been a bit bogged down by discussion relevant to only some in our group as relates to the local church (that we just left in the past few weeks) and things drifting into griping. When we left that church, one side benefit we hoped for was that it would liberate the group from that discussion. It seems to be the case, but it has not altogether, though. There is a couple who was never part of that church who continue to discuss what our lives should be from a view of "this is what is wrong with church". They also seem dissatisfied with what we are doing. How can you sort of shepherd a brother of strong will and strong opinions gently?

Brother, I would strongly urge you to put an immediate end to any discussions/griping about your former church. If you want your fellowship to truly be about Jesus, you don't want to allow murmuring/complaining. Its the proverbial fly that ruins the apothecary's ointment. Be as gentle as you can, but be as firm as you can. On the other hand, if folks must vent, encourage them to pray out loud as soon as they are done venting. I realize this is hard [having left a church for a house fellowship, I do understand] but the Lord can give you grace to get over this mountain.
Your fellowship can't begin to function as a real fellowship until all bitterness against your former church is forgiven.

How do you shepherd strong personalities? Oh brother, you intercede for them. As brother Lambert used to say, 'I don't mean just pray, but truly intercede for them. The Lord, who made them, will lead you in the way to go.

May the Lord bless you and your fellowship, Amen.


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Tolu

 2015/5/19 18:22Profile
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

Theophila, thank you for the good word and heart behind it. We are walking through things, and since I posted that, those discussions have come to a silent, sudden and blessed halt.

God has been good.

I ask you to pray for a middle aged Presbyterian brother who joined our meetings as his work allows. He has stayed until the wee hours of morning twice now, discussing the Word. He is a long time believer who wants more. He is being introduced to the ministry of the Holy Spirit as our empowering God who helps us to magnify and know Jesus.

Also, please pray for another fellow whom we have heard from through a family member of mine that, although he is a lifeling, deep South, Missionary Baptist cessationist, has recently confessed to his family that he wants more of God and is certain there is more to life as a believer than he knows.


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Tim

 2015/5/19 23:26Profile
Theophila
Member



Joined: 2007/1/15
Posts: 363


 Re:

Oh the Lord, He IS faithful!!
I do believe He is at work with you folks.
May the Lord grant that the two brothers you mentioned, be given light in their hearts to fully follow the Lamb of God. May He be pleased to reveal Himself to them and may He grant them strength and courage and truly be His disciples, Amen.


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Tolu

 2015/5/21 19:37Profile





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