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Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Beginning

Tomorrow I am meeting with 8 other folks. We plan to get together in mid-morning, spend time in getting to know one another (some have never met), praying, sharing, and end with a meal together. Two of these people are from my former church. We have been planning to begin meeting regularly, and tomorrow will be the first time.

I believe that the New Testament shows that we should meet regularly as believers. My two friends believe this as well. I know that many out there don't share this conviction. Many would say that if we try to have "church" the way it should be, we will just end up with a smaller version of the one we left. I surely hope that this isn't the case.

Even though I am exited about having these times on a regular basis, I do realize that many have gone this way before and failed. I can't help but think of a prisoner who has just been released from jail after serving a lengthy sentence. He has relied on that system for years. Being "inside" was the only life he knew, and now that he is out, he struggles. He can't just blend into society overnight. He has to unlearn and relearn so many things. He has to start fending for himself in the world, after having had little freedom or responsibility for a long time. Statistics for ex-cons returning to crime are pretty dismal. It is hard to make that adjustment, and many end up back behind bars, where it is at least familiar and predictable.

I am so hoping that as "leavers" we will be able to make the needed adjustments. I hope we will learn to rely wholly on the Holy Spirit to lead us. I hope we won't suddenly find ourselves sitting around in a living room in awkward silence, no one knowing what to do or say, because we are so accustomed to a man telling us what to do, say, sing and believe. I hope we will remember the reason we are all there. The reason is a Person, Jesus Christ. I hope we will each feel free to express what is in our hearts; to each other, and to Him. I know that He will be present with us, because He is present IN us. I hope we will trust Him enough to just be real, to just rejoice, to just give thanks. It shouldn't be that difficult, should it?

I'll let you know how it goes.................

6 comments:

RJW said...

Mac,

Imagine all of you are gathering to talk about your boyfriend/husband who is the penultimate of everything you could ever imagine...you won't be able to stop talking!!! ;)

In The Bonsai Conspiracy, Paul Anderson Walsh talks about corporate gatherings; you might want to read that book.

Institutions, in and of themselves aren't wrong, he states, it's when we serve the institution instead of the other way around! That said, non-institutional, non-legalistic fellowships are few and far between so I think you and your friends are on the right track.

There are reasons we are to forsake not the gathering of ourselves and even some in the online community realize this or the desire to meet wouldn't be so strong. We need the most basic form of communication: touch. To simply exchange handclasps, to have a hand grip ours in encouragement, to have a pair of arms hold us when we cry, to lay hands on us in prayer...these are powerful and healing connections. Just as we are created for relationship with God so we are created for relationship and fellowship with people!

We'll be praying for you and your friends today. :)

Walking Church said...

Fantastic!

as for:

"Many would say that if we try to have "church" the way it should be, we will just end up with a smaller version of the one we left. I surely hope that this isn't the case.'

It won't be - I find that many attempt to be Church forgetting that Christ who is our life is present...I find gathers tend to operate in a format; in the carnal flesh...failing to worship in Spirit and in Truth. Assembly is walking in the Spirit (as you mentioned) not executing a preplanned Script. I have seen when times when His Spirit wants to move and it is quenched...shut down.

I think you are in the right direction...be very sensitive to His Spirit (I believe you are) and plyable...go for the ride...include Him in your assembly as leader!

Envious...hard to get a gang of believers together without someone trying to put their hand on the Ark of the Covenant (remember what happened to that dude that tried to stabilize something that was in Abba's Hand).

Have fun and operate outside of the traditional church box!!!

Amy said...

Maureen,
Thank you for sharing! My sincerest wishes on meeting with your friends. May the love of Papa Son Holy Spirit infuse your fellowship.

Definitely keep us posted on how it goes.

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Maureen said...

Jamie thank you for your prayers. You are so right about "touch". It is an vital part of fellowship. As is looking someone in the eye while they share their heart, and then them hearing the empathy or whatever in your voice as you respond to them. All of these things are part of communication that can only take place in person.

Maureen said...

Walking Church, thanks for the encouragement. Yes for sure it must be the Holy Spirit Who leads. It is uncharted water for most of us, isn't it? We are so used to relying on a person or persons to lay it all out for us.

Maureen said...

Hi Amy, thanks for your kind words. It is the love of God for us, and our love for Him that brings us together. How amazing that He set His love on us, and then in response we love Him, however feebly.