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.................