Tag Archives: fellowship

worship

Lamenting is Worship Part 1 (but there’s 6 more parts – so if you like it see the related videos)

“Through Paul God tells us we should weep with those who weep. Enter redemptively with them whether we are suffering or not…  How do we create a safe sanctuary for those who are suffering?”

Where is the place for this? Why are all our worship songs so “happy”? I really struggle with this in current corporate fellowship at “church”.

Background: this was Michael Card speaking back in 2009 at a Worship Summit. I was connected to him when he came to Richmond and my dear friend Tim in some way mentioned it, and I came with him. Beautifully he played the piano and worshipped God at the same time as telling the story of the Bible. For me, by far one of the best worship “experiences” I have been part of. So many of Michael’s songs resonate with me, especially El Shaddai – live with Michael Card and Amy Grant.

a call for growth

Ah what timing to read this from Hebrews 5 today:

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Tim wrote yesterday about When Good Men Ask Good Questions, and my response to the question of “Why aren’t the people of God … being the people of God?” … I think it’s because enough are still needing “milk”. You wonder why pastors are out of breath and tired – could it because they are teaching the basic things over again to believers that aren’t new? As I write this, I feel like this can completely go down what I perceive to be a wrong path in condemning a lot of Christianity so I’ll try not to because I’m not sure that will be very helpful. What I want this to be is a call for spiritual growth.

What does this mean for each of us? I’ve no clue. I don’t consider it to mean doing everything the traditional church considers necessary, but let us be guided by God, His Spirit and the Bible in our works. From Ephesians 4:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

what’s up with the church?

Where’s the fellowship? Being led by God in awe-inspiring ways? Depth? Just a lot of stuff it seems that I’ve heard about from a few different people as of late. Some aspects within my own church but just as much elsewhere.

NOTE: I’m more than aware that since the church involves people, and we people are broken, and unlike God, screw things up a lot, we will do that to the church as well. Continue reading

doing something to help “those people”…

I’m not really sure which blog I frequent had a link to this Alan Cox dude, but he seems interesting (in particular because: the cool hat in his picture, he’s also a web developer, a PhD student, and his interest in the purpose of the gathering of the church!) after reading his recent post Gathering and Going Out Together. Yeah you might think of me as all about house churches after reading it, but so be it… I really dig some of the ideas that seem to bubble up and happen in such things, like “someone led us in singing some songs”, and (it’s not in that post but a prior one) that they are *frequently* involved in connecting with some people that live in government housing – and in this post, they went down to that area and raked leaves.

The last paragraph is worthwhile copying in full:

It is so exciting to be part of a church that actually serves people! And, we don’t just serve people that we know, or people who are part of the church, or people who can serve us back. We serve people who we may never see again, who we have never seen before. But, we serve people because we love them. And, we love people because God first loved us.

So… check out his blog – it’s called The Assembling of the Church. I particularly like the blog description which is just Hebrews 10:24-25:

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

That’s awesome. I want to be part of something like that…. or if I can help in encouraging and stimulating, then all the better. I find it interesting that little phrase in between my bolded phrases: “not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some”, what about you? Let me explain that in my mind, I am thinking about really coming together and getting to know each other… not just the 5 minute ‘hey how ya doin this week?’ exchange but a real opportunity to lay down some roots in our conversations and dig in and get to know each other. What really sucked about the week, but also what was awesome… yeah sometimes it seems like we don’t do that.

abundant life

We skipped the growth group (read prior posts I and II) last week because I was involved in a meeting with Peace In The Home… but last night we met, and a new guy came. I won’t go into that much detail, but want to say how amazing God can be with timing. I know this guy from a bible study at work, and have been thinking about him and maybe wanting to come since he lives close to me and his church family is a far bit east of town… Well, I finally decide to email him yesterday at lunch, and before I do, call and check with my pastor and he mentions this guy’s name as being interested. God’s timing is simply amazing. You know that phrase, ‘God is good’? Yeah something like that.

I so had started writing a bit about the John 10:10 verse where Jesus talks about why He came – so that we may have life and have it abundantly. But I’ve decided not to go that route. I’ll just leave it at that. I want God to fill my life with Him. Less of me, more of others (specifically being my wife, my kids, these guys, the homeless, our small group, our larger family). Let me repeat – less of me.

This growth group is, obviously, supposed to be about growth. Something hit me last night in the middle of one of our conversations that even though we talk about each of growing spiritually, a big part of me thinks about that being in knowledge and wisdom. But what it seems I really need isn’t that – but to grow closer to God. Wherever I might stand with “knowledge” or “wisdom” I want to be close to God. Knowledge or wisdom isn’t what has shown me that life is more than I had previously thought, it has been God. I want more of that.

BTW – I think fellowship is three guys sitting on the back deck at night with a bunch of tiki torches and a few citronella candles really talk openly about life. Now if only I had a picture to show you… oh well, use your imagination.