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Personal IC experiences
 Shovel Shack : Personal IC experiences
Subject Topic: Bringing the Lord
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gregoryfl
Shackaddict
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Joined: Jan-24-08
Location: United States
Posts: 1311
Posted: Jul-22-08 at 3:40pm | IP Logged  

My family made our second trip to Jacksonville to meet with some brothers and sisters there who have been meeting together for a couple of years. Some of them came out of a situation in another area where division infiltrated the believers and many people were left hurt and wounded. God though, in his mercy, has brought beauty out of that situation, even healing among those who were against each other. And so the Lord is being expressed among this small group of believers there.

There was a couple who have been a part of the called out assembly there for a few weeks. Fresh out of the "institutional church", they wanted more. However, during the time that they have been a part, they have had problems with some of what goes on there when they meet. For example, hardly anyone brings a Bible. They don't have a doctrinal statement. There isn't a time alloted to pray (i.e. prayer requests), and the time together centers quite a bit around sharing about Christ in their everyday lives. This couple though, can't nail down just what this group believes about Jesus. Is he God? Or is he just a man, a good prophet?

He and his wife continued to come but never felt comfortable bringing up these questions they had in front of the group during the time of gathering around the Lord to express him. So let me share (he gave me permission to) what he ended up doing. This is an email he sent to all of us about where the Lord has brought him to this last week:

I am guilty of polite dishonesty.

My wife and I are very new to this idea of "house Church". 

Very new.

We bring everything from our past experiences in with us.

We are polite.

We are respectful.

We are Quiet.

We do not participate (not really).

We may sit in a circle, but our minds still have us in the pew mode.

As I sit there, my mind says this is great.

I am able to participate.

I can say something nice and polite anytime I want.

My pew training says I should not speak, but if these people say it's OK, well then you can only speak words that are nice and polite and you must agree, only!

My wife and I are both from the deep south, with families that are deep south peoples.

When you are in someones home you NEVER show the disrespect of disagreeing with the host.

NEVER.

What you do is, you just never go back.

And then you talk about them behind their backs.

I am guilty of this.

By my heritage and traditions, I have harbored disagreement inside my heart.

I would politely hug my host goodnight and then discuss at length everything I did not like with my wife on the way home.

This is also a part of southern "Church" tradition.

(something Frank forgot to put in his books).

Something that I was not aware of and did not know what I was doing.

I have been polite.

I have been humble.

I have been meek.

I have been pleasant.

I HAVE BEEN DISHONEST !!!

I see now that my actions has caused harm to my host, to the church and to new visitors.

Over the last several days, I have heard pain and hurt in the voice of my brother Chris.

(name deleted), I am sorry for the way I have acted.

Just last night my wife was saying, "but we're guest in their home..."

It is hard for us.

We were raised to be....whatever...

(name deleted), I am sorry for being dishonest.

There are things I disagree with to the point that I should hug you, thank you for your hospitality tell you I had a good time then Knife you in the back and never never come back.

WOW !!!

I can't believe what I was thinking.

I am shocked.

I never saw it.

(name deleted), I am sorry.

I will be seeing you and the Church more often.

Suzanne and I have some very major concerns about things we have seen and heard.

(just a note of warning. I told Suzanne she may now speak in Church. That she may now speak her mind in someones home.)

your brother


I am so glad that he decided to come Saturday. I am also glad that Melissa and I were able to be there. We saw a wonderful move of God pass over the spirit of the group as the brother openly shared some of his concerns, and hearing what they were all about, which was bringing the Lord to each other, truly being family, and sharing that to truly get to know what makes them tick, live with them, exprerience Life with them as they share this wonderful, magnificent Lord who dwells in them. I shared some on the Christ of the promised land and how he is so rich, which riches we all bring to share with each other, and then also of what the Lord has really been walking me through concerning the physical family and how it is fulfilled in a spiritual family, and what all that entails.

Things got heated at some points, and there were some misunderstandings, but toward the end you could sense things coming together and I saw them being embraced and loved and lessons learned that would be helpful for others who are new to this experience to not be so shellshocked at the simplicity yet lack of control we have when we gather to Him, and Him alone.

This brother just wrote this today:

This email is here, written out on a yellow note pad.

The words reflect much hurt and confusion.

I have not got a clear go-ahead from the Holy Spirit for its contents.

I am tearing it up now.

There.

It's in the trash.

The saturday night meeting, from my and my wifes view point, went well.

Suzanne and I are in agreement on the subject of Church for the first time in five years.

A brother, that I love and accept as he is, are making progress in our relationship.


I just love watching Father work the miraculous in and through the body of Christ. A few of the saints wrote me yesterday expressing sorrow that they were not able to provide accomodations for me and my family like they did last time we went (we live a little over 3 hours away) but it was a last minute decision and frankly, distance means nothing where there is desire and longing.

Ron



      

What do you see when you look at me? Not the visible me that your eyes can see. For in Christ I am dead, yet alive and free. Free to be it all, as he lives in me.
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gregoryfl
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Joined: Jan-24-08
Location: United States
Posts: 1311
Posted: Jul-23-08 at 1:07pm | IP Logged  

As a fitting addition to what occurred for me over the weekend, the brother that Louis was able to reconcile things with had what I thought to be very wise words to share about why most were not answering their questions with a simple yes/no, or even addressing them over the internet like he wanted. In all it reminded me of what Philip told Nathanael when he was asked if anything good could come out of Nazareth. Phillip didn't respond with a yes/no answer, nor an articulate treatise trying to show how Jesus is the Messiah. He simply said "Come and see." Likewise, our words will oftentimes not be adequate to share what can only be observed by "coming and seeing" the Life that his people possess and live.  Here is what Chris had to share:

Louis,

     Thanks for being a brother who follows the Holy Spirit's leading. What more can we do then allow the Spirit to guide us into the peace of the Father.

Communication is such a tricky thing and words are so inadequate to really communicate the feelings of ones heart. How many times have I said things that I really didn't mean or at the least, was taken in the wrong way? To many to count.  Because we meet the way we do we have very little on this earth to look at to show us the way to do things.  So we have to walk, stumble and trod around together working this journey out.  Together, through all the problems, disagreements and even fights we will learn knew ways -  and discover a Lord that is more than any of us has ever seen.

For the past few days I have been thinking about and reflecting on the response of Jesus to the simple question John the Baptist had for Him.   He asked - Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?  Simple question right - Jesus heard it and said _________  Yes / No. 

Jesus responded this way -

The blind see
the lame walk
the lepers are cured
the deaf hear
the dead are raised to life
the good news is being preached to the poor

Instead of answering yes or no to the question of if he was the Messiah they were waiting for he responded by describing what was happening and letting His works declare who He was instead of his words.

and finally Jesus said - God bless those who are not offended by me!

Why did he add this? 
 
I believe it was because He did and said things that many religious people in Israel took offense to.  He stated that people will find blessing if they don't TAKE an offense.  I  find a lot of comfort and wisdom in these words of Jesus.  When I look at the brothers and sisters I meet with I see

sisters who make desserts for me
Brothers who go on long trips with me and listen to me talk (even if their ear hurts)
Brothers and sisters who help others move
B&S who accept and love people they don't even know
B&S who open their homes up (even if they have white carpet)
B&S who ask God to heal people
B&S who care about me my wife and children
Brothers and Sister who love one another
I see a family I can depend on!

I am not taking any offense for anyone of my brothers or sisters - just blessings

                                your bro chris

Just sharing this because it is good to see his Life worked out corporately among a body of believers who only give each other of their Lord.

Ron


      

What do you see when you look at me? Not the visible me that your eyes can see. For in Christ I am dead, yet alive and free. Free to be it all, as he lives in me.
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meek
Extreme Digger
Extreme Digger


Joined: May-28-08
Location: United States
Posts: 344
Posted: Jul-24-08 at 8:53am | IP Logged  

Pretty cool stuff Ron. 

I was thinking about what Chris wrote in his letter and the question  "Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for?" is more complicated to answer than just a simple yes or no.  The Messiah is different to eveyone.  What people expect the Messiah to be varies.  For some, even today, the Messiah is money, a better job, a different life, and so forth and so on.  To even ask the question states the lack of faith one has in God.  I don't think it would have mattered how Jesus answered the question.  For me, my faith does not need to be proven to me, it simply IS and that's enough.

The other thing I started to think about after reading your posts was if Chris sees the things he wrote about only in the people he calls "brothers and sisters" or if he sees brothers and sisters in everyone he meets. 

You got me thinking.



      

meek
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gregoryfl
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Joined: Jan-24-08
Location: United States
Posts: 1311
Posted: Jul-24-08 at 11:48am | IP Logged  

That is precisely the issue with why most of the brothers and sisters didn't feel it wise to try to answer their questions on the internet in just a yes/no fashion.

For example, someone could have gone to great lengths trying to explain why most don't bring a Bible there. That probably would have just produced more questions and perhaps a feeling of uncomfortableness on the part of the new ones, who might have felt pressured to just "conform" and not bring their Bibles, trying to fit in. To do that would have been damaging to them. Deep down they would have continued feeling uneasy about it. How much better to have them continue going and watching and listening and gradually participating, and over time see that there is "Bible" all over the place-In the songs that we sing, such as the one I wrote, and in the things that are share. They would, by experience, understand what they would not have from just reading an answer to an email.

There are so many things regarding what we believe that can be seen in so many different ways. And we have different ways of expressing even the same thing, which may appear to be different to each other and cause confusion. Like you said, it was certainly that way in the first century when Jesus walked the earth. Just as with what Jesus did, that is why the general consensus among them we tried to share was to stick around knowing that "what they are all about" will be clearly seen in time.

From what I know of Chris and his wife, while he is speaking specifically of the brothers and sisters that come together in Jacksonville, he has experienced Christ in many many others he has been with throughout the world in his travels. In other correspondence he has shared how he has come to see Christ as so much more than the narrowminded way he used to try to box Christ in. I had the privilege of reading his story of how he and his family have come to where they are now, and it is such a wonderful work of God's favor. Meeting with them the couple times I have has been such an uplifting time for us, with the freedom to be our own unique expression of the Lord.


      

What do you see when you look at me? Not the visible me that your eyes can see. For in Christ I am dead, yet alive and free. Free to be it all, as he lives in me.
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Rudolf
Digger
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Joined: Jul-13-08
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 11
Posted: Jul-26-08 at 6:10am | IP Logged  

Love what you shared, Ron.

There's a group of folks that I know that chose (over time) to live pretty close together. Being there a couple of times in the past years is great. I experience Christ there, in the hospitality, in the freedom to be myself, and the love that is there. It's not easy to put in words, but the last time I was together with these brothers and sisters I knew the Lord was really shared, not just talked about. He is alive and it´s so great to see Him manifested in a people. Now, they´re not ´it´, but that´s very clear to them. They´re just loving the Lord together. There´s a lot of Life and these people remind me of what i read in the new testament (after all, almost the whole new testament is not written to individuals, but to peoples).

I loved reading these posts and it reminded how Christ really sets us free. The brother you mentioned had concerns and issues. They simply were shared and discussed, and in that way the seemingly 'negative stuff' became a place for our Lord to express Himself. Really cool! Something I see sometimes in my own life and also a lot of times here @ the shovelshack).

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