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.
|Posted: Jul-22-08 at 3:40pm | IP Logged
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".
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.