A couple of weeks ago, Peace-Loving Warrior and I decided to "play hooky" from the church we have been attending and explore the idea of worshipping via "home church" with family and friends. It was a small group, only six of us. But it was such a liberating, educational, and inspirational experience for us Believers!
PLW opened our gathering with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us in our quest for a closer relationship with God. He then led our discussion and introduced a subject that caused us to go deep into our understanding of the Bible and God's message to us. He introduced a concept that most of us were unfamiliar with ... the Paradox of Grace. The paradox comes when two truths that seem to conflict with each other, are yet inseparable. The verse that challenged our minds and our understanding was Philippians 2:12-13 ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
The purpose of this post is not to dissect that paradox, but to share how much I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss, in-depth, the meaning of Scripture. We all had different church backgrounds, which played a part in our worship, but we all agreed on one thing ... we were seeking to know God's truth and to gain a closer relationship with Him through His Word.
How can I describe what a difference it made in my soul? There was such a contrast between sitting in a pew listening to someone give a speech on the meaning of a particular Bible passage, and being part of the discussion itself; I guess you could describe it as the difference between being passive and active. There is nothing that compares to going to and fro, searching the Scriptures, for God's counsel on a subject. I want to hear what HE has to say, and then deliberate among fellow believers to get the most understanding I can.
I must confess that the modern Church has left me cold. For quite awhile, I have not been content to just "show up" and count that as worshipping my Lord. I am not interested in being part of a "membership". And I have grown tired of "lukewarm" messages that don't make obedience to God relevant in today's culture. We have serious issues that God tells us are wrong and offensive to Him, yet our Churches seem to want to placate everyone and tolerate society's ills. The younger generation claims that they want less glitz and glamour in the Church and more of Jesus, but their view of the politically-correct Jesus is not the Jesus I find in my Bible. And so I find that I am no longer "fed" in the concept of Church as "big", "inclusive" and "accommodating".
I want to know the Jesus that walked with the Disciples. I want to clear away all the centuries of denominational doctrines and creeds, and get to know Him in a close-up and personal fashion. He doesn't require a packed house, or a church band, or the latest technology to speak to me. In fact, He said, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." I can't tell you how many times I have sat in a crowded sanctuary and felt He was nowhere near.
Home church is probably not for everyone. There are those who are more comfortable following the Leader model; but God tells us that He is available to all of us if we will just seek Him. Those who are new in their faith need discipling, but that does not exclude a home church atmosphere. The best mentors that discipled me did so in a one-on-one relationship, which is very conducive to home churches. The only disclaimer I would make is that everyone involved must commit to a Biblical interpretation of Scripture. With the Holy Spirit's guidance we all can discern God's message in the Bible. You don't need a seminary degree for that.
So the result of our gathering was that our little group of six, huddled in our living room with Bibles spread before us, feasted on His Word and spent over two hours getting to know our Lord. Needless to say, we changed subjects often, and explored Scripture for answers to our questions, and our fears and doubts. We also shared the passages that illuminated the glory of God and strengthened our faith. And I couldn't help but feel that we were blessed by our convening in such a manner. After all, it is the way the Church began; and the first-Century home churches were conducted by people who had worshipped at Jesus's feet and who followed His example.
I'm not advocating that our Church buildings and congregations be abandoned. There is room for both in the Kingdom of God. But if you want a sweet, intimate encounter with our Lord, invite some friends in for a "home church" experience. You will receive God's grace, favor, and abundant blessings.
1 Corinthians 16:19 "The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord."
You might want to look at a book called Pagan Christianity by Barna and ViolaReplyDelete
The guys in our home church went through that a few years back. ;-)
Yes, am very familiar with Barna. And another good book is "Epidemic: Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity", by Russ Houck. Thanks for the referral on the book!Delete
Wow! thank you for this! the thought of "home" church has come across my mind a few times. this past weekend, we attended a different church (currently seeking for a church that will preach the truth of God's word, and not 'fluff'). when the preacher said "I being an ordained pastor have now absolved you of your sins", I knew it was time to walk out. I like the idea of a home church, and will discuss it with my husband, and have him read your post...Thank You, and God Bless!ReplyDelete
Our little group is exploring the TRUTH of God's Word and rooting out the false doctrines that have been perpetrated for centuries in the Church. I recommend that you do some historical research on the Emperor Constantine and how his Council at Nicea changed the early church and took us down the wrong path. Be prepared to be shocked! And then seek God on His terms! I applaud you for listening to the Holy Spirit and seeking God's Truth.Delete
Been a busy time ..... garden / orchard / canning /Mother with dementia ---- difficult to focus the attention on the world affairs and construct a letter to solons to express my viewpoint on the matters that concern our nation etc. etc.Delete
SO ! It is refreshing to see that you have explored what my wife and I CONSIDER A REWARDING means to start our spiritual day . We always watch / listen / study a 30 minute DVD from www.lesfeldick.org ( who is from OK - simple retired cattle rancher .... but NOT retired from spreading the study of the WORD ! ) and have immensely enjoyed the DVD re: # 34-2-2 which addresses the allegory between the Law and Grace as referenced to Ismael and Isaac. in Galatians chapt. 4 We presently have no single church but spend more than most " church - goers " in terms of time / study with our favorite - and respected men / women of God. The Copelands / Duplantis's / Wommacks / Levitts etc.
It is with great joy that I find you and your husband can find so much from a more in-depth study and sharing that helps with coping for the day. At times there is TOO MUCH to absorb from politics / culture etc. that it becomes a struggle. However, we must persevere , actually put on that armor and be prepared to engage. It has given my wife and I a new and refreshed boldness to share our viewpoint .
God bless.... RB
As you share your story, it just reinforces my thought that God is revealing Himself on a personal level to more and more people who are diligently seeking Him. This is a time when each of us must be sure of our faith, and like Abraham (Genesis 18), be willing to entertain Him in our homes. Oh, how I want such an intimate relationship with God! To be sure, God is everywhere -- it doesn't matter whether you find Him in your church community or within the privacy of your home; the important thing is to seek Him, listen to/for Him, and BELIEVE Him!Delete
Thank you for sharing your perspective of “home church.” Having been a “church planter” most of my life, I struggled with how the church functions today as compared to what I read in Scripture. I too have found a deeper level of relationship with believers and with God in this kind of setting. That being said, is there anything wrong with having buildings, properties or programs? I don’t believe they do if they don’t interfere with biblical functions or ministry. If you’re interested, take a look at www.BiblicallyRethinkingTheChurch.com to read “Questions Concerning the Church Today” as it relates to your post. I would be interested in your thoughts about this.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Steve, for sending me this article. I found it very interesting and relevant. I am doing a study in my Ladies Bible Study Group called "Behold Your God: Rethinking God Biblically", and interestingly enough, our topic this week is WORSHIP. Now, our culture tells us that we go to church to worship God. What I have come to understand, myself, is that we are to gather together to view God's worth and respond to it. It is a matter of our heart, and that should be our primary task in Sunday services. The secondary benefits are evangelism, building community with each other, and receiving spiritual information. God desires us to draw near to Him in our worship. The buildings, the properties and the programs don't make that happen; it is our approach and our focus on Him that will draw our spirit to Him in reverence and awe. While I attend a small church with amazing people who are focused on God, I find that for me, personally, my worship in the first-century church model removes a lot of the distractions that come with the buildings, the properties and the programs. But in the end, I embrace any gathering that makes the treasure of who God is as their first priority. I hope I've explained myself adequately.ReplyDelete