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Thursday, December 8, 2011

In The Home or the Institution: Our Gathering Together

House to House

There were no Big Names, Special Speakers, Doctor of Divinity, no Senior pastor with staff.
No Italian-suited Apostles, Bishops, Prophets, Purpose Driven Promoter and no robed choir or "worship  team"  was seen.

There was no parking lot, vestibule, no Starbucks in the lobby, no lobby, no pastors office, no display cabinets, nothing was sold, no CD's/DVD's or even a lowly cassette around.
here was no pulpit, stage, tele-monitors, microphones, deacons, offering collectors, Special Singers, and not even a pew!
There were no ushers, tithe envelopes, no program, no Bulletins, no Classes,
no pre-service Staff meeting, no song books, no choreographed order of "service".

It was unscheduled. There was not one man in charge dominating the gathering, nor a monologue called a "sermon" where the spectators sat silent and un-moving for 50 minutes of delivery.

How in the Name of Denominational Covering can you have church without all that stuff?
A REAL church ought to at least have a storefront building you say?  If you don't have that "stuff" and at least a titled Chief Ruler, it's not really a church?

Where were we and what went on that we dare call it
Wouldn't it be great to meet  as the early believers did in the NT?

YES!  It is our hearts desire to gather with others to exhort and encourage one another.
For 4 years we prayed for fellowship as God prepared us.  
Surely others were out there but did not know who they were.

So we patiently waited and trusted the Lord to make it happen, as He will for you too.
Let me tell you how we assemble.
When we gather, it begins with a meal around 2-3 pm on a Saturday when work schedules permit.  We eat, talk, fellowship ( what people love to do naturally..)  
During the meal time, we may talk scripture, testify, answer questions, talk about our lives...  

Later, we drift into the living room for some worshipful music either from a cd or some  worship music we found on youtube.  here's one we like.

Sometimes we are blessed with someone who plays guitar or an instrument.

We will enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.
God shows up and tears come to many eyes as we respond to His Presence.

God’s people may each share a teaching, a psalm, or a revelation; we have had a prophesying   or two, some questions may be asked.  

Healings are received and demons have been cast out.
People have been saved and baptized.
Some needs may be brought for prayer.  

No one has an agenda and if someone is out of order, (which happens) the Holy Spirit helps us deal with it.   Christ is the head (Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and
Christ also is the head of the church), as we seek to have the Lord lead us, not a program.

The assembly will last way into the evening and people may come and go.
1st Corinthians 14:26 What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
Last time people stayed 'till about 12:30 am.  Of course we had food available for an evening snack.

The church assembly functioned as a family, a fellowship, and the body of Christ.
After gathering like this for over 2 years, a traditional, orchestrated church "service" has lost all appeal.    We just LOVE gathering in holy, spiritual fellowship this way.
This is our "communion of the saints".  

Maybe we are not doing it right on some technical points.  We seek the Lord days before we gather and strongly seek His leading in these meetings.  It is wonderful how God is confirming His Word...

When I look close at how they gathered in the homes in scripture, and how Jesus often did so, who can fault this kind of assembling?

One night, as we drove home from the Fresno family's house fellowship where we had shared a meal, prayer, teachings, and ministry,  it suddenly dawned on me "THAT WAS CHURCH!!"

We did not realize it at first because we were so conditioned to think of church in terms of the institution, a hired pastor, a nice comfy building with high-powered electronics and "worship leaders" pumping up the congregants..

Traditions die hard..