i have been thinking a lot since new orleans and even during the trip. i have been really trying to figure out my current spiritual journey over the last 3 or 4 months. i have been on quite the roller coaster over the last two years. i think your wife leaving you for her personal trainer (got to love 24 fitness) can have that affect on you. (just thought i'd be blunt and let the world know, just in case you did not know) wow. i really did not think i was going to be so blunt and open as i started writing this post, but oh well.
we had a great meeting at pablos house on sunday night with a group of people that had been a part of the gathering and some who even began to follow christ through oikos. we were discussing the launch of the house church network. we even had some other people who have been having similar thoughts about church and what it looks like biblically. as i looked around the room, i saw a great group of people that have never left each other, even though we officially ended the gathering. these people were at the gathering and have continued to meet, read scripture, pray for each other, support each other and be a faith community even though we had no official name to gather under except jesus. so i came to the conclusion that the gathering never ended, it never failed, it was alive and well because i think if i read scripture that the 'church' is not the building, a place or time people meet, a name, but it is the people. if we want to get theological... it is the body of christ. what i saw sunday night was the gathering. it was even more pure, because it was gathered with no agenda but to love god and love people.
we began to explain the vision of the house church network, which is really taking the values of the gathering and emphasizing its original intent of small is better. the groups eyes were lit up with excitement. we explained a desire to live out this passage of the early church...
Acts 2: 42 - 47
They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity � 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
in my opinion and i think jesus would agree, that church was never intended to be about gathering together in a building on sunday mornings to receive a pep talk so i can try and not sin for the rest of the week. the church is about us being interconnected and dependent on each other as we follow christ and his teachings. and as we are interconnected and loving our neighbor as ourselves, other will be so intrigued and desire to follow also. but it seems we value the large, we value hiding in church and not allowing anyone into our business. we value pointing out the faults of everyone around us and not noticing how despicable our own lives are and how full of pride, greed, materialism and hate. all of those things that god does not desire to be a part of our lives. but hey, what about those homosexuals... we need to stop them. shut up and stop being such a prideful arrogant bastard and maybe someone will stop long enough to listen to you tell them about jesus. as we develop this house church network, we strive to intertwine our lives together and take jesus' teaching and allow it to affect every aspect of our lives. we hope to continue stand next to each other as life sucks some time and is great some time. share a drink and cry when it sucks, but celebrate and laugh together with the joys (i.e. our childrens' birthdays, job promotions, weddings, and so much more).
i know i am no where close to what christ desires for me... i need to continue to shed those things that hinder me from allowing god to really use him in his kingdom, but i am glad to know that i finally opened my eyes to see that the gathering is not dead but is alive and well. thank you pablo, sonia, tiffany, laura, armando, james, art, teresa, michelle, danielle, kirby, jon, manuel, and all the rest that still intertwine our lives for the love of jesus and the mission of his kingdom.