Yesterday evening marked our first official gathering where I sensed from the Lord with boldness that our gathering of a few followers of Jesus is a local Jesus community. It is no small thing as many will not recognize a small home gathering to be “a church” and yet all around the world there are Jesus communities gathering in homes where the Lord is there and honoring them with His favor as local bodies of believers.
It was a deep honor to have two pastors encourage me to remain independent but with their covering as mentors and friends along with my prior-mentioned friends, Rick and Raf. God is opening my heart in boldness to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus with no strings attached, no personal gain in this life in mind. It is so precious to watch these few believers learning of Jesus together and responding and wanting to know Him more! We plan to have a baptism of a friend of mine soon who I’ve had the honor of spending somewhere around 50 hours with in the last few months. He has become truly one of my very closest friends. He’s so encouraging too as he calls me his best friend to his family members, many of whom I sense the Lord is drawing to Himself in His steadfast love (Psalm 90:14).
Last night we prayed together, shared burdens, studied in John, Psalms, and Mark, discussed rhythms of fellowship we want to step into over the coming months including adding Sunday worship, communion, serving (want to discuss this more soon and begin stepping into opportunities together), and more. One of my pastor friends even encouraged me with sharing he knows a brother in Christ who has a burden for house church ministry. I am encouraged by this but also wary, because I’m not wanting to talent hunt so-to-speak. I’m excited about seeing God raise up from our midst genuine brothers who God places into leadership roles of elder or deacon in our midst. That said, I’d love to meet with anyone interested in co-laboring down here on the ground as we encounter Jesus in our lives together as we are pressed by our Lord into the lives of the hard-pressed.
We are all hard-pressed and in hard places I am finding and I in no way feel there is much of a distinction between long-time believers and those courting or new to the faith. Carrie and I were pressed hard by the enemy of our souls this week as our marriage was squeezed. We had to get on our faces way more than I think we have in years, praying at some points twice in each conversation, asking God to help us be on the same page and in complete submission to You, LORD! Please help us to quiet our pride by leaning on Your promises! We know You are true and Your Word is true! We rest here, sovereign Lord, knowing You will provide. Quiet our souls, Oh God.
God steadily has answered our prayers and our joy is higher and more confident than it’s been in some time as we stride into God’s plan of missionary life for us as a couple. We love our little gathering so much already. The nice thing is that no one is a stranger to us. In some cases we have been connected to these friends for weeks and for some it’s been several months. Everyone is either a neighbor or someone I’ve meet from house to house as I introduce myself to the community as a business owner. In many cases I am simply introducing myself as a neighbor and business owner. I’ve made many friends through these introductions and a natural offer I like to make if I find out these new friends don’t currently have a fellowship of believers they are tied into is to invite them into our newly forming community. When people learn that I am an unpaid pastor and am not seeking to build up an income through this ministry, it adds curiosity as to motives, and I can share that it is the Lord Who drives us into wanting to serve each other, there are eternal rewards that far out-weigh and far better inform our behavior as co-laborers in this Gospel of Jesus!
God is the Orchestrator, isn’t He, friends? We simply comply with His awesome seeking and saving of our communities in the name and power of Jesus!
In His steadfast love and the satisfaction we find there,