My good friends, Dave and Jennifer Collie, are leading a conference this weekend that Carrie and I get to help out with. Lord-willing we will be able to see this done again in other towns here in California. The vision is to learn together about Jesus’ way of welcoming both Jesus-followers and the lost into our homes, relationships, various contexts of life. We want Jesus’ attitude of realizing the Holy Spirit’s appointing of us as Jesus’ representatives for each divine appointment! God guides us step by step, conversation by conversation, question-asking opportunity after opportunity. God guides us to meet and love those we encounter with the love of Jesus.
For our little Jesus community, it has been special to see how getting back to realizing that we are all called out of darkness and into God’s marvelous light not to hide it but to shine it! We each have work and neighboring opportunities to meet, get to know, and invite into our homes those God brings us and introduces us to naturally. First Corinthians chapter seven has been really impacting me over the last week, especially this section:
“I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
It is so helpful to be reminded of how simple our devotion really can be as God’s children! We were bought at the price of Jesus’ blood, so we must and get to glorify God with how each moment is spent as Jesus-followers.
For any who have questions about our particular manner of gathering in homes, this little snippet is helpful from John Piper. I’ve appreciated Jon Piper who I got to meet and ask some questions of a couple of years ago as well as the input of Francis Chan who I spent a couple of days with this last January. Both have healthy and biblical feelings about the house church context for Jesus communities’ gatherings. The two were able to meet and discuss this about a year ago now and Francis was encouraged by John’s deep affirmation of this path Francis has chosen with We Are Church – http://www.wearechurch.com.
Francis laughed when we asked about this because he said of course that we shouldn’t worry about man’s approval, but he does trust John Piper and sees him as a mentor from a distance as I feel about Francis Chan. I respect him and believe he is listening to the Lord in His Word and Spirit as he and the other elders continue to plant house churches in San Francisco and oversee the unofficial mentoring of other networks such as Jesus Missionary Communities here in Merced, CA.