Our Friday Fellowship went exceptionally well. Christina Mancuso led our worship team (along with all there) in precious worship time. Then Lauren taught Romans 3. She is becoming an excellent expositor of the Word. She values the word and brings honor to the Lord as she allows the Spirit to teach us through it. We were very blessed. Thank you for praying.
My Thursday evening teaching on “Building a Community,” seemed to go well. This first in a 5-part series was on “Building a Community of Focus.” There were three main points. (I am not known for my 3 point lessons – so this was interesting for me. I usually have more – but who knows how the Lord is training me here).
1. Building a community is something that is intentional. It does not just happen, but we must exercise our free will and accept: a) An appointment to a group of Christians – specifically the local church. We do not lose our free will in the choice. This is not a bondage, but an opportunity to experience our Lord in community. b) The Lord is the one who decides and appoints for mature believers. We do not attend a particular local group because we like it there (though the Lord probably will not run counter to your heart here), but we attend and become a part because we are appointed by the Lord to be there.
2. True Biblical Fellowship follows a pattern. John 17:20-26 describes the heart of our Lord in His High Priestly prayer to include all of us in the fellowship of the Trinity and in His glory. By these two things we express Biblical unity. We are enveloped in a fellowship that already exists in eternity – the Lord’s own – and then we begin to relate with one another in that given unity.
3. Biblical Fellowship has a God-given focus. Acts 2:42 “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking bread, and prayer.” The focus of our fellowship is not to be our love for one another. This is dangerous and will end in frustration, disappointment, failure and pain. Our focus must be Him through these things. We are to always be looking at Him through the Word and having our fellowship around the truth and life that the Word brings. Then true fellowship develops. True fellowship is not seen in cliques, nor in any exclusive behavior. It is felt in a true openness the Word brings and envelopes all who are near. It is not exclusive in any way. When we focus on getting to know one another, we miss the mark. We will gradually develop that knowledge together as we share the Word, but our problems must never be the center of our knowledge of one another. Instead we are to develop that through the focus of the Word.
Food, marvelous thing that it is, plays a big role in enjoying the fellowship and binding hearts together in His love. We share not only communion, but also meals. This does not have quite the social understanding it did in Biblical times, but it is still there somewhat. Sharing meals is what people do who choose to relate together.
Then the last thing we are to focus on is praying together. Talk ing with the Lord together. Allowing our hearts to continue to have a focus of Kingdom – not just our individual needs. Praying for individual needs is always good, but that must not be the primary reason or summary of our time in prayer together. We are to listen to Him as well as talk – we are to share this intimacy together.
These are to develop as our focus. So there you have a brief summary of what took approximately 50 minutes to deliver. It was well received and we looking forward to next Thursday when we will work with “Belonging” as our next Kingdom understanding of life in a Biblical Community – local church expression.