I just want to fellowship in simplicity with brothers and sisters who are content with the Lord Jesus, the Bible, the local assembly, and doing good to all.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Church History: Are We Like Christ? By Steve Phillips
There’s got to be a way to stand for the Truth and still give one another the freedom to disagree!
Our Lord will give us wisdom and grace to speak the Truth in Love.
Please visit this portion of my discussion board as I am trying to answer this question.
As the editor of this site and your fellow believer in Jesus, please hold me accountable to these truths in everything on this site and in our personal relationships.
Our Sister, Phoebe
“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer [helper] of many, and of myself also.”
Pat’s Email about Being the Church
My life in churches:
|Jim, a final word concerning my life in churches:From day one God gave me a desire to help or encourage people. I believe in body ministry and in each congregation I have been part of I have found ample opportunity for this. I love to teach the Bible but also visiting folks in the hospital or widows, giving an encouraging word or a helping hand. The body of Christ welcomes this “unofficial” love ministry regardless of the “official” format. Thanks, in Christ, Bro. Bill[I hope it’s not the last time we hear from you, Bill!]5/26/09|
I was totally “in” a Pentecostal church for 15 years (pastoring a few of those years), Church of Christ seven months(was run off by the evangelist), Assembly of God for seven years( serving as deacon and adult ss teacher) and Southern Baptist for 19 years( pastoring 16 of those years) but have never had any experience in house churches. I continue to teach a mixed adult ss class in the church I pastored. So my comments will be lop-sided on the institutional/denominational side.
My journey began at 30 years of age. I had formerly been a Catholic. When I was born again God removed ALL of my religious roots. I was raised to not read the Bible. There I was 30 years old with nothing to stand on but the Rock, Jesus Christ. So much love, peace, and joy but two things started simultaneously: I joined the Pentecostal church my wife was raised in and apart from it I was encouraged to read the Bible. Almost from day one I wanted to preach Jesus and I wanted to know the truth about spiritual things. So I started learning “doctrine” from the church, and I started learning doctrine from the word of God. The paths gradually started separating until finally I left and started looking for a church that would be true to the scriptures; I came to the Church of Christ:”where the Bible speaks we speak, where the bible is silent we are silent.” By going all the way in I saw and pointed out some grievous errors to which, in not such a good way, I was dismissed. On to the AG, the Spirit-filled people and then to the people of the Book, the Southern Baptists. In each instance change was motivated by scripture. My wife and I always loved the people, hated to leave, but I wanted to find a church that was Spirit-filled and was true to the scriptures in preaching, practice, and discipline. Well, I haven’t found one yet. But at this time(May 20,2009) here is where I am. Throughout this journey of mine(41 years) as I have tried to trust the Lord and stay obedient to His word, as I have tried to stay faithful in prayer and feed on His faithfulness though His Word( I use the word try because I haven’t graduated from the 1st grade yet), as I have tried God has given increase wherever I have gone. I have tried to stay faithful to the simple message of Christ, whether teaching or preaching. Regardless of what church I have been in or what position I’ve occupied God has opened doors for me to witness and lead people to Jesus. Much has been outside the church I was either attending or pastoring. I led a 65 year old lady to the Lord this afternoon. Maybe this is the bottom line: if we occupy ourselves with the love and joy of the Lord, and try to stay true to Him and His Word we’ll find that He’ll direct our path as to where we need to be, whether a institutional church or house church. Personally I would like more than what I’m getting but I sure don’t want less. Brother Bill
Response #2 to Pat’s Email
about Problems in finding fellowship
Wow, hi Jim,
To Pat, hi Pat I can understand what you may be going thru. My wife and I for years were in the holiness setting, tongues, moves, prophecies. Following the leader(s) no matter how non scriptural it was. I was born into this stuff. It was all I have ever known. but thanks be to God that one day sitting in the midst of all of it, I felt, heard, knew that something was wrong. So we removed ourselves from the organized church setting. We felt like sinners starting off. Not going to church on Sundays. Not getting together with old members. And figure this, my own mother was my pastor. Still to this day we don’t really see things as the same. It is a little awkward but I just don’t see things the same as I used to. had someone say to me “well the bible says forsake not the assembly” I said ok, but it doesn’t say which day and how many the assembly is 🙂 so if I get together with one person at least once a year have I not fulfilled what it says? Well you can imagine that they didn’t like that too much, but what am I to do?
We haven’t found any house churches to associate with. We study the word together. we say at times is there just one somebody out there that we could fellowship with…that is into the word and not all this extra stuff. People have said that we are on the path we are on because we don’t want to be taught. but what they don’t realize is that we would welcome the idea of fellowshipping with someone and sitting and listening, learning, growing (all) together.
If at the moment you can’t find anyone, don’t let that hit you too bad. Take the time and get into your word. Hold on to the God that you know and hopefully when he sees that it is time you will find kindred souls. It may seem lonely, but it will be ok. Now, this may not be completely right and I could be labeled as taking scripture out of context, so I encourage you to go back and look this up for yourself and get a true understanding. And if you find that I am wrong in any way, know that it was not intentional. but if I am right…here is a quick summary of Paul… Paul was in organized church. He worshipped God. he fought for God and was offended when a different sect rose up and possibly in his opinion challenged the God of his fathers. But on the road to get those that he assumed went against God, he met God. for the first time in his life he really met God. Not a system or a denomination. But God. for paul to get where he needed to be, he had to let go of God (what he knew to be God) to find him. he could have easily told Jesus on that road that this isn’t what I was brought up on and I will only follow that which I have always known. But he didn’t. And if I am correct he later says that Jesus or the Spirit taught him for three years before Paul entered back into fellowship with like minded believers.
I know what it is like to be with people. And I now know what it is like to be without people. But in the quiet of isolation, life is still good. And when the day comes that we find like minded people we won’t get lost in the fellowship. We won’t put the fellowship in front of God. We would rather be with people now, but whether we are with people now or later the main thing is knowing, believing God. if he never gives us anyone, we still plan to hold on to him and enjoy this ride of life.
Last thing is this, hope this doesn’t offend. It is about a movie that touched my heart years go. tom hanks did a movie called castaway. And that is how even at times now I feel. But the character was taken out of the hustle of his everyday life and cast away on an island by himself. Tried what he could to escape, but nothing worked. He, like me, would have rather been back in the fellowship of like minded people but no. his only friend after a while was a ball that he drew a face on. But in the course of time he finally made a raft to escape. Him and his ball. but at last he even lost that. The ball floated away. but what touched my heart so was that beside him, around him was a whale. It was like God was saying this raft that seems to be made for one. Know that I am always near. Know that I care. And when all seemed lost. When it appeared that he would just die alone out in the middle of the ocean. The whale woke him up to see a ship coming along side of him.
In my opinion, don’t fight the separation too hard. Learn what you can from it. Grow, draw closer. Know that when it seems that you are alone, he is there somewhere. And when the time is right………
Take care Pat
Response #1 to Pat’s Email
about Problems in finding fellowship
Your article about the double [conversion], the evangelical subculture, would be a great starter to send to Pat
We converted, repented, gave our lives in the hand of the Lord, in this great day in our lifes when the angels rejoiced about our turning to the Lord,
Our accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and our being born in, as a new part of, His body, the ecclesia, the called ones.
Then we went to a church of people who experienced the same ( we thought). And they brought us further or kept us back, depending of who we had fellowship with.
The theme of your article is clear. We were born again, but we came into a mixed environment, in which it was not clear what to follow.
To be honest I believe it was for all of us very clear what to follow, since the Lord is showing the truth always, but it is our weakness and sins which brought us into a lifestyle that became polluted with false idea’s , false beliefs, false actions, coming from the flesh or the enemy of our souls.
Bottom-line of the previous, we need to repent and to return to the Lord, believe Him, believe His Word, and he will cleanse us of all unrighteousness, forgive us our sins, and fill us anew with His Holy Spirit.
Growing again in the Lord, maturing again, and remembering the lessons of the past, we will with God’s help, be the disciples we were in the beginning, when every minute was spend with Him, for Him, seeking Him, praying to Him.
We will soon be finding people again to have fellowship with, within and without the homegroup or congregation.
Two or three is enough to have fellowship, and may we bear the fruit the Lord intended for us, 30, 60 and a hundredfold.
I hope this will give hope to Pat.
God bless you, with love and regards
See Pat’s Email
Problems in Institutional Churches
Problems in House Churches
Jesus will help us!
The following is an email I received from a lady recently that expresses well some of the concerns many of us have about being the Body of Christ together regardless of the format. 3/23/09
I have a few questions. I joined a couple of House churches a few years back and both seemed to burn out. One quit altogether and the other turned into “Party at Jane’s!!!” We spent so much energy getting the food ready we would ditch the bible study part. So eventually I went back to “regular church” because it wasn’t church anymore!
However I am forever ruined. Now that I have experienced how church really should be I am spoiled. Sermons annoy me because they are all “seeker friendly”. There is no substance. EVERYTHING is about furthering the “business” of church. Most Christians I run into don’t understand Christianity only how to further the agenda of the organization. We simply don’t know our own “doctrine”. So yes no wonder home church’s expressed the mixed up belief systems of the well meaning people who start them. I was blessed enough to get in with those with stronger backgrounds but that was my concern as well. You could believe ANYTHING.
However this particular church had a HUGE small group push and I joined one. We are now practically the ONLY small group that survived. We have a pretty good connection but since I quit attending regular church they are VERY uncomfortable. It is amazing but they really don’t seem to care what scripture says or why I quit attending. All they see is….rebel. So I am wondering if it is time for me to find a group of people that are on the same page. This is getting uncomfortable for me. So at least I can get some feed back online for a start.
Anyway it is now 2009. Everything I read is 2006 or earlier. It seems that others did the same burn out I experienced. I am now even more concerned about the shape of the “church” then ever before. So I guess my question to you is did you also burn out? Where are you guys at now on this issue? What now?
The concerns we had in 2006 are still there, maybe worse.
What would you like to say to Pat? Whether you fellowship in a house church or an institutional church I would really like to hear from you on this.
Attention: Lancaster County, PA !!
Are there any Biblical House Churches in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania?
Are there any assemblies, regardless of where you meet, that are elder-led, and committed to our Lord Jesus according to the Bible, without legalism, motivated by love?
Is there even just one couple who would want to meet with a like-minded family in your area?
We just got email from a beloved family in your area, crying out to the Lord for sincere fellowship without the corruption of the Evangelical Subculture.
Please email me with info… Thanks!
What else is there?
1 Corinthians 12:11-31
“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.
“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”