Church has certainly changed for me.
For me, my wife, and my good friend Jason, church has become a “Fellowship”, and it can take place any time and any place. As a matter a fact, it takes place every time we come together, because what is the church? It’s God’s children coming together, whether 2 or 3 or a 1000. Whether in a barn, a bar, or a secret meeting. Or even a mall food court as in the picture above. (I believe that’s Al’s arm in the background between Jason and I.) If we love Jesus, and his Presence is in our midst, we’re having church!
My journey to this has not been a careless one. Those who have followed this site know it to be true for I have written much on it. I’ve always been the thinking, pondering type, as most writers are, rather introverted, a loner, and yet guided by God’s Holy Spirit, which means people! My nature may be a cave, but God’s nature is love people and so it is by God’s power, (not my own), I find myself having a social life. Praise God! It is good.
Followers of this site know I spent a lot of time digging through the early church father records, and with perspective gained by Polycarp and a few others, my New Testament Bible began coming alive in a fresh and powerful way! It was an eye-opening experience involving many weeks of study and prayer. This led us to have a Christian version of the Passover during Easter, and became a “key” for me understanding many things. (Because it is about a Table!)
There were 7 of us total that day in the mall, but most of the time we have been the “3 Amigos”. And what do we do? Acts 2: 42-47. Yes! It’s true! It can be done! It’s a simple list actually. Jesus delivered us from a complex religious system into simplicity itself. Love God with all your heart, and love others as yourself. Love Upward first, and Outward second. At the end of this article I’ll give you the list again, so you can see how simple it really is, and compare it to the church you participate in.
I don’t know how many churches I have left over the 62 years of my life. For many many years I did not think that much about it. There was always a reason. One time the Pastor was divorcing his wife, and my wife and I had just come through two years of marriage problems, but stuck it out until we both got right. So we just couldn’t handle this Pastor’s divorce, and it actually wasn’t long before another woman showed up in his life.
Then there was the Pastor that just rubbed me the wrong way. I was there because a good friend insisted we needed to be. I told him I’d give it a year. After one year we left. A few years later we learned the Pastor had an afair, and didn’t do right by my friend either. I considered my gut feelings vindicated.
Most churches were simply me being dissatisfied with what I perceived to be materialism, or hiding inside the four-walls, lack of really knowing each other, still feeling something was all wrong but couldn’t explain why. I mean, I could point out such things as mentioned, but most people seemed happy in our modern church system. So there was always the nagging suspicion that it was “I” who had the problem, until I dug into early church history of which our Pastors, for some reason, actually teach very little about, as if hiding something, and indeed they are, whether they know it or not.
Armed with new knowledge and a fresh leading of God, Church changed for me. The Temple transformed into a Table, and it has been so good!
When we were at the food court, at a table, I initiated a plan to build a “Flower Box” for a grandma we knew who had recently lost a granddaughter in a very tragic way. Our “Fellowship” took this on, and today, if things go right, it is to be delivered. Hopefully, the grandmother and I will also get to sit at a “Table” and have some “unchurchlike” church.
A few days ago I was in a hospital room with a man who had just had a complete heart transplant. It just happened my brother-in-law had the honor of leading him to Christ. Then my brother-in-law called me, completely out of the blue, I had no idea, next thing I knew I was meeting this man and offering him “discipleship”. But why me? Why is God directing what were news events to this little group of three? These three rebels not attending formal church services? (To be fair, Jason does still attend Catholic Mass on a semi regular basis.)
Now we are creating “Turtle Gardens” and “Turtle Flower Boxes” with the message of “Slow Down & Hear God”. Yes, that’s what I believe God told this little fellowship to do. Not your typical outreach program, but nothing about us seems to be typical anyway. And in these gardens there must be a “Table”, the Lord’s Table, a place of fellowship with God and man.
So we still have the Tipi Retreat about to get back underway as good weather is finally here. More pictures of that coming soon. And we have a free book releasing in one month, of which the heart transplant person is already reading. We have this blog site going forth which I will never know until in heaven one day if it’s having any effect or not. And we have the regular fellowship meetings of the “3Amigos”, which we asked the question and studied scripture on, “Are we teachable?” That was after we ate out at a Mexican cafe and also worked a little in the garden. The 3 of us then left our garden, went to Jason’s apartment, and had a great time in the Lord, both in the Word and prayer.
I don’t know how long we will be the “3”. But as long as it stays as good as it has been, then I’m not worried, God is doing something. I am amazed how much this “3” is doing actually. I have not gone seeking these things other than sharing God’s Word as a teacher, and loving upward first and outward also. So here is the list pertaining to God’s simple church as described in Acts 2: 42-47. (In the order given in scripture.)
1.) Be devoted to the Apostle’s teachings. (Your New Testament Bible.)
3.) Share meals, including the Lord’s Supper.
4.) Be a house of Prayer.
5.) Meet together. (Early church mostly met in homes.)
6.) Share what you have. You are your brother’s keeper. (But you still have the right to possessions as you feel led.)
7.) They worshiped together.
8.) Met in homes for the Lord’s Supper and shared meals. (This is listed twice!)
9.) Praise God together and show goodwill.
10.) And the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (NLT Version).
There you go. We have been adopted into God’s “family”, not a religion or a building. We ARE the building, wherever we go, wherever we meet, whenever we decide to, but it should be regular and often. We need that time together as family. The world system beats on us every day, but in our family we find love, hope, truth, and strength.
This only touches on one point of many we have written of in past articles in this journey. I felt it might be good to give a status report of sorts, as to what church has become for me since delving into the early church fathers. It has become a Table, not a temple. It has simplified. It’s not about money. Some money has been given completely free-will and only towards projects, such as the Turtle Flower Box Outreach. 100% has been able to go into whatever project it’s given towards.
I hope to write a little more often of what comes of this Fellowship of 3, because I think we need to broaden our understanding of what church can be. I’m not the only one preaching this message, for sure. It seems to be a rising move of God. So until the next time…Don’t neglect your upward love, and in the power of that…love outward also. Grandpa White Feather, amateur gardener, signing off.