Once again, we gathered together with brothers and sisters in Christ on Saturday night. This time, there was a smaller group: only my family and one other family. But, this was a special time for me, because my friend shared what God is doing in their lives and how God is leading them.
I have known this brother and his family for a few years, almost as long as I have lived in North Carolina. Since I have known him, he has believed that God is calling him and his family to move to a particular city in the United States. (By the way, I have no reason to doubt this call.) They do not know when God wants them to move, but they are ready to move whenever God says, “Go.”
This reminded me of a conversation that I had with another brother last week. We were discussing whether or not God calls people to specific locations. I have not studied this in detail, so I do not know if I can make a blanket statement. We know from Scripture that God has called people to specific locations before. For example, in Acts 16:7-10, Paul desires to go to Bithynia. However, the Spirit does not allow him to go. Instead, Paul has a vision that convinced him that God wanted him to go to Macedonia. In this instance, at least, God called Paul to a specific location. So, I ask you, does God call people to specific locations? And, does He always call people to specific locations?
So, what is my friend planning to do once he moves to this city? Does he plan to find a staff position in a local church? Does he plan to start a church? No. He believes that God wants him and his family to move into this city and to begin living as believers in an area where there are very few believers. He believes that God will bring other believers into his life, and together they will live as the church. In this area, the general population does not trust organizations and institutions that call themselves “church”. I think this could probably be said of other communities as well.
This conversation has provoked me to think about my own life and my interaction with other believers. Do those around me recognize my life as being different? Does my interaction with other believers cause unbelievers to desire the same type of community? Are all of my interactions with believers centered around organizations and institutions, or are they centered on mutual relationships with other believers as we are brought together by God? Can I recognize the difference?
This weekend has been (and continues to be) a special time of community for my family. As I mentioned in a previous post (“Reading John…“), we spent Friday evening with several brothers and sisters reading the Gospel of John. Saturday evening, we spent time with this family. And, Sunday, several friends are coming to our home for lunch after our formal meeting. We look forward to what God continues to do in our lives through the encouragement, teaching, and admonishment of these brothers and sisters that He has brought into our lives.