My son, Jeremy, and I left our house just before 8:00 a.m. this morning. It is our month to help set up the chairs and sound system for our church meeting. Two of our friends joined us, and we had a good time talking to one another as we prepared for the meeting. We returned home just after 9:00 a.m. to pick up Margaret and Miranda.
Margaret had started a pot of beef stew this morning, so when everyone was ready (a little after 10:00 a.m.) we loaded the stew into the van and drove to our meeting location. We put the stew on the stove there so it would cook little longer. Then we talked with some of our friends while we waited for the meeting to officially begin.
We caught up with some old friends and met some new friends. One couple who has been meeting with us for a few weeks invited us to dinner next week. Another couple who we’ve known for several years told us about their plans to move to South Carolina in the couple of weeks.
If I’m at the meeting, I usually start our meeting. Its not necessary for me to start the meeting, in fact, sometimes I don’t and someone else does. But, sometime around 10:40 a.m. I started our meeting by reading Hebrews Chapter 1. (We usually read through a book to start our meetings. We just started Hebrews today, so we’ll read through it over the next 13 weeks.) This was a great chapter to begin our meeting with the reminder that God now reveals himself through Jesus, who is not like angels.
My friend Jared led us in singing a few songs. Two brothers played guitar while another brother played bass. A fourth brother played keyboards. One of the young ladies was going to play flute, but she decided to sing with Jared instead. We sang some old hymns, new hymns, and new choruses.
At one point, my friend Jim read 1 Corinthians 2, which I had chosen to go along with the passage that I was teaching. (The person who is scheduled to teach also chooses a passage of Scripture to be read and asks someone to read it during our meeting.) This passage reminds us that God speaks to us through his Spirit, not through rhetoric or fancy speech. Plus, we can now know things about God that were once unheard of. The phrase “what eye has not seen and ear has not heard” refers to what we now know because we have “the mind of Christ”.
Next, I taught from Matthew 16:21-23. Jesus had just praised Peter because God had revealed himself to Peter (16:17). However, now Peter has begun to think “the things of man” again. Instead, Jesus rebukes Peter and exhorts him tothink “the things of God”. This is a great exhortation for us to think with “the mind of Christ”, not in the ways of the natural man.
My friend, Mael, facilitated the remainder of the meeting, encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ to share what God was doing in their lives or what they had been learning lately. Several people responded to the passage that we studied today, confessing how that had been thinking “the things of man” – trying to talk God out of something, telling God they can’t do what he wants them to do, etc.
One man shared how he was learning that the more mature you get in the Spirit, the more you realize how dependent you are on God. In other areas of life, the more you know the more independent you get. Not so for our life with God.
After several people had time to share, we laid hands on and prayed for Geth and his wife, Katie. Geth wants to work with prisoners, and the church affirmed him and his desire to serve God through serving prisoners.
We spend about 30 minutes talking and fellowshiping with one another. Then we served our beef stew to our family and another family and whoever wanted some. Other people brought in food – either food they had made and brought from home or had picked up at a local restaurant. We ate and talked some more.
Eventually, as people started leaving, we put away the chairs and the sound system and headed home. We got home around 3:00 p.m. So, we spent about 5 hours with the church (not counting the setup time this morning). This is the format of our normal church meeting. We have time for singing and scheduled teaching, but we also have time for sharing and fellowship.
As a church, we think that all of this is important – in fact, I would say it is all part of “thinking the things of God”. So, since we think this is important, we set aside time for singing, teaching, and fellowship.