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When you least expect it… Where have you found disciples?

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in discipleship | 4 comments

When you least expect it… Where have you found disciples?

In the temple… Riding in a chariot along a dusty road… In several synagogues… On the side of a river… In a prison… Among a group of philosophers…

These are some of the many places and circumstances we find in Scripture in which followers of Jesus Christ encountered other disciples. In the examples above, the people encountered where not yet following Jesus (they were “lost”), but after hearing the gospel proclaimed by Peter, Phillip, Paul, or someone else, and after being transformed by the Holy Spirit, they became disciples (they were “saved”).

In each case, the disciples of Jesus were expecting to find other people who were being drawn to God by his Spirit. And, they found these people in (what I would consider) unexpected places. I mean, they don’t seem unexpected to us right now because we know the stories.

But, today, do we expect to find new disciples riding along a road? On the side of a river? Among a group of pagan philosophers?

So, what’s the point of this post? Thank you for asking.

I talk to people every week – sometimes several times in the same week – who are desperate for fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ. They recognize that God has created us to love him and love others and in to live in community with others who are in Christ. But, they are struggling to find people who are interested in that same kind of relationship.

So, what do I tell them? Well, I tell them to pray. And, I tell them to look around at the people that God has already brought into their lives. Are they expecting God to bring this kind of fellowship into their lives? It may be there already…

Sometimes, those brothers and sisters in Christ who God is bringing into someone’s life are not actually “in Christ” yet – as in the cases that I mentioned above. Other times, the people are already Christians and perhaps even recognize that something is missing in their walk with Christ without being able to recognize the lack of relationship with their brothers and sisters.

So, are you seeking fellowship in the Spirit? Look around. The Spirit may be leading you to people in unexpected places, situations, and circumstances.

Have you ever “found” a brother or sister in Christ in an expected place, situation, or circumstance? Can you share part of that story with us?


4 Comments

  1. 5-10-2012

    For our 10th wedding anniversary, my wife and I reserved a room at our local bed and breakfast to commemorate our honeymoon at a bed and breakfast in the Poconos. LOVELY place.

    Well, the following morning, we came downstairs for breakfast with our fellow residents. I don’t recall how it occurrred, but somehow we all came to the realization that we were all followers of Christ. Our breakfast that morning took on a whole new sense of joy as we travelers spent time connecting the body of Christ, breaking bread together, praying together, and lifting each other up. And we also blessed our inkeeper by praying over her and blessing her inn.

    Nothing as earthshattering as an Ethiopian eunuch being baptized in the middle of a desert, but a bit of the Kingdom broke through that morning…

  2. 5-11-2012

    Robert,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I had hoped that others would share as well. I’ve also found disciples and fellowship in the unlikeliest of places – at least, unlikely to me. I’m learning to expect what I usually wouldn’t expect.

    -Alan

  3. 1-30-2013

    Alan, I wandered over here from your “You don’t always find the church where you expected” article.
    If no one else will share stories, maybe I can take up some slack.

    When my wife and I were saved (40+ years ago), we expected to find fellowship under ‘every vine and fig tree’. We would find believers in what you might call ‘unexpected’ places.

    One story… We took the elevator to the top of the Chrysler building in New York City, just to see what it was like. At the top there was only an elevator lobby with stairs up to a restaurant and a window looking out over Manhattan, so we stopped to enjoy the nighttime view. As we did, a woman came down the stairs and stopped to look as well. We discovered she was a symphony conductor visiting NY to ‘guest conduct’ and a believer, too. We enjoyed several minutes of fellowship.

    Another time, a young man came to our gathering. (Some Christian friends gathered irregularly but often.) I don’t know who brought him, but since it turned out he was an accused thief, he probably came with one of our friends who worked in corrections. He asked us to pray for him. He was to stand trial the next day for stealing. He said they ‘had the goods on him’ and he had no defense. We prayed for Jesus to help him.
    I asked him if he had anyone to go to court with him and he said, “No.”
    I asked would he like me to go and he said, “Yes.” (I could see an opportunity to maybe help him a little, have an adventure, and be late for work, all in one.)
    The next day I went to the courthouse and waited in the courtroom for him, but he never showed up. After a while I went into the hall to look for him. He came down the hall about that time and found me. I asked him where he had been. He said he had been in court; his courtroom assignment had been changed. I asked him what happened and he said no one came to accuse him (maybe they were in wrong courtroom like I was) and the case was dismissed. He was free!

    Another time, I had a contract job in another city that promised to run for several weeks. (It turned out to last 6 months.) My family (wife and 3 small children) traveled with me and the motel accommodations were not adequate.
    We were in a fast food restaurant after work one day where we happened to meet another family with small children. In the course of conversation we asked if they knew where we might rent a small house or apartment. They were believers and invited us to use their house. They were leaving town for an extended trip and wanted someone to ‘house-sit’. About a year later, we traveled through that city again, and renewed our fellowship with them while we were there.

    Another time, we attended a revival at a nearby church. (This was long after we had stopped expecting to find fellowship at an organized church. “Bless me father, for I have sinned.”) We met two women there who have remained our good Christian friends going on 20 years now. (Neither they nor we were members there.)
    They are both independent. One is single (almost a spinster) and the other was a widow (she passed away recently). They have shared our family gatherings for birthdays, holidays and barbecues through these years and are almost like family.
    The only thing we have in common with either of them is Jesus, but it is enough to keep us sharing our lives to this day.

    I’m looking forward to more ‘expectations and fellowship’ articles.
    Nelson

  4. 1-30-2013

    Nelson,

    I’m glad you wandered over to this post. This is a topic that I’ve written about a few times. I’m glad that you shared those examples with us!

    -Alan

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