As I prepare for a conference in Thailand that involves presentations on Church Planting Movements (David Garrison's staff) and House Church (my little piece), I have had my thoughts drawn back to the basics of simple/house church that I always want to keep before me:
- It's all about Jesus. It's not about how, where, when, we gather or who we gather with or what we do when we gather or if we gather or don't gather... It's about a love relationship with Jesus who has called me by name, implanted His Spirit within me, transplanted me to live in heavenly places, and allowed me the joy and privilege to have just a few minutes here on this earth to serve Him with my life. He is awesome, and He is the centerpoint, and He is life, and He is the only reason, and it really, really does not have to get complicated... He is!
- Knowing Jesus means we get to live in partnership with Him everyday. We live by His power, under His guidance, motivated by love for Him as we are sent into a world that needs to encounter Him. He works through me, in a very unique way, every single day and every single moment. I am the church--a called out one--with His presence in me and with me every day and in every moment. The adventure is not about "going to church" (an impossibility) but being the church--His beloved who lives in His presence--always.
- I get to gather with others who love Jesus. By his grace, I frequently get to gather with people I consider to be family: fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters in Christ who know me, support me and who are part of that mutual encouragement that takes place when the Body of Christ fellowships. What a privilege and joy (even when it gets messy). These gatherings are no more "church" than my everyday life... but I do commit myself, best I can, to love those Christians whom I gather with regularly as well as to bless anyone in the Body of Christ that I am given the opportunity to bless and/or build up.
There is really not much more to it. Everytime I try to complicate it, God has to remind me that it's always about simple, simple, simple (when it comes to "church" life, i.e living-with-God life). We can dialogue about many things-- many good things-- but, for me, most of the rest of the story is about how to live without religious baggage or anything else that hinders the basic life-love story that we are called to.
I enjoy the many conversations that we have on these subjects... so I'm not just trying to provide a trite little summary. I just find it helps me, regularly, to keep my eyes on the heart of the heart of the matter. This post is for me...