Bill Reed has been working with house churches for the last couple of years in a neighboring community in the Central Coast of California. He recently sent out the following reminders to some of those he gathers with which I thought was some good food to pass along to all of us:
- Personal time with Jesus away from the gatherings/meetings. Time by yourself, with your spouse, or with your family reading God’s word and praying is the backbone of what we are doing. You need to take time during the week to contemplate and meditate on the things of God. (His Word, His Creation, His Character) Jenny and I encourage you to do this not just by yourself but with your spouse and/or your family. If you have no family or spouse, grab a close friend. Our home calls this time “JAM Time”. (Jesus And Me Time) Our strength lies in our daily “personal relationship” with our Creator, Jesus Christ. He is the backbone of our gatherings. He is the grand architect for our meetings. He knows where to place each living stone. (First Peter Chapter 2) We must stay in constant fellowship with Jesus Christ in order for our gatherings to come to have life and meaning.
- Bring something to share to each gathering/meeting. It could be as simple as a word of encouragement, a song, a verse from the Bible, or a testimony of how God is working in and through your life. Meetings are only awkward when we have not come prepared to build each other up and encourage one another. When we come prepared to share what God is teaching us, we come full of life, ready to give it away. There are times when we have nothing to share because we are just exhausted or have been distracted throughout our week. Come prepared to share just that... “I am exhausted and I have nothing to share, would you please pray for me to get through this time.” You see, there is always something to share!
- During our times of open worship (Times that we sing, pray, read the word), quiet your heart before God and ask Him to speak to your heart. Listen for the “still small voice”(Ps. 46:10;83:10;95:6-11). He, the Holy Spirit, may remind you of God’s faithfulness to you during the week, and if so then share it. He may remind you of un-confessed sin, if so then share it with Him and if you feel led with the group. He may ask you to share something with the group from the Bible, make sure that you do so. Jesus is the head of the church and He will guide our meetings, if we come prepared to share and to listen.
- Prayer...Prayer...and more Prayer! Pray without ceasing. We must learn to bring everything to God in prayer. He does hear us!
- Gather outside the gatherings as “brothers and sisters” in the household of Jesus Christ. Get together to watch movies, have game nights, etc. The Body of Christ (those who are believers) need to learn the art of “fun” and “joy”. For some reason, it was lost over the last century.
- Engage our community... Get involved in our communities and make a difference. Build bridges of relationship with those outside of the Christian community. Let the light of Jesus shine brightly in the world in which we live. Pray and ask the Lord to lead you into some sort of community involvement that puts you in touch with people who do not know Jesus Christ. This will give you an opportunity to “shine brightly” as a follower of Jesus Christ.
- Lastly, remember that how we act throughout our day is worship. We are in the presence of God 24/7 whether we want to admit it or not. Being a Christian is something that you are... not something that you do once or twice a week.