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Posts Tagged ‘pray’

To me Church is a group of people. When we get together, or ‘assemble ourselves together’, it is for a time of fellowship, fun, eating and getting to know one another.

As far as I’m concerned, the traditional view of church, which is a building we go to on a particular day at a set time and sit and listen, is not what Jesus meant when he talked about building his Church.

My wife and I were part of the organized church for years and years, and although there were a lot of good experiences and friendships made, it is not what I would consider the true Church.

When we get together with other believers, maybe only two or three, the Church has assembled. This can be at someone’s home, at a restaurant, in a park, or anywhere we are able to spend some time together.

Outside the Walls

Since the Spirit of God lives within us, He is always with us, no matter where we may be, no matter what day or time it is, and no matter if there is a set agenda, singing or sermon to be preached.

Church is you and me. It happens anywhere, anytime. My wife and I have had more meaningful fellowship in the past couple years of being out of the organized church, and just meeting with others as God leads. We may have dinner and talk about what God is doing, we may pray for one another, we may sing a song or two, or we may just talk about things in general, laughing, and getting to know one another better.

I know there are a lot of people who attend a regular ‘church’ service each week, and there is nothing wrong with it. Although for my wife and me, we came to be very dissatisfied with the normal gathering each week, listening to one person talk and going home without hardly a handshake from others.

The Spirit of God is our teacher and each of us are equal participants in the Kingdom of God. We each have something to say that the Spirit can use to encourage others. It has been so much more meaningful for us to be in a group where everyone gets to talk, pray, encourage and build up one another.

I know many who are in the traditional church who do not agree with this, but for my wife and me, we would not want to go back into the organized church setting. Things outside the walls have been so much better, and we have enjoyed much closer fellowship with those God brings into our lives.

So, I guess the best thing is for all of us, inside or outside the walls of religion, is to accept each other the way we are and let God do any teaching or changing that needs to be done. Rather than look down on one group or the other, accept the fact that what we do, we do for God. We want to learn from Him and enjoy the gift of Grace He provided. Let’s love and accept one another no matter what we do or do not do on Sundays.

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Luke 5:16 — But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray…..

This verse says to me how important it is to have personal alone time with our Father God.

Jesus would slip away to a lonely place and talk with His Father. We read numerous times throughout the Gospels how Jesus would go off alone and pray. Now if Jesus needed time alone with Him, I certainly think we need to do the same.

Most of us believers understand the need for prayer and to pray for others. We know we need prayer for ourselves and we know it is right to pray for others and their needs.

What we forget is that personal, alone time with God. When we can sit and listen in silence and hear that ‘still, small voice’ ( 1 Kings 19:12 ). The Holy Spirit will speak to us and guide us, but sometimes we need to sit and listen in silence for a while. We need to pray for others, pray for our needs, praise and worship God for a while, then stop talking and listen for that quiet, soft voice of the Spirit.

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Have you ever passed a ‘church’ building and saw a sign out front that says ‘Everyone Welcome’?

When I see one I always wonder if they really mean what they say. I’ve seen so many congregations over the years get set in their ways and enjoy the people who are “regular’s”, but what would happen if ‘everyone’ did come to their church?

What would the thoughts and feelings be if a gay couple walked in, or a few prostitutes decided to come in for a service. What if a group of homeless people walked in to hear the Sunday morning sermon? Would everyone be truly welcome?

We know that Jesus welcomed everyone, literally, and mostly those who the ‘religious world’ didn’t want to have any association. Jesus met with and cared for the people who probably wouldn’t go to church, either because they wouldn’t be welcome or because they just didn’t think they would fit in.

Maybe that says something about our ‘organized church’ of today. Maybe we’ve become so involved with religion and the proper way of doing things that we’ve lost our first love. Could we be so caught up in the trends of modern religion that we forget our relationship with the God of the universe?

Maybe we need to concentrate more on living in fellowship with Christ on a daily basis, loving Him and loving others, and not worry so much about what building we go to on Sunday morning….if we go at all. The true Church is not a building, and it does not matter which day we meet or where we meet. The Church is a community of believers who live for Him each and every day. We should not be focused on a building, but on a daily walk with Him.

To love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love others as ourselves fulfills the law. We no longer need to worry about obeying the law and the rules and regulations. We now live under a new covenant which went into effect at the death and resurrection of Jesus. We now have the Living Word within us through the Holy Spirit. We no longer need any man to teach us the ways of God, because now the Spirit is our guide.

It is time to put our focus back on our first love, Jesus. It is time to live out our relationship with God on a daily basis, not only on one day. If you are a follower of Christ, it is a daily way of live of loving God, loving others, and being prepared to give an answer of the hope that is within us to those who ask us. I pray we are all letting the love of God show through us so that others will be drawn to Him.

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