Friday, February 22, 2008

"Friends" part 2

hi, this is part 2 of a series of postings on the friendship model of church life. I have several friends working with this model in Europe and the U.S. ~ Joseph

By Wayne Jacobsen
BodyLife • September 2007

This summer, however, I stumbled upon a definition that expresses the life of the church better than any I’ve yet run across. It crystallized in my thinking at a worldwide gathering of believers this summer and it has grown on me more ever since. Its application to a variety of settings seems to bear witness to its clarity as well as practicality. What is that definition? Simply I am coming to see the beauty of the church of Jesus Christ emerge in this day as “friends, and friends of friends.”

Now, I realize that needs a bit of explanation, so let me try.

An Example In Ireland
Those who read my blog or listen to The God Journey know I was part of an incredible gathering of believers this past June in Ireland. It was hosted by a number of people who have been living relationally around Dublin for almost 30 years. They were in the midst of forming a congregation in the 80s when God made it clear he hadn’t asked them to do so. They stopped meeting regularly, but continued to share the life of Jesus together as friends living alongside each other. They rarely all get together for a meeting, though it would also be rare if on any given day a number of them weren’t together in one way or another—sharing their journeys and helping each other.

This summer God brought together people from all over the world who are learning to live relationally in his family for a week of sharing life. People came from 10 different countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and other countries in Europe. Most of those who came did not know each other beforehand, and many had never even been to Ireland before.

We spent the week together, beginning with a picnic on a Sunday in a field and ended in the same field the following Saturday with a barbecue. Nothing was planned beyond the meal for both of those occasions and the rest of the week we did not gather as a large group except to take a bus tour of that part of Ireland. But throughout the week in various homes and other venues pockets of people got together for meals, recreation, and conversation. By the end of the week we were blown away by all Father had accomplished without planning or scheduling any ‘ministry’ times. Friendships blossomed, deep issues discussed, insights shared and questions answered. We prayed together, cried together, and laughed together all the while watching Jesus emerge among us. Significant time was spent helping individuals through rough spots on the road through prayer and counsel. Friends and friends of friends could be together for a week and Jesus could accomplish all he wanted through that simple reality.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Friends and Friends of Friends

Friends and Friends of Friends
By Wayne Jacobsen
BodyLife • September 2007

This is part 12 of an occasional series on Life in the Relational Church. Check our archive on-line for the previous articles in this series.

Since I first wrote The Naked Church twenty years ago now, I have searched for a definition of the church that encompasses her majesty and yet explains in simplicity who she is and how she functions in the world. At first I thought that could be answered in structural ways as I moved from the mechanics of large institutions into more relational structures, like cell groups, home groups, and house churches.

But it didn’t work out that way, for which I am incredibly grateful. Defining the church structurally has two problems. First, the life of the church is found in the affection and cooperation of people who are living in Christ. No structure guarantees that reality. In fact, smaller groups who practice performance-based religion are even more dangerous than larger ones who do. Second, these definitions were inherently divisive—excluding brothers and sisters who met in different structures and inculcating a false sense of superiority in those who think they have finally recaptured ‘the secret’ of New Testament church life.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Simple Church Movement

this video is good ... it shows that this 'out of the box' thinking is no longer quiet so pioneering but is becoming much more mainstream ... (click twice to view it)

there is, however, more than a small element of idealistic romanticism that one detects in the video ... As we have learned, it takes hard work...working at relationships. 20 years down the road all of the ugly warts and defects and human carnality of the "simple church" approach will be evident ... it is still going to take men and women who surrender their will and ego, and embrace the cross of Christ to coach and perfect the saints for the work of ministry ... it will still take apostles to start groups, help them multiply and reproduce, keep them from becoming isolated, or ingrown or even from veering off into error ... it will still take prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists to equip and coach among the simple churches ...

nevertheless, I see this as a healthy corrective and we (in Princeton, FL along with our friends in Columbus, Oh) already have 4 to 5 years experience with it ... as we continue to work out the bugs ...

I hope you will contribute some comments for discussion....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fox News Miracle

This is a fascinating story of a cardiologist who prayed for a patient who's heart has been stopped for nearly 30 minutes ... Is this an example of the power of prayer? Watch the video and you decide. Click twice to see the video.