Simple/Organic Church Practices Archives

Pledging Ourselves To Live Worthy Lives

When our simple church gathered this week Bill brought a copy of Dr. Darrell Bock’s Studying the Historical Jesus. He wanted to share a quote by Pliny the Younger from a letter written in A.D. 110/111.

In regards to the practices of the early church Pliny wrote:

“They had been accustomed to come together on a fixed day before daylight and to sing responsively a song to Christ as God. They bound themselves with an oath—not to commit some crime—but, on the contrary, that they would not commit theft, nor robbery, nor adultery, that they would not break faith, nor refuse to return a deposit when asked for it. When they had done these things, their custom was to separate and to assemble again to partake of a meal, common yet harmless.”

Here are some things we unpacked from that quote:

  • they were accustomed to coming together on a fixed day
  • they worshiped Christ as God
  • they were accountable to one another to live godly lives
  • they participated in life together through meals

Georges Boujakly at Missional Order recently posted about Ethical Relativism and he writes:

“New converts and long time converts, researchers tells us, are not shining stars of holiness, reflecting the image and glory of Christ. Instead of being conformed to His image, being changed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), many have adopted a willing conformity to the world.”

We get together regularly, worship Christ and eat a lot, but how good are we at holding one another accountable to live Christ-like lives?

How much of an impact would we have on society if we pledged ourselves to live lives worthy of Christ when we leave our gatherings? What would such a practice look like in our church meetings?

Grace and peace,

Terry

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Mission Trip To Asia and Back In One Day

Sandi Leading Orchestra

Our church met at the Dragon Boat, Kite, and Lantern Festival last Sunday. One of our members plays in a string orchestra. The director was in China and she was asked to direct a performance in the opening ceremonies. We decided to go and support her and experience the festival. It was like taking a mission trip to Asia and coming back the same day.

Some helped back stage while others simply watched the performance. Some took pictures and video to share with the director when he returns. We just dispersed in the crowd and mingled with the people attending the festival.

As we walked the festival grounds we would run into other members of the group from time to time and stop to visit. At one point several of us found ourselves sitting in the shade eating lunch from the street vendors.

The church chose to gather – not at some permanent place and at a set time – but at a place where we could do life together. We did this for several reasons:

  • to serve a fellow member of our local church
  • to serve the members of the orchestra
  • to build relationships with the orchestra and their families
  • to learn more about a culture that is all around us in which we can live the example of a Christ-like life style
  • to make some new friends
  • to be incarnational (be the body of Christ in the world)
  • to be missional (to be about the mission of Jesus in the world)

Who knows, we might go to October Fest this fall.

What are some ways and where are some places your church or small group can gather?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

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You Are Loved and You Belong Here Now

Running to the door, his little voice shrieks in delight with, “Hi, Bill.” He’s only two years old and the friend at the door is more than 50 years his senior but the love in the greeting cannot be missed. He truly is excited and pleased that Bill is in the room. The fact that the best place to practice the one another’s of the New Testament is in small relational settings is demonstrated again. Both know they belong in this place now.

In four different places we are told that when the church gathers we are to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).

The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. – 1 Corinthians 16:19-20  NIV

The “greet” part of these verses is universal for all the believers. The “kiss” part is cultural. We should always greet each other in ways that are culturally acceptable. The “holy” part points to our unity – we have all been set apart and belong to God’s family. No one should be left out.

The central idea is that we are in a special relationship with other members of the church and should act accordingly. Our greetings should demonstrate that we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ and convey that:

  • you are loved
  • you are needed
  • you are cared about
  • you are accepted
  • you are wanted
  • you belong

Our meeting and even our eating will be meaningless if we do not do things God’s way and lovingly “greet one another.” Do you have any “greeting” stories to share?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Spreading the generous helping of butter on top of my short stack I remembered some statements from a simple church meeting. One of the traits of facilitating a small group conversation is the art of asking questions. Sometimes those questions seem a little trivial but they can give us great insight into our fellow Christ followers. They can also reinforce God’s truths in every day life situations.

While having a conversation with over a cup of coffee this morning I also had an order of pancakes. They were great and one of the best things is that I did not have to ask for additional butter. Looking at that golden delight, I remembered the responses to a question we considered when looking at 1 John 3:1.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! –  1 John 3:1 NIV

The leader asked the question,

“What is one of your favorite foods that you like to eat topped with lots of something?”

After getting responses from the group he asked us to fill in the blanks to the following statement:

The Father’s love for me is like the ________ on my ________.

Here are some of the replies:

  • Like the butter on my pancakes
  • Like the gravy on my potatoes
  • Like the cream on my strawberries
  • Like the chocolate on my strawberries
  • Like the toppings on my banana split
  • Like the chocolate on my ice cream
  • Like the butter on my brownie

I like lots of butter on my pancakes – but its nothing compared to the love the Father has lavished on me.

What is one of your favorite foods that you like to eat topped with lots of something?

How would you fill in the blanks: The Father’s love for me is like the ________ on my ________.

Grace and Peace,
Terry

You might also like:

    What can a 12 year old boy bring to a church gathering? How about a trombone?

    He’s in his first year of band and has only been playing the trombone for 8 months. He was practicing for a solo piece for his next band concert and his dad suggested that he play the song at one of our church meetings. He agreed.

    On Sunday he brought his trombone and his dad brought some words he had put together to sing with the song. Together they presented the music and we sang along. It was a great experience.

    He said that every time he plays the piece, he now thinks about the words that his dad helped him put to music. The church will do life together with this family when we go to his band concert. We will think of those words too, as we sing in our hearts.

    The church was edified, the boy was encouraged, a father and son bonded. . .

    What other insights do you find in this story that relates to the family of God?

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry

    5 Questions To Ask Before Meeting With Your Church

    Are you bringing anything to your church meetings other than your body? Many times we think only about receiving something for ourselves when we gather with our church or small group. But do you ever think about bringing something to share?

    You can’t “one another” by yourself.

    One of the hallmarks of simple church meetings should be mutual sharing. These together times are wonderful opportunities for us to practice the one another scripture passages we find in our Bibles. The term “one another” implies within itself the concept of sharing because you can’t “one another” by yourself.

    Here are 5 questions to ask before you gather with your church or small group.

    1. What can I bring that will help us center on Christ’s Lordship
    2. What can I bring that will help us build up Christ’s body
    3. What can I bring that will help us participate in Christ’s mission
    4. What can I bring that will help us grow as Christ followers
    5. What can I bring that will help us extend Christ’s Kingdom

    Other than a plate of brownies, what will you bring to your next church meeting?

    Any thoughts or ideas?

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry