Something more, Something Different
One of my favorite accounts of Jesus in the Bible is with the woman at the well in Samaria. The story has so many rich facets to it and each time I read it, I am amazed at how I take a different lesson away from it each time. Today, as I share a vision and a dream for the future, I have learned a whole new lesson from this rich story and truth that Jesus wants us all to know.
John 4:23-24The Message (MSG)
21-23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
Where you to worship will not matter….
Hmm, what does Jesus mean by this? Let us explore…
Prior to this story, we see Jesus has gone to Jerusalem to visit Nicodemus in Jerusalem, where he was not welcomed and visits a strict member of the orthodox Pharisees, a highly religious sect of the Jewish people that preach the law, but their hearts do not follow it. Then Jesus shows up in Samaria to speak to a woman (which was a big no no) and a Samaritan woman which is risking his own reputation. Nicodemus risks his reputation by being seen with Jesus, Jesus risks his reputation by being seen with a Samaritan woman. The linking word between both conversations is “spirit”.
It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.
In speaking to the woman, Jesus was making it very clear, it didn’t matter whether people worshipped in the mountain or in the temple but if they were not worshipping Him in obedience in truth, where they worshipped made no difference. Jesus then went on to not only reveal what he knew about her life and how she was living but then revealed, to the woman, that He was indeed the Messiah and came to exhibit what worshipping in spirit and truth looked like. Not in a temple, not on a mountain, but by changing our hearts.
And this leads me to my big news……
A few years ago, John and I decided to leave the big corporate church for many reasons of our own personal choosing. For a very long time we thought something was wrong with us until we realized that the busyness and the hype was not what we really needed. We needed a deep connection with God, we needed growth, accountability and practical learning to help us live our lives as Jesus did. We began the journey of meeting together with other Christians in our home or in their home and studying scripture together. We cut out the busyness of programs and focused on meeting only once a week and then connecting with God through personal study, silence and prayer. While we are not perfect and still have much work to do in our spiritual life I can tell you that our lives have changed. We are more focused, grounded and centered in our faith. And now we want to invite others to share in this experience with us and in turn we want others to replicate what we are doing all over the world. We want to invite all of our friends and family into what we are doing to learn, to grow and to seek God in ways that you may not have ever thought of before. What will this look like? Let me take you back to the ancient ways….
Following the Ancient Ways Will Lead Us to Deeper Connection with God and Deep Personal Growth…
Over the last year I have been studying scripture and reading many books on the early Celtic Christians. Three things that the early church in Acts and the practice of the Celtic Christians have in common is that:
They did not meet in a church building and met to fellowship with each other in homes
They lived their daily lives very much according to Christ
They spent time in solitude and silence to connect with God in nature
So what does that look like for us today? We meet weekly for a gathering of fellowship, to hear a short message and then fellowship with a meal following. Children and adults will be together and not apart, as it is a parents job to teach their children about God. The individuals go about their daily lives incorporating what they learn each week at the gathering and live it out in their lives. They also find quiet time to spend with God in nature as this is where a thin place as the Celts would call as a place to connect with God. I personally feel God’s presence the strongest outdoors. And while I don’t believe in pagan Gods, there is something to be said about connecting our ancestors loves of nature with the triune truth of Christ. There is no denying His presence in the created order and I am grounded on what is reality and what is wordily. I am focused and my attention is all on God and I can reflect on what He is doing in my life and allow Him to speak to me in that moment. As human beings we all need this practice.
When Will We Begin and Where?
Over the summer we will begin with a Bible Study every other Sunday beginning July 10th at our home. We will spend 4 weeks studying the book of Romans. Then on September 11th we will meet for our very first morning gathering and begin our weekly gatherings of learning, prayer, fellowship and breaking bread. I have some fantastic God led teachings to share with all of you that are simple and that will help draw you closer to the heart of God.
I hope that each of you will be praying about this shift and change and that you will take a chance and join us in something different for your soul. I have enough loud competing things in my life and I want my experience with God to center me, ground and me and lead me to truth and not get me just pumped up on Sunday and feeling blue on Monday. We want other like minded people to join us and if they feel led, we want to train you to start your own gathering. We believe this is the start of a new God movement. And we hope that you join us on this adventure!
One Last Thought
As I have been in prayer over this adventure, I was reminded by my journal entry a year ago in this scripture that this is where the Lord is leading: