Ask God for a Likeminded Friend
Recently I heard someone talk about the catalytic influence of a likeminded friend.
As I thought about this, I realized how common this really is. I think of people who have started disciple-multiplying movements that have reached thousands in overseas settings to people who have done the same thing, on a much smaller scale, here in the west. In most cases, there was often the partnering of two or three people whose friendship and like-minded camaraderie seemed to catalyze what was to come. It almost seems that this key friendship preceded the unfolding of God’s work.
It does not take much effort to immediately think of Jesus sending out disciples ‘two by two.’ Or, we naturally think of Paul and Barnabus and then Paul and Timothy. Is this more than just a good idea? Perhaps it is truly a key part of forging into new waters of reaching, discipling, and starting organic gatherings.
Most people I meet who are in the place of trying out new paradigms of church and ministry report that they feel very much alone. Could this ‘aloneness’ be God’s way of preparing us to pray for, look for, and expect God to bring us a likeminded person to journey with us? Perhaps this might be the starting point of prayer in our current quest to move forward?
I am sharing this with the realization that it probably provokes more questions than answers, but I thought I should post it nonetheless.
Thoughts or experiences with this?
House Church Directory
Here is the latest and only current site that I know of where they are working toward keeping a current directory of house churches.
This is how they describe their directory:
This new national house church directory site offers:
1) Easy, self-serve listing functionality,
2) The ability to search using Google mapping, and
3) Private, secure communication between those listing a house church and people searching for one.
This site is completely free - no cost to use and no advertising clutter. We are just trying to help the house church community get connected.
I encourage you to make use of this and, also, let me know your experiences with it.
Simple Church Online Course: Register Now
You can now register for the upcoming “Simple/House Church Revolution Online Course.”
Beginning date is February 9.
NOTE, you can register immediately as there are only 15 spaces remaining on a first come, first served basis!
The goal of this course is for participants to discover more fully God's story and the nature of His church in a way that fully celebrates the freedom of the Gospel and the simplicity, reproducibility, and joy of simple, participatory, 24/7 church life.
- It’s interactive with lots of opportunity to share and hear from others who are on a similar journey.
- It provides a lot of great material that challenges our perspectives and paradigms in order to help us shape our own non-traditional journey.
- It can be life-changing as it sets our course as pursuers of Jesus in the context of simple church life.
Who is this course for? It’s ideal for those who are newly exploring simple/house churches or who are in the process of starting simple/house churches or networks of simple/house churches.
This course helps move us from head knowledge to the practice of principles that can release the DNA of living, reproductive, Jesus-led, simple-house churches that are making disciples who make disciples.
We continue to offer this course when possible because of the feedback we have received from people who have participated in the past:
"A unique and extremely insightful collection of resources, experiences, and other people who will finally let you know that you are not crazy for hoping that there is more of Jesus to be known and shared in a way that is actually simple."
Read more of the description and register here. Look forward to this journey together!
New Directions for a New Year: Am I Open?
“The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” John 3:8
You are likely reading this because you have demonstrated an openness to new paradigms and new leadings of God’s Spirit. Think of how God has changed your thinking in recent times about your church and ministry life:
- It’s about being God’s people 24/7 not attending a meeting
- It’s about a Jesus-lifestyle not an organization to belong to
- It’s about incarnating God into the world not attracting people to a clubhouse
- It’s about gathering in a participatory manner rather than being priest-led
- It’s about discipling by relationship rather than by program
- It’s about leadership that empowers and releases rather than controls
And with these new paradigms, you have likely stepped out of former places of ministry and church-going and explored new ways to walk life out as a follower of Jesus. You have learned to live the adventure of following God rather than living out of pre-determined programs.
But, it is a new year and God is ever on the move. What He led us into last year is only a stepping stone for where He wants to take us in the coming year. God calls us continually to fresh revelations and new directions because we are designed to be led by the Spirit of God. This means as soon as we find a new place to rest in, God is likely to move us on if we are listening.
My personal tendency is to take the direction and understanding from yesterday and camp out! Wherever I have been with God, that is where I want to stay. But God is far more dynamic and adventurous than that. He has more for me. He has more than I can ask for or imagine. But I must be willing to move with Him to enter into this year’s promised land.
“In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted.” Exodus 40:36-37
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
God has blessed the work we have been involved in on African soil. Teams of disciple-making, house-church planters and leaders are deployed in several different countries. But, I am so aware that I simply want to continue doing the same-same I have been doing. Why change? Why not replicate next year what God showed us last year? Because God continues to move on... and my heart is deeply challenged: am I open and willing to move with Him this coming year?
Waiting on God
Sometimes we wait. We don’t know what the next step is. We wait on God.
- We have left a church situation not knowing what is next, and now we wait.
- We want to connect organically with ‘house church’ people, but for today it has not happened, so we wait.
- We have promises God has given to us. Awesome promises. But, for now, we wait.
- We need a provision, or a healing, or a breakthrough. But up to now… we wait.
Though I personally do not like these times of waiting, I am in such a season now and this is not unusual. These are prime times in God’s economy in which He shapes us, re-shapes us, and most importantly, draws us close to Him.
God, let me use this season well. The purpose of waiting is not to deprive me, but to fill me with a greater abundance of You which is, in the end, the greatest gift of all. May I walk with you through to this fullness of Your life and presence that You desire for me and that truly meets each and every need of my heart and life.
Sure, the other end of the waiting will come. It always does. God is always faithful to lift us, bless us, and move us into the next and better season. His promises and purposes are always for our good. But, I also know that there is something deep happening during the waiting time itself when I allow my heart to open its receptors more fully to the presence, beauty, and life of God. Therefore, often this season delivers more into my heart and life then the promise fulfilled that I have been seeking.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
This is what God is speaking to me today during the waiting period. While I wait, I can do more than wait. I can seek Him. And that is more than enough when He is found by me. Let it be so. He never fails to meet us when He is the single, deep cry of our hearts. And that is enough.