New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Friday, January 11 2002 Vol 02 : 009
Re: [NTCP] Upon what do we base our UNITY?
Re: [NTCP]...UNITY? - Your questions about AVC -
[NTCP] Meet my friend Bruce Woodford
RE: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 07:26:17 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Upon what do we base our UNITY?

Dear List,

Not to start a new thread, but Last Friday, on the way home from work, I got a
revelation, the first in a little while. It has to do with "inlaw problems".

About three months ago, I saw that it all comes down to a choice in heart's
content between "Abba" and "ough oh". Well, I think I found another legitimate
alternative, a more temporary one. Let's call it "Ooo la la", "...and for this
cause a man will leave "Abba"..." In some sense this "Ooo la la" is really
"ough oh" once removed.

I won't take the time right now to attempt a full elaboration, but this is the
core of it. I Corinthians 15, the verse that says, "... then the Son Himself
will be made subject.." and Ephesians 5, the "leave and cleave" verse.

For present purposes I'll try to reduce and simplify.

When we leave our Father, in order to cleave to our wife, (I'm leaving it in
that gender only for the purpose of making the present point.) the leaving is
more than geographic, or a matter of residence. It is a coming out from under,
both in the sense of provision and protection. There is certainly an authority
dimension of this leaving. The wife is not subject to her "inlaws", she is
subject to her husband, "...likewise the husband."

Paul tells us that this is all about Christ and the Church.

Generally speaking, Inlaw problems are problems that youngers have with elders.
Having only just arrived on the elder side of this equation, I am now seeing
that this is a two way street, and authority is very much at the heart of it.
The Father has to let go. The Father has to bite his tongue. Perhaps enough
said about that part.

In Jesus case, He left His Father in order to court and win a bride who was
demonstrably incompatible with The Father's house. The revelation was that it
is in this sense that Jesus is not presently subject to the Father. In this
sense, He could not be subject to His Father, and carry on with this woman,
(My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?). Even on her best day, there were
and still are points of incompatibility. She is not yet spotless and wrinkle
free, and God is too holy to look upon sin.

You have no doubt noticed that husbands and wives tend to influence each other,
even becomming more and more like each other, if its working right. At the
cross, her's was the overriding influence, "...He became sin..." But over time,
Jesus' influence is greater than our own, so there is some hope that it is we
who will become like Him rather than the other way around. In fact, so much so
that in the end we will be compatible with the Fathers house, at which point,
He Himself will once again be subject to the Father in the same way that he was
before the world began, and we too will know that oneness that He prayed for in
John 17:5 "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the
glory which I had with thee before the world was."

Now, if we can get this kind of information about the invisible things of God
from the visible things of creation, perhaps we can draw some hope that it
might also be done here on earth as it is in heaven, so that one day even our
"inlaw problems" will be done away.

Perhaps it is this hope, "... Christ in us, the hope of glory", that is the
basis of our unity.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 09:04:17 -0500
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: Re: [NTCP]...UNITY? - Your questions about AVC -

Sam,

Thanks for sharing some of the details of your story:
>

My background is with a small, independent charismatic church that saw the
Kingdom of God as a present reality, but with little vision of seeing it
extended as you say. We found and fellowshipped with other small independent
churches having common beliefs, but were more or less isolated from what God
has been doing generally elsewhere.

The house church movement has greatly exposed me to perspectives of other very
sincere and devoted brothers and sisters in the Lord, from which I have grown
and for which I am thankful. I too see the house church movement as one way of
extending the Kingdom of God in the earth, which is the heart's cry of the
Lord's prayer.

But I am finding that there are practical limitations to our unity in Christ.
God has made many of us to be so different, that all of our time could be taken
up in discussing/debating/working out our differences. I have been wondering
lately if the Lord might presently be giving different direction to me in this
area.

Many of my intial contacts in the house church movement seem to have little
interest in the increase of the Kingdom of God, and also many of my
bridge-building efforts have met with discouragement. That does not prompt me
to separate myself from those with whom I am one in Christ. But I do need to
accept the limitations of where we can actually "walk together."

Jesus once said to Peter, "So what if I John remains until I come, you follow
me!"

So instead of trying to change one another, perhaps we should accept the
limitations, and invest more time among those who are being similarly led in
Him?

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com


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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 03:30:56 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] Meet my friend Bruce Woodford

Hi all,

2001 was truly a great year. What a joy to be serving and exalting the Lord on
the internet with you all!

Some of us prefer newsgroups, others email lists, others like web-based forums.
Bruce Woodward has just joined the homechurch.org team of workers and will be
serving as a moderator on our web-based home church forum, located at

http://www.homechurch.org/forums

Pretty exciting, huh?

Here's his story for you to enjoy. Why not surf on over and greet him in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and let him know that you are praying for him and
his work? Here is his thread:

http://www.homechurch.org/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000087.html

ybiC,

David Anderson

- --------------------------

Greetings fellow pilgrims!

Although our family has only been part of a house church for about 9 months
now, we have been on a journey in this direction for over 25 years! I'm
positive that many of you have your own unique stories, but that we will find
many similarities along the way!

I was born and raised in a Christian home in southern Ontario, attended a
Baptist Church where I professed faith in Christ and was baptized at age 11.
After high school, I attended Bible School to prepare to be a missionary. The
first time I questioned anything about "church" was when studying I Timothy 3
in our "Pastoral Epistles" course. Various ministers had come and gone from our
church but not once, when considering prospective "candidates", were we ever
directed to the qualifications for elders in that chapter!

After graduation in '73, I spent 3 months as a "summer missionary" in the West
Indies. the next summer I attended the mission's "candidate school in St.Louis,
MO. There I met my wife to be! Judy was an MK from Congo. After I had spent a
year as a "pastoral intern" with a pastor in a church in London, Ontario,
Canada (and Judy had spent the year teaching in a school in Zaire), we were
married in September '75. Just a week before, I was "ordained" to the ministry
and had the title "Reverend" attached to my name. Then in March of '76 we left
for Dominica together.

I was promptly "installed" as "pastor" of a newly planted congregation as the
other missionary couple were leaving on furlough. The following year was a
whirlwind of activity: preaching and teaching, visiting, holding open-air
meetings, childrens' classes etc But we finally took a break for about a week
and took a little cabin up in the hills just to relax and think. I had a deep
sense that we were doing something awfully wrong but had no idea what it was.
That Sunday, having left others in charge of the "services" we visited a
"Brethren Assembly". For the first time in our lives we observed a Sunday
meeting with no one presiding, no bulletin, no order of service and no
clergyman! I was astounded to see various brethren praying, reading scripture,
giving out hymns to be sung and breaking bread and drinking the cup together in
remembrance of their Lord! I wept to see the simplicity of such a gathering,
and from then on, whenever I stood in the pulpit - I felt like I was a positive
hindrance to what God wanted to do among the believers in "my" congregation!

I began reading the Book of Acts as never before and began to notice that no
N.T. church ever had one man at the head of it! None had one "pastor"! No
church leaders were ever salaried! Rather every church was guided by a
plurality of elders who were appointed by the Holy Spirit, (Acts 20:28-35) and
recognized by scriptural qualifications (I Tim 3 & Titus 1). These men served
the flock without remuneration from the sheep because they were true servants
of God who looked only to Him for their reward! (I Peter 5:1-4)

After struggling for about a year and knowing I could never practice what I'd
seen in scripture if I retained the position I held, I resigned from the
Mission Board, left the church, destroyed my ordination certificate and
returned to Canada to find "secular employment", and an assembly that
functioned according to our new understanding of scripture. As a teenager, and
as a pastor and missionary, I had often struggled with tremendous doubts about
my own salvation. I would read and pray with my family and study scripture to
teach to others, but I knew nothing of personal prayer, or reading of scripture
just to feed my own soul. Being a pastor and missionary, people always looked
up to me. I was too proud to acknowledge to anyone that I wasn't even sure I
was saved! But once I was out of the "pastorate" and had no position "over"
anyone else I began to realize that I had religion but no relationship to
Christ! Finally acknowledging this to my wife and another friend I realized for
the first time in my life that I was nothing but a guilty sinner, but that that
was just the kind of person for whom Christ had died! On November 21st, 1981 I
passed from death unto life in Christ through simply resting on the truth of
Isaiah 53:5! I had known almost 29 years of religion, but since that day I've
been learning what it is to have a relationship with Christ!

In the assemblies with which we gathered, there was much more liberty for men
to function according to the priesthood of the believer (I Peter 2).But there
were many meetings in which speakers were appointed or invited and so all who
were not appointed were excluded from ministering in the gatherings. So after
16 years we had to leave for much the same reasons as we had left the first
time: While we claimed to follow scripture, many scriptures relative to
ministry one to another and spiritual gifts seemed to be ignored.

Homeschooling for years, we had come to know believers from many denominations.
The Lord directed us to visit various churches of our friends for at least 6
weeks at a time. We saw much with which we disagreed, but we also met many dear
brothers and sisters in Christ and the Lord enlarged our hearts for the Body of
Christ. In a few churches we found opportunities to minister and some interest
in N.T. principles. But in every case the religious organization or
denominational machinery always got in the way of obedience to the Word of God.

A godly couple, good friends of ours had been on a similar journey longer than
we had. They finally had had enough of various "churches". They longed for God
to put a group of people together according to N.T. principles but were
determined they were not going to "start something", advertise, invite, or even
tell others what they were longing for. They determined just to remain at home
on Sundays and to wait on the Lord alone. Dave told me afterward that he was
prepared to wait even up to 6 months or a year! But the very first Saturday, a
Christian lady called up to ask when their "service" was on Sunday! Dave said,
"What do you mean? We don't have any service here!" She responded that the Lord
had told her that she was to come to their home and so she needed to know what
time the service was!

As a result, this sister, her husband, their daughter and son-in-law and
another friend showed up for the first house meeting in early February, 2001.
Since then the Lord has added many so there are now about 60 people involved,
some driving over an hour to be there! As the group has grown , the quality of
sharing has decreased as people have not been as free to open up and minister
one to another, and there has been little room for new comers. So starting in
mid December we divided into two groups. Now 3 families (16 people) meet in our
home. The other group will probably need to divide again to make space for
further growth before very long. Without doing any advertising we are seeing
new folks come along almost every week by word of mouth recommendations of
others!

We are praying that God would raise up house churches within walking distance
of everyone in our county and that God would put us in touch with other
Biblical gatherings across southern Ontario. We also pray that God would raise
up young people from among us to carry the vision of N.T. house church
ministry, with it's primary focus on relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, to
the ends of the earth.

Most of us have been searching for church life like this for a long time and
are enjoying mutual ministry like we have never experienced before! God
continues to stretch us, move us out of our comfort zones and to teach us
things we've never realized before. We feel like we are just "dipping our toes
in the ocean" of all that God desires to do if we will just be obedient to Him!

If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to e-mail me at

wbwood4d(--AT--)hotmail.com

Bruce Woodford


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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 11:55:08 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Dan Beaty wrote:

>My wife and I had to finally accept that our gift/ministry was to the homeless.

That's how it works sometimes, isn't it? You just have to accept it. I was a
homeless shelter manager for six years with the Salvation Army. Here in
Jerusalem I've seen my heart broken for the MANY people who live in the nearby
parks, slaves to their addictions. Or scattered mindsets. We began a campout
ministry where a partner and I would camp out weekly in the parks and try to
make contact with folks that "lived" there. We'd offer practical love: free
haircuts, food, an invitation to our home, ... and as people opened up, the
gospel. Unfortunately I couldn't keep a consistent partner to work with me so
I had to pack it in for a while. But my heart has been captured by ministry to
the homeless. I simply have to accept it as a gift/ministry. And I'm glad to
hear someone else (whom I've grown to respect) has been likewise snared by the
Lord.

Michael
Jerusalem

P.S. to David Anderson. Yes, Deborah is my wife. I compose emails at home,
save them on a disk, then Deborah sends them off for me. We tried having our
home computer online but, in addition to the added expense, I have had past
problems with internet pornography. So the present set-up seems best to keep
temptation at bay. That's why Deborah, my loving and forgiving wife's name, is
on each of my messages.


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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 10:15:48 -0500
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Sorry Michael,

This was a typo error on my part: Dan Beaty wrote:

>My wife and I had to finally accept that our gift/ministry was to the homeless.

It should have been, "NOT" to the homeless." Our hearts have always been to
help, but sadly the fruit has never been there.

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com

New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #9

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