Archives For fellowship

The Beach

July 9, 2015 — Leave a comment

woman-570883_1280A beach is a relaxing place of meditation. Close your eyes and your ears open to hear God. Breath through your nose and you taste the goodness of God. The music of waves crashing upon the shore applauds His control. The wind sings a creative song. Your heart longs to be in tune with God more so than nature. It is possible; He has made it so.

MountDiabloEmilieHike

You were not meant to be alone and isolated from people. You were never meant to say, “All I need is God and no one else.” God created us for fellowship with Him and fellowship with others. It’s God’s perfect plan.

I once had a friend who began to pull away from the body of Christ. He became disenfranchised for many reasons and finally allowed things to pull him away from those that loved him. He didn’t leave God, but he did say over and over to others, and me “All I need is God and no one else.”

Somehow, he had bought into the lie that he could do it with just God. By cutting off the flesh of humanity, he thought his life would be richer and fuller. Over the next several months,  he systematically cut off his best friends also. I was among that number, and it hurt and grieved me horribly.

He would touch base with me by phone from time to time, but it was shallow, and I could hear in his voice that he was slipping over the edge. The fellowship of the body of Christ had been traded in and replaced with a pseudo kind of Christian fellowship that consisted of just him and God.

It sounds good on the surface to say, “All I need is God and no one else,” but the fact of the matter it’s impossible to have true biblical fellowship cut off from the body. You and I were designed to have a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with each other.

My friend came up with a thought in isolation away from the body because he said he heard the voice of God tell him to do something. He didn’t run the voice through scripture to see if it contradicted anything and he didn’t run the voice by any believers for accountability. He simply “heard a voice,” and obeyed the voice.

The story is long;  therefore I will make it short and more bullet point for your reading.

  • He said he heard God tell him to drive out to the Mt. Diablo and climb to the top to be alone with him for many days. (Temperatures can reach high 90’s and above)
  • He was told to tell no one and to take only water
  • He drove his truck to the park and parked it at the bottom of the mountain.
  • He took his keys and threw them into a pond and threw his cell phone into the pond also.
  • He hiked up the mountain and found a place to worship and talk with God.
  • He used up all his water before reaching the top and over the next few days he dehydrated and began to see things.
  • He saw and heard angles telling him to do things and many other things that would be just too strange to share with you.
  • Finally, with the heat being too much to handle he unclothed himself wholly and lay down to die. That’s correct, he was naked on the mountain.
  • He was found the next morning almost dead. He was hanging on to life by a thread.
  • “All I need is God and no one else,” had taken him to a place of death and not life.

He finally made a full recovery in the hospital. His parents, family and friends were all happy he was alive. I would love to say he fully learned his lesson, but it wasn’t over night. Even after almost dying, he still had a grudge against the body of Christ. Over the years,  he has slowly worked through his issues, and last I heard he was doing well.

Pastor Rick Warren once said, “Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. You can spend a lifetime searching for the perfect church, but you will never find it. You are called to love imperfect sinners, just as God does.”

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When you become a believer you belong to a family. Just as sure as you were born into a family, you were born into another family the day you accepted Christ as Lord of your life.

You are in a relationship with Christ that is intimate and therefore, you have a relationship with His family, the church. You and I make up the body of Christ, which is the family of God.

You belong to a group that is changing the world through the power of His resurrection. You are vital to the body of Christ.  You can’t claim to be in the body but not part of the body.

I love what Rick Warren once said, “Whenever we become careless about fellowship, everything else begins to slide, too. Membership in the family of God is neither inconsequential nor something to be casually ignored. The church is God’s agenda for the world.”

How are you doing with your church attendance? Do you see it as a take it or leave it option? I challenge you today to reexamine your thoughts about church. I challenge you to allow your individualism thinking to melt away into the beauty of God’s fellowship of the saints.

Never forget that as a Christ follower you are called to be among His disciples and not separate from them. You can’t just have a bible close by and pray from time to time and call yourself complete. If you are living like that for Jesus, you are not complete without the church fellowship.

To reference Rick Warren again, “A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family.”  You are loved and needed. God has a plan and an irreplaceable role for you in His church family, the body of Christ.

I once heard a person say, and I’ve repeated it from the pulpit before, “People don’t have a problem with Christ; they have a problem with the church.” I believe we can and should change that. You are part of that change when you faithfully attend church with your family each week.

Allow me one final thought from Pastor Warren who says, “Except for a few important instances referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word church is used in the Bible it refers to a local, visible congregation.”

How is your church attendance? Have you kicked your family to the curb?