Who’s on First? …and Other Meaningful Conversations

Carley, the author at Grace Partakers and Obsecrations, once observed (‘Someone Explain‘ by Carley Evans) something interesting that my pastor has been covering in detail on Wednesday nights. Both presented the  topic of the fellowship of believers, which my pastor advises should not be confused with the socializing of church members.

The concern both expressed was whether biblical fellowship was taking place within the standard local church service, or would what occurs be better described as socializing? Carley and my pastor both asked, “What are the normal topics of discussion that take place between members of a local congregation?”

In our conversations, are we excited to share all that God has done through the week in our lives? Are we equally excited about what God is doing in the lives of others? Do we express the burdens we bear, and hear the burdens of others? Is our fellowship focused on Jesus?

Or… are our discussions consumed by our favorite team’s latest victory or loss. Is the content of our conversations primarily filled with our latest purchase, hunting or fishing trip, a recent movie or television program, the economy, or how things are going in Washington?

My good friend Matt, who will soon be leaving for language school, and then Senegal, shared something with us that really impacted my view on this. In the village where he and his family will serve, there are six believers in Jesus Christ. SIX! Can you imagine having only five other Christians available for fellowship? (Hey! Watch it. I heard that, and so did God)

First and foremost, it means fellowship must be undivided. If one member becomes upset with another, there’s not another church up the street to run to. There’s one church. They must also keep one another lifted up and encouraged. They can’t afford for one to fall by the wayside. They have to demonstrate Jesus’ love consistently for one another. (Acts 2:42)

So, how about us? Do we appreciate every believer (be honest) God has made available to us? Do we experience true fellowship with them, where Jesus is praised and worshiped and is the central topic of conversation? If not, why? Do we feel that other believers would be bored with hearing about what Jesus did this week? [shivers run up my spine as I write and then read that sentence]

My pastor, Joey, encouraged us with some ice-breaking questions that open the door for meaningful fellowship between believers. Here’s a couple of them that struck me as challenging.

“What have you seen God do recently? Where is He at work in your life?”

“How is your ministry going?”

“What spiritual challenges have you faced this week? How can I help and pray for you?”

Brother Joey concludes, “The bottom line is… church attendance is not enough. We are spiritual people who need spiritual things, including the fellowship that only the believers in Jesus Christ can experience. To avoid this, by whatever means, is sinful (Hebrews 10:24, 25).”

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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17 Responses to Who’s on First? …and Other Meaningful Conversations

  1. Debbie says:

    I have to wonderful kids. Both are now grown up with little ones of their own. My daughter, currently a stay at home Mom, is brilliant and introspective and reserved. My son, now a college professor, is the kind of person who makes everyone else feel important. One is shy, one is very outgoing. To find out what my daughter was feeling/thinking I had to ask exactly the right question. If I’d ask my son how he was, his unfailing answer was GREAT, Mom!
    Eventually I began to ask both of them: On a scale of 1-10, how’s your heart? That gave them the freedom to share as much or as little as they wanted and still gave me an idea how to pray.
    I think we’d do well, as a fellowship of believers to ask each other, on a scale of 1-10, how’s your heart. It’s open, it doesn’t accuse, presume or assume. I remember the day I got a letter from my son during his junior year in college. He said, “Mom, I know things have been tough. You always say you’re fine but on a scale of 1-10, how’s your heart? I really want to know.”
    If we really want to know, we’ll ask tender, open questions. We’ll sit together in silence, we’ll drop the stones and hold the hand.
    I was a part of a church like that for 3 years, but that was the only time in 53 years of faithful church participation that I can say I experienced anything like it.
    You may just have inspired my next post. 😀
    Thanks for the thoughtful writing, Mike,

  2. singingsinglev4 says:

    About having 6 members in the church – that’s pretty much what our prayer meetings are like and even our Saturday services have very few people so if we are not in complete harmony it affects the whole congregation. But we have to have a bigger picture that the Church is not just the only local congregation, but the entire body of Christ and when one member is hurting the whole body is hurting. I can see that we are moving in similar directions and some people in the Church just seem to rub you the wrong way, but if you live by 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, which is impossible without the Holy Spirit, then it becomes difficult to keep the Church together. I am so thankful that my church even though it is small, we keep everything focused on Christ, and everything centered on how we can help each other, but there are times when things get really hard which is when I have to turn to other parts of the body of Christ. I think I need to talk more to Freedomborn, about sin and righteousness because that it is an area I am really struggling with – what is the balance between grace and law, sin and righteousness, knowing the Truth of God, and finding revelation in His Word through the Holy Spirit.

  3. Esco says:

    Amen! I know the routine. Fellowship is usually shaking someones hand and smiling. And we all are in such a rush to have lunch that we just take off right after church. Great post brother! It’s got me thinking and praying!!!

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks for visiting and commenting Esco. Sorry, gotta go, my wife’s calling me to lunch… just kidding. Very good observation, friend. God bless.

  4. Jim says:

    Thank you for sharing those questions. As men, we often don’t know how to open up about our lives with one another. So we spend time talking about our teams, our jobs, sometimes even our struggles. Even then we are cautious. I think it is very helpful to have ice-breakers like the ones you shared to help us focus back on God.

    “What have you seen God do recently? Where is He at work in your life?” Is a great question. I have a variation of this that I have been using in these difficult economic times, when many of us are struggling: “How do you see God working in your life in the midst of all these struggles?”

    • mtsweat says:

      That’s a great variation for an ice-breaker, Jim. I intend to put that one to work. I really appreciate you dropping by and leaving that great bit of info. I’m definitely one of those who tends keep my life private, save for a limited group, but am learning that as believers, we can’t do this. God is working through our lives and they need to be open. Open for His glory! God bless.

  5. loopyloo305 says:

    I realize that this is off topic my friend, but I have nominated you for the Liebster Award!
    Please visit my site for the details http://loopyloo305.com/2011/12/11/liebster-award-2/

  6. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Mike thank you again for your compassion and kindness to me with the death of my Sister. In response to your message, I wonder if we said to the Judge but I only killed him because I haven’t got it all together yet or I wouldn’t have robed the bank if I was complete and had arrived, easy to ignore sin by saying I can’t help it but what does God say….No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

    So if I see someone is deliberately living a lie but still claiming to be a Christian which is sin, then because God tells me to I will rebuke him, if he won’t listen I will take it to others in the Church, not to do so shows disobedience and lack of Love, it’s like watching someone walk to the edge of a cliff and not stop them so they fall to their death, if needed I will throw them to the ground like Jesus did with the Pharisees, if left without correction eventually they will pollute the rest of the body of Christ, this has to be stopped regardless of the cost.

    Thanks Mike – Christian Love Anne

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Anne, and God bless. Jesus’ righteousness will be portrayed in the lives of His people.

      • Freedomborn says:

        Hi Mike what you say is very True as we choose to turn from evil and do good we are empowered by The Holy Spirit to be able to do so, which then puts our evil flesh nature to death but we must choose to do so as the Scripture below tells us, if we say we will still sin we will! and so never have Freedom in Christ Jesus because we are not accepting it. Jesus has given me many other Scriptures that confirm this Truth which I’m willing to share if wanted.

        Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

        Romans 6:17-19 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness

        Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

        Christian Love Anne

  7. Hanna says:

    Hello Mike good message, my answer, if you agree with them right or wrong you have their loyalty but then they may change their minds at any time, so you don’t have God’s love it is unconditional, sorry but a lot in Church just don’t have it, even if they read the Bible from cover to cover, if the Truth is not in their heart, forget it, nor are we.

    Be real in love Hannah

  8. mtsweat says:

    I fully understand Bob. I wish I could say that I only write about stuff that I’ve mastered. Unfortunately, everyone who knows me would testify differently. Truthfully, the things I write about are the areas of my life that need serious work. Praise the Lord, God has promised to get us there, right where He wants us… in the image of His Son. But, man am I a long way off. God bless good friend.

  9. Appreciating “SOME” other believers is something I have to work on Mike. There are some believers out there that simply get on my last nerve. I will have to reflect more on the questions you posted next time I become impatient. Thanks for a great post my friend!

  10. lambskinny says:

    Interesting questions Michael – maybe I’ll add a few ?? Maybe. Thanks !!!

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Carley, for following and the inspiring post… please, feel free to ask more questions. I’m really coming to believe that one area we are failing in is asking more questions. I’m thinking if we’re willing to ask, who knows, we may receive some great answers. God bless.

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