Recently my husband Derek and I had the privilege of visiting a group of saints in Perth, Western Australia. We live on the East Coast and it was the second time in four years that we have visited these wonderful folk and all things going according to God’s plan we believe, we will be moving there at the end of this year 🙂
What I want to share today is something that I/we/the small body of believers here on the Central Coast, NSW, have learned as a result of our time with the saints in Perth.
See, the Perth saints have been ‘planted’. (See this blog post by Milt Rodriguez on the subject of being ‘planted’). During their time being planted, they were taught many ways in which to ‘learn’ Christ. And one of these was using a ‘theme’ for some of their gatherings.
So during our stay, the group had collectively decided on a theme for their following meeting. That meeting I’m talking about is a weekly meeting, other than their mid-week dinners, breakfasts, and social gatherings. Let me tell you what that particular meeting is not;
It is not a social meeting, is not about eating together, is not a program, is not listening to each other’s problems, is not a prayer meeting, it is not a bible study. It is not listening to one person teach or preach. It is not passive.
Here’s what that meeting is;
It is a weekly meeting set aside to specifically focus on the Lord Jesus Christ with every member functioning under the Headship of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever tried to do that with a group of Christians? I mean, really and truly, for everyone in the group to participate and function as expressions of Christ, focussing only on Him, as led by Him, and to Him? Really? If you have experienced that then you know how glorious it is.
The theme that was agreed upon was “Christ our only pursuit”. Ahhhh……..sounds so sweet doesn’t it? And sweet it was. Songs were sung as different members called out a song and intermittently folk declared the truth of the words being sung, to one another.
Without prompting by any person, one brother shared a scripture he had focussed on during his week in relation to Christ being his only pursuit. Another sister read a letter as if it was written by Christ to the church. Another sister had written in her own words one of the Psalms. Another brother shared something he’d written as to ‘why’ Christ was his only pursuit. Another sister gave a practical demonstration using props to share about the soul and the spirit in relation to when we pursue Christ. One couple taught the group a new song based around the theme. Each member freely and openly, shared Christ with one another.
As you just read my description of that meeting, you may have picked up on something vital. In case you missed it, let me tell you. Each member had prepared during the week. They had each focussed on the theme in their own personal meditations. Some, I believe, had even met with others, to focus on the theme together. Therefore, each member came with something of Christ to share.
Having a theme that was focussed on Christ, really enabled the church to focus on Christ! Go figure. And when Christ is our focus, He is able to lead us. When He is the One we are listening to, looking for, beholding, speaking of, sharing, living out from, He is the One who is present!
For when two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matt 18:20
Jesus stood among the seven golden lampstands in Revelations 1: 12-20.
…And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man”, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest….Then he placed his right hand on me and said …I am the First and the Last, I am the Living One….and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Jesus Christ, the Living One, walked amongst His church at that gathering in Perth and was seen, touched, smelt, heard and tasted with all our spiritual senses. It was like feasting on Christ, who is our Bread of Heaven!
Is having a theme something that you could do with those you fellowship with? Even if you are only meeting regularly with one or two others? If so, here’s the main points that I understand and experience to be imperative to making it all about Christ and not about everything else other than Him, which for so many of us, our church gatherings have been for so long.
- The group collectively agrees on a theme that is Christ centered. i.e. will draw your focus/attention/meditations toward Christ Himself, The Living One. (Examples; Christ as Head, Eating & Drinking of Christ, The Oneness of Christ with His Church etc.).
- Set the theme for a week later so everyone has a week to focus on the theme in your own meditations.
- Get creative – the Lord loves to express Himself through each member’s different personalities – He is not a one-dimensional Lord. Use art, writing, drama, song, create something.
- Meet with others during the week to focus on Christ together in preparation for the meeting, or do this with your spouse.
- Be prayerful and mindful of the theme throughout each day leading up to the meeting.
- Come to the meeting prepared to share.
- Come to the meeting with an open heart to hear and see the Lord in your brothers and sisters.
- Encourage one another with ‘yes’ and ‘amen’, spurring each other on.
So, God’s little ekklesia here on the Central Coast, agreed to set a theme for our meeting last weekend to help us learn Christ together, and it was wonderful. I may share some of that with you all in the future. Until then, happy corporate and individual pursuit! 🙂