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The last time I saw myself I was either coming or going…

One would think with being told by the doctor to stay off of my feet for at least two weeks that I would have been able to catch up on my blog before now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on blogging to give myself some motivation but that hasn’t made any posts magically appear. I keep thinking that once I catch my breath, I’ll write something. Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And while I’ve been waiting for that “spare” moment to happen, SO many events have transpired that I have failed to journal while in the moment. I’m not getting any younger; I’m not going to remember things unless I write it down, take a picture (or 10) or there is some sort of food that’s part of the event that will create a dendrite in my brain that will stir up the memory when I get a whiff of said food at a later date. I have blogged about my not blogging before. I probably will again. I need to write and it’s extremely frustrating when I don’t. There’s also something to be said for “use it or lose it.” There was a time when I could write rather well without it being a struggle. For example, that last sentence took me about 5 episodes of backspacing until I was satisfied with the wording.  Good grief.

I have a ton of pictures I want to post, cakes I want to display, stories to tell and, eventually, recipes to share. I heard someone once say that if you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed so here I am again. I’m at it again and I’m making an effort to be organized and set a time to write even if I don’t post.

That being said, here’s a “brief” description of the whirlwind that has transpired in our family since the end of May:

  • I “possibly” tore a tendon and/or ligament in my foot and “possibly” broke a toe carrying my toddler to bed at 3 in the morning
  • My sons dug out my crutches so I could hobble about
  • I had to go for x-rays the day before 2 graduation cakes needed to be done so Natalie and Noah started the cakes and icing while I headed to Eaton, Ohio for my doctor appointment with Isabelle as my helper. I took her for lunch, waited for the downpour to let up, then headed to Dayton for fondant as we did not have enough for both cakes and didn’t have time to order any.
  • MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, my boys are digging through closets and our storage shed to find my walking cast so I can work on the cakes the next day (even though I was supposed to get off of the foot ASAP)
  • My oldest who was due May 29 went into labor that night
  • Grandbaby #2 Rosemarie Lee was born June 1, 7:17a.m. Praise the Lord!
  • However, instead of heading off to see my new grandbaby, I had to go to our catering kitchen and finish cakes with Natalie and Noah. Natalie had to leave for an interview, came back to help some more then had to go to the theatre for play rehearsal.  I love doing cakes and I love our clients but that was not where I wanted to be that day. Plus, I was in excruciating pain (which made me a tad grumpy but Noah was a good sport, I must say). I confess my heart was not in it and I did not do as good of a job and I normally would have. :o(
  • FINALLY…Noah and I met up with the rest of the family at the hospital to FINALLY hold my new grandbaby and see my firstborn on her first day as a mommy. Talk about overwhelming…..
  • Went back the next day, hobbling on crutches, to see my grandbaby. By that night, my foot and ankle were pretty sore and pretty swollen.
  • SO…the rest of the week, I tried to be a good girl and sat with my foot up. Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep busy. This has not been easy! I kept the kiddos busy with school, cleaning missions and laundry while Natalie covered the shop all week AND had rehearsals for the play she was in.
  • Jump to this past Thursday, my daughter, Corinne, called to let me know she was coming into town early. She and her husband had already planned on coming in this weekend to see her first niece but Josh was informed that he might be working Saturday but they would not be able to let him know until Saturday SO…inhale…Corinne decided to pack her and Autumn Rose up and head on down to stay for a long weekend. YAY!
  • Meanwhile, back at the catering kitchen, Natalie and Noah were to the rescue again by starting a cupcake order.
  • Always the one to be obedient to doctor’s orders, the kids and I met up with Corinne to visit with Lenae and the new baby. (We’re on Friday at this point. Are you keeping up?)
  • Saturday A.M., I went in with Noah for the cupcake pick up.
  • Headed home but stopped for pork loin and sides to take to Grandpa’s for family get-together. Again, “staying off my feet.” Hobble, hobble….
  • Loaded up The Great White and ventured to Grandpa’s to visit with the grandbabies (and their parents and Grandpa). (Natalie could not join us as it was performance night for the play!)
  • I’d like to interject that I had Benjamin throw together a rub for the pork that was outstanding, I must say.
  • Natalie and Jillian left to pick up their BFF, Noah, and head to Richmond Civic Theatre where Corinne, Ben, Noah and I joined them to watch their production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Natalie was “Iris”, a sassy spirit. The play was fantastic as was Natalie. Proud mama.
  • MEANWHILE, Craig hauled everyone back home including Grandbaby #1.
  • Sunday… we slept in. Kids scrounged up pancakes and Corinne procrastinated about heading home. She was anxious to get home to her hubby but didn’t want to leave at the same time. It was a sweet visit and I’m glad she came early. My Autumn and her Autumn, though, have become pretty tight and I’m not sure how long they can go…she did say they might come visit again, soon, because Josh didn’t get to see the baby! We shall see…

So…this is a “quick” rundown of the past 10 ..T-E-N ..days of my life. A lot was left out! SO…somewhere in this…I passed myself coming or going….

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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God’s Family Get-Together

Last night, a small group gathered to hear the amazing teaching of Beresford Job from the U.K. who is travelling around the States this fall with his wife, Belinda, and daughter, Bethany. It’s always a treat to have the privilege to hear someone who has so thoroughly scrutinized the Word of God, looking only at Scripture, its origins, it’s language, structure, context and Divine inspiration without the influence of man’s interpretation (or misinterpretation, as the case may be). That being said, what follows are from my notes from last night’s teaching and I am just passing along these truths that have been misunderstood for way too long.

First of all, if we can know one thing about a church in the New Testament, we can, typically, know what is true of all the churches. i.e. scriptures addressing or referring to “all the churches,” “As in all the congregations of the saints” -1 Cor. 14:33b, etc. We also know that the apostles taught the same thing about everything. They didn’t each have their own version of how things should be done. There was consistency. In the NT, the test of if a church was truly a church was they were conforming to all the other churches.

So, 4 things in Scripture that characterizes the church of the New Testament:

  1. Leadership – For any institution to function, some form of “government” is needed. Even in marriage, there is a form of “government” necessary. In the Bible, the church leaders are referred to elders, bishops/overseers, pastors/shepherds. These terms are synonymous for the same people. Beresford told us to underline this: Scripture knows nothing of the pastor/minister of a church. Especially one brought in from the outside.Church government and decision-making was by consensus. Elders were part of the decision-making process but were not the decision-makers. Also, the church leaders were raised up from within the church, not brought in from elsewhere. There’s no “power pyramid” in Scripture. There are many little men, not a few “big” men and certainly no “expert” in charge of it all.
  2. Whenever a church is located in Scripture, it’s located in the home, without exception. The church, by its purpose and Biblical example, is meant to be numerically small, which will shock most Christians as today’s church believes the bigger, the better. The design is small as opposed to big because of its purpose. Beresford offered the parallel of the purpose of an airplane. Its purpose is to fly people from one place to another therefore; it is designed to do so. If you remove the wings of the plane while it’s over the ocean, it becomes a rather ineffective submarine. If you change the design, you compromise its function. The function of the church: it’s an extended family of God’s people – “the household of God” (Eph. 2:19, 1 Tim. 3:15). If you’re a believer, you are literally my brother or sister; God is literally our Father. What is the church? A family. Again, another underline, Scripture has no knowledge of a church building. No church met elsewhere other that the home. Also, when joining the small church, you are delivered from two evils: a. churches in competition with each other and b. “Ego” leaders from the outside will go looking for other fish to fry.

    3 & 4 address what happened when the church was gathered:

  3. There was a time of worship, prayer, teaching, sharing, ministering of the Spirit, et al. Many as possible would make small contributions to the gathering time as opposed to a few or one making a large contribution. Scripture has no knowledge of a church service. The church service was created in the 2nd century by church leaders and is not merely different from the original design, it is the opposite.
  4. They ate a meal together. The Lord’s Supper, the bridal supper, the love feast…it was a MEAL! The loaf and the cup were a part of the meal and stood in for the physical presence of Jesus. God’s Word says He’s there with us but until He eats with us in person, we remember His presence through the breaking of bread and drinking of the “cup” and we share a feast that looks forward to the wedding feast to come.

These four things define the New Testament church. Again, form follows function. The church’s function – God’s family. What do families do? They hang out, catch up, help each other, relate to one another, eat together, play together – this takes time! A church gathering is a family get-together. Picture a family get-together with Granddad at the front of the room in front of rows of chairs and he offers a pep talk to the family. A couple of others give a few comments, announcements, and then everyone goes home. Ironically, some family members will meet at a restaurant or home for lunch. (I think we know instinctively inside this is how it’s suppose to be). Unfortunately, in institutional church, many “family members” are excluded from the cliques gathering for the Sunday lunch. That’s because the family has become dysfunctional. Dysfunctional family = unbiblical church (remember – you change the form, you compromise the function). Today’s church is the real church, it’s just dysfunctional. Try having fellowship with 500 of your closest friends.

In the Bible, there is no salary for ministering. There are scriptures used to justify this; “a worker is worth his hire,” etc. but these are NOT referring to the function of the church gathering. We need to get back to making the Scripture the final authority on church life. We’ve bought into the idea that the Bible is the final authority on everything but church life.

“What about digging into deep doctrines?” Daily study and teaching doesn’t belong in the Lord’s Day gathering. Teaching happened! But not on Sunday. There was sharing, testimony, singing, praying. Some make the argument that the New Testament church gathered in homes because they were underground. That’s simply not true. Some were, but the persecution was spasmodic and had not become widespread until later. Not all churches were persecuted. There is no instance of the church gathering in a building. Some will say “but the church building is a lighthouse to the community.” Um, that’s not what Jesus said. We’re to “live such good lives among the pagans that they see your good works and praise our Father in heaven.” Paul would rent a hall for teaching. Peter would evangelize. Interestingly enough, every religion at the time worshiped in a building. Christians were considered atheists since they didn’t meet in a building. They were asked, “Where does your God live?” They could have but didn’t. And yet, there was no time the church spread more. Relying on a building is a mistake. They met in houses because that’s what the apostles taught them. There were no denominations.

How can small churches “cough up” all of the ministries needed? “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:11-13 Word got out about Paul without a building. Churches in Greece got finances together to help the Jerusalem during famine. Ministry is NEVER hierarchal. We’ve made the mistake of relying on ministries to do the works of service rather than people…families working together as God’s family.

A little history – in 95 A.D., Clement of Rome said, “Let’s have a priesthood.” Your relationship with God depended on your relationship with a bishop. In 150 A.D., the priesthood decided if you were a Christian or not. These are the roots of today’s institutional church. No wonder it doesn’t look like a family.

Beresford noted that whatever the current move of God is, it’s considered bizarre, weird, off the wall, and peculiar. That’s been the case throughout history. Home church, or house church, is considered the “lunatic fringe” right now, except in China where it’s been growing at an unstoppable rate. And, wouldn’t you know, China has more Christians than America, now. Hmmmm. Coincidence?

There’s also something to be said for the house church’s sustainability – “Divorce isn’t’ an option.” You won’t have fewer problems you will have more but you’ll have the problems that sanctify you.

Evangelism isn’t the job of the church; it’s the job of Christians. The job of the church is the same as family – to nurture, love and support its members. Church growth should not be a measuring stick. Healthy church is measured by the Gospel going out through its relationships.

TODAY’S PRAYER FOR OUR CHILDREN: Father God, I pray our children will read Your Word with open eyes and open heart. I pray they are teachable and will love You and Your Word so much, they will earnestly seek Your Truth as they grow in wisdom and discernment. In Jesus, amen.

Glorious

That’s the word that describes a day like today. Of course, during the morning rush to be ready to host our home church, I gave my traditional threats to never host again. But things came together, our church family arrived, a meal was shared, and the weather was hand-delivered from Heaven. Being able to, once again, be outside for our worship time was such a blessing! I wish I could describe the serenity that comes with home church. All of our members are still sinners, mind you, but having been over-committed and too busy for livin’ in my previous life in “regular” church, “doing” church as described in the New Testament has been such a sanctuary. Sanctuary is the very reason we started fellowshipping with this group; we were struggling with how involved with youth and children’s activities we should be. We’re already homeschooling and peer dependency/pressure was one reason we chose that route. Watching our young ladies struggle with there self-image, attitudes toward their siblings and

parents, and basic respect and maturity caused us to prayerfully consider the possibility that all those books and homeschool convention speakers were right about the negative effects of youth group. (A brief trip down memory lane helped as well). Michael Pearl wrote and excellent article on Sanctuary that convicted us and led us to home church. In the article, he talked about how the church today is more of a mission field than a sanctuary and families need sanctuary; it’s how we’re wired and what God intended the church to be. The church was never meant to be an evangelistic tool, believe it or not. WE are the evangelists and the church is for, eh hem, the church. It’s for building each other up, teaching, singing praises to our Creator. But what about seekers? That’s what hospitality is for. But people are too busy doing church crud, school band and athletics, etc. to be hospitable. Nuff said.
I believe it pleases God when his church gathers as a family reunion and spends the day together. You get to know people when you spend that much time together, and they get to know you. There’s no faking it – problems can’t hide, sorrows will be shared, as will the joys. There’s no denying that God works through institutional church and that the Holy Spirit moves amongst His people wherever they are called to be. I just know that more and more folks are feeling the weight of doctrines and activities and division and activities and pressure and traditions and activities, and, and, and just want to be with God’s people. Winds are changing – this may be a part of it.

I posted on Facebook that I’m sure they played Ultimate
Frisbee in Corinth. A friend said,”They probably called it
Ultimatum di Fresbee.”

Natalie and friend in
our “balcony seats.”

 

 

 

Judah is all snips and snails. This time, he has a toad. He played with it for hours. Try getting away with that in children’s church.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle