Sunday, March 10, 2013
Our church, Calvary Moreno Valley, began Home Fellowships shortly after its inception almost 30 years ago. The meetings are not Bible studies (such as I teach during the summer) with the leader teaching and group members responding or asking questions, because we all attend Bible studies on Sunday morning and Men's and Women's studies during the week. The leader reads a portion of a book of the Bible and then poses a thoughtful question, and the discussion goes from there, much to my delight, as one who is very excited by discussion and fellowship based on scripture! The home Bible study setting will always be dear to my heart, because Steve and I met at such a gathering in 1980. All can share, ask questions, tell what the Holy Spirit is showing them, and we all are edified by one another's words.
I like two passages of scripture describing the early Church that model the Home Fellowship setting: Acts 2:42, 46-47:
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers...So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Ephesians 5:18-20 says,
...be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Indeed, as we read of the Holy Spirit emboldening the apostles and other believers to spread the Gospel despite threats, imprisonment and beatings from the religious authorities, we become emboldened to speak up in our own corner of the world, to be faithful witnesses of what we have seen and heard of God's work in our lives--our testimony. In the home fellowship setting, each of us can share in a small conversation during the meal, what God is calling us as individuals to do; or we might share a praise report of a child brought back to Christ, or a co-worker saved, for instance, to the group, if applicable to the verses being looked at. I Corinthians 14, verses 26 and 40 remind us, if each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation or an interpretation, we are to share it, but
Let all things be done to edification...Let all things be done decently and in order.
When I hear of God's hand in the life of a brother or sister in Christ, I'm a lot more likely to take a step of faith, or even to be reassured that God loves me and all who call upon His name!
Home fellowship, with its friendly, companionable and worshipful atmosphere, and scripture-based discussion, contributes to making me more excited about being a Christian today than on the day I first gave my life to Jesus 32 years ago!