Some years back I began to deeply think, pray, and consider what I might want from a gathering of believers. Having been born into church and grown there for decades I was feeling a certain disconnect from the programs and services and the endless talk, the teaching and preaching.
Now, I am a teacher and a preacher. I’ve ministered in hundreds of churches. Even so, (perhaps because I’ve been to so many churches), I began to sense a certain hollowness in our gatherings. Something seemed to be missing. I was longing for something more. Even though I did not know what that was as I cried out to God with a hunger in my heart.
Now, I must also express that my experience of God across these many churches has been one of wonder and delight. Holy Spirit marks us all the same. With a gladness of heart, with eagerness for the Lord, with easy song and worship and that particular essence of God’s breath in our hearts, the church around the world holds something of God that transcends culture, race, socio-economic classes, language, geography, and countries; we can travel anywhere in the world and find a people of God just like us.
Yet, even so, because of this familiarity of God within us around the world, I’ve come to what we are calling Jesus Meetings. I am eager and the time seems right to explore and engage and experience the Lord, to set our attention to Jesus Christ, to sit within the love of the Father, and to inquire of Holy Spirit.
Let me share what I wrote some years ago about this:
“We are a people gathered to celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ. To be in deep gratitude to God our Father. And to welcome our Beloved Holy Spirit.
“Yet for us there is only one God — the Father. Out of him is all things, and our lives are lived for him. And there is one Lord, Jesus, the Anointed One, through whom we and all things exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 TPT
We hold space for each other and for the Lord. Our understanding is that each of us are welcomed as part of God’s living body on earth; together we are the temple of God.
Church is the people. People are the church.
Each of us wants something more of God. There is more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control than we have experienced thus far. There is more intimacy and forgiveness, more gladness of heart and bounty of life than what we have known. We want more of the Lord.
We want to grow. To be challenged. To be strengthened, emboldened, and courageous in our listening and in our walking and in our daily lives with God at our side and within us, and us within God.
As the church, as Ecclesia, a body of people called out for a specific purpose, we seek to live our lives for the glory of God for the renown of his name on earth and in our worlds, in your and my context.
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Psalm 96:3
We hold this framework and welcome our Holy Spirit to lead us:
- SILENCE – allowing Holy Spirit to touch our hearts.
- WORSHIP – exalting Jesus Christ together.
- TESTIMONY – what have we seen of God this week?
- SCRIPTURE – what might God speak, as we gather?
- PRAYER – for and with each other and before the Lord.
- WITNESS – how might we position ourselves to witness the glory of God?
We gather for a few hours. Come and go as you want. We literally use the above Silence, Worship, etc as our ‘order of service’. We follow the leading of the Spirit regarding time and depth. We point to Christ together.”
As we have entered 2023 there is a quickening of the Lord within and for us. Have you felt this? I am all about an equipping of the body of Christ. We must be nimble before the Lord in our hearts and minds. Our hearts and lives are meant to abide in God. It is good to sit before the Lord together. Each week demands a pause in which we turn to God, “God, we love you, we trust you, and we know you to be good.” Amen.