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Shared Life Is Not Optional

January 9, 2016

Greetings,

” All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”  Acts 2: 44-47

After a long ago blog……

Skylla asked a couple of great questions:

“Sweet. How long have yall been together? How do you intertwine lives in between meetings?”

The fellowship here in Sturgis has been ongoing since we moved here in 1989.  I have been practicing totally free and open, Spirit led, relational fellowship wherever I have lived since 1976.

I just love your second question Skylla because it cuts right to the heart of the matter…relationships.  If all you do is have meetings and you never see one another or communicate and interact between gatherings…No matter how free and open your meetings might be …. I say you are falling WAY short of actually BEING the Church.   Because true and authentic fellowship calls for deep, intimate, interconnection with one another.  Even deeper connection than that of a natural family in my humble opinion.

If we do not share our entire lives with one another, we miss out on what God desires of us and the HUGE blessing that comes from being part of a true Spiritual family.  In the Body of Christ we need one another in order to properly function as He intended.  We only grow up into Christ as we share the truth in love with each other as each part does its work.  This takes a lot of communication.  Our fellowship here stays very connected by keeping in touch with each other via phone, internet and face to face as often as possible.  Technology has made being connected a whole lot easier, but can still fall short of HIS ideal if we are not willing to be fully open, honest and vulnerable as we communicate.  We have come to realize that true heart to heart sharing can happen in any venue, as long as we are willing to be that real with one another.  I am in contact with most everyone in our fellowship on a daily basis.  We are simply part of each others daily lives.

In our fellowship here we have people who live nearby and others who live 40 miles away.  It takes effort to maintain relationships, even more so when you live far apart.  We eat together whenever we can and also have met at zoos and the movies for fellowship at times.  Group picnics are also fun together and we play cards and other games together often.  We also celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and births together.  If I remember correctly those we fellowship with were first to the hospital and first to hold most of our children, even before grandparents.  We have also mourned the loss of loved ones together and supported one another through many difficult times.

When we entered into this deep fellowship together we all gave each other full permission to speak into any and every part of our lives for the purpose of mutual edification, Spiritual growth and comfort.  No topic is ever off limits and we have encouraged and rebuked one another with mutual authority since day one.  Since we are closely knit together and in Christ belong to one another we have all surrendered the right to be able to ever say, “That is none of your business.”  We have chosen to always lay all of our cards on the table and never to hold anything back or in secret from each other.  In giving ourselves to love and respect one another in this manner we have gained much from the depths of Christ found in each others hearts and a great ability to pray effectively for one another like nothing I have ever witnessed before.

Some practical things we have done over the years were purchasing and sharing a lawn mower together, and sharing membership at Sam’s Club so that we could buy food and other things in bulk in order to save money.  I am sure I am missing other things that we share and do together, but the point is that we are actively involved in each others lives on an ongoing basis.  We love each other deeply and greatly desire authentic relationship with our Lord and one another.  To us LIFE is a shared experience and we value each other as sibling peers in Christ.  WE are a deeply connected family and in as many ways as we can we lay down our lives for each other.  We love and support each other in word, deed and prayer as much as humanly possible.  Our friendship is real and has been tested by life’s trials many times.  Strong words have been exchanged between us on many occasions as we have sought to remain accountable to Jesus and one another through many storms.  And guess what?  We have come out the other side in spite of many obstacles and remained true friends to this day.  We have proven time and time again that the blood of Jesus is thicker than any human blood or water.

Together we stand and divided we fall.  You asked an excellent question Skylla and I hope I have given you a satisfying answer.  All I know is that I have spoken my heart and I love all of my sisters and brothers in Christ, and His Love knows no boundaries.  Allow it to seek and find you and I promise that you will be continually amazed.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Sue had asked for more sharing about what’s good about authentic relational fellowship, so I hope this fits the bill?

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments
  1. Ramma permalink

    This is interesting. Coming from strong, destructive Cult background, I kind of cringe at someone telling me what to do or correcting me “in the name of the Lord”. Not a good experience for me. But, when God’s people come together they cannot keep from talking about, sharing, expressing the Lord. It’s so much a part of who they are. We still don’t have the regular, close fellowship but the Lord hss been bringing people in our lives, to our home and it’s about Him and because of Him. Just a few weeks ago a relative was in my home from a very traditional cult religion. Her heart has opened to true relationship with Jesus and she observed our interaction with another couple that we met through Chris’s blog, she was very touched. I poked her arm and said….”this is what we do…..this is His fellowship. ….there’s liberty here for male and female ” She went home with a greater vision of the work God is doing in individual relationships. When there is a relationship with Christ, there is always fellowship. We know the Jesus in each other and so we are not strangers. Blessings

  2. I hear you Ramma, but when we share with each other here we do so as mere siblings in Christ with humility, mercy and love, and NOT IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, if you know what I mean?
    When we are speaking into one another’s lives we do so with sincerity, compassion and hope for the best. We know that Jesus has all authority and we only have the authority of a sibling. If CHrist is in our mutual sharing then all is well and we are able to move forward in any situation. We don’t do judgement or finger pointing we do open arms and embracing as we work thru our difficulties together. I hope this helps everyone’s understanding of this blog post?

    • Ramma permalink

      Thank you Chris, I think I understand. The first place that I kind of experienced it was when I was in the Cult. Now it’s more spontaneous, etc. But it seems to be happening more often. So, maybe the Lord is changing things in 2016. It is a rare treasure to find siblings of the faith. You are truly blessed and when you share your experience gives us insight and vision for more in the future.

  3. I would say that the best times I had was living in close Christian community where our lives were totaly joins and we ate and met daily… in some cases it was a few families together in a single property… but in most cases each family hade a separate home but all close by… singles etc were usually taken in by a family who had an Xtra room or two… it truly was heaven on earth in most respects.

  4. “We have come to realize that true heart to heart sharing can happen in any venue, as long as we are willing to be that real with one another. I am in contact with most everyone in our fellowship on a daily basis. We are simply part of each others daily lives.” Yes. Authentic community. Let me also say that people sin regardless… and sometimes fall away from the Lord, break off from one another, wound one another, regardless of how you do relationship as Christ-followers. But the love and integrity of shared fellowship in the Spirit is the life (He indeed brings it as we are willing to -do- it) of Jesus right into our relationships. Thanks Chris, love you! -Glenn

  5. zelos permalink

    Thats it, christianity should be as simple as a family that is connected out of mutual love of God and one another, around any activity, and especially around a dinner table. Our close Christian friends are just that – close Christian ‘friends’, that is the highest form of Christianity in my opinion.

  6. We have used Skype very effectively as a great fellowship tool.

  7. I appreciate this blog and dialogue. I love how we all listen and consider one another. It IS about the ‘one another’s’, isn’t it? Taking care of one another is giving the cup of water to Christ in need…..beautiful words everyone!

  8. Yes, yes, yes, Sue…..It really is about the one anothers and the cup of water. We simply share freely what we have been given freely, holding nothing back selfishly for ourselves. Because there is no need to…..HIS living water is never ending and free and so is HIS love. Because of that we need never be found lacking in compassion, grace, truth, or love.

  9. "BK" permalink

    I so enjoyed this blog and comments (our internet has been down for a week so I am playing catch up!). I love the word family and the description of flowing in the Spirit. My experience over the years of what goes wrong is when people try to make a ‘thing’ out of community, instead of a flow of life. Like ‘go to church’ instead of just being. Once when Ken & I were leaving an area I knew the folk there were not going to continue to gather as faithfully as while we had been close. I asked the Lord HOW do we get people to CONTINUE in fellowship? His answer was, “I have not called you to build fellowships, but to build fellowship in the hearts of the people. A ‘fellowship’ grows old and dies out; when fellowship is in the heart, My people recognize and respond to it whenever it appears, however it appears.” A big adjustment within, and a strength to hear. What always works best, with the most life flow, is just that…..the flow of who & how Christ gathers. Living in close proximity, eating together, BEING together. Just another way to say what you all have said so well already, “BK”

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