Shared Life Is Not Optional
” 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.
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?