Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Joel 2:28 ..."I will pour out my Spirit on all people"
In Acts 2 God brings his spirit. The first after picture in Acts is community.
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, the the brekaing of bread and to prayer.
I've been thinking a lot lately on mentors and fellowship in the church.Here is what I came up with.
Fellowship (Koinonia)is when Christ's followers come together for something deeper. For those of you who have not grown up in a southern baptist church and are unfamiliar with the word fellowship,just think casserole.Just kidding that's not what I'm talking about.
Fellowship is about regularly experiencing deep relationships with people who will lift each other up and encourage one another. Is spiriual relationship even necesary? I know several people will say "I have 500 facebook friends,I have 300 people on my cell phone contact list,and people at work I see everyday"
C.S. Lewis wrote in "The Four Loves "many people seem to view friendship as something quite marginal, not a main course in lifes banquet but a diversion,something that fills up the chinks in ones times" Are we really investing?Is it enough? I noticed in a recent collumn in Today several Texas cities were rated the most friendliest places to live. San Antonio and Austin were at the top of the list. I wonder if those people only go to Austin during South by Southwest!!Ha!They noted the live music,the great places to party,the food,the shopping and did I mention the great places to party? I think Texas as a whole is pretty friendly in comparison to other states. In Texas you can actually know your neighbors.You can wave to people on the street and have conversations in the check out line with complete strangers.That doesn't happen everywhere. We use our car horns as a salutation.In New York City it's a death threat. Undoubtedly your network of "friends" and cowaorkers is probably in the dozens or the hundreds,maybe even the thousands. We live in a friendly place.So why is it that we feel so alone?There usually comes a day in most of our lives when we realize who our real friends are.Usually it's during a storm or maybe it's at an exciting moment in your life.We realize we don't have as many friends as we used to. Last week I had "one of those days" .I really needed help with something I couldn't do on my own and James was out of town.There was ONE person I was able to call and even then I felt a little guilty. It seems too much to ask for someones help.Last week someone confided in me.She was shocked to find out she may have some cancerous cells in her body.She was devistated.I asked her who was beside her through this and she said "I haven't been able to bring myself to tell anyone".I talked to another girl a couple weeks ago who was pumped about missions only because "there is nobody around to share dreams with".
This is all happening In "the friendliest places in America". On average Americans have 2 people they can turn to, 25% have NOBODY to talk to. Who is encouraging you to grow spiritually and make good decisions?
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another....honor one another...
Romans 12:16 and 1 Peter 3:8 Live in harmony with one another...
Romans 15:7 Accept one another...
Galations 5:13 serve one another
Ephesians 4:32 and Col. 3:13 Forgive one another
I Thess. 4:18 Comfort one another
Again and again it says to love one another.
Moses was mentored by his father in law Jethro about leadership and Moses mentored Joshua.
Naomi was a spiritual leader for her faithful daughter in law Ruth and Elizabeth mentored Mary.
In the NT Bartemius takes Paul under his wing to teach him about ministry.
It is clear throughout scripture that God calls us to learn from people who are wiser than us.This is what He invisioned for the church,that wise people would pour out their knowlege and wisdom throughout the church body.With no slack,humbly and giving up all pride.
Paul writes many years later after he was mentored to his mentee Timothy.
Those who are spiritually mature see a need in someone whow is growing in their faith.They come along side of them with encouragement and encite. A pay it forward mentality.
Christians can get desperate for mentores though. They say "I just need someone who can tell me this or teach me that." They try to get it all in one person. Sometimes we need different people to help us through different things. Paul says "Be ready to receive teaching"We all need someone wiser than us. God is so great but,sometimes we need someone more human to hang out with and I think God loves that prayer.
C.S. Lewis writes in the Four loves "Nature cannot satisfy the desires she(that's nature) arouses nor answer theological questions nor sanctify us.Our real journey to God involves constantly turning our backs on her (nature) and passing from the dawn-lit-fields into some pokey little church". All churches in some way act small and pokey.He is saying in all the short comingings of church (the musics is too loud,the drummer is off beat,the people behind us won't stop talking...)despite all that the church is to be the place you grow spiritually.That's what God wants. In Hebrews 10(speaking to christians who used to be jews and are thinking about going back to being jews because they are being persecuted) He tells us how to do it.Getting with people who are more human to laugh,to grow and talk about what is really going on in your heart. Some people will say "if I'm going to grow spiritually,God is enough for me"He challenges us.We all need community.We all need a core group of people.