Journeying With Jesus

The Adventure of Faith

You Can’t Hide in a House Church

My wife and I got in a good ole fashion argument on a Monday morning. Both of us found it quite painful. The problem was that it was the busiest week of our lives…we had commitments and meetings all day every day and we couldn’t get to resolving the issues.

Saturday rolled around and we were on our way to our House Gathering. We decided to see if we could work out the issue. Big mistake. About half way there things began to escalate and eventually hit the break down point. My bride had had enough and asked to be taken home. She couldn’t imagine trying to go to the group and pretend. The problem was I was teaching that night.

I pulled over to the side of the road, called the host, told them that we weren’t coming and that we needed to go home and work through an issue we were having. I gave them the passage to be taught and asked them to handle it and to please pray for us. We then turned around, went home, and had three uninterrupted hours to talk, listen, and work through the issue. It was the right move to make.

The next week when we met, we thanked them for flexing for us. Everyone was very accepting; there was no sense of judgment from them. It was hard to admit we have those kinds of days though everyone said they could relate.

A few weeks later, I called one of the members who was teaching the group while we were away. I asked him how it went. He said it was good and bad. I asked him what the “bad” was.

“Oh,” he said, “we had a ‘Gschwend moment.’”

“A ‘Gschwend Moment?’” I asked. “What is that?”

“Oh, you know,” he said, “when you get in a fight with your wife on the way to the gathering…we had one of those. I had to take my wife home.”

I wasn’t sure if I should be honored or offended. A fight with your wife on the way to church was now known as a ‘Gschwend Moment.’ I wondered how long it would take before it was officially in the dictionary. I guess it will show up between the words, “grysbok” and “G-strophanthin.” Nobody wants to be known for fighting with their wife on the way to church…even a house church. On the flip side, it does reflect a level of disclosure and honesty that we want in house churches. I am a leader, my wife is a leader, and we sometimes fight on the way to our gathering. We don’t hide it, we aren’t pretending everything is OK, there are times the wheels come off and we need to stop and work on the wagon. It’s hard to hide in a house church. I find the level of disclosure and honesty both refreshing and challenging. There is something attractive about the authenticity that can be found in many House Churches.

I’m still not sure if I should be offended or honored though.


August 16, 2007 Posted by | House Church | 4 Comments

Thank God for Shoes!

Tests…can’t say that I like them…especially the type where God is testing you. That is where God puts you in a place without the resources to handle the job. All of your usual coping strategies become useless. The more you realize you are helpless, the greater the rise of inner anxiety and fear. Then the temptation arises to go into your grumbling and medicating mode. You know what I mean. You become grouchy and irritable and look for something to take away your pain…anything. It could be food, drugs, alcohol, video games, sports, rage, sex, or hyper-control.

I’ve been in one of those tests recently. You wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. You cry out to God but you don’t necessarily get any immediate relief. Your mind races to all the terrible things that could happen. Fortunately for me, with this last test I “happened” to be reading Deuteronomy 8 in my quiet time.

Deut. 8 is all about testing and the purposes of discipline. In it I read, Deut 8:3

3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

As I read those words I realized God often puts His children in places without the resources to handle the job. The resources are coming…manna is on the way…but there is a time between the need and the provision. That is the time of testing. God wants me to depend on Him, trust Him, be humble, and know He alone is my true source of everything I have.

A clue to God’s coming provision is what is stated in the next verse: Deut 8:4-5

Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. God’s faithful provision is evidenced all around us. For Israel they could look at the shoes on their feet and realize they had been wearing the same shoes for 40 years…and those shoes hadn’t worn out. God had been providing and He would continue to provide.

For me, God calls me in the time of testing…that time between need and provision, to thank Him for my “shoes.” My shoes are all those things God has faithfully provided over the years to show Himself to be a Good God. I can’t say it is the first thing my mind races to in a test…but I have found it a better answer than hooking up with drugs…alcohol… rage…sex…video games…

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Lessons learned | Leave a comment