Friday, June 26, 2009

Meeting Together

For about two months now the group of Christians I meet with has been meeting together three times a week. We meet on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Our Sunday meeting resembles what most would recognize as a traditional Protestant style meeting which I describe here. We have been shifting towards a style of meeting that more resembles what you see in I Corinthians 14. Gone is the church bulletin. The teaching style has become less preaching and more teaching. But the order of service is almost identical every week.

Out Tuesday meeting is almost entirely focused on prayer. Prayer of all types. And we like to sing songs. We also have a short teaching, either reading directly from Scripture or something somebody has brought. What is unique about these meetings is that we have people regularly attend that have never been to our Sunday meetings. These meetings are almost entirely led by the Holy Spirit.

Our Thursday meeting is devoted to Bible Study. Currently we are engaged in a topical study on spiritual warfare. And yep, we sing songs as well. We also have people attend that do not attend our Sunday meetings. Both our Tuesday and Thursday meetings are very informal. Some folks dress up on Sunday, while others don't. I don't, but that's another post. Our Bible study follows a structure similar to what you would expect to find in a classroom. However, we sit in a circle-- relaxed, informal yet structured.

Of all the different ways we meet, our Tuesday meeting that focuses on prayer seems to me the most essential, the truest expression of Church. If I could only attend one meeting a week, this would be it. I don't mean to imply that the other ways we meet aren't important. Every meeting is important. Each meeting has a primary focus that is critical for the Church to grow as a body. My view of what is really important for the Kingdom of God has shifted, I believe permanently.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

50 and life

A few weeks ago I had my fiftieth birthday. For some reason that just sounds old. Now, even though I have been told I look younger, I can't say I'm “40 something” anymore. Plus, I am now a grandfather. I am also old enough to join AARP. Before, when I was “40 something”, if a group of people I was in consisting of all ages were told to form two lines, one for young people, the other for old people, I would get in the young line.

Now, I probably won't always be able to get in that young line. Oh, I'll try. But I think increasingly people, mostly young people, are going to come up to me and say “excuse me sir, I think you're in the wrong line”. But sometimes it will be the older crowd telling me to get in their line; “Hey Jeff, get over here and act your age”!

When I lived in Arizona, I worked in some of the retirement communities there. These communities were designed such that you could only live there if you were 40 or older. I was in my late twenties at the time. What set these communities apart was the folks that lived there always seemed just a little bit more distant, disconnected, even bitter. The younger residents, those in their 40's and 50's seemed to embody a perspective that was more typical of those in their 70's and 80's. In other words, everybody seemed a bit older than they really were. I don't want to go there.

God has really blessed me, and for that I am grateful beyond words. I have my health, as does my whole family. I am in good shape. The other day, I was at the beach with my family. As I chased my one year old grandson along the beach, I pondered the question of rather I had the energy to raise a family from scratch all over again. That was just a hypothetical question, mind you. But I can honestly say yes, I do still have the energy. Not just physically, but mentally as well.

When I was a teenager, 50 sounded old as dirt. I couldn't even imagine being 50. Thought I would have one foot in the grave! As it turns out, I'm just an prematurely gray, slightly wrinkled teenager. The primary difference being instead of 18 years of wisdom, I now have 50. Man, that was a quick 50 years!