The whole of scripture is about God’s work in reconciling us to Him. He wants us to have a close relationship with Him and treat others with respect and love. Matthew records a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees (Matt 22:34 – 40) where he tells them “…to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all you mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows us how to do this. Jesus invested his ministry time in growing and developing his disciples, and teaching them to be shepherds.
The fellowship of the early Christians was a strong testimony to the world of the love of Christ among the believers. People flocked to the Church, often at great personal cost. The Epistles gave guidance and encouragement to these early believers and do so for us today.
Christianity is a team sport. We need each other to challenge and encourage us in our walks, get an opinion on a scripture not understood or discover a new (to us) insight revealed by the Scripture, and to pray for one another. At Calvary Chapel Living Word, we encourage all to get together with fellow Christians, in Christ centered fellowship, whether through church promoted groups or informally through private association.
As our men seem to be very busy with work and family and are somewhat isolated from other men in close fellowship, we have encouraged them to form three man “Iron Sharpens Iron” groups. The Word and its application, challenges of Christian living in this world, and prayer are the focus of these groups. Men need to seek out each other so they can be comfortable and experience the great value of fellowship. Groups need to be formed of peers to enable initiative. Three seems to be a good number which allows for finding a convenient meeting location and time outside the home, needed intimacy, and continuity during an absence. However, there are no rules. These groups have no set schedules or agendas, but depend on the needs and availability of the members. As the friendships develop, contacts with each other will occur via phone, text and e-mail as needed. If you want to be part of a small band of brothers, but are having difficulty finding one, see one of the elders who will put you in touch with Michael Griffin who is currently coordinating this work. The group I am in usually meets weekly. I have grown to appreciate the prayer support, wisdom, and often the problem solving of my two brothers. We have grown close.
Our church also encourages all to fellowship with other believers by offering Community Groups where a dozen or so like-minded men and women meet in homes, weekly or twice a month, to study the week’s sermon and to pray for each other. Here one can get their Bible questions resolved and discuss application of the Word. One can also get to know other Christians well through prayer. Each group develops its own personality and procedures. Often the women will text each other news and prayer needs between meetings. Groups have also furthered their bonds by going out to Christian movies together. You can sign up via our website at calvarylivingword.org (click on the “community groups” tab) or see Tom Munoz if you would like to be part of a Community Group.
Meeting with other Christians is an enriching experience as we all have different gifts. In a recent meeting at one of our Community groups (we belong to two), we talked about the glory of the Lord, in the context of 2 Corinthians 3. God revealed the following through Gayle O’Connor.
The veil of my eyes was lifted,
I see your Word and Promises are true,
It all makes sense to me now that I know you.
The veil of my heart was torn away
When you entered in and I asked You to stay.
The veil of my soul was lifted up
the day you partook of that bitter cup.
That day you died so long ago,
The veil was rent for us to know,
You are the Son of God, our King, our High Priest forever.
You Rose! You Live! For us all to see!
To you Jesus we owe Eternity!
We all left that evening so blessed, by our Lord, and by our sisters and brothers.