House Call

July 14, 2009
For the past several months, there have been some cogitations that I’ve been unable to shake. One of them involves embarking on a course that, if done for the wrong reasons, could result in scattering, bitterness, strife, pride, and even a gradual drifting from our first love. Like any course of action that we may be contemplating, it’s imperative to ensure that the move is ordered by the Lord Jesus and is not merely a self-centered plot that we’ve concealed behind a spiritual sounding cover story. If God is in the move, it will be the right choice; even if it runs in complete opposition to common sense or the advice of others. If however, the move is a result of personal fantasy or a belief that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it will be a recipe for disaster. This post is going to be on the strange side as it’s more of a thinking out loud session concerning these ongoing considerations.
John 12:26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me; that where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Today, with prophetic fulfilment bearing down upon us and time being an ever-diminishing commodity, it’s imperative to be hearing from God and not placing all of our confidence in the advice of another. It’s equally imperative that we don’t package that which our own imagination has assembled and catagorize it as “the Lord told me thus.” For this reason, I’m approaching the ongoing considerations carefully through prayer. It’s dangerous for us to be in one place while the will of God is for us to be in another. The pondering at hand; the one that simply won’t go away, relates to the issue of the unregistered fellowship (aka house church) This has been on my heart; sitting patiently on the back burner as it were, for over two years. I’m continuing to bring this before the Lord; inquiring if it’s truly of him or it’s just a fantasy born out of frustration over the continual efforts by many in the church to be like the world from which Jesus has delivered them.
From an initial observation, the idea seems eccentric at best and self-exalting at worst. Eccentric in that it’s a departure from the authorized (or incorporated) church structure, where as person can effectively blend in with the crowd. Self exalting in that there’s almost certain to be an appearance of one who’se seeking a following. This is a constant danger in any such endeavor. We must not only ensure that the journey is the will of God, we must also ensure that our motivations are pure. We know full well, the warning that Paul issued to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, concerning thosewho seek recognition from their contemporaries. 
Acts 20:30 “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
The answers concerning this issue will not be found in a multitude of councellors or by careful analysis of the prevailing conditins in the ambience. It will not be determined by prophetic timetables that are assembled to offer up a senario for the days ahead. (It’s dangerous to believe that our understanding of the prophetic timeline is complete; especially when we see through a glass darkly, we do not know what the seven thunders uttered, and we DO NOT KNOW the day or the hour when Jesus will return.) The answers to questions concerning a house fellowship; such as “if, when, where,” and “who else will be there,” can only come from the Lord. Currently, this notion has no accompanying direction and as such, one should not embark presumptuously.
The unregistered fellowship has an almost romantic element to it. The vacating of an apostate establishment in exchange for a small close-knit community with the focus exclusively upon the Lord Jesus conjours up a sensation of intimacy with God, unity with likeminded saints, complete abandonment of the worlds lustings, and freedom from traditions. Here, these redeemed ones are living in eternity as they fellowship, minister to those around them, and compel all who pass through their vicintiy to turn from wickedness and believe on Jesus. There even may be a prceived element of adventure as these saints will be despised and pursued; not only by the world, but also by a religious hierarchy that long ago traded in the precious words of life for a social gospel that focuses on this world and soothes the itching ears.
I’m convinced that such a time is coming; when the true worshippers will have to separate from the superstructure if they are to hold fast the testimony of Jesus. But we must move on the Lords timetable. I’m almost certain that a time will come when we have to leave Agape Church, but the time is not just yet. There are profound dangers to jumping the gun, going forth out of a contrary attitude, or joining up with a situation which appears to be in line with what the Lord has placed on our heart, but is based on an agenda that’s not of God. (Imagine joining a fellowship of those who had all left their former assemblies because they had been offended by something trivial and irrelevant. It would be a continual anger-fest with the atmosphere contaminated by bitterness.
Ephesians 5:15-17 “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
Such moves; or repositionings of any sort, should not be taken lightly. They should not be put into motion for any reason other than to be in the will of God. Another thing that adds to this debate is the saints who oprate in the blogosphere. I’ve encountered many who are looking steadfastly unto Jesus while being about the Fathers business. Their words reveal a longing to let go of every weight and sin as their hearts have already crossed into the eternal realm. Yet my efforts to find a similar fellowship in this area have yielded no results; save for CR who was born of the Spirit in November of 2007. Frank recently addressed this in a reply. The remnant; the symbolic 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal, are out there. There in different places; learning to trust completely upon Jesus and to not lean on an supporting cast. At the proper time, we’ll be led into places of refuge until the indignation be overpast. (I’m paraphrasing; Frank stated it more clearly)  Well I’m nodding off at the compter, so I’ll be going for now.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
Jeremiah 23:28-29 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
UPDATE: July 15, 2009….This report may cause one to revisit Revelation 16:12. HISTORIC EUPHRATES RIVER IS DRYING UP
UPDATE: July 16, 2009….The following is a most incredible discussion of prophetic timing concerning the end of the age and the return of Jesus.
  This post is long and includes a lot of detail. The final three paragraphs, however are under a sub-heading entitled “SIGNIFICANCE FOR YOU.”


  1. timely post, Timbob… this is always on my mind as well. I belong to a large congregation… I fought hard not to go, but the spirit led me there. And to find out that to make the spirit life relevant, they have been looking for ways to organically foster small group studies, under the umbrella of the church.

    I sincerely believe God and Jesus Love the church. Even in it’s deformative state, just like us, He loves it all. I DO think there is room for both. REALLY. When done right, like you said, not to be led out of pride by someone seeking power.

    Nice work on this….. cindy

  2. timbob . . . I feel your struggle . . . as you may have read in my blog I left the “organized church” several years ago. It wasn’t easy. We were deeply involved. But when we set rationalizations, justifications aside and just listened we couldn’t deny what was stirring in our spirits. We didn’t fully understand the whys before we left – we just felt the call. – I believe as you said there will be a separation and those who belong to Christ will hear His voice and follow it wherever it may lead. I see the separation happening now.


  3. Hi Cindy. It’s encouraging to hear of the efforts that your church is making to embrace a closeness between the saints. The love that the Lord has for his church is without question; even in its state of imperfection. I’ve always thought that if I were to find a church which was void of problems, I would be the oddball. Praise God for Romans 8:1.

    A couple of years ago, I heard about a pastor in Minneapolis whose congregation was in the range of about 5000. A time came where it was laid on his heart to let go of the political agenda and just preach the gospel. After a time, some of the members became upset and accused him of compromising the gospel. (How the political agenda ever became linked to the gospel is beyond me; even though I was once guilty of this same thing) This eventually led to about a thousand of the members leaving the church.

    However, while a thousand members left the church, about a thousand others came into the fellowship. The end result was a congregation less enfatuated by the worlds agenda and more focused on Jesus and reaching the lost. It was a very encouraging report.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  4. Hi Rachel. How imperative it is to just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit; even when we don’t see the road ahead of us. Insofar as a house church in this area, I’m cetain that they are around, but I don’t know who or where. I do know that, at some point, we’ll be vacating the place where we currently fellowship. I really love the folks there and, as you mention, I can think of a host of reasons to just stay put and go with the flow. But my spirit is being stirred in a way that cannot be content in a predictable structure and this idea just won’t go away.

    This is where the “thinking out loud” part of this post comes into play. I’m striving to hear from the Lord on this issue and be ready to move when instructed to do so. Thanks for the input on this topic.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

  5. matthew henry in 1704 stated “When all the members of the family yield themselves to God, subscribe with their hands to be the Lord’s and surname themselves by the name of Israel, and the master of the family, with himself, gives up all his right, title, and interest, in his house, and all that belongs to it, unto God, to be used for him, and disposed of by him, here is a church in the house.”

    You have no idea how timely this post is for me…but it is. I used to, when I heard the word Church, envision a building where people gathered. i believe now tho that this should be the daily duties required in every Christian home…which is simply the dedication of all to God, and sharing that commitment. I look at Abraham, who moved several time, but he always built an altar wherever he lived.

    James Alexander wrote in 1847: “”The working man often has little disposal of his own time, and little privacy for religious acts. He rises, it may be, long before the day, and in a wintry morning hastily prepares himself to join others in labor. He is therefore under a very strong inducement to abridge, if not to omit, the Scriptures and prayer. It is of immense value for one in such circumstances, to be bound by the sweet yet constraining tie of a family – covenant, to redeem time and call his household together for God’s praise. Such acts of domestic worship are among the sweetest enjoyments of the poor man’s life. He thus has ensured to him a stock of truth for the reflections of the whole day. The son and daughter who go forth to shop or factory labor, carry with them some remembrance of God. And when, after a day of honourable toil, they reassemble in the evening, with the expectation of a similar service, it is to enjoy a means of grace which furnishes each individual with a new impulse towards the goal. Those who unite every day in solemn acts of worship, are thus brought to a comparison of themselves with a certain standard. They are made to recognize themselves, and to recognize one another, as servants of God.”

    In the Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, the definition of Church reads “A house consecrated to the worship of God, among Christians; the Lord’s house; the disciples of Christ assembled for worship in a particular place, as in a private house.

    I have felt this burden as well for some time now. I minister with a group that travels around the country, and it is next to impossible to find a sound church that teaches doctrine correctly without compromise. I will be praying for you in this, I too think it is where we are headed. Sorry this is so long…I really enjoyed this post, and I would, for one, attend your “church”. Praying….Debs

  6. Hi deb. The statement by matthew henry is right on. In fact, wherever two or three of us are gathered, it’s a fellowship. I’ve known of churches that used Hebrews 10:25 to bring the congregation into line with “the program” so to speak. In fact, Hebrews 10:25 is in effect whenever we are in fellowship with another saint; be it in an established church setting, in the home, or in the parking lot at work. In fact, the informal gatherings are more edifying. No expectations of others to conform to; just a few saints whose only desire is unto the Lord.

    I read a book several years ago in which a profound observation stood out. The author was present at the Azuza street revival in 1906. He had also written extensively about a revival in Wales which, if I remember correctly, transpired shortly beforehand. Both of these revevals (and most likely every one before or since)ended the same. Certain men decided to “organize” and construct a program. The moving of the Holy Spirit was hindered by those who unwittingly sought to take control of things.

    Somehow there’s widespread aceptance of the idea that we know what we’re doing; even though we see through a glass darkly, and have a woefully incomplete picture of the ambience. We like to manage the time and keep the show moving at the desired speed. This is why certain churches (such as mine) tend to sing the same number of songs each week, take up the offering at the same time, preach for the same number of minutes, and “always” dismiss at the same time.

    I’m sorry for getting onto one of my hobby horses, but the protocols of men are like a spiritual iron maiden. They stifle movement; sometimes to the point of death. (Sorry for the weird analogy; this is what happens when I reply after midnight)

    Thank you for offering your observations on this topic and for your prayers. The Lord is doing a work suddenly in these final days.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

  7. Hi, Timbob

    You’re right to wait for God–and He’ll lead you out when the time is right. Meanwhile, I do encourage you to read up on simple/organic church. Pagan Christianity, of course, and also a lot of other great stuff out there.

    I was longing for a small fellowship before I knew there was a house church movement in the USA at all, let alone SD, and the first inklings I had of it were from reading about the hc movement in China. I almost wished we lived there so we could experience real fellowship with believers. I cannot explain to you the depth of my yearning for this. God must have put it there.

    We were alone–just our family–for about six months, and then God put us together with some others traveling the same direction, and it’s so good. We have so much to learn, and no human to teach us, but we do have the Holy Spirit, and God is faithful. We’ll move along on the path He’s laid out for us. I trust Him. He will lead you, too.

    Love, Cindy

  8. Hi Cindy in SD. Thanks for a very encouraging comment. The account of the house churches in China being an inspiration is interesting. For me it was a similar thing; only it came primarily from posts on Peters site http://theagetocome.wordpress.com about Christian community. Thoughts of a group of saints just serving the Lord Jesus and abiding together in one accord caused pondering. The more I thought about this, the more astonishing the thing became.

    Something else has been an encouragement. It seems that others who have gone this route didn’t see the road ahead; they only knew that the Lord was leading in this direction. For me, I only know that it’s an idea that will not wane. In fact it’s only intensified over the past couple of days. It’s important to stay in prayer and not move before it’s time to do so, however, I know that notable change is on the horizon.

    Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  9. Hi Timbob,

    I can certainly understand your frustration, but I think it’s wise on your part that you haven’t done anything rashly but have been making this a matter of prayer.

    I have two questions to ask you. First, have you talked with your current pastor about the things you have expressed here?

    Second, if I could find a church in your area(through my husband who knows lots of ministers all over the country)would you be willing to give it a try?

    I will continue to pray for you and wait for your response.

    Blessings to you and your family,

    Carol Connell

  10. Hi Carol. I apolagize for not getting back sooner. One thing that I’ve found myself doing as of late is seriously seeking the Lord on a number of issues. This has required limiting the input from outside sources and just seeking the Lord for answers to things that are currently not forthcoming. The direction of going into a house church setting is a serious one and not to be rushed into. I know that there’s a leading in this direction, but not a green light to go just yet. Kind of like a trapeze performer; if you jump too soon, you’ll land in the nets. (if there are nets) Praise God for putting out nets for when we jump the gun, but it’s better to go forth at the right time.

    Our pastor is a man who really loves the Lord and really is a good pastor. We don’t talk a whole lot, however, when we do, I get the impression that he doesn’t see the lateness of the hour as I see it. There seems to be a certain amount of trust in continuance. (This is just how I see it; I could be completely off) The conversations that we do have usually conclude with my making a comment about separation from the world, the tribulation, or some other related thing to which he responds with the “uneasy astonishment at what he just heard” facial expression.

    I would never doubt his heart or calling, but sometimes it’s almost as though were not on the same page. Of course I’ve become accustomed to being the oddball. It seems that everywhere I’ve gone, there’s been an overconfidence in the chariots of Egypt. It’s taken a lot of years; including a lengthy season or rebellion where some serious attitude adjusting transpired, but the Lord has brought me to a place where I have no desire for the weak and beggarly elements of this world. I’m here on the ground, working, and all of the lights are on, but my heart is firmly in heavenly places.

    As far as seeking another church, it’s not a direction of leading at the moment. This is not to say that it won’t happen in the future; it’s just that we’re in a time where the wheat and tares are being separated and it’s imperative to be hearing from on high. The above comments by Rachel and Cindy in SD best explain what I’m going through at the moment. (I was surprized, and somewhat relieved that others have gone through this same thing) Although this does not mean that everyone is being led in this direction.

    One other thing that has made it hard to find a church is the church that I had in Virginia. I have never been in a place that had such a heart for Jesus and for the lost as True Vine. Many of them went street preaching every Saturday, they lived godly, they kept the influences of the world outside the home (no televisions etc) and just lived in the continual joy of the Lord. This is where I began to really get a heart for street ministry. Today, despite all of the turbulant years in my past, this venue is on my heart more than ever.

    Every church that I’ve visited since; I unwittingly find myself comparing to true Vine. I go into Kalamazoo and Elkhart. Each city has churches on every corner, and yet the only person in the streets is a guy who lives 30 miles away. CR has this same concern. His church has preaching, teaching, group bible studies, and a flurry of activities, but nobody seems to be concerned for the lost who pass by the door every day. And while there’s a theological understanding that the hour is late, many seem more concerned about their career or their favorite team than being ready for the return of Jesus.

    I had better stop before this turns into a full-blown rambling. Thank you much for your prayers. I will likewise keep you and your household in prayer. The important thing for me at this moment is to be where the Lord would have me to be; regardless of where it may be. This understanding will be forthcoming in the proper time if I just continue to draw ever closer to Jesus and strive to be continuously atuned. A moment may arrive someday where I’ll be awakened in the middle of the night and and the Lord will say “gather up your household in the van and drive to Colorado.” If that happens, it will be time to go to Colorado; even though I don’t know anyone there. (other than an obscure cousin living in the town of Golden whom I haven’t seen in years)

    Thanks again for your thoughts and inquiry. Sorry for the long and choppy comment, but this is an issue in which there’s a need for further clarity before actions can be taken.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

  11. Hi Timbob,

    this is such a great subject, I think perhaps I should do some work in this area too… because conversations like these are what make ‘church’ relevant!! We (the church) are at a crossroads as to whether we will connect as a body or fall away. It is up to us. And they are happening more and more.

    The last church I went to, was a great strain for me. I wanted to leave so much, but the more I prayed, the more I realized God nudging me to not only stay, but to give this church some ‘gifts’ for Him. It was long, tedious, and a huge tax on my time to do all I felt He led me to do… (took several years) BUT on my final task, I could see His whole plan all along and how I was the only one that could fulfill it in that time and place. It brought peace to many,
    and to myself. I followed His lead and worked something positive for the collective.

    He then gave me a graceful way out, and led me to where I am today. A place that lives and breathes the Word…. not perfect, but I am happy.

    MY big lesson, from the first church… sometimes it’s not about me, and learning the servant’s way.
    It is going to take folks who seek truth to learn how to inspire others in the body to seek it as well. I’ve worked ‘the wilderness’ as well, still do, but God has impressed on me that my work there is only a part of my call. There are many christians that need a ‘jumpstart’.

    It saddens me so many fall away, as through the mystery revealed Eph 1:9 the final goal is for this hopelessly divided world be united under Christ.

    Not one church, but united.
    I know how you are feeling and am praying your heart settles in the place God wills for you, and perhaps it is the net? one never knows!
    peace and care, sincerely, Cindy

  12. Timbob,

    I just read a verse I’m excited about. Isn’t it cool how God will take a well-known portion of His word and make it real to you–jump off the page?

    Eph 3:10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

    Having said that, I have to tell you that I’ve had so many dreams to the effect that God is moving the church on to a birthing process through which its new/ancient incarnation is being born that I’m beginning to think He means it. As you (and the other Cindy) have said, it’s a time-sensitive matter as to when we do what, and we need to wait for His command to move on His orders, but I am amazed at what I’ve been hearing from Him. He really does seem to be determined (as I hear Him) to move the church on to its next level.

    Love, Cindy in SD

  13. Hi Cindy (Hanson)This is something that definately must be kept in mind. Your onetime desire to leave a place while it was the Lords place to have you at the time which worked out for the good. I have to be careful in this same area because I find that while I’m seeking the Lord on the issues described in this post, my heart is already pulling in a certain direction. That pulling must not be allowed to obscure the still small voice.

    This is not to say that it’s easy, but this also is a trial of our faith; to see if we’ll be occupy the station assigned to us from on high, even if it seems to be a place of draining.

    Thanks so much for continuing on with this conversation. There are so many aspects to it, but we should primarily be seeking the Lords perfect will on all matters. (to be careful for nothing)

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

  14. Hi Cindy in SD. These are really exciting times and when the Lord gently moves us into the next season it’s a wonderful thing. A forgetting of the things that are past like yesterdays manna and being ghanged from glory to glory.

    It may seem strange, but I like to go outside late in the evening for prayer. (Although since I’m going back to work next week I’ll have to adapt to the scriptural formula of rising early) It’s something that I started doing right after being born of the Spirit and it often remindes me of the journey and seasons from yesterday. It’s like I cherish the memories, but have no desire to go back. My desire is where the Lord is working today.

    I don’t know what tomorrow holds or the precise times that have been assigned, but it’s an incredible journey which culminates with this corruption putting on incorruption and this mortality putting on immortality.

    Thanks for your thoughts here. I’ve just placed a link to your site on the latest post. The message is very timely and words cannot express how I was encouraged by it.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

  15. Hi Timbob,

    There is so much running through my mind that I hardly know where to begin. “Home church” can mean different things to different people. We’ve been involved with what some call home fellowship groups, home friendship group, care group or cell group. Before we moved to our present location, we acutally were leading one of these groups in our home. Our group was comprised mostly of what were termed the “elite ladies” who were over 55. We met once a week on Fridays for a time of prayer, Bible study and food and fellowship afterward. I really enjoyed our group very much, and it was such a blessing to me to get to know some of these elder saints better. However, while we had our home fellowship group, we were still part of a larger body that met on Sundays and Wednesday nights. The purpose of these groups was twofold. Since we were getting larger, we wanted to provide a smaller group atmosphere so people in the church would have the opportunity to form a closer friendship/fellowship with others in the church. You can lose that intimacy pretty quickly in a larger church, and I have seen folks get lost in the shuffle. Secondly, we also used the groups as an opportunity for outreach. People were encouraged to invite their neighbors and friends to these meetings, as there are some folks that would feel less intimated going to a smaller, more informal meeting. What I liked about these groups was that there was accountability on the part of the group leaders to the pastor of our church. Each group leader had a form that was filled out weekly concerning who was in attendance and a brief overview of what went on in the meeting. Then, once a month, all the care pastors and their wives would meet with the pastor to discuss any needs, problems, etc. that they might have. I personally believe that every Christian needs a pastor or elder in their life to help them be accountable. Even my husband who is a pastor, has a few “elders” in his life to whom he can go for counsel, prayer or whatever.

    I think there is a danger in having a home church when there is not someone who clearly has the oversight over the group. I’ve seen people get into some weird, unbiblical doctrines and even fall into adultery and such like. I agree that too much organization can be a hindrance, but on the other hand a fellowship where everyone is just a “free spirit” can be just as and maybe more destructive.

    Sorry for such a long comment here. I will have to wrap it up for now, but these are just some thoughts that I had. I will continue to pray for God’s leading for you and your family.

    Sincerely in Christ,

  16. Hi, I left the denominational system a long time Ago and presently run a Men’s Group as an Outreach.

    Now and then I visit Some local churches just to Keep in touch with what is happening On the denominational Front. I don’t like what i hear most of the Time.

    nevertheless, I made up my mind that the only way for me and my wife To resume full fellowship in any given denomination The Lord would Have to physically transport me there and break the Clerical Stronghold gripping most denominations.

    You made Mention of Apostle Paul In Miletus (Acts 20:30) addressing the “Elders”. this is where the issue lies for me, we need to restore the biblical authority of Collective Elder ships with “Men designated appointments” to take charge of the local churches, then may be The Holy Spirit will again blow life in these Denominational clerical inventions called churches.

    It is not outside the will of god to establish a local meeting using His principles “The Apostolic Precepts of Church Government”, However The Devil wont stand Idle. The Lord Be with his saints. John B

  17. Hi Carol. You bring up a very important point concerning the dangers of doctrinal errors becoming a problem in a free-form fellowship. This is all the more reason to ensure that it’s the Lord bringing it together and not simply a group of folks who have issues. I remember a couple of years ago coming across a series of comments concerning OCCs (Out of church christians) Even then this idea was starting to develop, but this string of commments revealed a danger. Some of them seemed to come from an attitude of anger or bitterness and one can only wonder what’s truly in play.

    I would eleborate more, but it’s after 3:00am. The layoff ends Monday and I’m trying to get caught up here before time becomes a bigger factor.

    Thanks so much for expressing these important concerns. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  18. Hi John B. sorry for not getting back here sooner. It’s a time for continual seeking the Lord on this issue. Regardless of how things play out, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. A liberty so profoundly complete that no structure can dampen it. Basically I can see the time approaching, but don’t know when it will be.

    Thanks for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.

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