Our eldest daughter (now in her early thirties), as a rather confused but strong-willed teen spent quite a few of those intermediate years in ‘worldly experimentation’ with values she had not grown up with. Then she encountered Christ (or, Christ encountered her) and the same strong will was turned to serving Jesus. She took full responsibility for her life and eventually found good employment, to which she committed wholeheartedly. At that time of turn-around Rosanne, together with her son Matthew, took active and enthusiastic part in our weekly house church gatherings in our home. After excelling at her job locally she was promoted and transferred to Cape Town. There by ‘God-incidence’ she renewed acquaintance with a committed believer she had admired in a youth holiday club (traditional church days), they fell in love and got married.
In Cape Town Chad, Rosanne and Matthew attended a local community church that was very warm and accepting, and became involved in different capacities. However, somehow Rosanne hankered after the days of ‘house church’ where spontaneous life and participation were experienced week after week, with the development of deep relationships across racial, cultural and generational divides. [‘Organic house church,’ when functioning healthily, has a way of ‘wrecking’ one for good]
Unprompted by anyone except the Spirit of God I am sure, this young family made contact with another house church group in Cape Town. To cut a long story short, this past Sunday morning Rosanne, with the full support of Chad, Matthew and Caleb (who providentially took a nap – he’s 10 months old) led an organic fellowship gathering in their home, including the Lord’s Supper. Everyone participated spontaneously and thoroughly appreciated the experience.
I asked her if facilitating the group was difficult or left her drained emotionally. She replied ‘Nope, God led the meeting!’ You see, that’s what happens when people share spontaneously under the headship of Jesus and by the inspiration of his indwelling life. What proud parents and grandparents we are! [we rejoice that our other two married children and grandchildren are engaged in the same process of organic life in Christ, albeit at different stages of the journey]
At Rosanne’s response a few scriptures immediately came to mind:
- Rom. 8, where Paul writes of individual and corporate ‘Life Through the Spirit’ shared in by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection. V. 14 reads, ‘Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.’ Wherever people who have died to sin and risen to new life in Christ, gather together, they are inevitably ‘led’ by the Spirit of God in the ways of God.
- 1 Cor. 6, where the apostle reminds the Corinthian church of the power of a ‘way of life in Christ Jesus,’ which agreed with everything he taught everywhere in every church. Christ is both ‘taught’ and ‘caught’ and ‘lived,’ not between 9 and 10 on a Sunday morning but 24/7 52 weeks of the year.
- Zech. 4. The prophets Zechariah and Haggai had the ‘impossible’ task of encouraging post-Babylonian exile Jews to re-build the Jerusalem temple and return to the true worship of Yahweh which their forbears had forsaken. God encouraged the two prophets and their governor Zerubbabel with the well-known words of v. 6, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” A humble and child-like dependence on God’s Spirit always enables God’s Church to build more easily and more fruitfully.
God grant that in these days, when he is working ‘outside of the box’ in so many ways, that many young families in our country and across the globe may be like Priscilla and Aquila of old, displaying and conveying Christ in the intimacy of a home yielded to him.
[by the way, as an expression of their life in Christ, Chad and the family are currently serving in very practical ways a neighbour who about a month ago lost her life-partner to cancer and is in the process of possibly losing her son (in his 30’s) to extreme diabetes. The husband had come to faith in Jesus before his death, the son has done likewise whatever the outcome. Chad and Rosanne would be the first to admit that they are a young family facing all the frailties and crises and challenges other young families face today – in their case it’s just Jesus who is making the difference]