Category Archives: Fellowship

People Flourish At The Place Of Their Assignment

          God is committed to who you were created to be, not necessarily who you are at the moment. Change and growth are a vital part of the Christian walk. We are to be ever growing into what He paid for us to be, which is the express image of His person.

          The problem I see many Christians fall into is not finding, or staying in the place of their assignment. God has a specific place He has called you to be, a specific body of believers he has called you to assemble together with, a specific group of people He wants you to be in relationship with. When you find the place He has assigned you to, you will flourish in your spiritual development.

Hebrews 10:25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

          God’s grace functions best in the place of your assignment. When you try to be, or do something you shouldn’t, you frustrate the grace of God. This includes being in the wrong place and connected to the wrong assembly of believers. I heard a pastor say it this way:

“If you’re out of your place, you’re out of your grace, and you’ll fall on your face!”

11gracechanges everything

          Relationships can be messy. Still, God wants us to engage in community, specifically, the community He’s called us to. It is the tension and challenges these relationships bring that develops us spiritually and pushes us to change for the better.

JC

 

~ What Is Christian Fellowship? ~

fellow

What is true Christian fellowship? It has been said that fellowship is just a bunch of fellows on the same ship, however, it is far more rewarding and enriching than that. There is a wonderful exchange that takes place when Christian brothers and sisters come together in true fellowship.

The key is; true Christian fellowship only occurs when you are interacting with the people who God has ordained you to connect with.

The Greek word for fellowship that you usually see in the New Testament is: “koinonia,” This word has a very intimate meaning and has to do with communion, joint contribution, joint participation and a sharing of something that goes beyond what a single individual can contribute. It is a partnering together to share God on a level that cannot be attained by an individual. It is an activity that brings Jesus into your very midst and produces dynamic discipleship and enriches relationship with God on a personal and corporate level.

Matthew 18:20 ~ For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

God has called you to a particular fellowship, a company of believers that you are to be in relationship with. It is impossible to mature as a balanced Christian without this God ordained fellowship. You have a supply that is needed in that fellowship and the fellowship has a supply that you need also. The supply is both spiritual and natural and it is necessary for balanced growth and maturity in the body of Christ, and for you as an individual.

Ephesians 4:16 – From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Notice in this passage that supply comes from the joints in the body, not the parts of the body.

A joint is where two parts meet together, like your elbow or knee. That joint causes both parts to be more effective, more mobile, and increases the ability and strength of both connected parts. It is no coincidence that Jesus used this analogy. If you have ever had an injured joint like an ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist, you know how debilitating and restricting it can be. If you are not connected properly to the local assembly where God has called us, you hinder the overall effectiveness, productivity, and strength of the body of Christ. Not to mention yourself.

There are people who claim that they can worship God and be just fine without going to church or being around other believers. This is a deception of the enemy to prevent them from getting connected to the life of the body. It is a ploy to keep the branches disconnected from the vine so they can’t bear fruit. It keeps them from maturing and renders them ineffective and unproductive.

Hebrews 10:25 ~ And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

It is important that you be in the right circle of people so that you can experience this kind of fellowship. You don’t need to interact with every person on the planet, but you do need to find your place in the body and develop those relationships around you. It is this kind of fellowship that brings joy to your relationship with God and others.

Almost all of God’s blessings come through relationships. He uses people to bless people. When you are in true fellowship the blessings flow freely. They flow to you and they flow through you. Make it a point to develop and invest in those relationships.

Give yourself to walking in the light of true fellowship, for to fellowship with the body of Christ is just another way to fellowship with Him. In fact, there are realms of God that you will NEVER experience if you don’t engage in this type of “Body Interaction.” As you fellowship together there is a cleansing of sin that allows you to draw closer to God and to each other.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

~ Don’t Vex Your Soul~

“Don’t break bread with a jackass!”

If you were raised in the country like myself, you may be familiar with this old saying. When I first heard it, I really didn’t know what it meant. I thought, “Why would anyone want to eat with a Jackass?” But then I realized, people do it all the time. The old saying simply means, don’t associate with fools, and don’t hang out with bad company.

I am not sure where this saying originated, but it is biblical. What we see and hear does have spiritual implications, and if we are hearing and seeing it constantly, being affected is inevitable whether it is good or bad.

1 Corinthians 15:33 ~ Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Living in the communication age, we are constantly bombarded with various forms of media designed to shock, stimulate and influence you to think and feel certain ways. It is extremely effective, and mans carnal nature hungers for this kind of stimulation. The more it is stimulated, the more it wants. The lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh are never satisfied. (Proverbs 27:20)

Proverbs 13:20 ~ He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a
companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Certainly the company we keep matters. When I was first saved in 1988, I knew the Lord was leading me to separate from my old friends. However I did not obey those leadings and soon fell right back into my old destructive lifestyle. I had to learn the hard way. Later on, after I did separate myself from the “fools.” I took comfort in seeing examples of it in the Word. Samson was a great example of what NOT to do. 

Judges 16:15-1715 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

We are not supposed to be “like any other man,” we are called to be different. We should stand out. It should be easy for people to identify us at work or in the marketplace. We should be the ones that leave a conversation when it becomes inappropriate, take a stand for what is right, and refuse to take part in filthy conduct and things that are ungodly. If we don’t, we open ourselves up to torment and oppression. Not to mention bring a reproach on Christ.

Look at what happened to Lot:

2 Peter 2:6-8 ~ 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—

Lot CHOSE to dwell among the ungodly and it cost him big time. If it were not for Abraham, it would have cost him his life. We have a choice too, we always have a choice, remember that. If we are seeing and hearing filthy conduct and lawless deeds all the time, our soul will be vexed and tormented. The more we allow, the less sensitive we will be to the Holy Spirit.

Don’t be afraid to be different and take a stand for Christ. Don’t break bread with Jackasses, you have a choice. Instead, choose to enjoy the bread of life.

John 6:35 ~ And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.” He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

JC

~ Divine Connections ~

  Ephesians 4:16  ~ from whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I had a revelation  about this verse the other day and I would like to share it with you. I have always believed that according to this verse every Christian has a supply to bring to the body of Christ, some ministry, some service, some work, something of value to contribute to the whole. While this is certainly true, it is not the point that Paul is trying to make here.

I saw that it is the joint that brings the supply, not the body part. We know that we are the body parts and that we are called to be effective and productive in our role, but what exactly is the joint? The joint is NOT the body part, so to better understand this lets look at the physical body.

A human leg is made up of four bones, the tibia and fibula, (lower leg, shin bone) the femur, (upper leg/ thigh bone) and the patella, (knee cap). These bones are connected by the knee-joint. Here are just some of the functions of the knee-joint.

1) It supplies strength and stability to all the parts.

2) It prevents friction and reduces stress on all the parts.

3) It provides mobility and maximizes the effectiveness of all the parts.

4) It helps the rest of the body go and do what it is called on to do.

Just like the physical joint does all these important things, the spiritual joint does all this and more. The joint is the relationship between the parts. I use the word relationship but a more accurate word would be fellowship.

The Greek word for fellowship that you usually see in the New Testament is the Greek word “koinonia”, This word has a very intimate meaning and has to do with communion, joint contribution, joint participation and a sharing of something that goes beyond what a single individual can contribute. It is a partnering together to share God on a level that cannot be attained by an individual. It  is an activity that brings Jesus into your very midst and produces dynamic relationship as well as rich discipleship.

Matthew 18:20 ~ For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

When the parts are effective at doing their share, right relationship and true fellowship occurs and it invites the Holy Spirit to provide a supply of the Spirit that brings growth and edification. It is how the parts relate that brings the supply. It is the fellowship of the parts that bind and knit us together. It is the “joint” of fellowship that allows us to experience God on a level that goes beyond what we can experience on our own.

1 Corinthians 12:11-13 ~ 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

 1 Corinthians 12:26-28 ~ 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

 I used to think that the body parts in their proper place brought the supply. Now I see that you can be the right body part in the right place, but if you are not relating properly with the other parts of the body, you actually cut off the supply of the Spirit coming to you and through you.

Ever wonder why we don’t see more demonstration of the Spirit? The gifts of the Spirit in operation in our services? I have seen them in a measure, but I know that there is far more available to the church. How we relate to each other, the depth and quality of our fellowship could be a key. This is part of our relationship with God

This is why Satan wants to isolate us from the body of Christ. He does not want that supply to happen. He knows that Christ’s body, properly assembled and each body part relating properly to each other is devastating to his kingdom and agenda.

When we relate to God and His people in love the LIFE of God is produced in those relationships and effects everyone connected to that part of the body. It becomes a divine SPIRIT LIFE connection.

 

~”One Another” The Call To Fellowship~

New Testament scriptures teaches us how we are to treat one another and live together. It tells us to: live in harmony, love one another; accept one another; instruct one another; greet one another; serve one another; bear with one another; make allowances for one another; be kind and compassionate to one another; speak to one another; admonish one another; encourage one another; spur one another on; offer hospitality; and edify one another. That’s just a part of the list! The point is, we need one another, and we are called to community, we are called to fellowship.

 John 13:35 ~ By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Fellowship is not just hanging out, although hanging out can be fun and have some value. As Christians we must be intentional and deliberate about connecting with people. The goal is not to have a thousand friends, you can be friendly to all, but maturity moves you from quantity (amount) to quality. You should have some people in your life that you can have quality fellowship with because fellowship adds value and brings joy to relationship.

The Bible says it’s not good to be alone. We were made for fellowship to enhance relationships. Part of our relationship with God involves relationship and fellowship with other believers. Our gifts, talents and abilities are not just for us; they are to serve and be shared with others, especially with those in the body of Christ, and particularly with those “body parts” that we are called to be connected to.

When we bring all of those gifts and abilities together we experience God on a level that we would never enjoy being isolated. Christianity cannot be practiced in isolation. If we do, it will become irrelevant.

 We can’t expect the church to meet all of our needs for fellowship. That is not possible. We must bear most of the responsibility. We must actively pursue Godly interaction with other believers. Fellowship must be intentional and it requires investment on our part. Scripture makes it clear: 

Mark 12:33 ~ And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,  and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Romans 12:10 ~ Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Hebrews 10:25 ~ not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 You are going to have varying levels of fellowship according to your ability to communicate, your spiritual maturity, your personality, etc. You cannot be on the same level as everybody and that is ok. No matter where you are spiritually, you have the ability as well as the responsibility to contribute to the fellowship and enrich the relationship. Remember that when we are in fellowship with somebody, we should be adding value to that person. People will fit into one of four categories. Adders, multipliers, subtractors and dividers. If we are in a group with all subtractors and dividers, we need to find another group!

Above all, fellowship is to be God honoring. We should not mess around with things and borders that could potentially bind us or make us fall.

John 5:44 ~ How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?

None of us is a whole body. We are all “parts” and we need one another… or it just doesn’t work. We will have friends, acquaintances, coworkers and probably family members that are not believers and we need to be salt and light to them, but we have to limit what we share and we must determine boundaries for that relationship.

We are called to, and need true fellowship. We should be deliberate about this! Let’s ask God to put “valuable” people in our life to fellowship with, as well as asking Him to show us how to add value to others.

Without TRUE FELLOWSHIP, there are aspects of God that we will never experience.

 

~Godly Men Need Godly Men~

~Godly Men Need Godly Men~

As men who have given our lives to Jesus, we may have second thoughts and doubts from time to time, but none of us wants to go back to the garbage we were redeemed from. One thing we’re sure of is that we have chosen the best thing possible to give our life to.

The question then becomes, what do we do when the world pulls us one way and our faith another? We can pray, and that helps, but rarely do we get an instant, emphatic answer that God loves us and everything is fine. We can read the Bible and learn from people like Joseph, John the Baptist, and Paul. That encourages us too, but sometimes it is just not enough.

We must also trust in those relationships that we have with other men who have the courage, and love us enough to give us a swift kick in the rear if we need it. If you don’t have that kind of relationship …. you need at least one. You should have men in your life that will hold you accountable to walk the walk.

Men can get uncomfortable baring their soul and being brutally honest with other men, exposing their weakness and being humble enough to ask for help. This has been a hinderance in the body of Christ, and I believe, has prevented the church from walking in the fullness of the Spirit.

The bottom line, as always, comes down to trust in Jesus Christ. Is He the way, the truth and the life, as He said, or not? Did He save us from our sins because of His tremendous love for us? Is He the best possible choice you can make on this planet, while the world offers only a shallow, temporary promise of enjoyment?  … You know the answer to those questions.

It can be hard for men to trust other men with personal things. When we do that we become vulnerable and open ourselves up to the possibiliy of being hurt and betrayed. That is just part of relationship. These feelings come from fear and pride. To trust in Jesus is to trust in His body, to believe the best of others, to honor the relationships by letting them function as they were designed, in true fellowship.

1 John 1:7 ~ But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

JC

~ Your Place Is Your Grace ~

1 John 2:19 ~  says; They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us…

If people leave, let them go and stop trying to make people stay in your life who are not tied to your destiny. There is an ordained place for you in the Body Of Christ and you ONLY want those body parts around you that BELONG there.

We should all be striving to find our place and fulfill our destiny in God. We should also be helping others find their’s. You will have a lot of people come “through” your life. Enjoy them, learn from them, help them, receive from them, and love them. A very small percentage will be with you for the entire journey.

When people are in their proper place in Christ they experience the fullness of God’s grace and the richest of relationships. If you are NOT in your place you are likely to struggle and have shallow relationships. Here is a little phrase that has helped me remember this:

If you’re out of your place, you’re out of your grace, and you’ll eventually fall on your face!

~ Fellowship Brings Joy To Relationship ~

Fellowship is relationship in action.

Fellowship is not just hanging out, although hanging out can be fun and have some value. You must be intentional and deliberate about connecting with people. The goal is not to have a thousand friends. You can be friendly, but maturity moves you from quantity (amount) to quality. You should have some people in your life that you can have quality fellowship with because fellowship adds value and brings joy to relationship. We need one another, and we are called to “community.”

The Bible says it’s not good to be alone. We were made for fellowship to enhance relationships. This is true with your relationship to God, and part of your relationship with Him involves relationship and fellowship with other believers. Your gifts, talents and abilities are not just for you; they are to be shared with others, especially with those in the body of Christ. When we bring all of those gifts and abilities together we experience God on a level that we would never enjoy being isolated. Christianity cannot be practiced in isolation. If you do, it will become irrelevant.

Fellowship cannot just be “programmatic.” It must be “organic,” it occurs naturally. Don’t expect the church to meet all of your needs for fellowship. You must bare some of the responsibility. You must actively pursue Godly interaction with other believers. Fellowship must be intentional and it requires investment on your part. Scripture makes it clear: Mark 12:33, John 13:34-35, Acts 2:42, Romans 12:10, and Hebrews 10:25.

New Testament scriptures teach mostly about how we treat one another and live together. It tells us to: live in harmony, love one another; accept one another; instruct one another; greet one another; serve one another; bear with one another; make allowances for one another; be kind and compassionate to one another; speak to one another; admonish one another; encourage one another; spur one another on; offer hospitality; and edify one another. That’s just a part of the list!

You are going to have varying levels of fellowship. You cannot be on the same level as everybody and that is ok. No matter where you are spiritually, you have the ability as well as the responsibility to contribute to the fellowship.

When you are in fellowship with somebody, you should be adding value to that person. Those people who do not add value to your life do not belong in your life. People will fit into one of four categories. Adders, multipliers, subtractors and dividers. If you are in a group with all subtractors and dividers, you need to find another group!

Above all, fellowship is to be God honoring. Do not mess around with things and borders that could potentially bind you or make you fall.

None of us is a whole body. We are all “parts” and we need one another… or it just doesn’t work. You should have friends that are not believers so that you can be salt and light, but you have to limit what you share together.

We are called to and we need true fellowship. Be deliberate about this! Ask God, who directs traffic, to put “valuable” people in your life to fellowship with.