Have you ever come home from a hang-out with other Christians and just felt empty?
It's not that it was anyone's fault in particular. The meal was delicious. There wasn't any gossip. There were even some really, really funny moments. You know your friends love Jesus too. But for some reason you just feel drained.
Or maybe you just came home from a hang-out and your heart is so glad.
You can praise God for what He's doing in that aquaintance's life. You can pray for your friend who admitted that struggle to you. And that random conversation with someone you'd never really met before enabled you to share that beautiful thing you learned from the Word yesterday! You have some new thoughts stewing in your mind now, and you feel full.
I've experienced both. Of course we long for the second scenario every time we're with friends, but...how do we make it happen? We don't want to be the Gossip Police. We don't want people I hardly to know to think I'm trying to be their accountability partner. But we don't want to leave empty.
It is such a privilege that we get to spend time with people who are also exiles in this temporary home. 1 John 1:7a says "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another."
We believers are all walking in the light together! We are all bought with His precious blood! We are all fellow heirs! I can't even count how many scriptures proclaim this theme.
The friendships we make within the body often times don't make sense, so let's show the world how the gospel creates solid, real friendships between people who otherwise have nothing in common.
"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death." -1 John 3:14
Several years ago I heard a really helpful (and brief!) sermon by John Piper called "Explosive Fellowship" in which he looked at the church in Acts and was challenged by how profitable their time together was, not only for the people in that group but for the world! Here's a powerful quote:
"Life is too short, the world and the age in which we live is too evil, the people outside are too broken and hopeless for us to be content with a kind of 'business-as-usual' fellowship that has no power, no fruit, no effectiveness, and no explosion. There's just too much at stake to play games today!"
Scripture challenges me even more:
Ephesians 4:29 says "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Oh my! May my mouth be an outlet of God's grace to the people in my life!
I have not done a very good job at this, but here are some questions I thought of that we can ask other believers that might help give us more profitable fellowship.
1. How has your joy been lately?
2. What stirs your affections for Christ? (Matt Chandler preached a really good sermon on this question!)
3. Have you been able to really get into the gospel with an unbeliever lately?
4. Are there any scriptures that you have really been meditating on lately?
5. How has the character of God been challenging you? Encouraging you?
6. This is my situation; can you help me think of ways I can be missional where I am?
7. What are some of your favourite worship songs?
8. Have you seen any movies/read any novels lately that either challenged you or made you appreciate the gospel?
9. (Ask about a theological question you've been struggling with.)
10. How can I pray for you?
"It is explosive with joy, explosive with power, explosive with ministry vision and mission outreach and life-transformation for the people being loved and cared for compassionately within. It's an explosive thing in the New Testament, this thing called fellowship." -John Piper
What are some scriptures that challenge you in your interaction with other believers?
What is your experience of fellowship? How can it be more fruitful and explosive? What are some questions you can think of that might help curb the conversation Christward?
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a rad guy, and raising three little people ages 1,3, and 5...and I'm now expecting my fourth. I like chartreuse, calligraphy, Coke Icees, childbirth, crocs, Studio C, and...alliteration.
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Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today