Unfortunately, Bonnie was unable to make it to our meeting Sunday night and I appologize for getting the Sunday recap posted so late.  Anywho, here it goes…

We met at the Sellers house tonight as usual.  The Lord was definitely present.  We started our meeting with communion to center our focus on the freedom we have as Christ died to pay for our sins and we are no longer in bondage to such sin.  Les read from John 6:53-60.

 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Les commented that while he is not sure how literal this is and exactly what all of this passage means, one thing is clear..  Nothing, absolutely nothing can compare to full dependence on Christ.  Without Christ, there is no life because he is the giver of life.  By his death and resurection, he paid the price so that we can live without fear of death and condemnation.

We transitioned into enjoying a wonderful meal together.  Janee brought a very tasty chicken vegetable soup.  The Sellers contributed a lasagna.  The Harris family brought a crock pot of mixed beans and I brought a couple big deli sandwiches.  As we enjoyed each other’s company, we had much to celebrate.  It was Ali’s 13th birthday.  She made some wonderful from scratch brownies that she shared with everyone along with ice cream.  We shared with Ashley, our church baby-sitter, in her excitement about her upcoming wedding. 

After dinner, we transitioned to the living room.  The Owens family joined us, which is always a special treat.  Unfortunately, David was not able to make it, but we love him anyways.    The Holy Spirit has taken our group through many phases in our journey with Christ.  We spent some time praising the Lord for the spiritual knowledge and understanding that he has facilitated within the group over the last few years.  The most current phase we have been in for some time now is a season of prayer. 

One of the coolest things about the small group meeting style, in my opinion, is the freedom we have to minister to one another.  There was a particular sister that asked for prayer for strength in her faith in light of the experiences that she has on the college campus.  Another brother was dealing with some personal challenges, and the brothers of the group had the incredible opportunity to lay hands on him in prayer.  In both cases, these needs for ministry were met.  Discussion came up about how to stay strong in our faith when we live in a broken world that is often over sexualized and provides so many opportunities for traps.

April brought up the point that when we are living by the Spirit, there is no guilt or condemnation. She shared 1 Corinthians 5:9-12:

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[a]but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

This led us into a discussion of spiritual practicality, if you will.  God has a way of taking the crap that people find themselves in and around: negative experiences, broken relationships, emotional distress, etc, and He brings us through these things stronger.  Neil Cole, author of Organic Church, has spoken many times about how the crap in our lives and around us begats rich growth, much like fertilizer in a garden.  Therefore, we can rejoice in the hard times.  Also, we can be thankful that these life challenges makes a way for Christ’s love, mercy, and healing power to shine so brightly in the darkness. 

We spent sometime praying about ways that we can be a part of Christ’s ministry amongst the fertilizer, said our goodbyes, and parted ways for the evening.