By Pastor Paul Allen
When you are as old as I, you remember clichés from older acquaintances, such as, “Just give me the old fashioned gospel preaching. That’s good enough for me”. or, “I only like the good old hymns that we’ve sung all these years”. To be honest, some of the old preaching was just that, old and tarnished. It failed to minister the life of God to the seeker or believer. It just “sounded good”. And, when you look at some of the old hymns, wow! You wonder how they ever got into a gospel hymn book. What is redemptive and spiritually alive about a “Church in the Wildwood subtitled the little brown church in the vale”?
Are we really reaching out to our Heavenly Father? Do we really expect to hear from Him through His Holy Spirit? Are we really “seeking Him with all our heart and leaning not on our own understanding”? Do we really expect to spiritually grow with no more than “church as usual”? The Holy Spirit does teach, reveal, and interact with us when He knows we desire it.
Pastor Susana received the following message recently for our Church. It is filled with hope and assurance:
My children, I love you. I am your Shepherd and I am so glad you are now in my fold. Yes, you were out of the fold for a while and you got caught up in the wires of unbelief, the world, secularism, false doctrines and the devil’s lies. I heard you crying for help and I left my lambs in the fold and found you tangled in those fence wires, choking and in pain. I untangled you placed you on my shoulders and carried you back to the fold, locked the gate and day by day you are being healed in mind, body and spirit. You are being comforted by the other lambs also who have experienced the loneliness of being outside the fold. Here you have peace which the world cannot give you. Just rest in me, trust in me and enjoy being with your Shepherd, your protector.
Dear family, friends, neighbors and BASIC,
Sounds questionable, right? By accident I devised this acrostic. BASIC stands for Brothers and Sisters in Christ. You are the visible, basic completeness to our framework of connection in our lives. Now that you know, it doesn’t look so goofy, does it?
Anyway, here in Boquete, Panama we are getting more excited by the day. Not only is this our first church blog for Home Church International, but today we began advertising the ministry on a local network and have had 5 responses already. Seems to be a real interest in the less organized structure of gathered believers. This is never to condemn the more common church structure found in worship complexes. Only too often attendees there have lost the realization that THEY are the church, the called-out ones. Limiting the identity of God’s salt and light to a built structure is missing the mark.
Like the early church began in the New Testament, we see the advantage of the smaller, more intimate groups meeting in homes to grow and share and truly sense the identification as God’s close family. There seems to be a growing recognition of house and private meetings being referred to as “underground churches”. For us this does not mean, at least right now, secretly going underground to hide. It’s an indication that we appreciate the family-like sharing of our faith in a smaller, more intimate setting. Underground churches can be found the world over. I read recently that though China has many government “approved” churches, China is believed to have some 50 million underground churches. We see how the government would not allow even a fraction of this many in larger open structures. Let’s keep them in prayer. And we ask the same for our ministry. Come join us, and really enjoy!