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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:07 PM   #1
Sons to Glory!
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Lightbulb Sunday Meetings with 3 Groups - observations

I just recently came off a 5 week business/personal RV trip, ultimately ending up in the Seattle area. Along the way, I had the opportunity to go to three Sunday meetings with different groups along the way. Two of the groups were nondenominational and the other was a LC group. I enjoyed all these meetings and the saints in each. Here are some of my observations.

Before I tell you about the meetings, I must tell you briefly of my background. I grew up in a Free Methodist group, but didn't have all that much cumulative time there. (I did receive initial salvation there at about age 10 I think.) When I was 18 (1974) I participated off and on in the LC, starting in California and then in Ohio. I have been with a LC spin-off in Scottsdale since 1998. I really favor the open, highly participatory style of the LC, where many can share as they will.

The 1st nondenominational group I attended on the trip was in Barstow, CA. These ones had a fairly traditional meeting with about 100 people and a main speaker up front. Prior to his speaking, some other leaders led us in song and also a time of greeting one another. This was pretty genuine. The group was mostly Caucasian and Hispanic, with a few blacks. The dress was pretty informal for most people. The message was on how love is the highest above faith and hope. This was a good reminder for me, and I was nourished some by it. I was also touched because they had a few others who spoke briefly about their experience with the Lord coming out of prison and tough situations. Again, I found this nourishing.

The 2nd nondenominational I went to was at Gig Harbor, Washington. This was a larger group. The 2nd meeting of Sunday morning had a couple hundred people in it. It was also fairly traditional with the main speakers up front. The first half of the meeting was singing, with people on the stage with electric instruments. They projected the words on the wall. I found the singing pretty good. The dress was generally business casual, and most of the people were Caucasian. After a little break, a brother spoke on the book of Job. He was fairly polished, and I found this to be informational, but not particularly nourishing. There was very little in the way of personal testimony or fresh experience of Christ. I would almost put what I experienced there in the Joel Osteen category - lots of apparent heat but little light (mostly outward teaching). However, the singing was actually pretty good with several love songs to Jesus.

The LC meeting I went to on this trip was in Tacoma, Washington. This was a Lord's Table meeting and there were probably at least 100 there. The chairs were set up in a square fashion. The singing was interesting in that there were actually about four languages being used at the same time! After a bit, I got used to this and it was pretty good. I felt the freedom to declare a couple basic things, while seated, such as "Thank you Lord for your wonderful sacrifice" or something along those lines. There were lots of "amens" and various ones standing to speak. After a period of time they brought some children in to share for a few minutes, what they had learned at a camp. Most of the kids were pretty awkward, and some just read things they had learned. This was nice. Then we broke for about 15 minutes to have refreshments. When we came back, there was reading and espousing from a morning devotional they were all going over by brother Lee. This was, by far, the most participative of the three groups I was with on the trip.

Of the three groups, I would certainly think the participative style of the LC would be the most conducive to the expression of Christ by all the members.

Here was my realization. I didn't really go to scrutinize any of these groups, and with the LC I really just wanted to be there and enjoy Christ. I was, of course, curious too. About 3/4 of the way through the LC meeting something occurred to me. No one was speaking about the individual experiences of Christ that they had had throughout the week. At first it seemed like everyone was so exercised, and speaking so opening, that I almost missed this. Once I realized this, I also realized that the speaking was generally from Lee's writings - the focus was definitely on his teachings, and no one else. To be sure, there was the espousing of key scripture. In fact, probably more scripture was heard than at the other two groups visited.

When I first went in the meeting was already started. It was like deja vu in that the speaking sounded just like it did 20 years ago, when I was at the last LC meeting. They were saying the exact same things regarding Gods economy, the ground of oneness, and the 7-fold Intensified Spirit (I heard that phrase a dozen times it seemed). It seemed like they were stuck somewhere in the past. What I longed to hear was someone sharing about how sweet Jesus was to them this week, or how God had personally dealt with them on something - but there was none of that.

So there's my report. What I learned was that while you can have the best, most participative form of meeting, it doesn't mean you'll necessarily have nourishing sharing or the fresh experience of Christ! I'll let the readers of this draw their own conclusions, and feel free to comment and ask me for anything else about these three meetings.

(Oh, one other thing I want to share. At the break in Tacoma I was telling a brother about the nondenominational meeting I went to in Barstow. He had just told me that he recently bought a trailer so he could visit churches around the country. So I, of course, told him about my church visits on this trip (perhaps not exactly what he had in mind!) I told him how I had prayed that the Lord find me places to go on Sunday, and how I woke up one Sunday morning in our RV, just adjacent to a church building. So I told him that it was pretty much common sense that I just go there. I told him that while the meeting there was still in the clergy-laity style, there were certainly many dear lovers of Jesus, and that I was spiritually fed. The poor brother didn't seem like he knew how to react, and just quickly changed the subject.)
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:48 PM   #2
zeek
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Default Re: Sunday Meetings with 3 Groups - observations

STG--Thanks for sharing your fair and balanced sounding observations.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:48 PM   #3
Terry
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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
What I longed to hear was someone sharing about how sweet Jesus was to them this week, or how God had personally dealt with them on something - but there was none of that.
Ever make it to Southern California, go visit Church Assembly in Westminster. That's where I last heard the liberty type of sharing you're referring to.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:16 PM   #4
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(Oh, one other thing I want to share. At the break in Tacoma I was telling a brother about the nondenominational meeting I went to in Barstow. He had just told me that he recently bought a trailer so he could visit churches around the country. So I, of course, told him about my church visits on this trip (perhaps not exactly what he had in mind!) I told him how I had prayed that the Lord find me places to go on Sunday, and how I woke up one Sunday morning in our RV, just adjacent to a church building. So I told him that it was pretty much common sense that I just go there. I told him that while the meeting there was still in the clergy-laity style, there were certainly many dear lovers of Jesus, and that I was spiritually fed. The poor brother didn't seem like he knew how to react, and just quickly changed the subject.)
Sounds like "the ground of locality to me"!!
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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What I learned was that while you can have the best, most participative form of meeting, it doesn't mean you'll necessarily have nourishing sharing or the fresh experience of Christ!
If you go "off message", i.e. share something not from this week's HWMR, you will get stiff silence. Palpable, heavy, and thick. Not really conducive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In contrast, look at how much Jesus did the "hard left turn", and left the onlookers gasping in His trail.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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In contrast, look at how much Jesus did the "hard left turn", and left the onlookers gasping in His trail.
Yer not implying that Jesus is a liberal are you!? (When we all know he's a Republican!)
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:43 AM   #7
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Sounds like "the ground of locality to me"!!
In this case, it was very practical.
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