Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A River Runs Through It

We had a sermon at Small Group on Monday night.

To explain, let me tell you a bit about our group. First, we're multi-generational. One couple is busily raising two preschool sons. Some have kids in their high school years or just entering adulthood. A few others are enjoying their grandchildren.

Second, most of the group has been directly involved in the armed forces. We have at least three group members who are retired from the military, two others who currently serve and several who spent many years in the service before getting out to follow different pursuits. They have served in places around the world and fought for our freedom in Viet Nam, Iraq and Mogadishu.

One of the group elements I love most is that about half are new/young believers in Jesus or are just getting serious about their faith. We have baptized at least six members of the the group in just the past few years. They approach the Bible with a rare freshness and are unafraid to ask questions or tell us when they don't understand something. It can be a hoot to watch each of them work their way through the pages to find a Scripture passage we're discussing.

Finally, this is the most "real" group I have ever been around in church. They haven't lived nice, churchy lives. Almost all of them have been bruised and battered by about every kind of failure -- their own or the ones they love -- you can imagine.

We had a sermon at Small Group on Monday night.

It started with a prayer request. We had just listened to the pain of one couple. The guy's parents have virtually disowned them. It's as if his mother has developed a mental illness and his dad refuses to face it. She has become like a family wrecking ball demolishing everyone she can swing herself at. That couple's request set the scene for what was to come.

One of the ladies spoke up to ask for prayer for herself as a mom. "I need prayer," she said. Then she broke into sobs. The group gathered around her. Those with the mercy gift reached out and held her hands or put hands on her shoulders. We read Scripture (from James 5). We prayed. She cried.

After the prayer, different ones began to encourage her with practical advice. Some of those speaking are just beginning to learn what the Bible says and how to apply it directly. What they do know about is pain. Oh boy, do they know. They listened. They shared. As group leader, I mostly sat quietly. I was in wonder at what the Body of Christ looks like.

We had a sermon at Small Group on Monday night.


C. Beth said...

That's beautiful.

Ox said...

You had to see it. Love Christ passionately. He was there that night and it was amazing!!!!

addhumorandfaith said...

Ohhhh. I can tell I'm going to like this blog. Well written. And touching. Thank you. Made me wish I'd been there.

Redhead said...

My husband and I continued to talk after small group. I believe that when we can comfort each other by sharing our own hurts, mistakes, and sins, that we are truly beating back the devil. I know that I've sinned and hurt others, and I've had others hurt me. I know Satan is just thrilled about that. But when we take all that hurt and turn around later to give someone comfort with it, doesn't Christ win? And the devil is robbed of any satisfaction he may have got from the original sin. Maybe I'm crazy, but that was just the feeling I had. My small group is my family and I know that God put all of us together for a reason.

Sam said...

Right on, Red. Well said!

Laurie said...

If you looked up Unconditional Love.....You would see a picture of Monday Small Group
I am Blessed
John 1:16-17