Church “Through The Week”? – FAQs

Last week, we defined “Church through the week” basically with 3 statements:

1. “Church through the week” begins with true concern for one another.

2. “Church through the week” doesn’t neglect the neighbourhood.

3. “Church through the week” means repenting of our masks and making the most of the time we have.

Question for this week : How are salvation and “church through the week” connected?

“Church through the week” will make sense when we see it as an outcome of our identity which God created through salvation. We don’t have to meet as a church even once a week to achieve salvation, no, but the joy of salvation makes us generous toward our fellow Christians- in matters of time.

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It is possible that a Christian working 11-hour shifts at an oil rig, 70 kms off the coast, has more concern for his spiritual family than a person who lives just 5 minutes away from the church hall. The off-shore guy has the spiritual readiness that is essential for what Marg calls “church through the week”!

This sacrificial mindset is an implication of who Jesus has made us now. It’s part of the rescue from sin which Jesus accomplishes for anyone who rejects their false ideas of who God is and falls helplessly on the Jesus to save them from the supernatural punishment God promises to all sinners.

We, who were known by the Lord Jesus, we are the ones who did not deserve one gracious glance from Him, not one of His blessings. Yet here we are, cleansed of our former deep stains, washed clean from the guilt and the power of sin, made brand new the day God showed us our desperate need for Him!

Salvation is not just a feeling; it’s a reality. The Spirit of God confirms to the person that their very being has been irreversibly changed. Our old identities melt away and new identities are forged. One of them is spiritual family.

Continue reading “Church “Through The Week”? – FAQs”

Church Through The Week – A Problem or A Privilege?

Anyone going through the Marg community handbook, would notice phrases like “Co-Identity” and “Church through the week”.

THROUGH the week?!

We meet on Sundays, and in the week; there’s prayer meetings and bible studies. Does “church through the week” mean we are expected to meet every day of the week? Did we just land in Ridiculous-land?

Anyone going through the Marg community handbook, would notice the phrases “Co-Identity” and “Church through the week”.   Through the week?!  We meet on Sundays, and in the week; prayer meetings and bible studies. So does “church through the week” mean we now meet every day of the week? Did we just land in Ridiculous-land?    After a day full of work, the desire to make time for our own biological families, after we reach home, exhausted after client calls, tough deadlines and traffic jams with rain added for flavour.. dead. No desire.     Is Marg suggesting it's members should spend those precious evening hours in yet another Bible discussion with a fellow believer when they should be with their spouse and children? And yet we are the same people who want God's mission to go ahead, and somehow want our neighbours and friends to believe in Him and know Him. How can this happen at all? Do we have to quit our jobs to tell people about Jesus and build up fellow Christians?  The church is not a building, it's a people. This is incredible to people outside who have a cultural yet erroneous definition of what the church is. We understand the real definition by looking back into the Bible, where we find the original definition. In the same manner, we Christians need to ask questions of how often did the church interact with each other? How many days? How many hours? QQQQ What does the Bible teach about it? How did the first church understand those commands and live it? "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34,35  Here, Jesus gives a command and a promise that would establish His church, and that would draw all people to the people of God, who represent Him. Our Lord told his disciples that “all people” will know their identity if they had love for one another.  This is seen later in the book of Acts 2:42-47. The Holy Spirit came upon these disciples and the Spirit-filled new life included a lot of community life! We also see this in teachings in Titus 2:1-12, where members of the church are encouraged to train younger members in holiness and disciplined lives, so that the good news maybe adorned. This command interestingly, is not just for pastors or elders. It's for each Christian to obey in their capacity. That kind of investment needs much love and sacrifice. Imagine, an older man who is a Vice-President of an MNC, coming home and taking out time to go through Biblical teachings about marriage with a younger couple in his church community. If neighbours see such regular interactions, they will know at least where this man invests his life and Whose disciple is he. This would be a fulfillment of Jesus' words above!  But is this happening in your life? After all, one Christian alone or one Christian family alone was never meant to be the means by which God displays His wisdom- it is through the church (Eph 3:10-11) Are people being drawn to your community of faith? To your church? If they are, woohoo! Praise God. But if we have failed to gladly love Christ' people before a watching world, guaranteed we are not practising church through the week.  1. “Church through the week” begins with genuine concern for one another.  This is natural in a biological family. This should come by God's grace, to anyone affected by the concern and sacrifice of Jesus for their sins. When we sin, we feel like unbelievers, we feel like we are dirty. So then, have we become dead sinners? No way! We are redeemed and a new creation! Jesus achieved that! We can live like we are dead to sin and alive to God.  Similarly, we might feel distant from our local church, after not seeing them for weeks. You are hardly connected right? No way! We are members of one family (Eph 2:19). Jesus achieved that! We can live like we are one household because we are one!  But troubled by our busy life-styles we might ask– “Yaar, how many church meetings should I attend in a week? I reach home at 9pm!” We need to see if we are truly speaking like we are a family of God or does our attitude sound more like we are keeping score of meetings? Are we looking at Church through the week as if it's an unreasonable law that someone has imposed? QQQQ If there was zero obligation for me to attend all church gatherings, would the church still see me during the week? And even then, are we going to spiritually receive, or to spiritually give?  The question really is- is Ephesians 2:19 true for you? Think hard about this. I suggest if we are a family, the questions busy believers ask might look different. This is not to say that Christians cannot be in seasons of life that demand a lot. Please don't get me wrong. I am not talking about people who are working late hours because they sinfully want their bosses' approval or haven't learnt to set priorities right. We thankfully have a huge flexibility in choosing jobs, work hours, contracts and timings today. The 1st century slave did not even get paid, forget flexibility. Can we consider a job-change so that we can get more plugged in with the church family? Sacrilegious statement? :)  This is a word to busy students, doctors and soldiers in the armed forces, and others in special careers in life.You may not be able to meet your church folks for weeks, maybe months. I understand and empathize with special situations. Thank God for Whatsapp, sms, phone calls and email, you can still have meaningful communication with your spiritual family. God will meet your spiritual need for fellowship by providing for you in special ways. You are not alone!  2. Church through the week doesn't neglect the neighbourhood. Today's lifestyle has led many of us to choose between our neighbourhoods and our workplaces. It's a sad reality. Work demands 9-10 hours every day and travel demands 2 hours more. So some people think the solution is to put all Christian focus in their workplace. Excel at work, evangelize, invite friends to church on Sunday. This is great- we need men and women excelling for Jesus in their workplaces! But here is the problem.  QQQQ Just like God put us in our workplaces, have we forgotten that God has placed us in our neighbourhoods?  Today's christian men and women are fine with not loving their neighbour, and yet it should be a natural outcome of God's love that is poured into their hearts (Rom 5:5 ). We may have neglected the gifts of natural rhythms God gave us to live like blessing, celebrating and resting as a Jesus-community http://margfamilies.com/gospel-rhythms/ in our neighbourhoods.  Do our neighbours know at least some of our church members' names and occupations?  Do we show off our church like we show off our children or siblings? Why or why not?  3. Church through the week means repenting of our masks and making the most of the time we have. Weeks ago one of my sisters at Marg Wanowrie suggested that ideally we should be confessing our sin battles when we meet right away, because that is what church should be about- openness and learning to live in Holiness as God's people. I absolutely loved what she said.  But how difficult and time-consuming is this, when we would rather talk about balloons and kittens than our sin struggles to those God has placed in our lives, Is this because we want to keep our “image”. Have we brought in work-place formality into God's family? Maybe we learnt it because someone in our last church gossiped against us. I wonder if it still gives us the license to continue such behaviour.  “The Time For ____ does not exist!” Some might respond - “the people in the first church had a slower life. They were more of a farming-based rural community. We should adapt and not force so many meetings on fellow believers who can't make it”. First of all, no one is obligated to come to any meeting. There is only the obligation to love (Romans 13:8). The Christian needs to figure out from the above what that looks like (1 John 3:18). Second, nothing could be further from the truth. Let's read Acts 2:42-27 again. These people were meeting every day as new believers. Which place was this happening in? Jerusalem. Was Jerusalem a village? No. It was a city. A BIG, bustling city.  Where was the rest of the first church set in Acts? Ephesus. Thessalonica. Rome. Big trading cities.We are talking nothing less than the Mumbais and Delhis of those days minus the modern amenities that make our lives easier. Of course there were farmers, but there were many others; blacksmiths, traders, silversmiths and other merchants for whom losing one hour in one day lost meant loss of pay. They were not just “farmers” who had a lot of time on their hands. This is just a glimpse of the sacrifice Christians made for one another when they met, every day breaking bread remembering Him who joined them as one for His purposes. No wonder it made heads turn. http://www.ctlibrary.com/ch/1998/issue59/59h028.html Here is an article that talks about the amount of travel in Jesus' times. Now imagine walking with your family for 3 miles today to build up and encourage other believers.  I think it is pretty clear that we have it easier than those poor saints in Acts.  Here are some questions as we wind up for this week: 1. Do you miss being with the church? Or are you glad to be elsewhere? Are you guilty of declaring your love for Jesus, but neglecting His bride in daily life? What do you think is a way out? 2. If God is your Father, are you meeting the spiritual and material needs of at least one person in the Father's family? Why not?

Is Marg suggesting it’s members should spend those precious evening hours in yet another Bible discussion with a fellow believer when they should be with their spouse and children? Continue reading “Church Through The Week – A Problem or A Privilege?”

” False Teachings? In My Church?! “

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False Teachers.
Doesn’t that phrase conjure up images of cult leaders, dressed in purple robes, dressed to kill, literally?

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Leaders who make their congregations drink poison because “the world is going to end”, whenever they thought it fit. You remember names like David Koresh and Jim Jones, and shudder. People who claimed to be “men of God”, followers of Jesus, but whose actions clearly showed they were maniacs who gave two hoots about Jesus and were all about what they could gain by abusing His name and abusing people made in His image.

You are certain you will never find such nutcases in your church.

Really?

What makes you think your church is safe from false teaching? You might want to say–

“False teachers are mostly found elsewhere- but not here in Pune and definitely not in Marg!”

“We are well-prepared to counter anyone trying to mess with the WORD of God. No one can mislead us!”

“Look, our church is so small, we are not even big enough for them to find us. What are the chances?

Let’s answer that last question after reading two real-life incidents. Continue reading “” False Teachings? In My Church?! “”