1 Picture for Today - London Underground, inside the London Tube
Since I had to travel a bit by tube these days, here's how London Underground - also called London Tube - looks these days. They have definitely improved the quality of the service, the quality of the trains, the frequency of the trains, etc. The London Underground system is pretty good and always reliable - even when there are some portions close for works and repairs, they provide free bus rides / replacement buses! But even though the 2012 Olympics are not here yet, especially at rush hours, there are way too many people on the underground... :)
1 Experience with the Lord Today - Finding my home in the church life, in the homes!This is both my experience and my desire. Being a single brother here in London, working, busy, etc - and away from my family back in Romania - I need to find a place I can call home (before I have my own home...). Just like David says in the psalms, I want to find my home in the church, the house of God. It's not that there are so many saints that I just go from home to home, but wherever the homes are, that's where I go! And there's a price I want to cooperate with the Lord to pay so that I would be where He dwells, where He finds His home... The Lord is in our spirit today(2 Tim. 4:22), but He also dwells in the church - in the practical church life, the local church! If you're in the church, you have His presence. If you skip the meetings of the church, no matter how much you think or feel that you enjoy the Lord, there's something really rich, which is on His heart, that you're missing!
It's not that easy when you work to choose to go and meet with the saints after you finish work. Even if you meet only in 2 home meetings per week and one prayer meeting - it's a day to day decision and a continual inward prayer to be strengthened to go to the meeting... But once you are there, if you "bring your bones into the meeting", the Lord's breath of life is there, the fellowship is there, the food (both spiritual and physical) is there, and the building up is there! It's almost as if all you need to do many times is get your body to the meeting - offer up your body as a spiritual sacrifice for the church life, Rom. 12:1 - and the Lord pours out His blessing, He feeds you, nourishes you, and gives your life purpose and meaning! The church life is so rich, the saints are so excellent, and the food is so good!
And the secret is - the homes! It's not the "big meetings", the conferences, etc - it's the homes of the saints where the Lord can perfect us, can nourish us, and can meet our need. We all need to be attached to a home - the children need to grow up in a home, the young people need to have their own home meeting with all the saints, the students are properly growing and flourishing in a home, the young couples need to open their home, the older saints need to be in the homes... All the ages, at any stage in life, need to be in a home meeting which we call "our own assembly". These are "our folks", our "family", and indeed, our home. In the homes of the saints we find our home.
Mmmm... the food is so good when you have it with the saints in the homes! You may cook the exact same food - or you may order it at the restaurant and it may actually properly be cooked, but the best food, the most delicious food, is in the homes of the saints. Even if it's the spagetti or the pizza, or any other small / easy to cook food, as long as you're in the home around the table with the saints, that food is blessed! And it is in this environment that you can open up your situation, you can bring some names of your friends / classmates / workmates that you're burdened for, you can ask questions, etc... The shepherding, the perfecting, the building up, the developing of our function, and the organic gospel preaching is done all here - in the homes!
When you taste this, when you see this, when you're part of this, you will do like Psalm 45 says, forget your father's house and be in this! Yes, you can pray and work with the Lord in bringing your own family into the church life, and bring the church life into your home - but once you see the HOMES, the 80% of our church life where the granular and vital linking / building up / perfecting / shepherding takes place, YOU WILL NEVER LEAVE nor will you choose any other way! Rather, you will find your home in the church life, in the homes! And if you meet someone at school, at work, on the street - you have a home to bring him to.
One more thing - the church life and the homes are NOT perfect, but they are genuine, and it is here that the Lord's sweet presence is. Maybe you say that there are not too many homes open, or that you don't know which home to go to... - where there's a will, there's a way. If there are some saints that are in your locality, you can just attach yourself to them and visit them. "The kingdom of God is taken by force" starting with the time of John the Baptist - if you don't have a home you're in now, you'd better find one and be desperate before the Lord until He brings you to one! We all want this, and we all need this - this is the God-ordained way to meet and to serve is in the homes of the saints, in the vital groups. It starts really small, it is so organic, and the increase is slow - at the speed of life. But THIS IS IT - It's the HOMES! Praise the Lord for the homes!