13 Apr Thread #87: The Role of the Includer
Ever moved to a new city and had a hard time finding a church that fits you? Keep searching, but you might need to think smaller. For its first 300 years followers of Jesus seldom met in groups numbering more than a dozen or two. Ancient houses were quite small and most groups were limited in size to one room.
This type of church was fully sufficient to meet the needs of all Christians for training in God’s word, for worship and for mutual encouragement. The secret was in the bonds of true commitment to Christ that bound the small, often-persecuted group together, not in any attractive program being offered by their church organization. They met because they all deeply loved Jesus and wanted to gather to sing worship and pray to the Father together through him. Find this and you will find spiritual health. If you can’t find it, start one. God will show you how.
Paul was the enemy of the Christian faith and its people. In an amazing show of grace, God confronted Paul personally, knocking him off his horse, blinding his eyes, and humbling him forever. Paul languished in a friend’s house, realizing now that he had hurt so many innocent people. How could he ever forgive himself? What was he to do now?
God sent Ananias to embrace him, call him brother and to help integrate him into the fellowship of those he had formerly persecuted.The role of “the includer” is a long-honored tradition, beginning with Jesus himself who came to include us into the family of God so that we can now call Him our Father. God can use you to help new people become included in the community of Jesus-followers.