New Challenge for the New Year

challengeUp for another challenge?

Did you fly through the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge with the greatest of ease?

Then this is for you!

As I started thinking about the 12DoCC I realized that there wasn’t just going to be one challenge, there were going to be two or three or even more.

This is challenge number two and I think that this challenge was supposed to start on new years day – but I chickened out!

If I was one of those high-flying famous pastor dudes who you see books and DVD’s by, I’d probably say that the Holy Spirit held me back and made me wait a while but I’d probably be lying!

For some reason, I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to talk about this with my church so I couldn’t put it on my blog. Last week though, I finally overcame my fear and so here we are. The next challenge!

The next challenge is one about community – about being the Church with each other.

Our Church, Hands and Feet Hanford, is learning to live as a Christian community. We don’t live together but we do live close (my brother and sister in law actually live at the bottom of our back yard). We share a car, we share a washer and dryer, we share a vacuum cleaner now, we eat together most days, we share a cell phone service and therefore the cell phone bill, we worship together, we play together and we do outreach together. It’s pretty awesome.


We haven’t grasped the central idea of it. We have missed the most important part.

Being a house church we have an amazing amount of freedom. We can worship together, pray together, encourage one another, share testimony, share bible verses, we can do any of that stuff and more EVERY DAY. We’re together every day so we should be the most encouraged, spiritually close, prayed-up group in town.

What has happened though is that we have been given this freedom and we have abused it

Apart from the fact that we fell into the routine of a ‘Sunday service’ where we worship and pray together we can easily go weeks without bringing God into our conversations. Seriously. We have so much freedom to do it that we have ended up not doing it at all.

This has to change.

One of the most important things for the continued health of a church is for the members of that body to be using their gifts day in day out, strengthening, encouraging and teaching each other. Maybe even more important than that is that they should be joining together agreeing in prayer to, and worship of, the Almighty God.

We weren’t doing that and we started to suffer badly for it.

How about you? Apart from Sunday mornings and maybe an hour or so during the week, how much time do you spend in community with your fellow believers? and how much of that time involves God?

I believe that it is important for us to look at what the early Church did because the people who set up and taught the early church were taught directly by Jesus.

Let’s look at what they did:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Acts 2:42-47

Notice that they devoted themselves to the teaching and to prayer. They met daily in the temple courts (a place to surely talk about God). They ate togetherpraising God!

More importantly, they enjoyed the favor of all the people!

How often do you do these things? 

The people who had known Jesus personally thought these things were pretty important – how about you?

I finally plucked up the courage to talk to my church about this last week and incredible things have happened since.

I talked about it last Wednesday night (January 14, 2009) and then:

  • One person immediately said that he was feeling as if we shouldn’t have a ‘service’ on Sunday mornings, rather we should ‘serve’ our community. So four days later that’s exactly what we did. We took lunch to all the homeless people we could find – and have agreed that we should do the same every Sunday.
  • That night our dryer broke. We prayed and within 48 hours someone gave us an almost new dryer for free.
  • The next day we decided to graduate our daughter from her cradle in our bedroom to a crib in the kid’s room – but we found we didn’t have all the pieces to the crib any more. We prayed. Someone gave us a crib.
  • We have succeeded in including God every day in our conversation and in prayer.
  • We heard that a Pastor we know had been taken into hospital with blood clots in his lungs. We prayed. He’s getting better.
  • We sat down to pray yesterday and got a text message saying a relative of one of our church members was missing and his cell phone had been found at the side of the road somewhere. We prayed. He was found a couple of hours later.
  • This week we’re praying for a car. We have one car between 8 people. It worked OK when there was just 6 of us as it is a 6-seater but now we have had 2 more babies between us, we don’t all fit. God is awesome though and we have never NEEDED to go anywhere together and not been able to find additional car space.
  • ***UPDATE*** I almost forgot… the day after we started the challenge, someone gave me $20. That night our bathroom scales broke – so guess what the $20 got used for! Thank you God for providing the money in advance!

It’s taking us a while to get into it, at the moment all we tend to do is just pray together every day. Actually spontaneously talking about our walk with God is harder and for some reason we haven’t been worshiping together but we’re learning and it’s GREAT!

So the CHALLENGE to you is:

Can you find people to worship/pray with every day?

Can you, for 14 days devote yourself to prayer and to building each other up through testimony and using the gifts God has given you for the building up of the saints?

The challenge starts Sunday.
Pray about it.
What’s God saying to you?
Does He want you to do this?

How much would your life be changed by it?

Will you join the 14 Days of Worship and Prayer Challenge?