The human being is a gregarious animal. One who generally craves association with its own kind. It is only natural then to long for fellowship among those of like mind. Throughout the ages true worshippers of the God have developed various forms of assembly to enjoy common encouragement and education.
Many inquire where they can find a “church” to meet with. For some any group or church will do, for to them beliefs are unimportant. In such a case there are scores of churches or sects in any given community. Thus it is just a matter of making the rounds, visiting different denominations, finding a minister you like, and then joining in their communion.
For others who view beliefs and doctrine as critical, then it is a matter of finding a group who shares these affirmations. Sometimes this is just impossible. What is the Christian to do?
Every Christian is an evangelist. That is, every disciple of the Nazarene will spread the Good News in their own community. How can a “genuine disciple” of Jesus Christ develop a Bible reading and devotional association?
First, if a Christian should cultivate a consistent and regular program of Bible reading. For example, every Wednesday evening, or Sunday morning, such a Christian family gathers for an hour of Bible reading and discussion. Even if a person is alone this can become a godly habit.
Second, invite other relatives or neighbors to this weekly Bible reading and devotions. View this as a circle beginning with your family and slowly widen this circle to include the city block or street where you live. Those who are diligent could print out an “invitation” with a brief message and distribute these to neighbors. These “invitations” can be left or posted wherever possible. This circle can widen further to include city blocks in each direction of the compass and continue to work outward. An advertisement could be placed in a local newspaper, posted on local Internet media, or anywhere an announcement board is available.
Third, conduct the Bible reading as your conscience directs. Some may find Nazarene Commentary 2000© of help. They may follow the weekly Bible reading schedule of the Friends of the Nazarene and use any number of Bibles as a comparison. What is important more than doctrine is WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO? Or, HOW DO I REALLY FOLLOW THE LAMB NO MATTER WHERE HE GOES?
Finally, patience and tolerance is vitally important for the person who is humble and obedient to the Lord Jesus. In this context it is important to understand that all people are different and there may be some who are harder to deal with than others. Christian love and empathy will direct how each person is encouraged to mature in Christ.
How is the meeting to be conducted? Of course, that is up to the individual group. Those who wish to follow the Friends of the Nazarene model may use the Nazarene Commentary 2000© studies on each Bible book. Each of these has a fresh new rendering of every book of the Christian Bible as well as comparisons with other translations. Also, the questions at the end of each paragraph or chapter can be used to review the material. In order for every new member of the group to have a copy of the books of the New Testament it may be the joyous burden of the whole group to reproduce copies so that all may share and find themselves on the same page.
[For details on starting a group see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Nazarene Community.]
Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller
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