My wife and I met at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. There was one thing that permeated every aspect of the campus: godly fellowship! Like all Christian Liberal Arts schools, Northwestern claimed to have this type of fellowship, but after living there I experienced it first hand.
Reflecting back, its hard to pinpoint exactly what made the fellowship of believers on campus so great. Was it the required chapel, biblical classes, Christian professors, Sunday Night campus praise and worship? Now that I’ve been away from the campus for a while, I think I’m starting to understand. It’s not one aspect or the other, it’s the combination of everything and the relationships and fellowship that follow.
From Wikipedia I found the fellowship information on koinonia. Koinnoia is a Greek word that means “communion by intimate participation”. The essential meaning of the word koinonia embraces concepts conveyed by the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Koinonia can therefore refer in some contexts to a jointly contributed gift. The word appears 19 times in most edition of the Greek New Testament. In the New American Standard Bible it is translated “fellowship” twelve times, “sharing” three times, and “participation” and “contribution” twice each.
This godly fellowship does something to foster spiritual growth that no man-derived method of spiritual discipline can ever hope to recreate. I am a small group, “Lighthouse”, leader at First Family Church in Ankeny since last September. During this time, there has been some really neat relationships developed within our group. My wife and I are again feeling that same tight-knit community of believers that reminds us of our days at Northwestern, and that we experienced when living in the Cedar Rapids area. Godly fellowship is such a beautiful thing, and all Christians should strive for it and cherish it.
Acts 2:42 – “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (Koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
… and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). The phrase has been ringing through my mind all week. It’s a great promise nestled in the New Testament book of James. Drawing near to God has been on the forefront of my mind for over a week now. Our church has been studying the Character of God as illustrated in the book of Isaiah, and this week we are looking at the Personal Nature of God. I came to the realization that there have been times in my life, where God hasn’t felt very personal. There have been times in my life, where God hasn’t felt very near. But God has taught me that is He is ever faithful and true to his word, and that if I want God to feel personal, to feel near, then I have to follow through on my “end of the deal”. Does Jehovah God say “I will draw near to you so that you will draw near to Me”? No, of course not! God succinctly puts the ball in our court. He desires us to step up to the plate. In effect, he says, “if you want to Me to be near to you, then draw near to Me”. We can have great assurance in the fact that He will be faithful on his end of the deal, because “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).
Todd’s Blog: Drawing Close
What is contentment? Are we supposed to have it? Is there some aspect of discontentment that is healthy? What does it mean to find contentment? These are the thoughts that have been running through my head all day. I think they were spurred on by some conversation with some friends last night about “what really drives me”.
I have found contentment with where God has placed me and what he has me doing. God has given me a good job that I enjoy. He has placed my family in a good home and good church. God has blessed my family financially and met all of our needs. I have found contentment in God’s provision for my family.
But…God puts in me a sort of “godly discontentment”. A discontentment that acknowledges that we are created to be so much more. I never feel completely fulfilled in my job. Since professing Christ as my Lord and Savior my sophomore year in High School, he has put in me a deeper longing that can’t be satisfied in merely human work. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but I think that it stems from the fact that we are spiritual beings designed to worship a spiritual living God!
I think another aspect of discontentment comes from that fact that we live in a sinful world, in a sinful fleshly body. The earth is not the home of Christians, and sin is not our desire. Yet we battle and toil on a daily basis, but ultimately our discontentment should turn us to longing for the second coming of our Lord and Savior.
Here is something that I hang my contentment on:
Romans 10:9-11 – “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be save; for with the heart a person believes, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed”