Tonight was our cell group. I missed last week because I was in Norfolk with Lisa. I have missed a few in the past month because of work. I had forgotten how much I love cell groups. I love it when Holy Spirit shows up and does His thing. It’s fun to just get out of His way and let Him move. It’s like putting up your sail, and turning it until you catch the wind and then ride all out with it. It’s the wind of the Spirit, and it goes where it wills. The best thing to do is just try and hang on. Tonight was awesome. During worship He gave pictures and words to confirm the direction that I had thought He wanted me to go. Then as we talked about the core values of building a Kingdom culture, He released wisdom on how to answer questions and deal with normally troubling areas. The discussion was very good and very open. I really believe that most of the people in the group are getting it.
I think that if there was one area that Julia and I loved to minister together, it was in cell, or small groups. We had different names for the groups over the years, but they really were all the same. It is a place to teach and impart Kingdom values. It is a place that is safe to experiment with the things of the Spirit and learn to minister in the gifts of the Spirit. It is a place to be real, and be accountable with a few friends. We both were passionate about leading and being in a small group. Life without cell groups didn’t exist. It would be totally boring. I really miss here touch during the group meetings now. I was so used to being able to glance at her for confirmation and reassurance. I could watch her worship, she loved to worship. I could follow after her in prayer and try to keep up with her in the things of the Spirit. I was always the one out front, but she was the true powerhouse.
We first heard about the concept of small groups in 1982. We had a Methodist pastor from Bedford Texas come to FUMC and he told us of their experience with cell groups. After he shared I felt the Holy Spirit tell me this. “Small groups will change the face of the church in your lifetime”. And they have! We were on fire. We wanted to start them in the church right away. We got permission from our pastor to start one so we went out to Bedford Texas to visit a couple and see how they were doing them. They told us that they had done away with Sunday School, and everything they were doing involved small groups. We were so excited. We came back and started our first small group in our house. It was 1982. We have been leading small groups ever since. It’s hard to believe. We learned more about them in 1985, when a Vineyard Conference was held in Atlanta. They were tanking about their “kinship groups” and how they prayed for each other and the Holy Spirit came. We learned even more when we left the Methodist Church and went to the Vineyard. As we helped plant churches, we always led small groups. Some were good, some not so good. But all were interesting and life giving. The funny thing is that no matter where we were doing them, Holy Spirit showed up. He seemed to like to hang out with us. I guess that’s because we always invited Him in, and valued His presence. I cold tell a lot of stories about different people and situations we have encountered, some would be funny, and some would almost be tragic. Sometimes the problem with people is that they have free will. They can choose to believe things that are right, of things that are wrong. The hardest people to deal with though are the ones that believe they know it all and are right. They are not open to learn. These are the ones that are frozen in time, and Holy Spirit can’t do anything with them. We learned a long time ago that we couldn’t change anyone. They had to be willing to change and embrace truth as it was revealed to them.
I hope that you can imagine with me the joy of seeing someone being ministered to in a cell or small group. We have them sit in the middle, in the “hot seat”. Then we all get around and pray for what ever need they have. We lay hands on them, prophecy over them, do whatever the Holy Spirit says. Their need is what got them in the “hot seat”, once they are there, they are fair game for what ever the Spirit is doing. The key is doing all things in love. 1 Cor 13 is between chapter 12 and 14 for a reason. Everything in the group must flow out of love. If it doesn’t, the group will eventually explode. Love is the glue that holds all things together.
Anyway, tonight was a usual night. Holy Spirit showed up. People were healed and encouraged. I missed Julia’s touch and glance. I missed watching her worship. But I didn’t miss her presence. She was there enjoying it as much as I was.