There are few places where the love of Christ can be experienced so warmly and genuinely than in a home group. There is just something about the fellowship and discipleship that occurs in the home as opposed other more impersonal atmospheres. In fact the power of God can be so powerful in that place that it drives people directly into the arms of their Savior.
I remember one instance in particular when my wife and I hosted the meetings for the young adults ministry of our church in our home. We really had a great group of young people who all really loved the Lord, and each other. When we met we always started with fellowship over food, and then we would do a little “bible study” together. It was always a great experience that everyone enjoyed.
Then I got the call… a call from a young man named Tim who was inquiring about our group. He says that someone told him about it, and he wanted to check it out. Since we were having our weekly meeting that night, I gave him directions to our house and invited him to come by that night.
Then he said to me, “I have to tell you that I wouldn’t consider myself a Christian, and really don’t want to have anything to do with it. But I am 21-years old, and I am an alcoholic. I’ve been sober for a couple of months now, and I want to be true to the program that tells me to look for a higher purpose. So someone told me about your group and I though that I would check it out.”
Wow! So I just invited an alcoholic, anti-Christian that I’ve never met into my home. So I prayed for him for the rest of the afternoon that he would experience the love of God in our home with the group.
Our study that night was about evangelism, and what the “world” thinks of the “church”. When I asked the group what they thought that the world thinks about us, the first to respond after a moment of silence was Tim. He included himself in his reply when he declared, “WE hate it!”
Not only was I in shock, but I believe that the rest of the group was speechless. I asked him why he felt that way, and he continued to pour out his reasons including hypocrisy and judgment. The group learned a lot about how we should relate to people outside the church that night, and more importantly because of the lack of judgment and the way that the group just loved him and welcomed him in, Tim also learned a lot about what authentic Christianity was about.
So Tim left the meeting that night with a new perception of Christianity. After swapping several emails with him throughout the week, I can tell that his experience with our home group was starting to change his perception of what Christianity is all about.
So he came back the next week to learn more about this amazing new thing that he was discovering. After a lesson that focused on how God loves us the same no matter what we’ve done, and some more unconditional love and acceptance from the group, Tim was literally speechless the whole night this time. And as soon as we officially finished, he was the first one out the door.
About an hour went by, and everyone had finally left. The phone rang, and when I answered it, Tim was on the other side asking if he could come back over to our house. Tim and given his life to the Lord that night, and wanted to be in a place that was comfortable and full of the love of God. So we rejoiced with Tim that night, and welcomed him home.
Today, Tim has finished EMT and Fire School to fulfill his dream of being a Fireman. Now his life is about saving the lives of others that are like he used to be. He has purpose in his life, and the only fire that he is not willing to put out is the fire in his heart for Jesus! Check out this video of his testimony…
Note: Written for weekly writing contest [Home Group] at http://www.faithwriters.com/.