Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a gathered people requires a group openness to the Holy Spirit. We need to surrender our plans, programs, agendas, and control and instead trust the living Jesus to actively lead us and direct us like a conductor directing an orchestra. When we do that people connect heart-to-heart and amazing things begin to happen.
I experienced the presence and leadership of the Holy Spirit on Saturday. Someone invited my wife and I to a gathering of “house churches” that was going to meet on a sheep farm in Galatin, TN. Always ready for a Holy Spirit adventure, we went, not knowing what to expect. About 50 people had brought lawn chairs and had set them in a big circle in the grass. We squeezed our chairs in. The group consisted of Whites, Blacks, and an Asian, from babies to seventy-somethings and everything in between. My wife and I only knew five of the people.
A man stood up and welcomed everybody and said that we were going to meet according to 1 Corinthians 14:26 and that means that anyone present may share what God puts on their heart. After a brief introduction and prayer, he sat down. Then, for the next two or so hours, people began to share as they were prompted by the Spirit. There was an amazing sense of God’s presence and peace (and order) as we looked at each other face to face and saw the love and joy of God manifesting in and through people around the circle. Afterwards we shared communion, a meal, and wonderful koinonia.
Last night my wife and I had a similar meeting with some students at Lincoln Tech School in Nashville. We are blessed to get to meet with them for a meal and Holy Spirit led meeting every Sunday night. When we got home, I picked up a book (written in 1675 by Philip Jacob Spener) that I’ve been reading. about how to reform the church and I saw this: “In addition to our customary services with preaching, other assemblies would also be held in the manner in which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.”