I just returned yesterday from Sacramento after a five day trip to visit with believers in the area and encourage what God is doing in them. My son, Andrew, was able to go with me on this trip to check out a potential move to that area. What a weekend we had sharing God’s life together, meeting new friends and reconnecting with others who’ve been together before!
I spent most of my time in the Elk Grove area. A number of young couples and singles living in that area have found themselves spilling out of various religious institutions and are finding life together in various kinds of house church groupings. The fellowship they share together and the connections they maintain between groups has really encouraged them to live the journey. Many of these had been trained for vocational congregational leadership and been trained for it. Hungering for greater reality than they could find in the institutions they were a part of, they have risked so much to follow Jesus in more relational expressions of body life and other vocations.
On Sunday I spent some time with a large group from North Highlands which has been decentralizing their institution over the last five years and learning to live relationally in God and with each other. This was my fifth time among them and it is always fun to connect with such dear friends. I always look forward to reconnecting because I enjoy so much the journey they are on and the risks they’ve taken to follow the Lamb wherever he leads them.
We also had some others from the Bay Area and from the mountains above Sacramento come over to join us as well. Some of those people I’d corresponded with on the net and have talked to by phone but never met. (One of them is my blog guru who has taught me the joys of blogging. He and his wife are from South Africa and I had a great time getting to know them.) It is great to see God drawing people to himself in our day and the kind of hungers he has placed on their heart. For hours each day and often long into the night, we talked about how we shake free of religious thinking so that we can live freely in God’s life. I loved the hunger I saw for genuine relationship and the price they were willing to pay to find God’s life and freedom. It is so enriching to spend time with people who focused on growing in relationship with God and other believers and not trying to build an institution for themselves.
I want to thank each of them for opening their hearts so wide to my son and me and letting us peek in on their life for a few days. I have no doubt they are well in the master’s hands and that he is leading them spacious pastures and the cool, clean water of his refreshing.