A couple of years or so ago, my family and I left the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) that we had been members of for 25 years. It was not an easy decision, because it had been one of the biggest parts of our lives, and the only church that our children had ever known. But after having seen things in Scripture that differed with the beliefs and practices of the SBC, and after the Father had released us from our current responsibilities within the congregation, we realized that He was telling us it was time to move on.
Since our departure, we have sporadically been asked, or we have heard of people asking - what ARE we doing? Or some may ask, where we are now "going to church". I am more than happy to share with you what we are doing!
Currently on Friday nights we are hosting a gathering for praise and worship. We get together for a meal and fellowship, and afterwards we sing songs, share praises that have occurred throughout the week, and/or we share a passage of Scripture that has been meaningful to us. Father has gifted Dwight, Haley, Dawson, and others within the group with musical talents, so they lead us with guitars, piano, percussion, and even at times a shofar! And if we had the space, there would definitely be dancing!
Praise Yah! Praise Ěl in His set-apart place; Praise Him in His mighty expanse!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the blowing of the ram’s horn;
Praise Him with the harp and lyre!
Praise Him with tambourine and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with sounding cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals!
Let all that have breath praise Yah.
Psalm 150 (ISR)
This is our way of bringing in the Sabbath together!
|A typical Sabbath gathering at our house|
"Six days work is done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a set-apart gathering. You do no work, it is a Sabbath to יהוה in all your dwellings." Leviticus 23:3 (ISR)
Sabbath morning, Dwight, Haley, Dawson, and I typically sleep in and relax. The four of us will usually watch a Bible teaching video together, and then we get ready to go to Bible study later in the day. We have a pretty good sized group, so we try to alternate where we meet. Our meetings consist of prayer, and reading and discussing the Torah portion (Torah simply means Instructions, and consists of Genesis-Deuteronomy). Our group is currently following the three year schedule, which means we are just going through the Bible passages at a much slower pace. This gives us more opportunity to slow down and take in some details that we might otherwise overlook. We also read and discuss passages from the Prophets and the New Testament.
After our Bible study time, we stay and eat a meal together and fellowship into the night. We frequently play cards or just sit around and talk.
In addition to our Sabbath gatherings, our fellowship gets together for Yahweh's other Appointed Times (Leviticus 23). And Yahweh spoke to Mosheh, saying, “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘The appointed times of Yahweh, which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times, are these:" (Lev 23:1-2, ISR)
I emphasized "My appointed times" because so many people (including myself until a few years ago) think that the Feasts are the "Jewish Feasts". However, Father makes it clear that they are HIS, and this commandment was given to all of Israel, not just the tribe of Judah (Jews).
Sometimes His Appointed Times are referred to as feasts, festivals, or in Hebrew, moedim. I have written about them, so please read those posts as well (check out the "labels"). Observing the Father's Appointed Times has been one of the most rewarding aspects of our faith walk! This is when we get together with the larger Body of Messiah to celebrate His appointed times, remembering what our Messiah has done, and looking forward to what He has yet to do! Last year at Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), we met with around 200+ Believers! It was amazing!
|Dwight reading Scripture at Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles)|
A few months ago, some of the ladies in our group decided to start meeting each month to celebrate the New Moon . This is an appointed time that I had not really realized we were to observe until recently, but it has also proved to be very rewarding. My desire in starting this gathering was to have ladies of all ages get together to continue to learn the Father's Word, encourage each other, and minister to others outside of our group. So far we have held a Baby Shower for our local Pregnancy Resource Center (aka Choose Life). There are other ministries that we hope to eventually reach out to and bless. I really hope that we can continue to develop strong relationships with one another and that the younger women/girls, will see how we walk out the Father's Instructions in our lives. This is still a work in progress, and so far each meeting has been different - which I think is a good thing - as we all have our different personalities and gifts.
| Me blowing a shofar for New Moon|
Our small group, fellowship, whatever you want to call us, is a tight-knit group. We are "doing life together", and it has been a huge blessing! None of us are perfect, but we are all striving for perfection (Philippians 3:12). We are here to help one another with prayer support, encouragement, as well as help with physical needs when they arise. We also keep each other from looking to the left or right, and stay on the way:
Only be strong and very courageous, to guard to do according to all the Torah which Mosheh My servant commanded you. Do not turn from it right or left, so that you act wisely wherever you go.
Joshua 1:7 (ISR)
Enter in through the narrow gate! Because the gate is wide – and the way is broad – that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in through it. Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard-pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 (ISR)
See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity –
Like the precious oil on the head, Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aharon, Running down on the collar of his robes –
Like the dew of Ḥermon, That comes down on the mountains of Tsiyon.
For there Yahweh commanded the blessing,
Psalm 133 (ISR)
For more information on Yahweh's Feasts, check out the following:
Video series covering who is Israel
Video on The Lost Sheep of Israel