40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Fellowship

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3 – 10)

 

Yesterday we reflected on the potential for Christian fellowship to positively impact a world in need.  Today as we conclude our focus on the Discipline of Fellowship, I am reminded that the genesis of this 40 Days of Discipline journey was the fellowship a group of men in Trinidad & Tobago experienced approximately 10 years ago.  The group, called New Trench Warriors, demonstrated the significant impact Christians can have on the world when fellowship works.

The passage above, written by Paul while in prison, captures how deeply the Apostle felt about Christian fellowship.  Please prayerfully read the passage and answer the question below.

 

Question

Have you experienced Christian fellowship similar to what the Apostle Paul Describes?  Please share your experience.

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 20 – Fellowship

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.  45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42 – 47)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Fellowship as we continue to focus on our theme: A World in Need.  In the 80s and early 90s there was a popular sitcom on TV called Cheers.  The sitcom took place in a bar and had a very memorable opening song, which included the following lyrics:

“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

And they’re always glad you came

You want to be where you can see the troubles are all the same

You want to be where everybody knows your name”

 

I believe there is a lot of truth in the song but unfortunately a lot of people believe this kind of camaraderie is easier to achieve in a bar than in a church.  Shouldn’t the quality of our fellowship be attractive to a world in need?  Our passage today paints a picture of how attractive fellowship can be.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.

 

Question

How can our fellowship attract a world in need and point them to the Saviour?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Fellowship

10Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen. (1 Peter 4:10 – 11)

 

As we continue to discuss the discipline of fellowship, we recognize that Biblical fellowship is about a lot more than coming together to have a good time. Of course, having a good time together as believers is important but there is a lot more to fellowship than that. A broader perspective must contemplate how God uses the combination of the gifts he has given us for his glory. Just think how much we miss out on when we refuse to play in an orchestra where the master conductor has perfect knowledge of our gifts.

Please read the passage above carefully and answer the following question.

 

Question

How are you using your gifts in fellowship to glorify God?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 20 – Fellowship

20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20 – 23)

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17 – 18)

 

Just as we are enjoying our time discussing worship, it’s time to switch to the discipline of Fellowship.  Let’s face it, many of us are not as committed to fellowship as we should be.  So, as we contemplate our theme of God’s glory, I am providing two passages of scripture to encourage us to a higher level of commitment.

In the first passage (from John 17) Jesus in His powerful prayer leading  up to His crucifixion says that He has given believers the glory He was given “that they may be one” as He is with the Father.  There is a clear premium on unity, and I would argue by extension, a clear premium on fellowship.  If we seek to live out the unity Jesus has with His Father, we must be committed fellowship.

The second passage (from 2 Corinthians 3) says we are being transformed into God’s image with “ever-increasing glory”.   As believers, we are all in an important growing process together.  I believe, therefore, that we should cherish the opportunity to do this transformation journey in fellowship, not as a lone wolf.

Please read the passages carefully and answer the following question.

 

Question:

How highly do you value fellowshipping with believers?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Fellowship

7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

 

Quite frequently, when we discuss the topic of Fellowship we focus on getting together for an event, and often to have fun.  Of course, we know that Fellowship is much more than that.  It evolves from a common identity for believers manufactured by our savior.  As is evident from the passage above, Fellowship has less to do with “delight” than “the Light”.  Further, it is more about an ongoing journey (“if we walk”) than occasions – a journey that often involves common suffering instead of fun.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible verses above.

 

Something to think about:

Is the concept of walking together with other believers (i.e., doing life’s journey together) a sufficient feature of your life?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 20 – Fellowship

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, (Hebrews 10:24)

 

We are now halfway through our 40 days journey.  I hope you have been able to consistently dedicate 15 minutes a day to spending quality time with God.  Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Fellowship.

As we consider our identity, it is important to note that we cannot be our best without fellowship.  Simply put, God does not expect us to go it alone.  Further, we shouldn’t use our personality type (e.g., the classic, “I’m an introvert.”) as a reason to opt out of a clear Biblical directive for Believers.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible verses above.

 

Something to think about:

How much of a priority is Christian fellowship in your daily life?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 27 – Worship & Fellowship

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

 

We had two great comments yesterday that provided excellent examples of how we benefit from Fellowship.  They are certainly worth checking out.

As we have done in prior weeks, we will take a break from Dear Libby today and focus on encouraging each other.  I believe we all benefit when we share favorite passages from the Bible that reinforce our practise of Disciplines.  At a minimum, the verses remind us that the 40-day journey we are on is Biblically based.

Today is all about Bible passages.

 

Today’s Request:

Please share your favourite Bible passages on Worship and Fellowship.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Fellowship

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

 

Thanks for sharing your practical ways to improve Christian fellowship yesterday.  We continue our focus on the Discipline of Fellowship.

Today Libby has a letter from Devon.  As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing.  Libby is not expected to be an expert.  Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences.   So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself.  Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.

Please review the Bible passage above and Felicia challenge below.

 

Dear Libby,

I am convinced that God doesn’t want me to be a lone wolf Christian, so I need to interact with other Christians.  However,  I don’t want to settle for shallow relationships as a substitute for real fellowship.  I want to know what real Biblical fellowship feels like.

I learn a lot from the positive experiences of others.  Can you share any of your experiences where Christian fellowship had a material impact on your life?

 

Wanting the real deal,

Devon

 

Today’s Question:

What thoughts would you like to share with Devon?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 25 – Fellowship

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

We have enjoyed two enlightening days focussing on the Discipline of Worship. What a blessing to see the passion for worship exhibited by those who posted comments.  We now switch to the Discipline of Fellowship.

Today Libby has a letter from Felicia.  As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing.  Libby is not expected to be an expert.  Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences.   So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself.  Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.

Please review the Bible passage above and Felicia challenge below.

 

Dear Libby,

I am just going to come out and say it, “I’ve been faking fellowship.”  I attend church on Sundays, arrive just before the service starts (or a little late), and leave as soon as soon as church ends.  For years I passed this off as fellowship.  I participated in the 40 Days of Discipline journey last year and learned a lot more about fellowship but  I haven’t made much progress over the last year.

How do I improve in this area?  Do you have some practical suggestions based on your experience?

 

Coming clean,

Felicia

 

Today’s Question:

What thoughts would you like to share with Felicia?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 20 – Fellowship

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23)

13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.  14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

 46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” (Luke 9:46-48)

 

I am sure all of you would have concluded yesterday that the Discipline of Fellowship is extremely important to Jesus.  Today we will explore a very important aspect of effective fellowship – authenticity.  Of course, Jesus is authenticity personified. The passages above provide examples of the level of authenticity Jesus displayed during his interactions with his disciples.

Please answer the two questions below.

Today’s Questions:

  1. How can we improve the level of authenticity in our fellowship with believers?
  2. What practical steps can you take to improve your practice of Fellowship?