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Gathering Places

We’ve got a new web site at http://www.gatheringsaints.uk

Where can we gather? – It’s not really a question of where but rather what is the best place for a family to meet. Clearly the best place is the family home but our gatherings can be in many places. Gathering together can be in a coffee shop, the beach, a park and many other locations that bring us together as family. Its not about one gathering place but multiple locations as the family grows. Its not just about Sunday but rather any day and time in the week. Sundays are great for our gathering in homes for the Love Feast but saints love to gather whenever the opportunity arises.

Colossians 4:15                   Acts 12:12

Philemon 1:2                       Acts 4:31

Acts 20:7                               Acts 19:9

If your seeking to gather with the followers of Jesus and would like to offer your home as a place to gather together let us know. If you’ve got questions please make contact and take a look at our Q & A page.

This website has been established to help us gather. If you interested in gathering together with brothers and sisters in the Newport, South Wales and surrounding areas please contact us

Our family moved from the West Midlands into Newport in 2016 after a time of great personal tragedy and hardship. God has spoken clearly into our lives and encouraged us with a purpose that makes all our prior suffering worthwhile. We have a vision to see small families of believers living in relationship with each other as Jesus commanded John13:34 “Love one another”. We have a hope that these families will disciple new families to love and reach out to new families who will multiply in love so that John 13:35 “all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” and we will obey our Lord’s command to go Matthew 28:19-20  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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We want to gather with the saints in the simple practice of the New Testament community which is best expressed in the gatherings of the early church during the time of the Apostles. The scriptures provide guidance for our gathering and we hope to share that simple practice on this site and put that simple gathering into practice together with other saints. This is a time of new beginnings and its the start of a journey. We are new arrivals in the area and are looking for the saints to gather.

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New beginnings

Ezekiel 16: 4-6: On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths.  No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.  “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”

New beginnings are usually messy.  None more so, perhaps, than that of a human life.  Ezekiel reminds us that when a child is born the physical tie to its mother must be cut, it must be washed, and it must be dressed.  Quickly after that it must be fed.  Then it must be put down to rest.  If none of these things are done for it then the child will die, within a few hours of being born.  It is utterly helpless.

God uses the startling imagery of human birth to describe the creation of his chosen people.  Each of us, born into his family, undergo separation, cleansing and dressing in robes of righteousness.  As we journey through life, there are many new beginnings.  Some are beautiful, but most are messy and accompanied by loss.  Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, today and forever – is just as able to cleanse, heal and clothe, whether we are starting out in faith, at maturity, or reaching the end of this life. 

May God help us through our new beginnings.   May he also help us to grow, mature, flourish and, ultimately, show his glory in the world.  See Ezekiel 16: 7-14.

Michael Duncan

There’s no miracle in the armour

1 Samuel 17:38-39 Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armour. David girded his sword over his armour and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

As a young boy this story was always a very popular part of the bible for me. I always understood the story as portraying a young David presented with Saul’s armour in preparation for the battle with Goliath. It was an armour that was too big and simply didn’t fit. The pictures support this view and it seemed reasonable.

The scripture doesn’t say the armour was too big and wouldn’t fit David. I don’t think Saul would have been that stupid and so David must have been of adequate stature to take this armour. The scripture tells us that David’s reason for not taking this armour was that he had not “tested them” or “known them”. It’s interesting that the Jewish Targum which was a early commentary on the Old Testament states that David would not take them because “there was no miracle in them”

David had earlier said 1 Samuel 17:37 “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

You see David had tested or had experience of the miracle of God and instinctively knew that in the armour there was no miracle.

He rejected the worlds armour and went out to defeat the Lords enemy in the simplicity of a tried and tested faith that brought him victory.

Today we are faced with the same offer. We begin our journey with Jesus in the simplicity of His Lordship and Salvation being offered the miracle of His Spirit indwelling our lives.

Then we are offered the armour, and more often than not that armour comes from within the established church system. Like David the offer seems legitimate and we try it on. Having taken on this armour we find its a struggle to walk with our Lord. and our brother.

It can take a long time to realise “there is no miracle in the armour” and it can be a painful process to break ourselves free from what seemed to be the best and only option, despite its hindering our life in His body.

The Lord is calling His people to shed the armour and return to the simplicity of a living and loving journey with Him and one another. The miracle is In Him.

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Participatory Worship

Introduction

Jesus made it very clear that the His body, the Church would impact the world by love and more specifically by love for one another. Therefore He established the Body of Christ, the family of God, the manifestation of the Kingdom on earth.

John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The early Church of the first two centuries was dynamic and simple. It lived its life as a family and focused itself on loving one another. It simply obeyed the command of Jesus to “Love one another” and the results were astounding with massive growth even when subjected to persecution, loss of property and death.

2  Thessalonians 1:3-4 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.

It probably wasn’t long before the enemy of the body recognised that the only effective way to slow down this movement (it couldn’t be stopped) was to stop or reduce its core ministry of love. When the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion he took the church out of its homes and placed them into the old pagan temples. He removed the priestly ministry of all believers and invested it in the few selected individuals, the experts, who would deliver the spiritual to the masses.

The body entered into decline, its spirituality waning and its love failing to move the mountains that Jesus had promised would be moved. The spiritual gifts declined and almost became obsolete, for why would the Spirit distribute gifts for the edification of the body, when brothers and sister are no longer trusted to minister and deliver those gifts of edification.

Throughout this period there were small groups of believers who understood the call to love and then in the reformation the restoration of the priesthood of all believers was once again restored. The enemy of the church needed to prevent this going to far and worked hard to keep the reformation from going the distance. Having identified early in the lives of the apostles the desire for “positions” the enemy focused on promoting a complex leadership model that gave individuals power and position with titles that gained them esteem in the body.

Mark 10:42-45 Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognised as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The reformation of the church did not go far enough! Today the church remains hampered by its inability to facilitate our Lords great command to “Love One Another”

I’m not suggesting that we don’t love each other but we are so isolated from ministering “one to another” that its so easy for our love to be less than the intended Brightness of His Glory that will shake the earth!

Our gatherings should be an occasion for all to have opportunity to minister. The usual church service sees one individual  deliver truth from the Word for maybe 30 or 40 minutes. This ministry is usually held by the church leaders who preach each week and very often its the individual leader of the church who preaches nearly every week.

In our gatherings there are many who have been gifted to deliver a Word of truth and there should be freedom for those individuals to deliver as the opportunity arises. The longer preaching or teaching can be delivered in a different setting. So in our gatherings we may have a multiplicity of words delivered to the body. Maybe short messages from the Word from the many rather than the few. Then on occasions the Spirit may direct otherwise but He will always distribute gifting in a gathering where all are free to minister one to another.

1 Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

I have met many men who are bursting with truth from the Word. Men who are ready to edify brothers and sisters with truth from the very throne of God. Sadly they sit in a meeting looking at the “experts” delivering each week and being unable to minister. How easy it is to become disillusioned and leave that meeting place, setting up another church that’s just like the one they left and becoming the “expert” who now can minister, but to the exclusion of others.

Brothers and sisters we need to bring ministry back to each member of the body and in doing so we must not seek to take possession for ourselves. Our elders need to be those who will be zealous to see the body minister one to another and step down in service to see the command of our Lord made manifest amongst us, that we would “Love One Another”

1 Corinthians chapter 12 & 13

 

The Great British Bake Off

Its that time of year again, when many of us are glued to the TV screen watching the efforts of many would be bakers who are trying to impress the experts with that awesome bake. There’s a lot of matching of ingredients and making sure all the right stuff is included.
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If the oven isn’t set correctly or you’ve missed that vital ingredient you’ll get a cake that’s possibly edible but not the wonderful creation that the recipe predicted. The failed bake gives something less than the baker intended.
 
There’s something very similar taking place in church gatherings very week and very often the “God intended outcome” of the gathering is very often missed. The gatherings of the saints is like a God given recipe for the outworking of the both the gifts and fruits of the Spirit ……… but so often they become a different “bake” from the Masters intended creation.
 
The scriptures make it very clear that there is a setting for the Spiritual gifts – Love! The two other keys ingredients are “Us” and the “Spirit of God”. The “Us” doesn’t mean one gifted individual or even a selected group in our meetings. The “Us” means each one of the family of God contributing and participating in the delivery of ministry “one to another”
 
When we remove “Love”, “The Spirit” or “Us” we end up with something far less than God intended. Is it surprising that we don’t see the power of the Spirit moving in church gatherings in the manner in which God intended. It took the reformers much struggle and opposition in order to bring to the church the beautiful truth that we are all “Priests” of the Most High with a ministry that works powerfully when we gather. Sadly many have become content with a half baked experience, meeting God through the ministry of the church experts, which is really a return to the priestly function of the selected few.
 
Paul describes the gathering of the saints.
 
1 Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
 
New Testament believers did not merely attend services. They were active, vital participants who could significantly contribute to what went on in the gathering.
 
God wants every ingredient “the us” to play its part and to do so in order to edify
 
Edifying participatory gatherings do not just happen. New Testament styled participatory worship is to be Spirit led, the Spirit uses elders to help make it edifying. They are behind-the-scene coaches, encouraging and training so that everyone operates from out of his spiritual gift and everything said and done is edifying.
 
Lord let us experience the wonder of edifying gatherings with Jesus amongst us and the Spirit of God given the freedom to deliver His gifts and fruit amongst us.

God knows it may take some time….

If you’ve ever had to cut your child’s toe nails you know that you may get a wiggle and maybe a giggle but its a task that takes about five minutes of your time. Those nails need cutting! your love for your child keeps you looking after their welfare and getting rid of anything that will hinder them in life. Cutting their toe nails is just a little expression of that care and love.

When you’ve got a 13 year old boy with Autism cutting toe nails takes a little bit longer……in fact with Jadon its about a week! He can cope with one or two toes having a trim in a 24 hour period. Its been nearly a week and I’ve got one toe left, which I will leave until tomorrow.

Sometimes our walk with God is a like having our toe nails cut. He loves us so much and wants us to be free from anything that hinders our growth and cutting off some of our stuff is an activity He is very familiar with.

Maybe today your considering your life and how it seems that others are changing a little sooner than you. Remember .. God knows you better than you know yourself and he is amazingly patient, in fact His patience is perfect, having plenty of time to spare for you.

1Timothy 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

God loves you so much and He is prepared to leave some things until His tomorrow.

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New Testament Leadership

The beauty of Church is that its relational, simple and yet as Paul declares a great mystery. The people of the first 1st Century had an idea of leadership that was very fixed in their thinking and Jesus had to work with His followers to change the way they understood leadership. Their understanding would also impact the way they understood the church and how it lived out its life from the love and power of Christ.

We like this video from the Simple Church Alliance. It may not express everything that you or I may believe on the subject but it gives a really good insight into the reality of New Testament leadership and the footprint that Jesus left for us today.

Its worth giving this some time and consideration because Jesus said “It shall not be so among you” Matthew 20:26

Theologian Donald Guthrie in his book “New Testament Theology” – The Developing Church p789 states in referring to leadership in the 1st century church

“There was certainly no hierarchical system. The purpose of the church officers was to ensure orderliness and to teach. The NT does not present any clear indications of one man being in charge of the community. This looseness of structure is in keeping with the view of the church as the body, with Christ himself as the head”

Participatory Worship

Can modelling our gatherings on early church practice make our worship services more meaningful?

In the scriptures, we read of the early church gathering and the believers regularly and significantly contributing to the corporate worship of those church gatherings. An open format allowed those prompted by the Spirit to give testimony, share a spiritual experience, exhort those gathered, lead in prayer, testify, sing, give praises, prophecy, minister one to another in love and more. Each person operated out of his spiritual gifting. According to Scripture, the prime directive for anything said or done was that it had to edify, strengthen, build up or encourage all the other believers present. “Let all things be done for building up” (1Co 14:26).

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So what’s the purpose of participatory worship? It’s to allow for a fuller expression of the spiritual gifts. It also provides opportunity for the fulfillment of the various “one another” passages of Scripture. There are 59 “one another” passages, such as John 13:34; Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, etc

Go! Make Disciples

Jesus never told us to bring people but rather that we should GO!

Our gatherings are the moments when we meet as God’s family. We encourage, build up and admonish each other to love Him, love each other and love the world. We love the world as we go.

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Our gatherings are occasions when disciples are equipped to go and make disciples. All believers are disciples and priests whose mission is to go – into our communities seeking to make disciples of all who will respond to the call to follow Jesus, the beautiful Gospel that reveals the mystery of the Body of Christ, the Church, indwelt and made manifest to all creation.

Matthew 28:18-20

Colossians 1:26-27

The Love Feast

A beautiful celebration of the love that has been established amongst us by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Love Feast is a full fellowship meal which brings together the Body to partake of the One Loaf and Wine within the setting of a meal. Its here that we have regard for our brothers and sisters and acknowledge that we are a people called out from the world to love our Father and neighbour with the inexhaustible love of the Holy Spirit. This is a time for worship and ministering one to another in the power and love of the Spirit. It’s an opportunity to bring together the various members of the One Body with all their gifts and works of love, to overflow in our gatherings.

The Love Feast or Lord's Supper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 10