How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

I see things have quieted down here. I am myself sorry for not coming here and writing/commenting more often – earlier this year my life took some turns that led to me not spending too much time on this blog.

Yet, I am a fan of this blog and would hate to see it fade into permanent stillness. Perhaps the season of stillness may have been a good thing. But I hope we can move into another season of active, contructive, challenging engagement, as well as sharing and encouragement.

I therefore throw the title question in your general direction:

How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

This not so much a “how have you been doing” question as it is “what new things have you learnt? what new things have you experienced? what old views and understandings did you drop and what new ones do you favor?”

Turning the question on myself, I’ll say that I have come to value faithfulness to God much more than I used to. Both because I failed in my faithfullness personally, but also because I saw a lot of unfaithfullness around me. I’ve been reminded that, for all our spirituality, our wisdom and understanding about God, the Church and being a Christian, what is really important is how faithfull you are to these things.

I’ve also grown a distaste for the practice of the “gifts of the spirit” – not because I believe that they are any less real or biblical than I did before. I still believe they are and that they should be sought after by Christians! Yet… I’ve just yet to see a church that gets it even almost right. Mostly I see abuse of these gifts, or at best that they are used without yielding any real fruit.

Altar Calls have become a bit absurd to me. The principle is good and solid: a call to salvation or a call to repentence. Yet it *must* be a first step to growth. I find that some churches get simply stuck in an infinite loop of Altar Calls. Every week Satan is divorced, strongholds over lives are broken, forgiveness is finally released, captives are set free and life is spoken… and yet every week the very people who had “a spiritual breakthrough” by going forward a week or two ago, saunters forward again. If these “personal encounters with God” are what they are made out to be, I’d expect their legacy to be a bit longer than 5 or 10 days.

I miss that the church builds on Altar Calls and let Christians to actually grow beyond the point where they require weekly life-changing prayers.

I still go to Church, by the way, even though I find the experience fruitless or stale most of the times. I go because I feel I ought to – even if it’s just to keep alive the possibility of a spiritual revival within myself – and to have fellowship with other Christians (which also does not always work out the way I would like). I stopped going to cell, the main reason being that I did not feel I had a good reason TO go to cell.

Well, that’s me. Interested to hear what’ve been going on with you guys…


4 thoughts on “How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

  1. Thanks for this. I will consider it and get back to you on the question. In the meantime please share a bit more about what you think is a good reason to go to cell 🙂

  2. Good reasons to go to cell for me would center around the words “real relationships”.
    I want to get to know people at cell and I want them to get to know me. I want to feel that over time, our relationships grow deeper, even if it is slowly.

    What happens in reality is that relationships at cell remain shallow, and that we spend time talking about things which could mostly by summarized by the words “nice thoughts”.

    If I could go to a cell where real relationships happen, I wouldn’t need supplementary reasons such as good teaching, good praise and worship, good prayer or good accountability – those things would probably come easily if real relationships happen, and they matter little to me (at cell) if real relationships are not happening.

    I have come to understand that whether or not “real relationships” happen actually depends more on the cell attendees than on the church leadership, but I sometimes feel the leadership actually sabotage the formation of real relationships by requiring cell groups to split and reform every so often. I agree that a cell group should split when it gets too big (my threshold would by when it reaches 10 regulars), but what I’m talking about is groups of 5 or 6 being dissolved and reformed because the leadership wants it to.

    • I must admit that I feel the same way about splitting groups. I can understand that these groups can become insular over time, which is one argument for division that I have heard, but people need time to become close and if you keep splitting its tough to get a sense of community. On the other hand, I remember a great sermon by Pawson about how the church grows like an organism, through cell division. He used passages from Acts to show how God seemed to split the group whenever they got too cozy to share… At the moment I am trying to maintain a more long-term community group made up of relationships that transcend my church, and then I also attend an official church group where I submit to the way the church does things. What do you think about that? Do you have such an option?

      • I’ve also heard Pawson’s teaching on “splitting” when it comes to church growth. I’m a great fan of what he has to say about it, and he’s teaching has made me a bit resistant to support my local church’s multi-million rand church-building expansion project.

        But when it comes to cell splitting, you need to have more cells after the split than before. In our situation you have 5 cells being dissolved and five new ones starting. Besides, if you want to continue on the metaphor: Even with biological cell splitting, the two new cells would consitst of parts of the older ones, Yet, with the mixing and matching that churces I go to tend to do, you often find yourself in a “new” cell with 4 strangers.

        With regard to your approach:

        Of course I also maintain a circle of close friends with whom I share spiritually – though geographical distance makes it tough sometimes.

        For many years (and I mean that: probably 6 years now), I’ve faithfully attended cell mostly because I sumbit to the way my local church does things. And also because I support the theoretical purpose of a cell. My experience has just been that that purpose is very seldomly realised when I actually go to cell.

        So last quarter, my girlfriend opted out of cell because she’s struggling to cope with a full-time job and part-time studying and distance to the cells. I was not against the idea of joining a cell on my own, but just didn’t really have a strong enough drive / desire to join one to actually make it happen. :-/

        This quarter, I was asked to join a cell, and I said I would, but then they moved the cell to the days when I go to the club to play Warhammer – a new hobby that I’ve taken on that I really enjoy. I considered the situation and decided that Warhammer adds more value to my life than cell does. Not because Warhammer adds a great deal of value, but just because cell usually turns out very unsatisfying and feels (if I can put it harshly) like a waste of time. I wish it was not like that, but this is how I’ve felt about it for the last couple of years.

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