Stories from the Cleft-3: Fellowship: The Fire Circle of Life!
Welcome to the third installment of Stories from the Cleft. If you care to look back to where we began this journey, and see the context for these stories, please check out The Training Table Archives section of Feast of the Heart. Be sure to recall the very important Bible passage from Exodus 33:18-23 that inspires this series of stories.
It’s also good to be regularly reminded of the Vision of Feast of the Heart, “Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered reformation—restoration of pure doctrine, revival—a restoration in the Christian’s personal life, and constructive revolution—a return to pure doctrine an the Spirit-filled life so that God will be glorified and people blessed.”
The Training Table is just one way we’re accomplishing our Vision… one heart at a time!
FELLOWSHIP: Born Again! Be the Light! Take the Risk! Feel the Burn!
“Because we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:30).
“But 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).
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… (Hebrews 10:24).
“They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” Luke 24:32)?
For 25 years, I had the greatest pleasure, honor, and just plain ‘ol fun by organizing an annual gathering of men in the desert country of Moab Utah called, Fellowship: Feast of the Heart. The four-day event included soaking in the breath-taking beauty of the desert southwest via mountain biking, great food, quiet time, and Christian fellowship.
Each day, after a morning-opener from the Bible and a comment from yours truly, we would have breakfast, get oriented about the schedule for the day, take to the mountain bike trails for several hours, gather back at the campsite or B&B, rest, soak in the hot tub, nap, talk, read, journal, and then have a dinner feast together at the end of hard, sometimes harrowing, but usually joyous day in the desert.
The mountain biking adventures weren’t without some thrills and spills ranging from “highway rash”, to more serious incidents of bruised and broken bones, all the way to being helicoptered out. We were blessed to have never experienced a death—that the desert wildness will sometimes demand of its devotees.
Following dinner, anywhere from 25 to 70 guys would gather ‘round a huge campfire to share whatever The Spirit and the fellowship of men would place on the hearts of those gathered. All were happy to either stare into the fire, to listen, and sometimes to risk in the sharing of what was on their heart. Net, net: To share in the glow!
A key word to describe the gathering might be “ADVENTURE”: (a) The “outside-in” adventure that some of the most challenging, risky, and fun mountain biking in the world offers; AND (b) the “inside-out” adventure of encouraging men to risk being vulnerable by being open to The Spirit of God, in a spirit of fellowship, as a feast of the born-again believer and/or authentically seeking… HEART!
Now, arranged around the campfire—the seating of’ times arranged in the shape of a heart, with the fire pit ablaze in the center—I offer myself as a catalyst. Vulnerable, gently prodding, reading Scripture, telling stories, inviting in those select men I know will follow my lead toward love, truth, openness, and risk. And then I pray The Holy Spirit take over from there. And, yes, every time, without fail, He does!
Bar none, I have been, many have been, more blessed in Fellowship: Feast of the Heart than I could ever dare imagine or hope for!
From the Cleft to the Clear Light of Day: Hearts and Witnesses Aglow from Fellowship In Christ!
From the Cleft… “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD” (Exodus 34:29).
…to the Clear Light of Day. From that day forward, the glory shone on the unveiled countenance of Moses, to show that he had had communion, fellowship with God… and to signify the glory of it. Until the day Moses died, his unveiled countenance was radiant because he had fellowship with God.
Hearts and Witnesses Aglow from Fellowship In Christ! By analogy—and on the “New Testament-side” of Moses’ story prefiguring the new covenant of Jesus Christ—the time spent in the desert takes into account several factors that all Christians should take time to “set aside” on a regular, “Please God, let-me-see-your-glory” basis:
Being in the wilderness alone with God and under His marvelous creation; being on an adventure that exposes us to “outside-in” (at least some hard exercise and clamoring in nature) AND “inside-out” (exploring the heart, emotions, and walk) risks; being in fellowship with at least one other person who will participate on some “open heart surgery” of trust, transparency, and truth-telling; and being forthrightly transformed for returning to the everyday… aglow with the glory of what God has done to transform and revolutionize our life!
Praying to See God’s Glory: A Partnership of Seek and Follow:
1. For Moses, and for us, heading “up the mountain” or “out into the wilderness” in a humble yet passionate search for God’s glory, is an “outside-in” AND “inside-out” adventure that we should all have on our calendars once-a-year, if not every six months or so. In the form of doing the same on a “mini-adventure or maintenance basis”, each of us should begin each day as Jesus did, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place (translated “WILDERNESS”), where he prayed” (Mark 1:35; Matthew 1; Luke 1).
2. The Fellowship of the Saints, a community of faith based upon true spiritual friendship and trustworthy spiritual direction, is, secondary to the person and power of The Holy Spirit within the re-born heart, the most important aspect of a Christian’s life: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3, 6, 7; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
In today’s culture dominated by individualism, independence, isolation, and virtual everything, it is particularly important to be wholly committed to a community… a fellowship… of faith—in a Bible–based church and a Small Group Bible Study,
Thank you for this time of fellowship and feasting at the Training Table!
Next week, “Stories from the Cleft: Prayer: Re-Creation of the Grandest Kind”.
May God bless you and yours in every way,