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Monday, November 5, 2012


Several months ago, I learned a new word.. Koinonia.. It is a Hebrew word that was in the original text of the Bible over 18 times.

It is pronounced.. (Coy no nee uh.)

The word is used to describe the community of believers in the Book of Acts.

The Fellowship of the Believers

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.

The Word Koinonia refers to the intimate community that was formed amongst believers. The word has been translated to mean sharing, fellowship..But the Hebrew word is thought to be something much, much richer… Koinonia, in the Hebrew language, describes a rich experience of faith, community..and the “breaking of bread” together.

The early community of believers literally devoted themselves wholly to God and to serving one another. They were willing to sell their possessions in order to take care of one another..such that no one would lack… Other verses tell of how each was expected to contribute to a thriving community.

They praised God with glad hearts..

I can’t help but think of how far we have deviated from what some refer to as the Early Christian church. The early Christian church put an emphasis on community..
Today, we are divided by denominational differences.

Today, even the idea of sharing and giving of our possessions to help others thrive is almost unheard of.. .. But the idea of koinonia and this breaking of bread allows me to see that God had a much bigger plan for us that what we see..

I continually see so many problems within our churches. I see the emergence of false doctrines. I see how we largely ignore others in our community and fellowship and share the Christian experience only with members of our own churches.

The result is that no one is being evangelized. The result is a lost and broken generation that doesn’t know the true Christ.

I continually speak to people who tell me that they want nothing to do with Christ  because of what they seen in the churches. They have been exploited for money. They have been told that if they don’t “pay up” then God is going to punish them. ..

Much of today’s church is money centred. Many pastors live in luxury while the needs of the poor are largely ignored.

God’s original church was about something much bigger than that... It was koinonia centred..It showed a deep level of sharing, fellowship, praise, and the breaking of bread.. It was about  truly learning to trust God and taking care of one another.

The verse says....Everyone  was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles..  I am fully aware that God still operates today..but I am forced to wonder..would we see more true miracles among the people if our heresies and greed were abandoned and we lived more fully committed to Him and cared more fully for those around us?

I'm not critisising all churches. I see a deep level of love in my own church. Yesterday, we got together to buy gifts for Operation Christmas Child for needy children..
I know that many churches have many beautiful outreach programs...but one thing I do want people to that church is not a building.. Church is way to live.. Church is a body of believers, that are meant to show the true light of Christ to a lost world.

Food for thought.

Koinonia in Action

The other day I read a story in our local newspaper. Several dominations and nonprofit groups from Shreveport, Louisiana are coming together once a week to feed the hungry.

The article stated that those involved did not want a food “assembly line” type of experience.

So, they set up elegant tables and actually have a chef prepare meals.. The article stated that many children are fed and are often unattended by parents.  A lady who lost her job due to a broken back expressed her gratitude for the free meals.

Volunteers go to each table and get to personally know everyone. They pray with them..
They take time to hear their stories and listen to their needs..

The article didn’t petition anyone for a single dime..

I thought that this was a beautiful story that demonstrates a form of koinonia… a form a community living and acting out of love for others..all through the love of Christ..

People are being evangelized..and seeing love in action.

They are getting a taste of the deep, rich, experience that we are meant to have.

Koinonia and Halloween..

I’ll be honest. I hate Halloween. Jesus tells us not to conform to the patterns of this world..and I see Halloween as simply another pattern. It puts a lot of emphasis on fear. I don’t like the demonic looking costumes and frightening faces carved into pumpkin. I’ve experienced the demonic, and these things are creepy to me.

Yesterday, on Halloween, I was driving through the neighborhood and I noticed how the neighborhood seemingly comes alive. It seems to be the one day of the year where the community comes together to share. Of course, it’s only candy that is being shared..but I can understand what makes Halloween such an attractive holiday. There is a general sense of community when people come together to share something.

The beautiful thing is that we don’t need Halloween to experience this kind of excitement.

Do you notice how Halloween loosely resembles the early Christian concept of koinonia?
God didn’t create us to partake in darkness..He tells us to turn our backs on darkness..
But He did create us for fellowship…He created us for praise and sharing. He created us so that His glory could be revealed. Everyday should be lived out in peace, kindness, and sharing through the love of Christ..

One thing I have noticed is that people shy away from the word, Sharing.. The word seems to be associated with a hippie sort of concept..

Many of the christain prosperity teachings of today place on emphais on our possessions. They have turned God into a cosmic slot machine and purveyor of the American Dream.. such that the entire concept of sharing anything seems vague and even ridiculous..

But we ignore God’s word by not sharing..

Koinonia displayed through sharing...

A while back ago, I was browsing the internet and I came across a beautiful story. A couple in Texas sold their home in the suburbs and bought an old house in an impoverished area. Their mission was restore the home and use it as a respite and a safe haven for people in ministry or people who simply need rest. As I have followed the blog, Terribly Interesting, I have seen many people pass through the doors of this house. I have seen love lavished on strangers. I have read as God has worked and moved in the hearts on those who pass by and those who volunteer in the process of restoration. I hope you watch this video. It is beautiful and moving. It is Koinonia displayed through hard work, mutual love, and sharing. Also, there is an amazing and powerful song playing in the background..

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Luke 3:10-11 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Thoughts, feedback, comments are welcome..
I will be writing about koinonia a lot more in the future.

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