June 20, 2004 – The Beginning
On June 20, 2004 I was between jobs. I had gotten up in the morning and decided I would do a little writing. I went to the nearest Starbucks and began writing. Within a few hours I was DONE! I had written an article that I felt like I should package into a Volume 1, Issue 1 of a newsletter.
Volume 1, Issue 1 is attached here.
I have to admit that reviewing it years later, I can see my zealousness. I am one of those people that used to see the world in “black and white” without many “shades of gray”, so my authorship can sometimes be uncompromising. I hope I have matured in this area and that both the knowledge and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ comes through in my more recent writings.
I thought and prayed about the name of the newsletter and ended up with “Layman’s Fellowship”. This matched my personal identity. I am not a recognized preacher, pastor, missionary or any other type of credentialed believer in God through Jesus Christ. When asked what denomination or type of christian I am, I have derived the following answer: “There are many flavors of ice cream. I am plain vanilla.” I claim no specific religious affiliation. In fact, I have never been an official member of any local congregation my entire life. I am a regular attendee at a local church. They do not require membership as a pre-condition for full involvement. I am a member in THE body of Christ with full standing because of what Jesus Christ did for me and my repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Failed Attempts to Create Second Issue
Late in 2004 I was married and we moved to the Washington DC area. I felt that the Lord had shown me that I was to move to DC and I had independent confirmation from a few friends who are believers. The latter part of 2004 gave us time to move from Dallas, Texas to Washington, DC.
After our transition, I paused one day and asked the Lord, “So, now I am here. What do I do now?” I have learned that we need to be diligent to take one step at a time and not try to control the outcome or know the plan much beyond the “Next Step”. So, I had moved without knowing all the reasons why I was moving.
As I considered what I should be doing in our new location, my thoughts returned to Volume 1, Issue 1 of Layman’s Fellowship. I began to consider what the next issue would be. Soon there after, I felt like I had understood what the title of the next Issue would be. It would be called “Bridging the Divide”. The idea was to write about the natural divide that emerges between “clergy” (aka titled leadership) and “lay persons” (aka untitled believers) in the Church. I felt good and right about this title.
So, I set out making several attempts to work on this article. Each time I did, I would get a start but very quickly be in a confused state having difficulty knowing how to put this subject matter into written form. Finally, after a number of attempts, I stopped and asked the Lord out of some amount of frustration, “I feel like you showed me this was the title and I still feel good about it, but I CAN’T WRITE IT!” I had an immediate sense that I was right which was followed by a clear thought, “You can’t write this or you will join the ‘clergy’ side of this issue. This is something you have to DO.”
Wow! I knew this was right and had a strong sense of peace that I had understood what the Lord wanted me to know.
Additionally, at this same time a few other things happened. The Lord guided me to a passage in the book of Haggai (shown next) and helped me to understand that I was not to purchase a home and that I was to focus on His house.
2 “Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘This people says, “The time has not come to rebuild the temple of Yahweh.’” 3 And the word of Yahweh came through Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your houses that have been paneled while this house is desolate?” 5 And so then, thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! 6 You have sown much but have harvested little. You have eaten without being satisfied; you have drunk without being satiated; you have worn clothes without being warm; the one who earns wages puts it in a pouch with holes.’ 7 Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! 8 Go up the mountain and bring wood and build the house so that I may be pleased with it and honored,’ says Yahweh. 9 ‘You have looked for much, and look! It came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ declares Yahweh of hosts. ‘Because my house is desolate and you are running each to your own house! 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its produce.
Truly, a Layman
In addition to my lack of credentials in the religious realm, I also lack credentials in the professional realm. I am gainfully employed as a computer technologist. Based a simple straight forward “word from the Lord” to me from another believer, I have my career. In 1993 a brother in Christ whom I knew, but not extremely well called me up one day. This was very unusual because he was the father of a friend of mine and we didn’t interact that much. He told me that he felt like the Lord wanted him to share something with me, but that he did not have an interpretation of what it meant. He shared this: “The Lord is giving you a blessing”. Now I can tell you just how large a blessing it has been and what it meant. It is my entire career without a degree spanning across more than 2 decades and computer technology work experience across approximately 25 companies in government, banking, telecommunications, manufacturing, professional services, and more.
At the time of this blessing, I was in college. I got my first professional job through a classmate who requested my resume and submitted it to a local company for an internship position. I did not complete college. Between my Junior and Senior year of college, I felt convicted to quit school and not complete my degree. I believe it was a conviction from the Lord who showed me at that time that He did not want me to have any credentials. I did not understand why, but I worked it through with Him and then submitted to His direction. Although it may sound very unusual, I consider it to be one of the best decisions of my whole life. I don’t recommend it for others, but at the request of the Lord it was right for me.
As a result of my background and life experience, Layman’s Fellowship fits me.
- Dictionary Definition of Layman
- a nonordained member of a church
- a person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject
Even after failing to create Volume #1, Issue #2 of Layman’s Fellowship as a newsletter and realizing that the topic of Issue #2 was something I could not complete, I still decided to get the domain name (laymansfellowship.com). I wasn’t quite sure why I was doing it, but I did it.
I bought hosting for the first three years. After those three years, I started renewing on an annual basis. From 2008 until 2012, I didn’t do much with the site. So, each year I thought and/or prayed about it and came to the conclusion I was supposed to keep it going.
In 2012 I started writing about the subjects of leadership, authority, submission and obedience. Laymans Fellowship finally had some content.
(Note: I did use Layman’s Fellowship for a short period of time to support the distribution of some materials to members of an internet Discussion Board that I was moderating at that time. See Local Church Forum on The Bereans)
So, this is the short history of Laymans Fellowship.
Currently, I am planning to keep it focused primarily on the topics of leadership, authority, submission and obedience in the Body of Christ. Other relevant topics may arise, but this one seems to be of pretty central importance.
In addition to my own writings, I plan to seek the involvement of others who can both critique and/or refine my writings as well as contribute to portions of the content of this site.
I acknowledge in several places on this site that this primary subject matter of this site is more controversial and problematic. It is impossible not to evoke some reactions when you address this subject. My appeal is this: Read, think, go to the Lord and ask for wisdom. Ask for Him to change you in any way He needs to so that your service to Him is as complete as possible. I do not claim perfection and no one will ever get this subject RIGHT. It’s impossible. What I feel is important is that we inspect our assumptions and resubmit ourselves to the living, active God of the universe who sent His only Son to save all who accept Him as their Lord and Savior. He deserves to be the leader and final authority in our lives. He deserves our submission and obedience. Beyond this, let’s reconsider how much of his leadership and authority he transferred to men in the church setting. Let’s reconsider how much submission and obedience He requires of each one of us to other men in the church realm. And most importantly, let us consider how much submission and obedience He requires of each one of us directly to Him without any other intermediary than Jesus Christ.
Blessings in Christ for TODAY!