Facing Death with the comfort of a house church family

Diane Mackeeby went to be with the Lord on Easter Sunday 1995. This letter was written to her house church family a few months prior to her death. Diane lived in Carslbad, CA.

My Dearest Housechurch family, I wanted to write you a note because I cry very easily - especially if I feel a real joy in something. My cancer has brought me a great deal of joy as well as pain; to deny this would be a lie. It is not something the world would understand, they would see it as an attempt at phony martyrdom. Believe me, this is not a path I would choose, even though burning at the stake looks easier from my viewpoint.

My main joy has been my Lord Jesus and the family of believers he has brought into my life. You see, he really does work through the brethren (and cistern). When I first came to the Lord, He set me in a strong spirit filled group with Dick and Kathie H____ in Glendale. When it was time to move to Carlsbad, it was hard breaking away from the family. In fact we are still family to this day and never fail to keep everyone aware of what God is doing in each other's lives. I missed that and thought I would never see this closeness in the Lord again.

It has taken years, but I have found my family...in fact, when Christ says we must leave biological parents, brothers and sisters to follow him, I wonder if that is what we are doing spiritually right now? Who are we closest to? Whom do we turn for help? Even to those we love in the world, we are aliens. I have really been a test to this family and you have all passed superbly

Never once have I felt I have been a bother, rather I feel loved and needed. It is not a normal reaction to sickness and death to want to be involved (unless you’re a nurse, a definite gift from God) but our human nature wants us to do the "right” thing and get out of there. After all, who wants to think about such horrible things when there are so many other things you must think about. NO, my Christian family keeps me normal and loved. I believe our group will go on to grow in Christ; even crazy brunches with kids and football is a testimony to Him. I really believe we will be able to share more and more what each week has brought. If you take time to really listen, we are always sharing how God works in our life. How many times do we laugh over something that was just a "coincidence", or a prayer answered in a very different way, and life changes that has the Lord’s handprint all over it.

There is truly a difference about attending a "regular" church and being involved in a housechurch. As Christians, we have the freedom to attend any spirit-filled church we want to. We can go for concerts, guest speakers, great sermons - we have a whole cornucopia to choose from. But where should we worship, praise and pray in a much deeper intimate way? Where can you be with a group that truly wants to make that all-out commitment and wants the same for you? Where can you be open and honest and not feel threatened? Where can you question the word of God and not feel like a fool? Where can you go for prayer for the smallest or the most important things in your life? The housechurch.

You will notice that these are the same issues that we bring to our Lord personally, could there be some correlation there? I believe we have taken our baby-steps and are becoming toddlers - this is definitely language I know you understand. In fact, an important part of this group is our little ones, soon to be six and all will be 3 and under. Sometimes it isn't easy getting them all down in the bed, crib, pack and poop or what-have- you, but having these precious children with us is very important. Just as we are watching them grow from babyhood, and we have watched ourselves grow from spiritual babyhood, so our housechurch is doing the same.

Well, that about wraps it up. I have an extra page attached on what the Lord has been showing me this week. For some reason I started reading Hebrews 10. Reading down further, I know I was reading about us, our housechurch. Verses 19 through 25. Interestingly, the next verses talk about willful sinning, a tough situation we have already had to deal with. 19. Since therefore brethern, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20. by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21. and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22. Iet us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24. and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25. not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. I eventually ended up in the faith chapter, Hebrews 11. It is a tough one, and a chapter I did not want to read on this particular day. "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises," my least favorite scripture. All the heroes of faith By faith, by faith, by faith - how could their faith be that strong? Then I saw that good old Sarah said it best, "she considered Him faithful who had promised." Not our faith, but HIS faithfulness. Going back to Chapter 10, verse 23, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful..." Our faith stands on the fact that God is faithful - personally and corporately. We put ourselves and our housechurch under His keeping power. 'Nuff said.

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