The Phil Files

Musings & messages on everyday worship, Jesus, and the stuff of life.

Community for the Homebound

with 57 comments

I received several responses from homebound folks in email and on the blog on Monday about the article, Made 2BN Community. Most of these folks were aging or had concerns for loved ones who were less mobile. They wanted to know how they could be community or share in active community under these conditions.They are looking for help, for answers, and for a way to stay connected to the people of God.The best way to get a flavor for these comments is to check out their comments here:

Community and the Homebound

So we all are looking for ideas on how folks can stay connected when not able to get out of the house and be with brothers and sisters in Christ they love. We would all love to hear your thoughts!

Written by phil

January 14th, 2009 at 6:45 am

Posted in BLOGSTUFF,Heartlight

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57 Responses to 'Community for the Homebound'

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  1. I wrote some thoughts on this in the blog on “Community” to Sharon. I have always felt God has a purpose for us no matter what our circumstances. I think one of the greatest examples is our preacher when he was homebound due to a broken neck (seriously; he had a fall at the church building. The Paramedics did not know his neck was broken and through one of God’s miracles he not only survived but is not paralyzed). He was blessed to have a surgeon in Baltimore who knew of a new surgery to “bolt” the neck together to give it stability. His recuperation was long and severe as you can imagine.

    As I mentioned, I was home with shingles and gall bladder problems; unable to go out because of severe pain. He called me during HIS homebound time; he called several people who were also homebound. He made me realize there is not much that can keep you from helping others, especially by showing love and encouragement.

    The other woman I mentioned in my mother-in-laws congregation is not paralyzed from the waist down (as I said in that article); she is paralyzed from the neck down! She is very encouraging just by her positive attitude!!!

    When my mother was dying of terminal lung cancer I told her “God ALWAYS has something for us to do, a purpose for us. If nothing else, it is to help those who are caring for us by being a good patient.” Of course, this is not easy (as God has shown me many times) but it may be HIS purpose for us.

    In this modern time with phones, computers, cell phones, etc. there are many ways we can communicate with others. I realize it is hard for older people to learn to use technology; but my mother-in-law who is 80+ years old uses a computer. We do what we WANT to do.

    My friends, my Christian sisters helped me tremendously by calling me frequently, coming by with small gifts, etc. All of those who are healthy should realize someday they might be in the same condition; we need to use our time wisely!

    Linda Hoeck

    14 Jan 09 at 11:42 am

  2. I have watched first hand as my Nana went from running around like a crazy woman, stopping off at the Skinny\’s for a Dr. Pepper, taking my cousins to football practice and running up and down the field with them, tending to all those around her physically…to being close to bedridden for the last 10 years of her life. It was quite an adjustment, and there were many days where she wished she could be up and around tending to others. Through it all she remained an encouragement to all those around her, she kept up with friends birthdays, she called people on the phone to check on them. My grandfather is the note writer, he loves to correspond in that way, but my Nana was a talker. She stayed engaged with those around her by phone or by wheelchair.

    A couple of years ago there was a guest speaker in the pulpit, who said that we are temporarily able bodied, we go and do when we can, then when our bodies start to fail, our season changes and becomes no less important, just different. I am grateful for my temporarily able body, I hope that I can always be an encourager for the Lord and bring Him glory.

    Tammy Marcelain

    14 Jan 09 at 3:28 pm

  3. EARLY CHURCH HAD HOME ECCLESIA MEETINGS. I WISH I COULD FIND ONE NEAR WHERE I LIVE IN NORTH BRISBANE AUSTRALIA. Kenneth

    Kenneth Tremble

    16 Jan 09 at 4:17 am

  4. Brother Phil, I believe that some members of her local congreation had a bible study or small worship and prayer service at her house once or twice a week and while thy\\\’re their maybe they could help out with the housework. My prayer will be that the Lord fires up the local saints.

    Lyle Scheffer

    16 Jan 09 at 4:28 am

  5. I found an article called “bathrobe prophets” It was a huge help when I was housebound for a while. Community is either physical or spiritual – emails and internet enable us to keep our community alive over many miles! I would be happy to forward the article if requested.

    Editor’s Note: I am not sure this is the article she references, but it is worth checking out:
    http://www.soulforce.org/forums/showthread.php?p=33151

    Liz Brooke

    16 Jan 09 at 4:28 am

  6. A few years ago, I was a member of a church in which an elder led a unique Wednesday evening Bible class. Instead of studing at the building, we met at the building and then went to the places where our eldery and disabled members lived. We read the Bible and prayed with them. I wrote a little about the experience on my blog last year at http://adisciplesthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/08/true-pastor.html. It could be a good idea for other congregations to offer Wednesday night \"classes\" like this for those who cannot get to the building. I hope this helps.

    Terry

    16 Jan 09 at 4:34 am

  7. A church where I was a member in years past had a very active homebound ministry. Some members “adopted” a homebound member, and would deliberately visit and interact on a regular basis. The church also had a RN on staff that “made the rounds” among the homebound, and pastoral staff also made personal contact with those members. Deacons would bring them communion when the body shared the Lord’s table. Each week, on Friday evening, other volunteers would distribute a meal that often included a soup, bread, and other items. Finally, the church’s Sunday worship service was broadcast on a local cable channel and a radio station, so that homebound members could listen and view the service.

    The bottom line, however, was the intentional, purposeful actions of the body to keep the homebound in the community.

    Glen Meade

    16 Jan 09 at 4:41 am

  8. I often get sad when I see people failing in health and can\’t come out to church services like they use too. At the church I attend, the pastor and
    deacon(s) go to homes of those who are unable to come out and serve them communion and have prayer with them. Also, tapes are given to them of the sermons, so that they still can continue to hear the word of God.

    Lisa Riich

    16 Jan 09 at 5:10 am

  9. As many others suggested, I support the idea of a bible study in her home by local church members. I rememebr when my father-in-law was failing (with the same illness) his church family kept a very close watch on him with help in both physical and spiritual realms. He used to love it so when I would bring my guitar and sing the old hymns for him, especially the Southern Gospel. I am getting into my golden years and personally want to be forgotten and left alone either. I believe there are still saints with the gift for the aged – but they need to exercise their gift. I belong to a praise and worship group that ministers to homeless shelters and nursing homes. You can check out our MySpace page at: http://www.myspace.com/straightpathmusic
    As I tell everyone we minister to – the pay is lousy, but the retirement benefits are out of this world!

    Rick Tober

    16 Jan 09 at 5:28 am

  10. I was thinking that the church could put together a Bible study and have it at this lovely ladies home. Take it right to her along with worship music and some saints that have a real heart for the elderly…..

    Denise Stites

    16 Jan 09 at 5:30 am

  11. I am of the opinion that the church can have at least one service a week in her home and also serve her the communion at home . This way she will be encouraged and will feel very strong even spiritually. regular visits by church too will help .

    Ngozi Idajili

    16 Jan 09 at 6:04 am

  12. As a retired pastor looking at this I believe that a pastor and some members, deacons could go to the home of the elderly person and have a time of worship and the Lord’s table. I have actually done that for those who wished it and such was greatly appreciated. Now in many cases you do have to be asked to come into the home. However, with the elderly it would not hurt the pastor, or someone to check and see if the elderly would like a time of worship and the Lord’s table.

    Allan Burr

    16 Jan 09 at 6:24 am

  13. Outreach ministries. Services on CD or DVD. Phone calls, cards, text messages (if available). E-mail if they have a computer, or get them something like web tv.
    We could have systems for the temporatily homebound, such as web tv or inexpensive lap top, older computer systems that have modems.
    I\’m still able to get out, yet many aren\’t.
    Sceduled home visits.
    Just a few brain search ideas.

    Lee

    16 Jan 09 at 6:27 am

  14. After reading the article on homebound…I would like to share a way that I reach people that if I was out and about I would never see or communicate with..that
    is through my computer. I hear most everday from my children, have reconnected with nieces and nephews…share my faith with all I possibly can, including members of the church family.
    Started a christian group e-mail called “Sunflowers to Roses”. Also reaching non-christians with it.
    We have cold winters in the Black Hills of South Dakota and days where it is too cold to go outside but
    the contact remains through the computer.
    I find people will write and e-mail when they would not open up as much in person..
    I praise God for my computer and the ways HE provides for me to share my faith…PRAISE TO HIM.
    I know this is not the complete answer but it helps.

    Marcene Underwood

    16 Jan 09 at 7:35 am

  15. I have a brother whose paralyzed from the neck down and sometimes he doesn’t get a chance to go to worship. It’s a blessing that my parents are members of the church because they give him communion and they have devotion every night as a family. The sad part is that the congregation doesn’t come to worship with him. It’s very important that the congregation doesn’t forget about the sick and shut in. My brother is very encouraging and motivated and I thank God for that and that his spirit isn’t down inspite of the way they treat him. I thank God for my parents being strong christians also.

    Angie

    16 Jan 09 at 7:57 am

  16. I can feel the sincerity in this sweet lady’s post. I pray and truly believe God will work within her church family to bring to her what her soul is longing for. I thank God that He knows our deep longing to be in His presence and to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Michelle

    16 Jan 09 at 8:01 am

  17. we as Christians are to seek out the elderly, sick , and lame… we are to worship together, fellowship and pray for one another .. if that is not happening then we need to seek our spiritual leaders of God and gently and graciously remind them of scripture… however .. do not lose heart.. God will bless and use all those who are abandoned by family (Christians)

    jennifer page

    16 Jan 09 at 8:05 am

  18. The word “community” is one of the many words that we have taken and defined with our human minds and then tried to live it out according to “our” definition. JESUS is community. Once HE becomes Lord of our lives we are pulled into community with Father and Son through His Holy Spirit and then placed into community within the church—the body of JESUS. The church is not some place we go, join, or leave. Christ has fulfilled every piece of the Old Covenant; His glory no longer descends into a specific place; His Spirit now inhabits those who have crowned His Son as Lord. We are the temple of the Living God (2 Cor. 6:16)!! We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 1:9) The God who created everything does not dwell in temples made with hands NOR is He served by human hands (Acts 16:24-25). Our humanness has taken God and built Him a building that we call church and then created activities that we call His ministries. Because of this we have become deceived to believe that if we are not in that building doing those things we are not fulfilling His call upon our lives. It’s time to return to the Word of God to hear His heart! Our eternal life is not based on how we perform or whether we are at home or in a building; our eternal life is that we may “know” the only true God and His Son Jesus (John 17:3). If you are homebound, begin by falling in love with Jesus and allow Him to fulfill all your needs. You are the temple of the Living God; let your life shine with His presence in that home. Then simply trust His heart to form a community of “brothers and sister” around you for His glory and His name sake. Jesus wants us to know Him and the power of His resurrection; He wants us to fix our eyes on Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. When we truly begin to live in community with Father and Son through His Holy Spirit, we will see that by His divine power He has granted to us all that we “need” that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who call us to His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3, 4) We will believe in His precious and very great promises which include providing us with those who will encourage and uplift us in Him so that we become a manifold manifestation of the wisdom (wisdom is JESUS) of God!! (Ephesians 3:10). May God give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. May He enlighten the eyes of your heart that you may know the hope He has called you to through His Son Jesus. May He show you His glorious inheritance in the saints. May He reveal to you the immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe in Him. (Ephesians 1:17-19)

    Teresa

    16 Jan 09 at 8:16 am

  19. Hey Phil
    Just thought this was great! I’ve never seen one your guys ask for input. I read your pieces looking for answers to my questions. This is cool!

    I’m a 56 year old woman who may be facing this dilemma one day. I pray Jesus returns before that happens but my answer to this person’s question is very simple. Community means community. My in laws are 84. We visit them. Take them out to eat, etc. They are still mobile. My father in law is on a walker and has difficulty on some terrains so I feel he will be homebound soon. Their local church provides visitation to the elderly and the sick. Jesus didn’t try to do it all. He said, “Go and make disciples of all men!”. These disciples have families. A strong family unit takes care of each other.

    Local church communities need to bring fellowship to the homes of the home bound. It’s simple. The elderly have the same needs as a teenager. They will miss their friends. I don’t know how many times my kids said that to me. “I want to see my friends!”. That could be old or young. Parents let their kids have friends over. Kids let your parents have friends over! It’s role reversal. The kids provide for the elderly parents. The parents provided. Now it’s the kid’s turn. The parents of the church provided for the kids, now it’s their turn to provide for them. Simple! Just do it! No lip service or good intentions. ACT!

    Your sister in Christ
    Miriam

    Miriam

    16 Jan 09 at 8:37 am

  20. My Mom, 84 years of age and homebound, supervises the prayer chain at her church by teleplhone. She counsels both by telephone and in her home (people she knows). Communion can be brought to shut-ins by associate ministers and lay ministers. Socials calls are often made by church friends who love to prepare food and take by.

    Marti Butt

    16 Jan 09 at 8:52 am

  21. We studied these verses in Bible study the other night. I think Jesus may have already gave us the answer (and some persoanl motivation points also) about helping our “brothers”. We, just need to do it.

    Matthew 25:34-

    34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;

    36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me;I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?

    38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

    39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

    40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you,to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

    41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

    42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;

    43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’

    44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’

    45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

    Don

    16 Jan 09 at 8:57 am

  22. There are churches through the country that have groups that go into nursing homes and private homes and share communion with home bound people who are unable to get out. We did that with our dear mother, Fern, and what a blessing it was for us and her to have a family communion. We each would share what the blood of Christ covers in our life and then together praise God for his Saving Grace and His Son fo the cleansing blood he shed for the atonement of our sins.

    David

    16 Jan 09 at 8:57 am

  23. Home bound Christians are a vital part of the Christian community and the greater Communion of Saints. Our parish has a Lay Eucharistic Visitor ministry where members who have trained for such a ministry visit homebound members and carry them communion. It is a precious time of sharing on both sides. Also prayer life is a very active part of Christian ministry. Get on a prayer line or telephone chain and be surprised at how much involvement you have with the “active” parish family.
    One of our members I carried communion to for three years spent her final months in a nursing home. Her ministry was more active and vital than it had been in the past 2o years. Since she slept little nurses and aides stopped by her room and she was able to pray with them, encourage them and help them to expand their ministry.

    Patti Petit

    16 Jan 09 at 9:05 am

  24. Are you familiar with “Steven Ministries”? This might be a solution. I don’t know a lot about it, but my church has recently sent a member to train for it. When she is through, she will train those of us in our Church who are interested.

    Sharon Mc Govern

    16 Jan 09 at 9:12 am

  25. What an excellent chance for members of the church to be involved with a ministery that is explained in Acts 6 and James 1:25-27. Do I need to be a Minister or a Deacon to do this work? Absolutely not. Is this not what the Lord would have us all do? Absolutely!
    Act 6:1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
    Act 6:2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
    Act 6:3 “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
    Act 6:4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
    Act 6:5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.
    Act 6:6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
    Act 6:7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
    The following passages direct us to do not talk. Actions are sermons that are seen not spoken. Does it do us any good to visit and then to walk away? Absolutely not! We need to care for our elderly and young alike. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us unto salvation.
    Jas 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
    Jas 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
    Jas 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
    What a great opportunity to put these things into practiice in all churches throughtout the world.

    Lynn Klase

    16 Jan 09 at 9:19 am

  26. The church has failed miserably if even one of its flock is left unattended or being disconnected due to circumstances beyond their control. The church that doesnt include a ministry for homebound Christians needs to repent and check Gods word for the role of Deacons and Elders and might want to check the Pastors credentials and schedule as well.

    Stephen Kimbrell

    16 Jan 09 at 9:20 am

  27. Hi, I have been unable because of my schedule to get into a real community church. So I started a email newsletter with the sisters in Christ that I have met over my years of relocation. It is a great way for me to express what the LORD is doing in my life and vice versa. And we open our bibles to find our answers. We are also reading through the bible together in a one year format.
    Maybe you could share some words of wisdom with new or young sisters in Christ in a similar fashion.. Just a thought.

    Jen

    16 Jan 09 at 11:10 am

  28. I am thankful that this topic has been brought up.

    I believe that programs should be established within the community to reach out to persons who can not attend church services. It seems as if many “churches” have forgotten about community outreach and showing love in practical ways. Fellowship doesn’t consist of only going to church. Its more than that.

    Could it be possible for the home church ,of this Woman of God, to establish one night out of the week for persons to visit her. They can have bible study, worship time and even eat some dinner afterward. They can get persons to alternate which nights they plan to visit her home.

    Sometimes its the little things that matter the most.

    Terez

    16 Jan 09 at 11:14 am

  29. I believe that it is up to us, those that are able to be up and about, those of us who don’t have trouble seeing to drive and read our bibles, those of us who don’t have problems cooking and cleaning, to reach out to the dear, precious saints who are homebound. We are to be their community. They have gone before us, they have paved the way, they spent all night in prayer for those of us that would come behind them. How can we offer any less of ourselves. Sure, we’re busy. We have jobs and kids and committments and schedules and appointments. But let me remind all of us of one thing…we will always make time for what is important to us. I’m a single mom, I run ragged most days, but I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to go to church, even I have to drag myself there, exhausted, worn out or any other way. The bottom line is I can get there. Let me be the first to repent about not being cognizant of those that aren’t there, not because they don’t want to be, but because they can’t be. We are the church, the body of Christ and we need all members of that body, not matter how old and frail they might be. We must go to them.

    Renee

    16 Jan 09 at 11:59 am

  30. Hi Phil & homebound community. I attend Hope Community Church in Long Beach, CA and we have a group of mostly retirees that formed “Team Barnabus”. What a blessing these men & wopmen are. They go to minister to some of our homebound congregants and also provide meals for families going through a rough time either with illness or finances. They will appear at hospitals when one of our family or extended Hope family is hospitilized or facing surgery and these guys are PRAYER WARRIORS. So by this example, I see that it truly is a community and from what I hear the blessigns they receive by doing the Lord’s work is far beyond the time they put in. Team Barnabus is a GREAT example of the Holy Spirit bringing an idea to one and putting it into action by many-that is TRUE community.

    Thanks,

    WALLY

    Wally Henderson

    16 Jan 09 at 12:10 pm

  31. God knows these wonderful children of His will someday be unable to walk in to his church/temple, sing praises with others, etc. How about being a 100%, devoted \"prayer warrior\" for God. If you can\’t get out to be with others, make a list of anyone and everyone you can think of to pray for: pray for your church, pray for other churches, pray for family, friends, etc. Pray for our government officials, the lonely and the sick, those in the hospital… you get the picture.

    We need prayer now more than ever! Truly dedicated and diligent prayer warriors are priceless! I, for one, would be thrilled to know that there is a person in this world dedicated to praying for me and my family – what greater gift could there be?

    I hope this helps.

    Leah

    16 Jan 09 at 2:09 pm

  32. I hope and pray that the homebound person’s local sisters and brothers would offer to bring communion, or pick them up and take them to church, or ask to come visit. But since that’s not something the person can control, they could think of things they can control. Invite people over for dinner, or just over to visit, or to study the Bible.

    Lori

    16 Jan 09 at 2:17 pm

  33. I truly believe that as believers in Christ, we have a responsibility to reach those who are homebound be it by phone, a ministry of cards with Bible verses, actual home visits — whatever it takes. That should be a part of our ‘community’ effort.

    Susan

    16 Jan 09 at 3:17 pm

  34. Dear Phil, Your blog is a great resource for me. It was reccommended by a friend and I am very grateful. I read your suggestions for the homebound entered on 16 Jan. and found a few that I can apply to keeping in touch with my church family and would like to add a few. In the past my church had a “Telecom” ministry in which a group of volunteers called each of the homebound weekly or monthly by preference. I was one of the volunteers and found that the participation was very rewarding to all concerned. Unfortunatel,this ministry is now defunct. Today it could incorporate, email, telephone, and personal visits.Wow!
    Now that I am partially disabled and in the winter months almost totally homebound, I would consider this a great resource.

    There are many websites and newsletters like yours where Christians can connect. One of my favorites is the daily Joni Erickson Tada Devotional ; http://www.communications@joniandfriends.org/ If you are familiar with her, you know that she has had a life and has the ability to inspire and connect with anyone.
    Thank you very much for your mission.

    jimbo

    16 Jan 09 at 3:52 pm

  35. It seems to me that e-mailing is a good answer for lonely people who are unable to get out to community functions. Not ideal, but good. If you could connect those people to one another, they would surely find much they have in common.
    There are also people like me who would like to communicate by e-mail about spiritual matters. I e-mail with lots of folks but it is mostly about their busy schedules. As I study the Bible and read books about the Bible, I have lots of thoughts and questions which I would really enjoy sharing with someone who is equally interested in these subjects.

    As to feeling useful, I have a prayer list that is very long and would love some help with it. When people tell me their troubles, I promise to pray for them. But when I have so many to pray for, I have trouble staying focused and I don’t sound sincere, even to myself.
    Somewhere I have an article about a woman who was home bound and prayed for a boy she saw walking down the street each day. As you might guess, her efforts brought him to Christ and he accomplished great things. So many people call prayer “the last resort”. It ought to be the first thing we do and is always the most important thing to do.
    Therefore, I will add this subject to my prayer list!

    Lily

    16 Jan 09 at 4:16 pm

  36. Most churches have deacons, elders, missionairies to come to the homes and do Bible studies, prayer times, communion, and help with small tasks upon request around the home. Calling your personal minister of your needs surely can prompt a response for spiritual needs. Personal prayer and Bible study with God –the Father is forgiveable enough….but this should be a wakeup call that churches could do more home missions when especially requested by the individual desiring to receive it. Never be afraid to call and ask for something that we all need to do more of if welcomed.

    Karen J McMinn

    16 Jan 09 at 4:42 pm

  37. I too am quickly becoming unable to attend many church functions. I’m usually able to attend Sunday school and worship on Sunday morning but am no longer physically competant to try Sunday evening or Wednesday evening. I have found a web site that provides preaching in video format so it’s almost like going to church. Further, if you have the ability to IRC there is a channel called #Bible that provides fellowship if you participate. Both Liveprayer.com and #Bible ar non-denominational and no one will be turned away just behave yourself when you log onto #Bible. If you cuss, or flood, or message ops you might be banned.

    giladan

    16 Jan 09 at 5:08 pm

  38. I just thought of something else that you might be interested in doing. There is a Christian e-mail club called the Praise Line Loop that extends all over the country. Last time I knew we had 14 different loops. We share inspiration e-mails and newszines, pictures, clean jokes, etc. Some of use even write a little of our own. Coreen, Corkie2132006@aol.com, is the loop president and will help you determine which loop you want to participate in. I hope I’ll be seeing you.

    giladan

    16 Jan 09 at 5:19 pm

  39. Hi Phil and Folks,

    During the seven year illness and recent departure of my husband (to be with the Lord)we were blessed to have our pastor and members of our church community visit once a week for prayer. When this was not possible due to the weather we set up our speaker phone to hear the members that had gathered whereever they met. Because of their loving on us in this way we always felt a part of our church family. Even in the later stages of my husbands\’ illness they made an effort to come visit and pray in the only room that he lived.

    Blessings to all Gen.

    Genevieve

    16 Jan 09 at 5:45 pm

  40. The dilemma of sating an individual\’s God given need for community despite the presence of many (also God given) barriers, both temporary or permanent, has been a problem since (I would venture to guess) the beginning of human living. Needs that could be so easily attained in this world, without the interference of any obstacles or difficulties, would hardly have the power to encourage us to persevere in our sating of the most important need-that of eternal peace and happiness in His Most Holy Presence in the next world. That is why the crosses in life that each and every one of us bear (whether it\’s juggling to care for small children while in a state of nearly total exhaustion, running a household on a single income and trying to meet ever-growing financial expenses by working overtime, dealing with a family member\’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, dealing with the increasing limitations expected with the normal aging process, recovering from a long-term debilitating illness or injury, living with a chronic disease, or any number of other challenges), should be considered as blessings from Above which provide us with many opportunities for willingly and lovingly sharing our talents and abilities with our brothers and sisters (our community) as we all strive for communion with others.

    I was born with a hereditary disease which progressively weakens all of my muscles. When diagnosed the prognosis was that I would live until my early teens. My younger sister who also had the disease died when she was 12. My older brother who had a less severe form of the same disease died at the age of 39. I am 47 years old now, beating all kinds of records! That is not the important point though. What is important, is that my purpose here on earth is not yet completed. I am continually having to make adjustments and major life transitions to keep pace with my worsening physical abilities and health. While I am not completely homebound, I am dealing with increasingly severe restrictions to my lifestyle which could inevitably lead to that. I have numerous friends who, for various reasons, are homebound or severely limited as far as community involvement. But that shouldn\’t be a burden, especially during these technological times and increasing communication and community gathering styles, not to mention the loving and caring assistance of so many wonderful people. We are truly blessed with so many gifts. Being homebound shouldn\’t be a prescription for ceasing to be ivolved in our necessary Christian community life. Instead, we should see these or any limitations as an empowerment to meet God through others by uniting in different, creatively unique ways. We shouldn\’t be Doubting Thomas\’ by needing to \"see\" in order to believe. Let\’s join together by e-mail, or chat rooms, or as pen pals, or by phone, or by texting, or via satellite, or conference calls, or . . . You get the picture. We mustn\’t diminish the loving, healing, spiritually enhancing effects of community life because it is attained in an unfamiliar, or altered way from those of conventional thinking. And we can accomplish this all through prayer. If I know you are praying for this, and you know I am praying for this, I believe that God in his Almighty Wisdom knows that two or more are gathered together in His name (albeit a bit unconventionally!).

    Diana

    16 Jan 09 at 7:35 pm

  41. i don’t know if this will be of any help but i wanted to share…. When my father-in-law was passing away with cancer, we talked to some of the people of the church that he attended and asked them to come up to his house and sing and maybe preach a little if the Lord moved on them too. Well that night after church services they came up to his house they were singing, preaching and even shouting, It was great and very helpful for my father-in-law. It just warmed my heart to see so many people come to his house just because he was not able to get out and go to church, the church came to him, so if u know some of the people at church maybe they can come by your house for a little home service……
    Hope it helped….. God Bless U
    In my thoughts and prayers
    Praise God Always \o/

    Natasha

    16 Jan 09 at 11:35 pm

  42. I praise God for all the good hearts that provided these loving and creative answers. You have opened up new vistas for me, one of which is I already have great \\\\"community\\\\", just didn\\\\\\\’t think it through. I exchange e-mails with Christians on a regular basis, have offers of help from loving brothers and sisters in Christ–and am abundantly blessed! And the thought of spiritual community! How glad I am that you called that to my attention!
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I shall no longer cringe at the thought of being totally homebound. You have helped me see that the spirit cannot be confined to any kind of walls!

    Love in Jesus,
    Aline

    Aline Edson

    17 Jan 09 at 7:53 am

  43. Thank you all so much for your responses. I do believe that God is calling me to be a prayer warrior. I just don’t seem to be the “usual” prayer warrior because I dislike presenting a list of need to God. I would rather have communion with Him and then present requests as He tells me or reminds me of the need. Your responses have given me a few things to try. Thank you for you prayers. God has allowed my illness, MS, but not because He does not love me or to punish me. He is simply using my restrictions caused by the illness to bring me ever closer to Him.

    Sharon

    17 Jan 09 at 10:51 am

  44. i am homebound with advanced liver disease and just had to say that <b>Teresa\’s response</b> is exactly how i feel and what i believe…

    thank you, Teresa,
    for reminding us all that the church of God resides in our hearts first and foremost and that even if we can\’t assemble in the building we call church, that in no way, takes away from the Christian community God has placed us in.
    and that Jesus IS Community…
    since becoming ill and homebound with the liver disease, i have felt a bit judged for not being able to attend like all the others can.
    yet, i fellowship with so many Christians via the internet and phone…

    anyways, you say it better than i can:

    <b>\"The word “community” is one of the many words that we have taken and defined with our human minds and then tried to live it out according to “our” definition. JESUS is community. Once HE becomes Lord of our lives we are pulled into community with Father and Son through His Holy Spirit and then placed into community within the church—the body of JESUS. The church is not some place we go, join, or leave. Christ has fulfilled every piece of the Old Covenant; His glory no longer descends into a specific place; His Spirit now inhabits those who have crowned His Son as Lord. We are the temple of the Living God (2 Cor. 6:16)!! We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 1:9) The God who created everything does not dwell in temples made with hands NOR is He served by human hands (Acts 16:24-25). Our humanness has taken God and built Him a building that we call church and then created activities that we call His ministries. Because of this we have become deceived to believe that if we are not in that building doing those things we are not fulfilling His call upon our lives. It’s time to return to the Word of God to hear His heart! Our eternal life is not based on how we perform or whether we are at home or in a building; our eternal life is that we may “know” the only true God and His Son Jesus (John 17:3). If you are homebound, begin by falling in love with Jesus and allow Him to fulfill all your needs. You are the temple of the Living God; let your life shine with His presence in that home. Then simply trust His heart to form a community of “brothers and sister” around you for His glory and His name sake. Jesus wants us to know Him and the power of His resurrection; He wants us to fix our eyes on Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. When we truly begin to live in community with Father and Son through His Holy Spirit, we will see that by His divine power He has granted to us all that we “need” that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who call us to His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3, 4) We will believe in His precious and very great promises which include providing us with those who will encourage and uplift us in Him so that we become a manifold manifestation of the wisdom (wisdom is JESUS) of God!! (Ephesians 3:10). May God give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. May He enlighten the eyes of your heart that you may know the hope He has called you to through His Son Jesus. May He show you His glorious inheritance in the saints. May He reveal to you the immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe in Him. (Ephesians 1:17-19)

    Teresa\"</b>

    laineyrose

    17 Jan 09 at 2:21 pm

  45. Im sorry to say but many christians now days like to have convenience what I mean is church to home work to home and forget about those who cant make it to a congregation any more due to sickness. I want to share with you all. My husband and I have made it a part of our lives to go see people who are bed ridden especially those who once congregated with us and also we visit covelescent homes. We cant forget about the sick, widows and people who are in jail they need our prayers and our visitations with them. We anoint with oil and pray for them and their ailments, read from the bible, take them homecooked meals and anything else they might need and enjoy their company as well as they enjoy ours. You will see how much you shall be blessed by including these type of people in ur life as Jesus did he included in his ministry everyone. This is so gratifying to the soul of the ones who see the needs of others as for today society is always thinking about themselves and how can they put others in positions that God is actually calling them to do. I always keep in mind if I fell ill would I want my chrisitian family remembering me??? Yes, I would. Do unto others as they would unto you. Make a group effort in the congregations to go to that persons house and enjoy fellowship thru prayer and what ever else God would have put on your heart. God Bless you All and Hope I have helped.

    Tracy

    17 Jan 09 at 2:58 pm

  46. Three words are synonomous with each other, church community and service. Church is not a building, it is a bride. As with any bride, we the church want to look our best for our groom, Jesus Christ. A bride can look good inside a building, outside on the lawn, walking on the street to the carriage ready to escort the married couple to a heavenly home. The point is, the church, we the people in our community who are living in the world but are not of the world can take our service into any church members home to encourage, lift up, and enlighten. It sounds like the folks in the story were either not raised to understand that or are so incorporated in the lie that the church is Sunday morning. The church is 24/7 and is portable and mobile. So any representative of that local body could visist these folks once a day and maybe several on Sunday. Communion is not a once a quarter, once a Sunday, or once a month event. It is a soulful reminder of what our Savior did for us. Communion can be done as often as one wants. I have my own crystal communion cup and any number of starchy products to use as a reminder of the body and blood of our Savior, So, if any one person that visits these homebound folks should be open to sharing the blessing and command of communion with these folks at any time. It is not only a joy to remember the Savior in solo, it can and should be a happy blessing to share at any time. Get to know the folks you visit and bring simple gifts from time to time, the church needs to be people bonded together to spread the joy of their salvation, what better way than a body joining together to serve their homebound brothers and sisters on a daily basis.

    David

    18 Jan 09 at 7:59 am

  47. A really good idea, I think, would be to have church services at the home of a homebound person. My grandpa’s church, years ago, would do this, and it was always a good thing.
    Homebound people can contribute to the community, also. Discuss these matters with your homebound people and find out what it is that they feel comfortable with, as far as contributing. I’m sure that if we put our heads and our hearts together, The Lord will lead us in the right direction.

    Deborah Butler

    18 Jan 09 at 10:16 am

  48. As the caregiver for two in their eighties in our family I beg in their behalf for their churches to connect. They are in different care centers in different stages of dementia. One has an absolutely fabulous Hospice volunteer who visits almost every week. It gives her a chance to have someone care besides family. And it gives me peace to know that if I am unable to be there I can call on this volunteer to check on her. She will have a familiar person to see her.

    The other family member is very social, rides the bus to church weekly. But NO ONE from church visits, some send cards, but no one takes the responsibility to help her get to their care group…isn’t that a loving group!! I would love for there to be someone outside of family that I could call when we are all gone out of town to check in with her, to take her to the beauty shop. That is selfish on my part, but I know that there are young families who need to be teaching their children to be around old folks. These folks have the same attention span of the children, so visits don’t need to be long. Every time I take children to either facility many faces light up. What a service and teaching experience is being missed!

    Family member number two always has a “project” person at the center who she is helping get acquainted, helping adjust. But she yearns for community outside those walls.

    To those able bodied and mobile who might be reading this, I was the one who didn’t visit hospitals, and certainly not care centers. God is growing me each week as I become more comfortable stopping and kneeling to the white haired folks who are so lonely because no one or only a few take the time to stop and visit. My prayer is that whatever your group is you either “adopt” a homebound person and be flesh to them or schedule a time to visit the general population in a care center or visit someone on your church’s homebound list. Cards and calls are great, but don’t take the place of flesh!

    Mary Sue

    18 Jan 09 at 12:30 pm

  49. I know of someone who\’s been homebound for several years because of health restrictions, & yet she has been faithful at sending notes & cards, with inserts like bookmarks or scriptures, to so many people. My mother, up until the day she died, was committed to doing that, too. Using the computer, as others have pointed out, is another way to reach out from home.
    Being a prayer warrior is another way to minister & lift up those in need, plus thank God for His many blessings.
    If her church has a \"card ministry\" to send notes to people for various reasons (death in family, new member, new baby, welcome to visitors, or \"we\’ve missed you\"), she could volunteer to take that on. A staff member could keep her updated on whom to send notes to on a weekly basis.
    The Bible makes it clear that we are to respect our elderly men & women, and give honor to their wisdom & roles as mentors. Perhaps there could be a women\’s study in her home, led by her or someone else, for women new to marriage & parenthood, needing encouragement & support.
    Or why not invite others over, ask them to bring along a food item, & have an informal potluck & games or study together at times? There are probably others widowed or divorced, at home alone & needing fellowship with other women dealing with the same issues. It\’s amazing how much better a meal tastes when you have someone to share it with!

    Nancy

    19 Jan 09 at 2:07 pm

  50. We are a small rural congregation. We as a congregation meet in the home of one of our members 90+ years old on Sunday evenings when she is unable to meet at the building.
    In the past when both of my in-laws were home bound a group from church met in their home after evening services for singing, scripture reading and communion. This was every week for several years. A group of precious friends were around her bed singing just hours before she slipped away from us.

    Frances

    19 Jan 09 at 9:51 pm

  51. My situation is unique. I have been injured by DDT and mercury. I am chemically sensitive to what people wear on themselves and on their clothes. I can not tolerate perfume, cologne, aftershave, deodorant,scented laundry detergents, dryer sheets or any scented products of any kind. So if others wanted to visit or I invite them they’d have to come fragrence free. It’s a lifestyle change that does not leave much room for socializing unless it’s outside and upwind.

    David

    23 Jan 09 at 6:53 am

  52. Take the service to them! Maybe some folks from church would be willing to have service with them at their home.

    Rogette Bickerstaff

    25 Jan 09 at 9:18 am

  53. Hey Phil
    Just thought this was great! I’ve never seen one your guys ask for input. I read your pieces looking for answers to my questions. This is cool!

    I’m a 56 year old woman who may be facing this dilemma one day. I pray Jesus returns before that happens but my answer to this person’s question is very simple. Community means community. My in laws are 84. We visit them. Take them out to eat, etc. They are still mobile. My father in law is on a walker and has difficulty on some terrains so I feel he will be homebound soon. Their local church provides visitation to the elderly and the sick. Jesus didn’t try to do it all. He said, “Go and make disciples of all men!”. These disciples have families. A strong family unit takes care of each other.

    Local church communities need to bring fellowship to the homes of the home bound. It’s simple. The elderly have the same needs as a teenager. They will miss their friends. I don’t know how many times my kids said that to me. “I want to see my friends!”. That could be old or young. Parents let their kids have friends over. Kids let your parents have friends over! It’s role reversal. The kids provide for the elderly parents. The parents provided. Now it’s the kid’s turn. The parents of the church provided for the kids, now it’s their turn to provide for them. Simple! Just do it! No lip service or good intentions. ACT!

    Your sister in Christ
    Miriam

    Miriam

    15 Feb 09 at 6:37 pm

  54. Phil,

    After reading your post, I wanted to chime in. There are others out here with similar problems. For instance, I am a single Mom of a disabled little boy. His disease is debilitating and prevents us from mainstream activities like Sunday morning fellowship. Because it’s almost impossible to make special accommodations for him at church, we are forced to reside at home and communicate with the saints via phone or email. It’s difficult because we seek to be there but no one seems to understand or care that we are “on the outside looking in”.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Renee

    Renee

    15 Feb 09 at 6:43 pm

  55. While helping others is Christianlike, you can not help people and serve God if there is no one to be helped. Sometimes being in that community is being open to accepting help from others. This is not as easy as it seems. When you have been helping others all your life, it is difficult to start accepting that help, and there is a lesson there.

    Also their are areas to serve when you are homebound. The quick thoughts are babysitting, sewing, mending, or just being a grandparent to a child in need.

    Gail

    Gail

    15 Feb 09 at 6:46 pm

  56. Our local church (for context, I will allow it to mean a building where people meet to “have church”) has amassed a few brothers and sisters (not members) over the years, who can no longer assemble with us. We identify them as our “homebound” disciples.

    We have a very special group of ministers, deacons (or any other label you want to add) that put together monthly devotionals, church information, prayer concerns, and the like for them; and then at the first of the month they go to them. We have others that will fill in the gap with phone calls, visits, and cards.

    As I have told them many times, they are not to worry (fret) over the fact that their bodies will no longer assist their spirits in getting them to a place they want to be (the building we identified earlier as ‘church’). When the people can’t get to the church…the church (brothers and sisters in the faith) goes to the people.

    Just this past Wednesday evening, our time of gathering for prayer and praise, I put on the board the following, “Church – a community of connected people, who share a common passion and who have a common destination.”

    A family that operates from the blueprint God provided will stay connected!

    May God add His special grace to these words and bring clarity to the discerning heart.

    Randy

    Randy

    15 Feb 09 at 6:53 pm

  57. Perhaps the lady whop is 87 years old could have people come to her and have church in her home. As church is not the building but the people who meet there. I remember years ago when I was involved with an organization called PrayerGroups for Schools (parents etc) praying for their children in school. There were a group of elderly Christian women in senior living community who were encouraged to pray for students in the high school near them. A young church leader would drop in and see them and give them prayer points – they felt they were doing something useful and the students benefited from their prayers.

    Community is where a group of Christians meet wherever. I tell the students I teach religious instruction to that the classroom is a church when we are learning about the good news of Jesus.

    Thank you for the many words of encouragement you send out.

    In His wonderful love Sue

    Sue

    15 Feb 09 at 6:55 pm

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