My husband had some encouraging words to share this afternoon. Community has been such a huge part in our lives and we love being able to share our thoughts and feelings with everyone. This, the sharing of the impact that Christ has had on us and those around us, the spreading of God`s word. Showing people that we are here for prayer (in my last post), for small group, for `community`…enjoy 🙂
So, at the beginning of the month I shared what our small group were studying on facebook and received a huge response from people looking for prayer. In follow up to that message I shared a message on love with a small group of people through messenger. I am not holding back on this one because my experience in community with followers of Christ has been life altering for me. Abby and I decided to open our home for small group study at the beginning of the year and the relationships we have forged and the personal growth we have seen has been amazing. Here is something I put together on community and why it is important to me. It is a little lengthy but I promise that if you are looking to establish or deepen your relationship with Christ this may be what God wants you to see today.
Why do we need Community?
I belong to a wonderful Church and I am blessed to be a part of the most amazing small group. Before I began to pursue a relationship with Christ I didn’t know what Love really was. I didn’t know what family really was (and how much of it I would have). I didn’t understand that we were meant to live for so much more. That God has a purpose for our life and that community helps us live out that purpose.
God puts people in our lives for a reason. Occasionally He makes the reasons clear to us but we usually never fully understand His purpose. Sometimes that persons purpose is connected with our purpose and sometimes it’s not but one thing remains clear in scripture, God wants us to be in community. To worship together, break bread together, pray together and serve together.
Belonging to a Church that is alive in the spirit and providing sound biblical teaching is the first step in being in community with Christ but that is not enough. How many people are sitting in that Church surrounded by other believers and still feeling very much alone or lacking the support or motivation to dive deeper into serving Christ? Are you? God new that we were not meant to spend our lives alone. As soon as he created Adam he saw a need for Eve. Being in a small group is a chance to be in in a more intimate relationship with other followers of Christ. It is a place to share your true feelings, to be encouraged, to be supported, to admit your weaknesses, to be yourself, to be forgiven, to be challenged and to be loved without expectation, in a confidential, non-judgmental environment. Enough of my opinion though, what does God have to say about it?
What do we gain from being in community?
Hebrews 10:24-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
24 And let us consider and give [b]attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, 25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.
Matthew 18:19-20 New International Version (NIV)
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Galatians 3:28-29 Living Bible (TLB)
28 We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same—we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that we are Christ’s we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us.
What does community look like?
Romans 12:4-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Acts 2:42 The Message (MSG)
They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
1 Peter 3:8 Living Bible (TLB)
8 And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.
Romans 15:3-6 The Message (MSG)
3-6 That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!
1 John 3:16 Living Bible (TLB)
16 We know what real love is from Christ’s example in dying for us. And so we also ought to lay down our lives for our Christian brothers.
How do we make community better?
Acts 4:32-36 New International Version (NIV)
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Romans 16:17 Expanded Bible (EXB)
17 Brothers and sisters, I •ask [urge; encourage] you to look out for those who cause •divisions [dissension] and who •upset other people’s faith [create obstacles/stumbling blocks]. •They [or Such things] are against the true teaching you learned, so stay away from them.
James 3:18 The Message (MSG)
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
How do we grow our community?
Romans 14:1 Common English Bible (CEB)
Welcome the person who is weak in faith—but not in order to argue about differences of opinion.
Romans 12:16 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
John 13:20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who receives and welcomes and takes into his heart any messenger of Mine receives Me [in just that way]; and he who receives and welcomes and takes Me into his heart receives Him Who sent Me [in that same way].
So, if you’re not connected to a Church that motivates you to step out in faith, find one today! Get involved in a small group and start living the life God intended for you. One body, one heart, one mind focused on God’s Kingdom here on earth!