Thursday, December 12, 2013

Four Essential Ingredients: Community


We continue to look at the four essential ingredients for a thriving Christian life represented in Acts 2. This is where we see the very first church focused on the four ingredients necessary to grow together – nurture, worship, community, and mission. In order to grow as vibrant Christians, we need to make sure we place these as a priority in our faith journeys.

In Acts 2:42-47, it says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

You have probably heard the phrase, “We need each other.” From the very beginning of creation, God has put in all of us the need for others. To go a little deeper, we need people with whom we can feel close, with whom we can share, and we need it on a regular basis. Not just anyone. We need people who are followers of Jesus Christ to be in our inner circle. We cannot live out our relationship with Jesus Christ in isolation. There are times when we need pushed and times we need to push. There are times when we need challenged in our routine of going to corporate worship and kept accountable in our time of digging deep in the Word of God. We need others with whom to share personally and struggle over issues that are facing us in real time.

Building community takes more than a shared faith and common beliefs. It takes more than just coming to church weekly and sitting beside each other in worship. Community is devotion to another person or set of persons based on our joint experience of God at work in us. It is being intentional at placing others in our lives to process life in general. We are encouraged to spur one another on in the faith. If we just rely on seeing others on Sunday morning, then our spiritual journey will be lacking depth.

Christ has forgiven us. We are new creations in Christ when we are redeemed by His love and living in His fullness. Our identity is in Jesus and our relationships should be rooted in Him. Many have said that this Christian journey is learning how to get along with each other. None of us are perfect. We have simply believed in Christ’s forgiveness and lean on Him for our daily bread. By belonging to God’s Kingdom, we are free to risk ourselves in involvement with each other. This is where so many people miss out on God’s best.

If we are going to spend eternity in heaven together, why not begin to work on these relationships now? Being a part of God’s kingdom is about working through life’s trials and temptations together. I simply cannot go on my own path and expect to find wholeness. Part of wholeness is finding where I fit in the family of God. It is working through my fears and failures. It is learning to make conflicts a stepping stone and not an obstacle. Being open for the holiness of God to shine in all areas of my life is opening myself up to others, trusting God to protect my inner most being.

As our church continues working on providing tools for us to not be a Sunday-Morning-only church, ask the Lord to prepare you to go deeper and grow more in love with Him and His body. We are growing wider as a congregation. I am not talking about our weight. I am talking about the number of people who are attending our church. As we get bigger, we need to work on getting smaller so we do not lose the ability to grow deeper.

I really enjoyed the preschool and family Christmas musical on Sunday. They did an outstanding job. I will have to admit that some of the angels scared me a little. But after a few nightmares, I finally got over it (LOL). It was good to see so many people involved in the program. We are so blessed as a church. There are so many wonderful things going on. I always look forward to hearing the many stories of God’s hand at work in so many lives. God is on the move… We are continuing to get testimonies of how God used the seed money to bless someone. Keep the reports coming.

Our choir will be singing on Sunday and we will be bringing new members into the church. The Theme forSunday is, “Be Blessed.” We truly are…

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

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