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community

 

 

 

Acts 2:44-46

All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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.

In the last few years, there have been many intentional communities springing up all over the United States. Neighborhoods, where residents form a community to support and encourage the residents in that community. When I first heard of these communities, I thought it was a strange idea. As I researched some of these communities around the U.S. I realized that these Christians are living a modern day version of the Church of Acts. These contemporary communities are simply newer versions of monasticism and religious orders that have been around for many many centuries.

I have been blessed to work in the Mother house of the Sisters of Providence and in the 3 1/2 years I have worked there, I have learned much from these women about community. They are united by their charism of love, mercy and justice. They work and live together to better the communities in which they live. Do they always get along? No. Sometimes they disagree, but they accept that they each have their own opinions and personalities and love each other anyway.

Jesus and His disciples formed a community. The Israelites formed a community as they wandered the desert. The early Christians formed a community. The early religious formed communities, as they formed monasteries and convents. Saint Francis formed a community and there are still many Franciscan communities alive today in honor of him. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin left her home in France, made a new home in Indiana and started a community of women who live and work to better the communities in which they live.

For most of us, building community starts with the church. This can be difficult in some churches, where everyone comes together for a couple of hours of Sunday and forget each other the rest of the week. Many churches are trying to build community by starting small groups of like minded individuals. These groups meet once a week and usually stay connected enough to bond and help support and encourage each other. Catholic churches are known for having daily masses so that Christians can meet together daily in the Temple courts as the early Christians did.

Another way to build community is in the neighborhood that you live in. Start a neighborhood Bible study and invite your neighbors. I have written a blog post on community transformation. To read that post, click here.

We see community all throughout the Bible. It is so important for us to have those people in our lives that share life with us. We need people that will go through the ups and downs of life with us. God never intended for us to go through life alone. He made us to desire that contact with one another.

I know sometimes it is hard to push ourselves out there and let our guard down long enough to build relationships. What if we get hurt? I get that. Believe me, I get that. I’m the one with an avoidant personality. Even I know that God made us to do life together and as hard as it is for me to push myself out there, I have to, because God did not mean for us to do life alone. If He had, He never would have made Eve as a companion for Adam. He wouldn’t have had to. Adam would have been fine on his own.

My challenge to you:

Go out, get involved and build a community. Don’t let fear keep you from connecting with other people. Trust God and start building relationships that may last you the rest of your life. You’ll be glad you did!

 

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the-church-has-left-the-building-logo

Mr. Good Intentions, so much I wanna do
My mouth just keeps on running, but I never follow through
I heard that true religion, is love with hands and feet
I wanna find my own way to reach a world in need
Yeah, I’ve been captured by the unimportant
Locked in, and now it’s time to break free

Chorus
There’s more to life
Open my eyes
Someone is needing You
So I gotta make a move
What good are words
When this world hurts
Real faith will come through
When I make a move

We don’t need permission, to go outside of these doors
And dream some crazy dream no one else has dreamed before
To show love and compassion
Whatever way it may be
To put faith into action, do more than just believe
We are hope to those who have been broken
We were made to make a difference

These are some of the Lyrics of “Make A Move” sung by Royal Tailor. This song is so much more than the catchy tune that makes you want to dance. God has used the message in this song to convict me. Am I acting as the hands and feet of Jesus? Am I putting faith into action? Am I making a difference?

Honestly, I don’t know if I am. I would like to think I am, but am I really? Am I any better than those “Sunday Christians” that show up to church on Sunday, making their weekly appearance and forgets God the rest of the week. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be so passionate about living my life for Jesus, that everything I do points to Jesus. I want to really SEE those who have been broken. Are my eyes open to those who have been hurt? Are my eyes open to those who are lost and need Jesus? Am I to busy trying to check off items on my to-do list to really be aware of those around me? Am I willing to step out of my comfort zone and “Make A Move”?

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

As a member of the Church body, I have become concerned that we are not living up to our part of the Great Commission. Jesus said to, “go and make disciples of all nations” not “hide behind your church walls and wait for the broken and lost to come to you.” Jesus gave us a command to “go.”

According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com: Go means to move, travel or proceed. It is a verb, an action word. When Jesus tells us to “go,” it is a command that He expects us to obey.

We think it is good enough to sit behind our church walls and send a few missionaries out into the world. Don’t get me wrong, sending out missionaries is a good thing, but it can’t be all that we do. We are ALL to be missionaries in our own sphere’s of influence. We are ALL to GO and make disciples in our own communities, reaching the lost in our own families, neighborhoods, work places, and cities.

Some of us want so much to be missionaries, not realizing that we ARE missionaries. Every one of us that claims to be a follower of Christ is a missionary. It is our job to make disciples. Step out of your fear. Step out of your apathy. Step out of your busyness. Step out of your comfort zone. If we love Jesus, we will obey His command.

I don’t want to be locked in anymore. I want to break free!

Dearest Jesus,

Give me a heart for the broken. Give me a passion to reach the lost. I don’t want to be a “Sunday Christian.” I want to be able to step out of my comfort zone. I want to be a missionary in my own community. Give me that heart, that passion. Give me a heart that follows through. Give me a heart that only wants to obey the great commission. I love you, Jesus. I only want to do your will.

Amen

GO outside of the church walls and make disciples. Don’t hide. Follow Jesus. He never hid behind walls. He went out and He expects us to do the same.

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