Saturday, September 12, 2009


God’s stirring something. Alright, that’s a really bland/general/duh statement. Okay, specifics. God’s stirring community here in Jacksonville. Hmm…still general. Let’s try: God’s stirring deeper community in my heart and in the hearts of others. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

Over a recent period of time, I’ve realized I need deeper spiritual intimacy with my close brothers and sisters than I’ve had. I think the dangerous “Christian culture” has slipped in and settled quite comfortably. For a while, I’ve been satisfied with just hanging out with Christians, having fun moments together. And that’s good and I feel to be desired and sought, in its proper place/proportion. But when that’s as deep as it gets on a regular basis…I need more.

Now, bringing this up demands definition. What is community? What does the Bible say about how we are to live with each other? What I’m I looking for? Spoiler alert: this note will NOT answer all that :). My, that would be a chore not only beyond my ability/knowledge, but beyond my pressure-bearing point as well. But hopefully this can spark discussion, here or in person, within my community and within other ones.

Acts 2:42 (and more in the chapter) is often used to help define community: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” That doesn’t seem hard. I mean, really, is there anything in there that’s difficult? Oh, wait, we’re people. We get distracted, we have emotions that take us in various directions, we struggle with sin, etc. Yeah, that makes it a bit tougher. But obviously does not make it impossible.

So, deeper community. Maybe I’ll just go with some of my own thoughts/desires, and continue from there. I want to be truly “involved” in others’ lives, in knowing how they’re really doing, how I can be of help to them, how I can pray for them…and to actually pray with them. I’ve read recently about how the Body of Christ is a place for people to be accepted and known, and a safe place to grow because of acceptance. I want to help make that safe place, and I myself need it. Symbiotic beauty of intentional Christ-centered community…it’s good.

I discussed this topic over lunch the other day with a good friend. Both our hearts yearn for this, yet at times, perhaps most of the time, we feel somewhat helpless/lost in how to go about it. I do think this kind of community takes commitment, and it can be awkward, to me, to go through some form of “are you committed to this?” stage. But there comes a point where we must advance forward in our walks, and I feel this is something that has to happen. I’ve seen so many scriptures point to the idea that we’re either gaining life or we’re dying. The middle ground (think lukewarm) cannot sustain.

This all takes sacrifice. I’m not sure in what ways it will reveal itself for me, but I will have to sacrifice for this. That’s hard. I’m selfish. I don’t like sacrificing. But though sacrifice feels like death, without it, we will die a slow death, indeed. I’m in agreement with my friends who say we don’t want to live a mediocre life, have a mediocre walk with the Lord. And that’s going to be costly. Sigh.

So, what does this look like? How does this start? (Some/most of this application may be more for my situation specifically, where we have a small “core” group of friends already). I think sometimes that may be to pray, then to go out and do something fun. Sometimes to pray, and go somewhere God leads us and help someone/people. Sometimes to pray, and to stay and pray some more. There’s no perfect formula, no set program or way to do this. It does take a group of people, who’s hearts are prepared by the Lord and enabled by the Holy Spirit, to come together and be of one heart and united in seeking the Lord and His kingdom. You don’t find that just anywhere, or randomly. It’s intentional, yet God-given and God-grown.

Life is hard. We need each other to carry on; relationships are one amazing way God grants grace and helps us persevere. We can’t make it in this race alone. We weren’t designed to do it that way. I want to challenge you to pray over these things, and to discuss them with your community. If you don’t have one, seek out others who are seeking the Lord. I feel trite in saying that, but do it. If you are in a community that maybe isn’t quite what you desire, be the change that you seek. And trust me, don’t do THAT on your own; go to God for the strength necessary.

Our Father’s heart is for His people to be in right relations with each other, spurring one another on, building one another up. Let’s do that.

Oh, and Acts 2:47: “…praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Don’t forget to be out-reaching. I’ve seen really good communities dissolve because they became inward-focused only. There’s a balance, as you do need to look after the health of the “internal” relationships. But don’t settle there. Bring others into the fold. That’s Jesus’ heart.

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