Thursday, April 2, 2009

Living in Community

God never ceases to amaze me. I was asked to proofread some documents recently. I've had the project on my "to do" list for two months now.

I know, that's insane!

I'm determined to complete the task. I began working on the project and finished with the first document. Then, I began working on the second document and got frustrated. (It was longer.) Today, I finally finished that second document. I told my friend "I will send you the others tonight." Now, I'm obligated.

I allowed the afternoon and evening to go by without finishing the other documents. I did important things like cook dinner, talk to my husband and kids, run to WalMart for a few grocery items, make cookie dough with my kids, and then put kids to bed with Joel. But, I also lost my uumph to get the project done.

Meanwhile, in my head and heart have been swimming concerns, questions, and bits of learning about "Community". Particularly, I have noticed lately that many women I know well talk about not having many deep friendships with other women.

I have always struggled with having deep friendships with other women (when I was younger, with other "girls", as we were not yet women).

Why is this?

Don't get me wrong, I have some very close girlfriends. But, as a whole, I would say that I sometimes still struggle with this. Since I've now moved several times, many of my closest girlfriends don't live anywhere near me (some around the world, some on the east coast, some in the southwest, some in the south). I would still categorize myself as someone who makes acquaintances very quickly but only forges deep friendships after much time and some testing.

Enter the project.

I decided as I was sitting here at my computer looking at something else, "I'm going to finish the project!" So, I opened the next document.

Whaddya know?

The topic is Community.

• Do you have close friends or connections?
• Have you ever wondered, where did all my family or close friends go; it is so hard to maintain close connections, and then you realize it is even harder to make new ones. This can be overwhelming and sad.
• Are you afraid of getting too close to people?
• Are you afraid of admitting your need for people in your life and then feeling rejected and left alone?
• Let’s flip it around. Are you too caught up in your own busyness that you don’t recognize people that feel this way and you don’t allow them to connect with you?
• We live in a very individualistic culture. A very lonely world.
• Among the church should be the last place you feel alone, but the church is also a setting of loneliness rather than connection often times.

What do people need? True, authentic, and real community. It's what we were created for!

So, how do we have that kind of community?

As a Christian, we need to look at the early church. Read Acts 2:41-47.

They (Christians) met together daily. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer.

The apostles' teaching was central. (This was even before the New Testament was written, of course--they were living it!)

Take a look at Acts 2:14-36 to see what the first hand accounts from the apostles would have looked like.

The Scriptures were vital to their gatherings. The wanted to know Jesus intimately and wanted to know how to live like Him.

Jesus prays to the Father, Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17.17). Is this happening today?

George Gallup says The churches of America face no greater challenge as we approach the next century than overcoming biblical illiteracy, and the prospects for doing so are formidable because the stark fact is, many Christians don’t know what they believe or why. Our faith is not rooted in Scripture. We revere the Bible, but we don’t read it. Some observers maintain that the Bible has not in any profound way penetrated our culture.

In the first century, the believers were penetrating their culture. Why? Because they devoted themselves to the apostles' teachings. They weren't a people puffed up with knowledge. They were a people who in hearing, reading, studying, applying, and engaging with the Scriptures had their life so radically changed that they lived like Jesus. They walked in holiness. And, their godly witness spread like wildfire.

Our relationship with Jesus is definitely a personal relationship. We can grow personally and individually, but we must not forget that we also need community (the body of believers) to help us in the area of growth. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 talks of two being better than one because when one falls, the other can help him up. Likewise, Hebrews repeated says "let us..." as it talks about growth. Hebrews 10:24 says "Let us consider how we can spur one another on towards love and good deeds."

Our walk is not just an individual thing. It involves a community.

Maybe I'll write more about this later, but for now, I'm glad I chose to proofread the documents.

It never ceases to amaze me how God answers prayer. I had no idea this document was sitting on my computer as I wrestled around with my thoughts earlier and began asking Him questions through prayer.

He is such a faithful God.

I just can't begin to imagine my life without Him.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this, Megan.

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  2. You're welcome. I'm glad it was a blessing to you too.

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  3. I find that woman are open to starting friendship but fear holds them back from creating too deep of a relationship. Also, friendships are often created over a period of time and there are friendships that are truly only for a season. I love to nurture and grow friendships, but I found that if you try to create them too quickly they can often fall short as fast as they grow. My greatest joy is the friendships I am making right now with women who share my faith and aren't afraid to call me to the carpet when i need it most. Thanks for you thoughts and getting this topic "out there".
    :)Sarah

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  4. I completely agree on the seasonal friendships. It is hard to let go when someone has been significant in your life and the season has passed, though. I think it makes women leery of trying to establish other close relationships. They are afraid to get close and then "lose" that new friend. Ultimately, we must relate to Jesus as our Best Friend and not place anyone else in that role. The Lord really challenged me on that as a college student and while it hasn't been easy ever since, I've always known that I had to have the Lord as my true BEST friend and let other women play the roles HE ordained for them in my life.

    I always think of Isaiah 6. It says that when King Uzziah died (a very close friend to Isaiah) that Isaiah "saw the Lord". I think that speaks highly of how Uzziah always pointed Isaiah to the Lord. That's what friends are in our lives to do--constantly point us back to Jesus, back to the Word. If that's not happening, don't be surprised if the Lord removes that friend. He is jealous for us!

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