Summary: This sermons is about growing as a community.

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Being One in Spirit

June 24, 2001

What would most people say if you asked them, “what’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word Christian or church?”

- What do you think most people would say?

- Loving, Caring, Serving the Community, Welcoming, Generous, Authentic, Unified

- Or do you think the words “legalistic”, “judgmental”, “Intolerant”, “mean” appear?

- Rather than being known for our love, we have b/c known for positions on moral and ethical issues… for being out of touch, “holier-than-thou”, for being right-wing Republican extremists.

The sad truth is that in many cases, the world is right. As a church as believers, we certainly don’t seem to have mastered the fine art of “loving” very well.

- Consistent stream of people struggling with relationships

- Rather than being outward and sacrificial, we’ve b/c much like the world… preoccupied with ourselves, looking out for number one.

- Of course, its not just us… its our culture who touts virtues, which go against the grain of how we were created… as social beings.

- We see commercials of the “rugged individualist”… that mountaineer climbing up to the top of the mountain with his dog and box of Grapenuts… looking so free. But does rugged individualism free us as people or cause isolation?

- One person was boasting about how, via the Internet, you can carry on a conversation with someone 2000 miles away.

o Why would you want to do this? Isn’t it better to go out for a cup of coffee with your friend? What happened to healthy relationships?

o Do these chat rooms free us as people or cause even a great disconnect with the world around us?

Again, it’s not just us… but our culture… even the very structure of our communities: Urban Architect wrote an article on modern communities

- Do you think most new homes are being created with people in mind… with the aim of building nice communities where people can interact and live comfortably?

- No! New communities are being built with your car’s comfort in mind, not yours.

- Have you noticed that very few homes are built with front porches… and if they were built with front porches, no one hardly ever sits out on them?

- But how many homes have big decks in the fenced in back yard!

- You can have someone approach his house after work and click the garage opener… drive into the garage, get out, enter the house thru the garage, and close the garage door without the slightest possibility of connecting to a neighbor.

- What happened to Andy playing his guitar on the front porch with Barney harmonizing and Aunt Bee knitting?

- All these thing have contributed to the heightened sense of loneliness and disconnectedness people feel today as compared with even a decade ago.

Yet, in spite of our culture, the church is called to be different…

- we’re called to be a community where people can be real with one another

- where people can share their hearts without fear of being judged or labeled unspiritual.

- We’re called to be a community where together relationships are characterized by love, honesty, and respect… stirring one another on as friends toward deeper intimacy with Jesus.

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