Summary: To effectively live the Christian life, it needs to be done in community.
Building a bridge to tomorrow means laying down the planks of community today. Almost every person alive has a desire for community. They even know how they want that community to be shaped…listen to this…
(play theme from Cheers)
Many of you could sing the theme, and most of you would like to be living it right now. In Cheers, it is a bar they migrate to, seeking to be on an equal level, and for a time, they seemingly are there. That is until 2 am when the lights go out and they wander from their journey of misplaced hopes back into the reality of life.
Life is not perfect as we all know. We could take a lifetime just talking of the scars and the injustices we have all experienced. When they sing Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got, we know far too well just how true that statement is. Some of you deal with the miscarriage of justice at the workplace, where honesty and being upright is twisted. You are just trying to make it through life and someone rains on your parade. I have been working with someone through this very thing just this week.
Cheers, the neighborhood bar is not the solution for our problems of disconnection. In fact, for some it has been the beginning of greater heartache. Where can one from the answer. It should be the church. Yet, we know that is not always the case. Just being honest. In fact, a lack of love, acceptance and forgiveness has driven people from the church to the bars, and that is something to be ashamed.
If we lived the lifestyle of Jesus, the Cheers theme could be ours for the church more truly represents the song than anything else found this side of heaven.
In Acts 2:42 they sang the song before television. It says They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal and the prayer. (The Message).
How can we build a bridge of community. I have a few thoughts. We build a bridge through…
We could even call habitation another word for commitment. It is the staying power, not the leaving power. Habitation is that place where everyone knows your name.
It says in Hebrews 10:25: Do not stop going to church meetings. Some people do stop. But help each other to be strong.
At New Hope we are making a move toward small groups. We have taught in our life development series, you grow larger by growing smaller through small groups. We have several members who have indicated an interested in leading. We have a vision for a network of small groups meeting throughout the region where people can get to know each other, to minister and be ministered to. Community is developed through this kind of interaction. In our busy society, we are encouraging you to be involved here on Sunday morning and in a small group during the week. In a month we will be phasing out Sunday nights except for leadership training once a month, and that will be more than likely in the afternoon. So for people to know your name, and for a biblical concept of church, you need to be rooted in a community of believers, not just a nameless face in the journey of life.
To have community we also need to have
Paul writes the letters to the various churches and we read such things as God’s amazing grace be with you! God’s robust peace! to the Thessalonians. Or I asked Him (God) to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this wait goes on, the deeper the ache. I so much want to be there to deliver God’s gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! Paul wrote in greeting the Christians at Rome.
Do you catch the enthusiasm he has? Do you share that same enthusiasm with others. Are you looking forward to getting with people in community on Sunday and soon to be gathering together in community in small groups?
This week someone called and asked if they could come by for coffee. I was excited for the opportunity to spend time in community. Laura thinks its because I love to talk. I love community and I am excited about Jesus, and I love to help people build a bridge to tomorrow.
We started a small group which meets here at the church Tuesday nights called Celebrate Recovery. We are practicing the disciplines of community and singing the song God’s way as we are getting to know each other, sharing our hearts, working through our habits and hang-ups and enthusiastically looking forward to each new day.