community

community-group

I love cop shows. I love seeing justice served. I love it when I see mercy. I particularly love it when they bust down a door with one good kick!

Part of my attraction to a couple of the cop shows that I watch, is the community. One show begins with the crime, then comes the show intro, and then the scene with the four main characters. It’s usually in the office and there’s a likeable comradery between them. They kid each other, celebrate together, have one another backs, and from time to time they get into one each other’s face. You’ll often see them going out for drinks at the end of an episode.

The other cop show that I’m a fan of, had a wonderful wrap up scene a number of months ago. Mostly single, various ages, some picture perfect and some would have tipped the scale at 350…and they were enjoying a meal together at a local restaurant. Again, a team that watches one another’s back but will have the hard conversations that need to be had. And then I looked across the various nationalities represented from the gang and I was reminded of an old Sunday School song: ‘red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight…’

[9] And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
(Revelation 5:9 ESV)

The picture of singles and marrieds and young and old and various people groups represented is another post for another time…but I want to hang onto that picture of community.

Picture a group of leaders in a local church and they desire for the church to grow in intimacy and in depth. That’s a good desire. They want the people to be more vulnerable in their small groups and that’s another good goal.

The leaders want intimacy and closeness and vulnerability but that’s difficult in the body because it’s a scary place to go. Leaders and small group members know that it’s hard to be real. It’s easier to present an image of yourself than to take off the mask.

Here’s a couple of questions to consider in thinking about your depth of relationships with other believers. Do you sit open and ready to share when that time comes in various settings or are you hunched over with your arms crossed? (You can tell a lot about a person by body language). When called on to share do you take shots at your spouse or kids that makes everybody feel uncomfortable? Do you use humour to dodge the bullet so you don’t have to reveal too much about yourself?  Are you seen as a dictator by your kids or your employees or the people you oversee at church or are you seen as disciple-makers who has victories and failures but has a deep love for those in your care? Do you seek forgiveness when you’ve blown it with friends, family, and co-workers?

[8] So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
(1 Thessalonians 2:8 ESV)

I remember hearing many years ago that there is more fellowship in a local bar than in the local church. I think the word ‘fellowship’ was used incorrectly because people who are saved are the only ones who will have true fellowship but I do see accuracy in the statement. (I’m not suggesting that a believer can’t go to a bar but you know what I mean.) I do know that TV shows are a bunch of actors who get paid to read lines but I also know that there is something revealed in some of those shows that we all crave…true fellowship. The early church had lots of problems but there is that one snapshot that we see and love and desire in Acts 2:

[42] And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. [43] And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. [44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45] And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46] And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, [47] praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47)

The reality is that many of us believe that we are individuals that come to the local church on Sunday morning and we compare ourselves with each other to see how well we are doing? (Reality is that we’re to each compare ourselves to the Lord Jesus to see how jacked up we really are and to see that the ground is level around the cross.) We may not say it out loud but I’d suggest that that’s how a lot of us think.

Could it be that our brothers and sisters in Christ want real, genuine people that they can call their spiritual family? Could it be that they need your encouragement? Could it be that they want your rebuke, even though it could be a really hard conversation or series of talks? Could it be that they need help on their journey with Jesus, just like you do? Could it be that they sit and talk with other Christians for an hour or two but feel empty when it’s done because they never got beyond the weather, kids, sports, TV shows, and what they thought of the pastor’s last sermon? (Nothing wrong with talking about these things but their is deeper, more satisfying terrain to cover.)

We were born again for fellowship. We crave it. We need it. We want it but it’s scary because you might be rejected. Why not take a baby step with another believer today? You may be rejected…or you may find someone who was looking for the same thing you were.

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