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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Living in community with others

by Brad Houchin  
From the beginning, living in community has been God’s designed plan for mankind. We were not only created to be in relationship with God, but also with other people. Right now, take a few moments to think about the relationships you have surrounded yourself with in your community.

Who is a part of your community?
Where do you find your community?
What is the impact that you have on your community?
What is the impact that your community has on you?

Our culture promotes relationships to provide a comfort level for us, saying we should only take a risk when we feel like it or when we need something from someone.  Is that what Jesus taught and modeled for his followers?

Matthew 9:35-38,  “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

While on earth, as Jesus ministered, he modeled how to have a right balance in community. Like Jesus, it is important for us to not just be focused on our “church community.”  We need to look for opportunities to spread the truth of God’s Word by being in relationship with others outside of our “church community.” As we surround ourselves with those who are like-minded in faith, we engage in an “iron sharpening iron” kind of relationship.  At the same time, we also need to be intentional to engage in relationship with those in need and where Christ can be revealed to the heart of the individual you are in relationship with.

How does your community compare to the example set by Jesus?

What is the importance of being involved in a community of like-minded believers?

Who is in your “iron sharpening iron” community and what is the impact he/she has on you?

Jesus was intentional in reaching out to others.  We too, need this same intentionality in building our communities. Often, we can struggle not knowing how to connect with certain people, especially those who might not share the same values and beliefs that we have. Others might be hard to connect to because we cannot directly relate to what they may be going through or we may not have a way to directly meet their needs. In the end though, we have exactly what they need, and we need to trust that God has placed them in our lives for this very purpose.

Acts 3:3-10, “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.  Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.  Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God,  they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

We have the hope of Christ to share! It is in sharing this message that we have confidence to influence and impact our community - those who are like-minded in faith, and those who are hurting and lost. This is what makes living in community with others relevant.

Community is one of the evidences of what Relevant Ministry calls - the "7 Marks of Spiritual Health".  RM Coaching helps to assess all 7 Marks, providing an insightful check-up for personal spiritual health.  The RM team is writing about all 7 Marks, focusing on one topic a month with a new Blog article each week.  The topic this month is Community.  Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversation.

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RM’s vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

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