Wednesday, November 02, 2005


“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” Heb 10:24-25

I’ve become convinced that it is simply impossible to be a walking Christian without community. That’s not what the world tells us – in the world, it’s all about your “personal faith” or “private beliefs.” You don’t even have to attend church on Sunday to claim Christ, much less be deeply woven into a community of believers. I used to say, in my desire to avert religion, that you could be a Christian without going to church. I still believe that. You can be a Christian without ever stepping foot into a church building. But, you absolutely can not walk with the Lord without stepping out with commitment into a group, a community, a gathering of believers. You absolutely can not have all that God has for you – intimacy, growth, encouragement, selflessness, devotion, commitment, love, patience, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. You can’t dive deeply into the Kingdom of Heaven unless you are holding the hands of, being led by and leading God’s children. We are one body, brought to life by the Blood and moved and activated by His Spirit. Moving as one body.

Don’t be fooled. You can be a church attendee and have no community. If church is about checking off a list or if your deepest conversations go this far: “Hey, how ya doing?” Then, you have something in common with the residents of hell. You are alone. You are not in community. You are right where Satan wants you – divided, so you can be conquered. Brother, don’t put yourself in that place.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe. I’m only writing like this because I have been there. I’ve bounced from church to church. I’ve made many surface church friends. No more, Lord. I have committed to walk as Jesus did – and he was always in community and always, always deeply in love with his church. I’ve experienced, for the first time, a true love for the church. Love that makes me want to carry a cross and be hung for the sake of the Body. Don’t get me wrong. I am scared right now. I’ve asked God for months to remove any comfort I have that is not Him – and He is answering. Recently, I’ve asked God to take me as far as He wants to take me. Scary. And, over the past month, God has shown me how very little I know about Him. I have experienced things of the Holy Spirit I’m not ready to write about – simply because I don’t understand. I don’t understand – but meanwhile, all the things I had in my head about God have been transplanted into my heart. And it has changed everything.

Stepping into community is scary, I know. You may be rejected. You may be hurt. You may not feel comfortable. And these are all legitimate concerns because you’re dealing with humans. Entering it is perilous territory, but staying out is damning. Let me add this important disclaimer. I’m not saying you will lose your salvation or that you never had that free gift if you are out of community. I am only saying, get into community – your abundant life depends on it!

Come, Holy Spirit. Fill me up. Thank you for creating us for community. Help me to love the church, even with its flaws, as You love the church. The day is drawing near, Lord. The birthpains are growing closer together. Praise your Name! Amen.

On a side note, I thought it was kind of funny that the entries "Hell" and "Community" ended up right next to each other -- as they are diametrically opposed to one another. Satan wants you alone -- he, not God, gives you the anxiety that prevents you from stepping into a community. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

For more on this, read Acts 2 or “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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