Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Community.....Part Two

We, as members of a community, see with the eyes of the Savior how much torment and grief strikes those around us. We see how a gentle smile, a kind word, and even a stern correction can urge one another on to the hope we have. Through a community we are encouraged to not just do the right thing; we are also enabled to live in peace, with love and patience flanking our sides. We fight the battles together, we rejoice in harmony, and we weep with great heaves.

One of our church elders, Gerald Griffin, recently spoke about this idea of community. He sounded the alert that we, as a church, need to become more involved as to provide even further opportunity to grant one another the benefits of knowing each other more intimately, as brothers and sisters. He resounded that as followers of Christ are called to live in light of this concept, that we are created for communion with God and with others. It was a Sunday morning that moved many people, some to tears, as they realized that their own lives were marked by the isolation and chaos of missing out on the blessing of community. We are praying that Eden continues to grow in community and that each of you are encouraged to grow in your relationship with Christ as you grow in relationship with each other.

Nick’s work is taking our little family to Colorado, in pursuit of provision for the family God has charged Nick and me with. We don’t know how long we’ll be gone, but as Nick and I embark on the next journey in our lives on this earth, we are praying that the Lord blesses us with another kinship that we can join in, unified by the Lord. Our lives have been greatly affected by our “Portland people”…more than a simple article can state. We hope and pray that as we continue on we can be that same blessing to others that God puts in our path, that the Lord would continue to bless Eden Bible Church with community and His other numerous blessings, and that we will become part of another church that is the extension of His grace on earth.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

…we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. Colossians 1:9-12

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Community.....Part One

This post is a display of my heart....I have asked a few key people to look it over for validity, and have been counseled to keep it "as is". I wrote this in September, so a few things are old news...but I hope that it still has the same impact. Part two should be up in a few days. God Bless!

Community. One word, an eternity of meaning. I sat with my husband, Nick, recently and we dove into topics of life. We are in a transition of sorts, and there are many details that need to be mowed over and conclusions spit out the other end. We talked about houses, schooling, wages, locations…and community. Community, as my dear husband sees it, is at the top of the list; as necessary as food and water.

While I’m thinking in my head “All we need is our little family and God…that’s all. He’ll do the rest.” Nick is thinking “Tink goes crazy when she doesn’t have friends around.” Granted we both go a little wacko when we are left to our own devices, but he showed a genuine concern for what he sees as necessity. And it is, as much as many people would like to refuse the need for community…it is absolutely, without a doubt, a vital life force for the church and believers…for people.

As we sat on the couch and continued to spit out the problem/solution equations for our little life I sat on the idea of community. I’m still sitting on it. I put a pin in it. It is hanging on my little bulletin board brain. Now, I have experienced a handful of churches in my tiny existence, and I do believe that my husband is accurate in making this observation regarding community (not that he needs my approval, but it’s nice to be on the same page).

I have been fortunate to have (and still have) a group of people that are an extension of my family. They don’t take the place of family, they add to it. You could think of it as family that the Lord hand-picked for me…and He presented them to me as gifts of community. These people: my honest, hard hitting, gracious, loving comrades, have been the ones who make up my community. They are the ones willing to speak the truth of the gospel, and hit me over the head when I get too much into my own selfish, tyrannical ways. Some make me laugh, others make me cry…many make me do both….but all have been given to me as a blessing. (And I can only hope that I have been a blessing in return!)

There are many people in the world that are moving through life’s commotion muddled by drama and chaos…but when the community gets involved through prayer, counsel, encouragement, and biblical truth…drama melts away and chaos loses its spin. Life becomes a series of fortunate events and blessings that are seen in the light of the gospel and the hope it gives. The life of a follower of Christ, one involved not only in accepting the Call, but also in spreading the Truth, is one lived in community. Not all see the community as such, but I would go as far as to say that if I am following Christ, living according to His word, and listening to the Holy Spirit, then the Truth of His grace, love, peace, and guidance are all blessings to my soul.

I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. Philemon 1:4-7