Christian Community

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Athletes Village in the Olympic Park will be home to thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes in 2012. IN this beautiful facility the athletes will eat, drink, sleep, visit with their families and friends. They will prepare for the biggest competition of their lives. They will live in community with each other.

What does it mean to live in Christian community?

The Early Church had a clear understanding of what it means to live in community? Here’s how Paul describes it in Acts 2.

"And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, 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 2:44-47

Dieterich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and theologian, described Christian community this way -

"Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through Jesus Christ. What does this mean? It means, first, that a Christian needs others because of Jesus Christ. It means, second, that a Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ. It means, third, that in Jesus Christ we have been chosen from eternity, accepted in time, and united for eternity."

(from Life Together, by Dieterich Bonhoeffer, 1954)

From these descriptions we see that Christian community is a place where Christ-followers become the hands and feet of Jesus. It is where we serve, love, and care for others in the name of Christ whether we have a brief encounter with them or a lifetime relationship. Christian community becomes a way of life.

Isaiah 58: 11-12 describes the strength we get and the benefits we receive when we live in Christian community.

11 The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.

Let’s be mindful of living in community wherever we are.


Monday, July 2, 2012

All wounds involve hurt and pain. Many times we continue to live in hurt and pain because we aren’t really willing to let go – let go of negative thoughts, bitterness, anger, or memories. Sometimes we don’t want to let go because we haven’t learned to forgive. Many emotional wounds are connected in some way to unforgiveness - unforgiveness of self or someone else.

Emotional hurts are an open wound for unforgiveness. Unforgiveness results in anger, bitterness, depression, and anxiety – all weaknesses in our character. We must forgive others and seek forgiveness in order for healing to occur.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a decision to let go. It means that you no longer allow someone else to cause you bitterness, resentment, anger, or pain.

What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiveness does NOT mean you will not remember the hurt.
Forgiveness does NOT excuse someone’s behavior.
Forgiveness does NOT mean you condone an action.
Forgiveness does NOT mean that a relationship must continue.

Jesus is our model of forgiveness!
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (34) And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:33-34 ESV

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