Tuesday, May 27, 2008

authentic community [+] Tuesday E-Devotion

"Forming authentic community is what the church is all about" --- John Burke from Gateway Church in Austin, TX, quote from WIBO
There is more to church than going to a service one or two times a week and putting your butt on a pew and some money in the plate.  Church is about being who God made you and me to be.  It is about being all God wants us to be in making a difference and impacting more and more people for Him.
A couple of thoughts have continued to rattle around in my mind these last couple of weeks as I think about church, being church and an authentic church.  Then the comment or quote above hit me in the heart.  Smacked me hard and reminded me of why The Community Fellowship is here.
First a couple verses for you to consider:
Romans 12:4-5 (nlt) --- Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Everyone has their place.  Each part has a special function.  We are individuals.  But we are also part of each other and belong to each other.  People, that is community...being part of each other.
We need each other as the church.  But some people think the church is just to meet their needs, feed their soul and send them on their way, happy and filled.  That is (prepare for a big Greek word) "HogWash" (maybe that is more Arkansas Greek and proper Biblical Greek).
We are one.  In fact, Jesus prayed this:
John 17:11 (nasb) --- I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.
Jesus left the earth, went to Heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit.  In this prayer, often called the high priestly prayer of Jesus, He asked the Father to protect us and unify us.  Why?  Jesus knew that our strength comes from being one with Him and one with each other.  Unity breeds purpose.  Purpose leads to impact.  Unity brings community in the authentic sense of the word.  Family just does that...spends time together, lives together, works together.  That is authentic community that God is building and wants to build in His church.
The series ONE PRAYER is a expression of this kind of community.  Now more than 1,110 churches are part of this dynamic and powerful series that begins in less than 2 weeks.  Imagine all those churches thinking the same kind of thoughts and putting our lives together...another mark of authentic and powerful community.  (Learn more about One Prayer at www.oneprayer.com)
Are we allowing God to build authentic community in our lives?  Answer that.  My prayer is that the church I lead and the churches I get to share with will come to long for, have a deep desire for community.  "Doing life together" is awesome and is a true mark of authentic community.

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