Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Community- and not the TV show!

I've been thinking a lot about community lately. 
 What does community mean? 
How am I making an impact in my community? 
I've been thinking about the community that is outside the four walls of the church and of my home. 
 Am I modeling for my kids about caring for their community? 

Here are definitions from Webster's New American Dictionary of community: 
1) a body of people living in the same place under the same laws 
2) society at large 
3) joint ownership 
4) similarity and likeness

Three and four really stand out to me. 
A group of people with similarities and likenesses that have joint ownership. 
I think sometimes we forget that we all have similarities and likenesses.
In some cases, our differences keep us from acting on what we as Christians have been called to.
Thank goodness we have Webster to remind us that we are alike.
Like we needed Webster to tell us, God did create us all in his image!
Number one says a body of people living under the same laws. 
My family, friends, church, neighborhood, work, all part of my community.

 I googled "community in the Bible."
Here are some of the verses that came up:

 "Jesus said, 'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' 
This is the most important, the first on any list. 
But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.
These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." 
Matthew 22:37-40 MSG 

 "Let me tell you why you are here. 
 You're here to be salt seasoning that brings out the flavors of this earth. 
If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? 
You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 
Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. 
God is not a secret to be kept. 
We're going public with this, as public as a city on the hill. 
If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket? 
I'm putting you on a light stand. 
Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand- SHINE! 
Keep open house; be generous with your lives
By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven."
Matthew 5: 13-16 MSG 

 "Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. 
Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. 
If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. 
Galatians 6:2 MSG 

 "Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. 
Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. 
Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 MSG

Tonight I shared with Jason about how this topic as been on my mind.
It is a common theme in churches, reaching out into the community.
I'm not really even sure how God is working these thoughts out in me.
I'm not an extrovert, doing new things scares me, and stepping out in faith has always been a struggle.
But I can't ignore this desire I've felt to branch out, "launch" out into the community.
Is is it my physical community, this virtual community, a community not yet visited?
There is an overwhelming excitement and peace about it.
To reach others and be a light that magnifies the "God-colors in the world."
Not a one time event but a constant source of God's love.
Not about bringing the community to me or to a place, 
but going to all parts of the community in their space to help meet their needs.
To share their burdens.

I told Jason about the blessing bags I've seen on other blogs.
I even pinned a picture of it for reference.
Ziploc bags filled with hygiene items, snacks, socks, and other needs 
that are ready to hand out to those in need.  
To share God's love with them.
I think this is one the first things I want to work on with my family for our physical community.
I want my kids to help put them together, to pray over them and to hand them out.
To share ownership.
To be lights on the hilltop shining in their community.
Blessing bags (keep in car to give to homeless). via Beth Gleason
Source: Denise on pinterest

In this season of my life I'm praying about how God would use me in my community.
I am praying for an openness to what that might mean.
For faith in taking that first step.
For calmness when change may come.
For patience in His perfect timing.
For clarity of His plan and not mine.
For reminders that I am called to love others.
For thankfulness that I have this new passion and for where it might take me.

Through all this...
Finding the blessings,

Connecting with others:

1 comment:

  1. You so inspire me Denise. I will be praying about this for you as well as myself. Have a great day!