Know that there are photos at the end of this post. However, to get to the photos, you must humor me, and read the post first.
Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
The other day, Luke and I were out walking with a new friend of mine. We had great conversation about various topics (none in detail that I'm going to mention on this post). I was so very glad for this opportunity the other day.
Since this walk and as a result of our conversation, I have been reaffirmed with the idea that everybody longs and desires to be a part of a community. Think about it. Members of gangs are longing for that sense of community (though this would be an example of a community with a negative impact). The sitcoms "Friends" and "Seinfeld" both illustrate groups of 6 and 4 people respectively who are part of a community, though those communities weren't exactly God-honoring either.
At our church, many people in the church body belong to a "Community Life Group" (a.k.a. small groups, Bible Study group, or care group). Marc and I have been a part of two different Community Life Groups for almost four years now.
Throughout those four years, we have both grown in our relationship with Christ. We have also grown closer to one another. We have met people whom we hope are lifelong friends. We have now become parents with other couples. I know I love and learn from the community of young wives and moms that I am around.
The verses at the beginning of this post are from Acts -- the book of the Bible where the early church was formed. At that time, many "groups" met in peoples' homes, growing and learning more about Christ.
Since the Bible is a living, breathing work, these verses show that God cleary wants us to continue meeting in homes, forming communities with which we can grow in our relationship with Him.
What do I believe is the ulimate goal of Community Life Groups?
-- To grow in our own relationships with Christ
-- To lift each other up and encourage one another just as Christ would
-- To life each other up in prayer
-- To bring glory to Christ through conversation, actions, prayer, and teachings/studies
-- To support one another as friends
Throughout my 33 years of life, I have had a few friends and even a family member tell me that they do not need to go to church or be in a Bible Study to be a Christian or to go to heaven. While it is true to be saved, you must merely "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead" (see Romans 10:9) and not have to go or belong to a church, people who are not a part of a community of believers are missing out on many things -- spiritual growth in Christ, the loving support of other believers, the prayer of other believers, and the sheer and utter joy of bringing glory to Christ with other believers.
Have I convinced you yet that if you don't have a community of believers with which you belong, you really should?
If you're a local and want more information about our Community Life Groups, leave me a comment with an e-mail address....
Anyways, Marc and I are currently leading a Community Life Group. Including us, there are 10 people (5 couples) in our group. At least once a month, we have a "fun night" or a "game night." This past Sunday evening was our "game night."
We did a town scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt clues were given to us by none other than Aaron and Shannon (their group did this same scavenger hunt, I believe, back in the fall). I think Aaron's parents are the ones who actually wrote the clues in this scavenger hunt (Correct me if I'm wrong on this one).
The guys were on a team, and the girls were on a team. We allowed ourselves 70 minutes to complete the scavenger hunt.
Here's a photo of Sarah H. in front of a gorilla in somebody's yard (Note -- this photo was incorrect for the clue given. We should've taken a photo of a gorilla statue in front of a school).
Here's a photo of Johannah in front of our local hospital. This answer was correct for the clue given -- "Infirmary."
This photo was purely funny to us girls. The clue was, "Mexico's most popular religious cultural image." We knew it was the Virgin Mary. None of us could remember where the church was where there was a statue. So, we happened to find one in somebody's yard. Sarah H. quickly ran in somebody's yard while Lisa snapped the photo. If this is your house and you're reading this, we apologize :)
Is this terrible or what?
The last photo is of Sam in front of an owl statue. This was a correct photo for the clue given.
In the end, the girls actually tied with the guys. However, WE feel we actually won because our photos all had people in them. The guys merely drove by and snapped a photo. I'm not sure they ever took the time to get out of the car.
Thanks again Aaron and Shannon for the clues. We had A LOT of fun that evening!
Walk to west side of island
12 hours ago