The Phil Files

Musings & messages on everyday worship, Jesus, and the stuff of life.

Community

with 7 comments

In my Heartlight.org post this week, Made 2BN Community, I talk about our need to be in community — something that God made into us. I conclude the post with the following questions:

What kind of Jesus-based community are you a part of?

Does it include large gatherings, small gatherings, or both?

Where have you most clearly experienced the presence of Jesus in community?

Some in our Heartlight.org community are not connected to traditional church membership.

What kind of Jesus-based community do you share in?

Is there something that led you away from a traditional church experience?

Where do you experience spiritual community?

I’d love to get your input on these ideas.

Written by phil

January 11th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Heartlight

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7 Responses to 'Community'

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  1. You mention our need for community and I agree. However, I am homebound. Any suggestions about how I can be part of a community?

    Sharon

    12 Jan 09 at 7:59 am

  2. Phil,

    I think today we try to separate the “church” experience from the “spiritual” experience. I am a people watcher, watching myself as well as others. I live in Maryland where our church family is small (about 130) and diverse (all incomes, education, races, etc.). I have found a commonality with all my brothers and sisters in spite of our differences. That commonality is our love for Christ.

    We have many types of gatherings – small and large. Our Sunday worship is large because, as is usual, more people attend. We also have a fellowship dinner every couple of months. In addition many of our brothers and sisters make it THEIR responsibility to have a gathering for all of us, whether it be at the building or in a home. This helps us to know one another, because, as you pointed out, we cannot have the benefits that God intended if we do not know one another.

    Watching people (including myself) I have determined ONE thing is responsible when people don’t feel connected; expecting everyone else to do for us instead of Christ’s example of doing for others. We miss the whole point. When I forget myself (including ignoring anything Satan throws in my way by causing a brother or sister to do something that hurts my feelings) and do as much as I can for others in our (church) family, I am close to them and close to God. When I keep myself away from family gatherings I feel isolated and find fault with everyone. These observances seem to be the same for other members.

    It seems to boil down to ONE thing; how much am I, MYSELF doing for my (church) family?

    Linda Hoeck

    12 Jan 09 at 9:38 am

  3. This message is for Sharon; having been homebound for 2 months (though that may seem a short time to you) I understand what you are feeling. It can be very lonely and very boring, especially if you are in pain.

    I was very blessed to have a preacher who called me (even though he had recently broken his neck (literally) and was homebound himself for a time. I also had 4 very dear sisters who called to check up on me. I know I was miserable to talk to at that time; I had shingles and a gall bladder attack simultaneously; they wouldn’t operate on the gall bladder until the shingles had gone away. My Christian sisters were NOT like Job’s friends; they listened patiently and prayed for me.

    I have an elderly Christian sister who is homebound most of the time. Before she became homebound and before her husband passed away they had spent their retirement years doing “Meals on Wheels” and were involved in another program calling elderly people to “check on them” every day. She still does this part of the program; she also calls and checks on every person in our congregation who is sick, who doesn’t attend services, new people, etc. She is a terrific example to all of us.

    My mother-in-law has a Christian sister in her congregation who is paralyzed from the waist down. She lives alone with help of a computer; someone comes to help her bathe and dress each day. She asked their preacher what she could do to help the congregation. He told her, “Just coming to services is doing more than you can possibly imagine. If you are here, the rest of us are inspired and know that surely we can be here too!”

    If you have a phone and a computer you can reach out to others in ways that are so important you may not realize. As with my elderly Christian sister (for whom these activities eased her pain when her husband died) helping others (even by just a phone call) will help YOU beyond your imagination.

    I have been at home for a year while being treated for an autoimmune disease. The homebound period was a part of this illness. I decided to start studying a chapter of the Bible each day and writing my thoughts and personal application and sending it as an email to all my friends. The happy result is it seems to have helped my sister (who has been away from God for 40+ years) to understand God’s ways (and understand me as a Christian better).

    I don’t know you well enough to know your talents, but I know God has something for you to do; something that will help you feel closer to Him and His family. Ask Him to help you discover this path.

    May God bless you and heal you if it be His Will. If it is not His Will, may He use you for His purpose in every way possible! I tell myself all the time His instruction, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

    With Much love in Christ,
    Linda

    Linda Hoeck

    12 Jan 09 at 9:57 am

  4. I get to worship with a small, outreach-to-homeless oriented church a few blocks from my upper-middle class home and church. I get to help plan and lead worship services and I meet new people all the time. We meet for dinner and worship, often going late into city bus schedules. People are always there and God is ALWAYS at work – it’s amazing to me to see how these people who live so very different from me are seeking the same thing from our family: CONNECTION. They need more than I’ve ever needed, and yet when we’re together, we celebrate our family, our togetherness and God’s working in our lives. It’s at once awesome and humbling to be there and have God work through me at those times.

    Kevin Baird

    12 Jan 09 at 4:01 pm

  5. Dear Phil:
    I am asking for prayers for my brother-in-law from
    Jourdanton, TX. He has operated Redman Pipe Supply
    for years. They gave him chemo finding 2 little specks on his liver. Told him yesterday that the
    doctor from San Antonio comes to Pleasanton and gave
    him more chemo. Well MD Anderson planned to do surgery on the right side of his liver to remove it,
    but the chemo had ruined the left side which they hoped would take over and now they can’t do anything
    in the way of surgery for fear of killing him in surgery. I don\’t want anyone else having to die to
    do a liver transplant, but that saved my Husband\’s neice, Jolene Curtiss of Houston. She is married to
    a preacher Barry Curtiss of Houston.

    Patti Ezzell

    13 Jan 09 at 7:39 am

  6. Had a stroke nearly 8 years ago. Have not had one visit. Do I feel that I am unimportant? Watch services on the web every Sunday. Enjoy very much. I know the Lord is beside me all the time, but it would be nice to have some flesh and bones representing our Lord.

    Grover Hastings

    16 Jan 09 at 12:14 pm

  7. I feel like I’ve been all over the place on this journey. fortunately I am finally in a place I really feel good about Church community, probably for the first time ever. Despite my efforts to serve and be a part of differnt groups I had to keep searching for my place. I know too that this changes from time to time.

    The one thing I’ve learned is that we have to put ourselves out there a little bit, and sometimes we just need to let our need be known. I used to very introverted and felt like I was dying inside, not too many people will reach out to you when you look like you don’t want to be bothered. So dear brothers and sisters, take a chance and seek out the lonely looking person on the fringe, you most likely will uncover a beautiful flower and discover a loyal friend.

    and if you feel you’ve been forgotten, don’t be afraid to speak up and remind some folks you are still around. I hope you are blessed by doing so.

    I’ve even tried to offer help to someone in the past through a mutual friend. I offered to go visit a homebound lady and do chores around her yard. unfortunately she was too afraid to let a stranger into her world. i think we both probably missed a blessing.

    Sherry

    16 Jan 09 at 3:17 pm

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