"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near," Hebrews 10:24-25.
This was our memory passage a couple of weeks ago, chosen by me for a reason. Earlier this summer I shared some of my thoughts on community and how much we need each other as Christians. My inspiration was sparked after being in close contact with a group of people that belong to a Care Group (as their church calls it) and after reading a chapter in How People Change called "Change is a Community Project" (chapter 5). So here are my thoughts:
We are saved; we thank God for all our blessings; we go to church (and maybe even Bible Study); we listen to Christian music; we serve in a ministry; we pray before we eat; we tell others that we are Christians. But how do we grow? How are we sanctified? How can we be motivated to stay on track in our Christian walk? Besides our personal relationship with God, I believe that real, intentional, intimate relationships with other believers is the way we can do all of this and thus produce more "love and good works."
Wouldn't it be awesome to have a group of people to share your thoughts and questions with about what you study? (This could be an entire other post, but I feel that Bible-talk should be in our everyday language and conversations SO much more than it is!) I would love to be able to share my sin struggles with a small group of ladies that I admire & trust. James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." This is just one of many verses about the benefits of "community" that motivates/convicts me to be more intentional in my friendships.
So, Ben & I have been inspired to, with the help of the Lord, foster some REAL relationships with other Christian families. It is SO hard to do this when you have little ones! (And our weak minds keep coming up with these and other excuses.) Please pray for us as we attempt to do something that we feel very ill-equipped for. More on the specifics later...
I have recently added Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to my library thanks to my brother-in-law. I was talking to him about small groups and community within the body, and he bought the book for us as a gift. I can't wait to read it with Ben! My favorite line on the back description says, "Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship."
Recently, someone told me that their purpose for being in a small group was to live out all of the "one-anothers" from Scripture, so I looked them up. (This is not a comprehensive list.):
Love one another John 13:34
show mercy and compassion to one another Zechariah 7:9
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Live in harmony with one another. 12:16
Accept one another Romans 15:7
encourage one another 2 Corinthians 13:11
serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Ephesians 5:19
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5
Bear with each other and forgive one another Colossians 3:13
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:1
we have fellowship with one another 1 John 1:7
I am pretty far behind on updating our family happenings...
Some of you know that Rush had walking pneumonia last week right before our annual trip to Hilton Head, SC. He is doing MUCH better now, and we did get to take our vacation. (More on that later...)
Ben had been traveling A LOT, but he has been home for a couple of weeks now. :)
We are reading The Five Love Languages together. I had read it a long time ago and then again about a year ago. It is a great marriage-builder. I HIGHLY recommend it! My love language is Receiving Gifts (it's a mixture of the gift of your presence & acts of service/gifts). Do you know your love language???
Freezer Group is next week already!!! I have got to get cooking! I will post my recipes soon.