Oct 16, 2013

Fall and Community

     I love fall. I love the changing of the leaves, the football games, the bonfires, the smell of leaves burning, the cool breezes, the nights sitting outside wrapped up in a quilt, the hoodies we wear, the socks that come back into our wardrobe, the apple picking, the pumpkin patches, the harvest of crops, and the small town festivals. I simply adore this time of year.
     This weekend was our small town's annual festival. "Corn Days" started off for us with a 5K to benefit The Guardian Center (a local advocacy center for children who have endured sexual and severe physical abuse). I walked it pushing the two littles in the jogger with Gbug and her friend beside me. Grace ran it with a friend and placed 2nd in her division. Yay! After that we enjoyed the children's parade, good "fair" food,  and some rides.  The festivities ended with the big parade.
     Then on Sunday, we went to hear one of the hub's friends preach at a church just a few blocks from our house, and then we headed out for a picnic and visit to a nearby pumpkin patch.  The weather was beautiful and the kids had a blast. Later that night we sat around the fire with our pastor's family. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and drank apple cider. Does it get any better than that?!

     In our Sunday School class, we're discussing the importance of community; how living and doing life with other believers is essential to not only our own walk but also to bringing others into the body of Christ.  The book we are going through is the Gospel in Life, Grace Changes Everything by Timothy Keller. In the book, Keller describes Christian community as three things: the people of God, the body of Christ, and the fellowship of the Spirit. I have longed for and prayed for this very thing. That the Lord would provide for us a great community within our small church. That we would be bound together not just on Sunday mornings or during Bible Studies but through the week and in everyday life. The more we grow together and "do life" the more others will see the gospel lived out. Keller shows us that there are many behaviors that lead to the recognition of a Christian community. He list 9 community-building practices:
1. Affirming one another's strengths, abilities, and gifts
(Romans 12:10 Honor one another / Romans 12:3-8 Confirm one another's gifts)
2. Affirming one another's equal importance in Christ
(Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you/ 1 Corinthians 12:25 Have equal concern for one another)
3. Affirming one another through visible affection
(James 1:19 Be quick to listen, slow to speak / Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another)
4. Sharing one another's space, goods, and time
(1peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another/ Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love)
5. Sharing one another's needs and problems
(Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burden's/ Hebrews 3:13 Encourage one another daily)
6. Sharing one another's beliefs, thinking, and spirituality
(Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another / 1 Corinthians 1:10 Agree with one another)
7. Serving one another through accountability
(James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other / Romans 15:14 Instruct one another / Ephesians 4:25 Speak truthfully)
8. Serving one another through forgiveness and reconciliation
(Colossians 3:13 Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another / Galatians 5:26 Do not provoke or envy one another / James 4:11 Do not slander one another)
9. Serving one another's interest rather than their own
(Hebrews 10:24 Spur one another on toward love and good deeds)
     This is quite the list. It is obtainable though, I believe. The desire to have community is for me, to share in spiritual and physical growth with others, to have accountability, fellowship, and for our children to have a network of spiritual mentors. It is not that we would have an exclusive group, but a community that readily invites others to join in. 

1 comment:

Bethany Sutton said...

Love the picture of the kids in front of the pumpkin measuring sticks!