I had the privilege of speaking at the Bethany Covenant Women's Retreat this weekend!
It was a true pleasure to be there because I saw the hunger for Jesus in them. I was also reminded about what happens when a community is more stable in terms of longevity, instead of being so transient, like where I live in Seattle.
I met several women who had been friends since the nursery or since 1st grade or even earlier! I was able to see how that stable foundation has made them more willing to invest in one another and not to hold back in fear. It was refreshing and it made me long for the dream of community even more.
I am realizing more and more that the Church today has something very special to offer the world in the experience of community. I am drawn over and over to the passage at the end of Acts 2 where the new Jesus followers begin to live life together. Their lifestyle is what made people long to be part of them, and willing to make the life choices for it to happen.
It was their willingness to share with one another when there was a need, or to pray in big faith for miracles of healing, or their laughing together through their daily meal. They didn't hold back, but they invited one another in. But, they also invited those that were outside of their community to be part of their daily life with Jesus and one another.
The Message says that "People in general like what they saw." Their community life with one another was appealing. The next statement says that "God added to their number daily those who were being saved." They grew. They didn't get stuck, they kept adding people to their community knowing that Jesus always held his arms open.
I sometimes observe that Jesus followers get together and think, "This is really special! Let's keep it just the way we are." But, in their desire to protect what they have, they often lose it because a community that becomes closed almost always falls apart after about 3 years.
Sunday, we will be pursing the dream at our Celebration for Missio Lux. We are going to explore how to live out the elements in Acts 2 in our 21st century context. We are going to press into experience the community that makes the Gospel so compelling as we "Seek God's kingdom first and all these things shall be added to us!"