Monday, November 26, 2012

Thoughts on Community (part 2) {Thinking Theology}

I felt it was high-time we made it back around to community.  (If you missed part 1 be sure to check it out!).  I'm going to start titling these posts focused on spiritual growth: {Thinking Theology}. 

At church we've been going through a section of our Mission of God series that our pastors are calling "The Gospel in Real Life".  They then attach a focus to the end of that like "eating" or "bless" or "education".  The point they are trying to make is the fact that the gospel affects everything in our lives.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

When was the last time you really thought about how your relationship with Christ affects the way you eat?  I know I've thought about it with regards to being thankful, but what about using the time spent around the table as a focused, gospel-centered time?  Then to have this same thing affect the realm of your finances.  Pastor Luis shared that we are "blessed to be a blessing" and not blessed without an outward focus. Too many times I've found myself blessed with something and haven't thought past my own good fortune to think how my blessing could bless others.

I've really begun to see how viewing this life in light of God's Kingdom changes everything.  I'm no longer content to walk around blind to the fact that all things are to revolve around God.  I feel like Christian society today is too easily divided.  We have the secular realm where we do business, live life, eat food, and spend our free time as we please, and then we have the sacred realm where we are "good Christians" who attend church, talk about spiritual things, and generally live "better" than most.  Is that what true Christianity is about? 

I just don't think so.

Christ is our perfect example and I can't say that He separated his life into two realms.  In fact, He was the embodiment of living fully in all ways of life.  The pharisees were always so quick to watch Him and critique who He ate with, how He spent his time, and what He was saying but they never fully saw that He was modeling life for their sake (for our sake as well).  Christ ate with sinners and tax collectors (Mark 2:13-17).  Do we realize who those people were?  They were the outcast, the maligned - the rejected of society and He was sharing a meal with them (think Luke 7:36-49 /John 8/John 4:1-45).  You could equate a tax collector to a secret service agent (someone known for protecting the nation) selling national secrets and being known as a traitor.  Christ was having dinner with that guy.

Do we even invite our unsaved neighbors in for dinner?

For me, this is where all this talk of community is launched into overdrive with purpose.  The beauty of living our entire lives in light of the gospel is that we get to do this together (and that's not even mentioning the Holy Spirit...)!  Christ saved us as a people for himself [more on this in another post] and because of that we are live as a people - redeemed and always ready to give an answer for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).

How beautiful that Christ not only gave us himself as a sacrifice but as an example too! 

There is so much to say about community but the point I'll leave you with today is this: does the gospel affect every area of your life?  Or have you relegated it to Sunday mornings or a Tuesday night Bible study?  Are you living effectively in your neighborhoods or at your jobs to be an example and a blessing to your neighbors and coworkers?  How are you (or can you) partner with Christians in your area to love those people and show them that you care for them - not to fulfill some heavenly quota of "people saved" but to truly reach out and share the Good News with them? 

I would love to hear creative ways that you have found to reach out to those living near you or those who you work with.  I'll share some ways in my next {Thinking Theology} post!