You Don’t Just Need Community, You Need Friends

https://blog.lifeway.com/leadingmen/2018/10/10/you-dont-need-community-you-need-friends/

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6 Ways to Engage with Your Community

We live in a time when most of us are disconnected from the communities in which we live. We don’t know our neighbors, rarely serve in our city, and the cast majority of the connections that we have there are digital. This disintegrating of community leaves people lonely and alienated, leads us to treat our neighbors with suspicion, and means that fewer people are hearing about Jesus.

For followers of Jesus, remaining isolated from the communities in which we live is not an option. We have been called by God to love our neighbors, to pray for our neighbors, and to serve our neighbors in the name of Jesus, so staying aloof and knowing no one constitutes serious disobedience to Jesus.

For those of us who grew up in communities that seemed more tightknit than our current ones, we should not spend much time bemoaning this situation, but rather we should begin mobilizing to address it. This situation offers us many opportunities to make an impact by being a friend to people, showing people hospitality, and by serving them in Jesus’ name.

If you have been distant from the community in which you live, here are six ways that you can engage with your community.

Spend Time in Your Front Yard

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/onedegreetoanother/2018/02/engage-community/

What are the Marks of Genuine Friendship?

A few years ago, our family was at the beach when a little girl ran up to my seven-year-old daughter and said, “My name is Isabella. Do you want to play?” My daughter yelled “sure” and they ran off as if they had known each other for years.

I wonder at what point we stop doing this. When do we get afraid of rejection and become suspicious of people? While our children are not sinless, their lack of cynicism is refreshing because their desire for friends reminds us that we were not created to live life alone.

God created us to be wired for friendship, yet sin has broken friendships and relationships. To return to my opening illustration, my daughter got mad at the little girl she was playing with a said she didn’t want to be her friend anymore. The little girl came over to ask if they could be friends again and my daughter responded, “well, I will give you one more chance.” (In case you are wondering, yes we had a conversation about that.)

One thing we need to realize about our friendships is that we tend to respond sinfully to being sinned against. Because of this, we can be tempted to have superficial friendships instead of real ones, to be consistently frustrated with other people, and to hide from real friendships because we are cynical about the possibility that they can exist.

What constitutes a true friendship? This is not an unspiritual question. The biblical writers devoted ample space to the subject of interpersonal relationships. For example, you cannot read through Proverbs without running across a treasure trove of wisdom for discovering and maintaining true friendships.

We can learn a lot about genuine friendship by observing the friendships throughout Scripture. In particular, the friendship between David and Jonathan shows us three truths which help us understand the nature of true friendship.

Friendship Springs from a Strong Bond

Read the rest:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/onedegreetoanother/2018/10/friendship/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Evangelical&utm_content=46

Let’s Encourage One Another

~ Ray MacDonald

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMEncouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first. It’s almost like some think complaining is a spiritual gift or something.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture – but rather the attitude and timing. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction.

In today’s section of Scripture Paul is trying to give good advice to the church – some departing words of encouragement. It is worth reading again my friends – and we should take these words to heart. Here is today’s passage in partial context.

More at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/lets-encourage-one-another-2/

Ephesians 4:1-16 – “Growing Together” – Andrew Marsteller

http://www.christredeemer.com/sermon-archive/2018/6/10/ephesians-41-16-growing-together-andrew-marsteller

How Relational Is Your Church?

Key Questions for Thom Rainer:

– Why don’t pastors realize how unwelcoming their churches are?
– What are some of the most common reasons why guests don’t return to a church?
– What do guests like to see when they visit a church?
– Can a church be too friendly?

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/325070-thom-rainer-how-relational-is-your-church.html

How Relational Is Your Church?

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/325070-thom-rainer-how-relational-is-your-church.html