You emphasize what you value

COMMUNITY – COMMON UNITY. We have so much in common.

WE have more in common than our disagreements – if WE disagree, and to some degree I hope we do and we can grow with each other – but WE will always have more in common 

We are starting a new series on COMMUNITY. We entitled this series WE. We will look at community in Relationships, in Prayer, In music and a few more. Come back each week and WE can explore this together.  

There are, broadly speaking, five different types of communities.

You can classify every type of community by the purpose that brings them together.

Passion. Communities of people who share the same interest or passion.

Purpose. Communities of people trying to bring about change.

Place. Communities of people brought together by geographic boundaries.

Proximity. Communities of people in the same profession, identity or undertake the same activities with a deep desire 

THE CHURCH IS ALL OF THESE. 

WE need each other. That is the point. Church is WE – church is never ME

Hopefully our church is not just defined by a Sunday gathering but its defined by real relationships and love for each other. 

‘Welcome to the table.’ 

I am fascinated by what the ‘table’ represents. 

Define what that ‘table’ is – 

Your ‘table’ – your table is your space – your personal space – your family time – your social experience – your personal belongings – your food – your time.

The table makes room for the all generations – where we can learn. Young people – the wisdom in this room from some of our elders and ‘people older than you’ is amazing. 

Elders, older folk. Mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas – the drive, the energy, the information, the wisdom the young people In our church is essential of the kingdom. They don’t just have ‘good’ ideas – they have the right ideas. The Jesus they see we need. Its humbling. 

Food and Jesus – there is something about eating in your own house together. There is something in sharing a meal, sharing a moment together. When its your table, its intimate, its real, its a little messy, its family, its WE

Sometimes we can be so close to people, we can even live in the same house as them but we don’t feel like we connect well or have connected in sometime – maybe there are people you see all the time and you have never really have had a moment or any connection with. 

Maybe some of you are feeling this way about God right now too. You don’t feel connected or maybe you have never had a real connection with the God we love.

There is so information, so much going on, so much fear, so much anxiety happening so if we EVER needed REAL connection with our Creator and with each other is in these moments.  In a recent study America ranked as one of the most loneliest people in the world because we are so disconnected, but God is calling us to connect with each other.  This is where WE the church need to rise up. CONNECTION 

 PROXIMITY CREATES PASSION – DISTANCE CREATES DISTORTION. 

You can make comments or huge judges about different communities – with the likelihood that you don’t even know them. The closer we get to people – the more our passion for that person or that community grows. The father away we are from them – by our choices – the more distorted it becomes. The closer you get to people in this Church – the more passionate you get about the Church. 

BECAUSE THIS CHURCH IS JUST THE PEOPLE IN IT. 

He even came into the story to connect. It says in John 1 that God himself put on flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood – the author of the story itself became the main character of the story to redeem it and for reconciliation to happen and they way that had to happen was this way. HE WANTED TO CONNECT with us. He still does, HE always has.

He wants to be near you. It has never been about YOU – Its always been about HIM 

Jesus always connects with people who are searching for him. He eats with those who are searching for Him. He are two story about Jesus SEARCHING for connection. 

Luke 19 The Message (MSG)

Zacchaeus

19 1-4 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

5-7 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”

Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”

9-10 Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

Luke 14:7-14 The Message (MSG)

Invite the Misfits

7-9 He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.

10-11 “When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

12-14 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”

I just want friends and people around the table who are easy and don’t have issues. HAHA

Let me tell you – if that is what you think that its you with the issue. We all have issues and we all need each other. Faith is not a individual thing. You CANT NOT ‘church’ by yourself. EVEN JESUS didn’t do all of this HIMSELF. He was CONSTANTLY in communication with His heavenly father and He went on a charge for 3 years with 12 misfits.  If Jesus didn’t do it by Himself – they why do we try? 

Some of us say we are in a lonely season – some of us wish we had the friends we see others have. The question is – how much are you there for others? How much do you invite others to your “table”

John 13:34-35 The Message (MSG)

34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Romans 5:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.Jesus atet with sinner. He wanted to connect with them. 

. Jesus also entrusted community! 

  • Jesus left behind a committed community of 120 people.
    Approximately 120 saw Him ascend to the right hand of God.
    He entrusted community to these 120 people. 

The church grew from 120 to 3000 in one day. 

o They added 2,880 members in one day.
o This means that 120 people got 25 people each from their community to attend church that 

morning, and they added 2,880 new members in one day. Why? 

o Simply one reason, they were connected to God and Each Other. 

So where does the WE start? – What does the Bible say. What examples of early community does Jesus build. 

 The church, the early church was not called ‘ the church’ it was actually called: THE WAY. They had a very common Purpose. In one place.  ALL the definitions of community. 

Acts 2:42-47 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Believers Form a Community

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

But from when the early church started there was always a focus on the community of believers itself. They would sell and share, they would support and care. 

And what was His Purpose. His purpose was what happened. – and what was His plan after He left. THE CHURCH – that is Plan A. There is no plan B. This – us – the church – this is the plan A. No one else is coming. 

When Jesus was asked the trick question about which law and commandment was the most important one His answer as ALL about connection.  GOD, OTHERS and YOURSELF. 

Matthew 22:36-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

These are not 2 options. These things go HAND IN HAND with each other. 

God ALWAYS wanted US to be together. Straight from the start – He created us TOGETHER. 

Genesis 2:18-20 The Message (MSG)

18-20 God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.”

God has a very nature and character. – and we know that He is the same yesterday today and forever which means when we get closer with Him and when we connect with Him more we begin to understand a little more who He is. God is a connecter. God is a communicator.