Wayfinding Week 6

Ironically, we have an almost limitless ability to instantly communicate with people.

Many agree that social media is contributing to the problem. There is a direct correlation between the amount that people are on social media and how lonely they feel. It gives a sense of pseudo-community, it feels like connection but it’s fake connection.

We watch TV or You Tube videos or TikTok’s and Instagram Reels and we start to feel like we know the person on the screen when we don’t really know them at all. We hear a person’s words and see their faces, but it’s not really them. We get the impression that they’re in a conversation with us but they probably don’t even know we exist.

Our culture increasingly works against the experience of community. We used to live in villages where relationships were just an integral part of everyday life. Now, we live in suburbs where we drive home, pull in the garage and shut the door and shut out people.

Even if you’re not isolated, you can still be lonely. You can be around lots of people and but they don’t really know you and you don’t really know them. Loneliness is about the quality of your relationships.

“I have never known anyone who was isolated, lonely, unconnected, who had no deep relationships- yet had a meaningful and joy-filled life.” - John Ortberg
 
What does this have to do with our Wayfinding series?

Wayfinding
  • Set the course.
  • Maintain the course.
  • Reach the destination.

Expedition- A journey undertaken by a group of people with a definite objective.

How you choose to travel.

COMMUNITY


These values we’re talking about are essentially descriptions of how we choose to travel. Last week, Jim reminded us that we choose to travel with authenticity. Today, we’re talking about our value of community.

I want to remind you of a quote I shared with you several weeks ago by Larry Crabb.

“The journey toward Christ is intended to be a group expedition where we walk together as honest strugglers… we share the life of Christ together and are called to nourish that life in one another.” - Larry Crabb

Relationships, interdependence, the need for community are part of who we are as created beings.

God himself is connected in community. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have eternally existed in relationship.

Humans, who are created in his image, are equally connected and interdependent to one another.

When we surrender our lives to Christ, we become relationally connected to God as Father. At the same time, we become relationally connected to each other, we join together in a new spiritual community, a spiritual family of brothers and sisters.

Ephesians 2:19-20
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…”

It’s why Hebrews encourages us…MEET TOGETHER

Hebrews 10:23–25
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Church isn’t primarily something we attend, it’s something we participate in. Church was never intended to be an impersonal spectator event.

If people get out of their car in the parking lot right and go right into this room and sit down and rush back out to their car when we’re done, we’ve missed a lot of what it’s about.

What happens before and after the service can be just as important as what happens during the service. We put in a bigger gap between services to give an opportunity for people to connect. We put picnic tables outside to try to get people to slow down and talk.

We want to be purposeful in how we interact on Sunday mornings. We do more things during the services that are participatory. Reading together, offering corporate prayers out loud.

It’s also why the Bible is filled with so many relational commands.

RELATIONAL COMMANDS

Listen to just a few of them:
  • Love one another 
  • Be devoted to one another 
  • Honor one another
Accept one another 
  • Have concern for each other 
  • Serve one another

  • Carry each other's burdens 
  • Be patient with one another 

  • Be kind and compassionate to one another 
  • Forgive each other
  • Submit to one another 
  • Bear with each other 
  • Teach one another

  • Admonish one another 
  • Encourage one another 
  • Build each other up

  • Spur one another on to love and good deeds 
  • Confess your sins to each other
  • Pray for each other 
  • Offer hospitality to one another

We can’t do all of these “one another’s and each other’s” if there’s no “other.” The only way to do these things is in community.

I told you a few weeks ago we had to get better at discipleship and that we’d be helping you get better. This is an essential part of that.

DISCIPLESHIP


Remember our mission: Making disciples who love God and people.

The only way we can accomplish that mission is through meaningful community. Relationships are the soil of where the roots of discipleship grow. Discipleship only happens when we choose to do life together. Discipleship only happens in the context of relationships.

“Only if you are part of a community of believers seeking to resemble, serve, and love Jesus will you ever get to know him and grow into his likeness.” - Tim Keller

We need people in our lives to encourage and challenge each other. It challenges our natural inclination towards apathy. We can easily become myopic and community provides a healthy perspective to get us out of our own little echo chamber. We need accountability. We become self-absorbed and focus on my wants and my needs.

“Spiritual formation cannot be a 'private' thing.’” - Dallas Willard

“… community means assuming responsibility for other people and that means paying attention and not following your own will but submitting your will and giving up the world of intimacy and power you have in the little consumer world that you have created.” - Dallas Willard

There’s strength and protection in our spiritual journey.

CONCLUSION

Community is hard. Community is messy but it’s essential to our spiritual growth.
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