Community takes us further in life

First, our church is spending some time digesting I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer.  You can learn more about this book here.

I believe this book was the premise for a conversation with our youngest son one night as I was tucking him in.  He asked me, “Dad, why do we go to church?”  The obvious answer is not the correct answer.  Our kids are smart enough to know a person doesn’t need to go to church in order to learn about God.  In fact, if church is the only place you learn about God, your view of God is very small.

My response to Jordan was very simple and straight to the point, yet it could be as complex as we choose to make.  I said to him that our job is to walk with Jesus the best that we can.  God made other people to help us with parts of our lives we cannot adjust by ourselves.  One of the places other people help us is at church.  So, we go to church because church is one of the places where God uses other people to help us walk with Jesus better.  He was satisfied with the answer and rolled over to go to sleep.

In reality, each of us is better as a team.  We need each other.  God designed each of us to need something that another has to offer.

Here are some personal examples.  In my twenties, I learned how to manage money by reading Larry Burkett, founder of Crown Financial.  In my twenties, I allowed professors at Cornerstone University to educate me for vocational ministry.  Almost ten years ago, I decided to compete in my first triathlon and half-marathon.  To be successful, I needed people who knew how to train and I allowed them to pour their life experience into me.  In my thirties, we allowed a marriage counselor (and the Holy Spirit) to teach us some things about what Biblical marriage looks like.  Most recently, I allowed the professors at Cincinnati Christian University to teach me how to stop being an okay leader and start being a great leader for the kingdom of God.  There are so many examples that I could give, but the point is that who we are today is because others have helped shape us.

“As for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

(Titus 2:1-8 ESV)

I have grown into the man I’ve become because other people have put these verses to work in their lives.  Some of you can say the same things.  In turn, I have tried to be the guy that poured into younger men.  I love that God uses me to help individuals be better equipped to expand the kingdom of God.  I’m not perfect, and neither are you.

We are called to be available and do our part because people survive and thrive through community.  We know people who have gaps that will never be fully shaped until we apply the verses found in Titus 2.

I want to be a person who engages in God-sized things.  I want to be a person who reaches for the spiritual fruit at the top of the tree.  I want to reach the fruit that I can barely reach, even with a ladder.

I think you want to be that type of person as well.  Too often, we settle for the fruit at the bottom of the tree that anybody can reach.  In doing so, we settle for just half the miracle that God intended to give us.

Today, as I reach for God-sized things, I encourage you to get alone and declare your availability for God to use you how he chooses.  Our community of God is full of immature Christ-followers that need each of us.

Life is a journey that is meant to be done with other people.  Take a person on the journey with you today.