Day 18 Experiencing Life Together
Day 19 Cultivating Community
Real fellowship is experiencing life together that leads to cultivating a community of believers.
I thought a lot about why we have such a difficult time building this kind of genuine fellowship within our church family. When I look at many families around us, to include our own, I see many broken relationships, emotional pain, and just a lot of scars and open wounds. We have been hurt by those who are closest to us. I believe that is the main reason why we have such a difficult time getting along in church.
Pastor Rick summarizes these two chapter with this. To build a small group that experiences biblical fellowship, we must share our true feelings (authenticity), encourage each other (mutuality), support each other (sympathy), forgive each other (mercy), speak the truth in love (honesty), admit our weaknesses (humility), respect our differences (courtesy), not gossip (confidentiality) and make group a priority (frequency). This is impossible without complete trust in each other, love for one another and total selflessness.
Same is true in a family. But all of us have practiced selfishness to a large degree in our family that drove our relationships apart: between husband and wife, parents and children, and among siblings. Because we've been hurt in family relationships, it became difficult for us to practice genuine fellowship at church.
Tomorrow's lesson is on restoring broken relationships. Jesus is squarely focused on that. By his death and resurrection, Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled to God. I believe Jesus is telling each one of us to sacrifice ourselves for the goal of restoring broken relationships in our lives. I encourage you to think about those in your family that you need to be reconciled with and make plans to do that with prayer and support from the Holy Spirit.
In the meantime, let's commit to learning how to live in a family of God in genuine fellowship that will help us improve our relationships in our earthly families as well.