Let’s get connected.  Here is our 2nd Christmas gift for Christ this season.  How is God calling you to be more connected to others in the body of Christ for support, care, accountability, and study?  If you find this a challenge, don’t think you are alone.  This is one of the great struggles for the church and for individual Christians.  We live in a very isolating culture where we are familiar with many people but friends with few.  God’s church was intended to live as a community strengthened by the bonds of relationship where each person was knit together with every other person sharing both our joys and our sorrows.  When we live outside of God’s plan for connection we experience frustration as we try to be alone what we were intended to be in community.  Remember this gem of a sermon illustration I sacrificed my life to create:  Jeff Gets Pummelled (The action begins at the 1:20 mark on the video.)

Remember, I am not telling you to do anything other than have a conversation with God around this topic and be obedient to where God wants to lead.  The question I would urge you to consider before God is this: “How are you calling me to intentionally build community into my life?”  We live in a world that brings death and not life.  If you live unintentionally, then you can be assured that you will be blown in the direction of isolation and not community.

Here are some ways that have been critical to my life in building connections with others in the body of Christ…

Bible Study.  Studying the bible with other Christians weaves our lives together in amazing ways.

Serving Together.  Whether it is in the cafe on Sunday, picking up trash on 71, feeding a meal at Midland Heights, or a village in Nicaragua, relationships are built when we serve together.

LIFEgroups.  LIFEgroups are all about support, care, accountability, and study.  These kinds of groups have been essential in my own life.

Personal Board of Directors.  These are groups where I just look around and say, “I want to spend time with those guys”.  These groups will typically meet around breakfast or lunch a couple of times a month.

Maintaining Friendships.  All relationships naturally drift apart without the input of energy.  Christian friends to enjoy life with make life so much more fun and enjoyable, but I find at this point in my life that most of these friendships have to be cultivated and cared for or they slowly fade away.

Conflict.  This may seem surprising, but conflict has often served to deepen my relationship with others in the body of Christ.  When I have approached conflict with others in the body of Christ with a humble heart that seeks to hear rather than be heard, I have discovered again and again that deeper relationships are born out of conflict.

Prayer.  Praying for others supernaturally binds us together with others in ways that only God understands.  The more I pray for those in the body of Christ, the more I feel bound to and connected with the family of God.

Those are just a few thoughts from me.  I pray that your time with God would be sweet and blessed as you lay your life before Him and accept that life that only He can give.

Yours in Christ,