The First Days of Jesus by Andreas Köstenberger and Alexander Stewart, Free for CAPC Members
Readers are able to experience the supposedly familiar early chapters of Matthew, Luke, and John with new eyes.
“You’ve just stopped being a study group. You’ve become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a community.” Jeff Winger, played by Joel McHale, with that line sets the tone for NBC’s new television show, “Community.” The show focuses on an ethically questionable lawyer, Jeff Winger, who is stripped of his law practice and forced to attend community college with an eclectic staff and student body.
The climax of the pilot episode, from which the line above comes, seems to drive home one of the most basic tenets of humanity: that of community. While the characters are brought together over a shared experience of community college, there are a plethora of other communities of which each of us can join—sports, book clubs, professional career, technology, video games, etc. Christians and non-Christians alike are inundated with various communities.
For Christians I think Community (the capital “C” is an effort to distinguish a distinctly Christian community from merely the community at the local Guinness bar) is even more essential since we are expected to live out our beliefs with a local body of believers. You can’t be a lone ranger Christian. Period. As a pastor I once studied under used to say, “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!” Doing life as a Christian means that you will live, work, study, and play around other Christians. Maybe not all of the time, but at some point you have people around you, your community, that encourages, corrects, or challenges you on things in your life. Maybe your community consists of your local church, or your small group, or your accountability partner, but the bottom line is that community is essential in your life as a Christian.
Face it…being a Christian is difficult. Maybe that’s putting it too simplistically, but living in a world torn apart by sin can wear down even the most dedicated Christian. You and I need others around to help make it through the week. People need people. We are relational by design (a point the television show also brings out well). We need relationships. You are not a rock and you are not an island (alla Paul Simon).
The community should be a place of support and encouragement. It should offer us a place to be open and honest about our fears, faults, and insecurities. It should also be a place where correction and reproof takes place. In essence community should make us unstoppable. Unstoppable because we know our community unconditionally accepts us. Unstoppable because we know our community has our back. Unstoppable because we know that no matter what happens in the world we have a community that will listen, love, and laugh with us. Unstoppable because we know that when the hard times come in life we have a community that will carry us if necessary. If you have that in your Christian life then you’ve become something unstoppable. You’ve become a part of a community!
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