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Ordinary Togetherness

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By: Dustin Walker

Recently I’ve read two different books that brought up the same phrase:

Radical Individualism.

Radical Individualism is essentially the belief that an individual’s needs take precedence over the needs of the group. This is a worldview that most of us in America, whether we know it or not, tend to practice.

We make choices regarding education, career, spouse, where we will live, how we spend/save our money, etc. all based on what we believe is best for me.

I’m guilty of this, and I’m becoming increasingly aware that I’ve lived this way for pretty much my entire life. I’m pretty sure you are guilty of this too.

Yet, when I read my favorite books from the New Testament, especially Ephesians, I read about something that seems foreign but beautiful.

That’s where I start to understand that the pronouns are in the plural. Each ‘you’ I read in Ephesians isn’t talking about me. It is a ‘y’all’ that is talking to me in a group, in a community.

One could describe the community we read about in Ephesians and elsewhere as Ordinary Togetherness. What made it remarkable was the way in which the gospel motivated this kind of community and family-like behavior of people so different from one another.

I read things like:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

Rather than this being all about me being a piece of God’s craftsmanship, I am part of the overall craftsmanship God has created in the church. The good works he has for me are embedded in the good works he has for the church.

For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. (Eph. 2:14)

This verse is not about my personal salvation alone. It is not just about me on the outside of a wall looking in. It is about us being separated collectively from one another. But these boundaries have now been destroyed in Christ, and we have freedom together in Him.

In him, the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Eph. 2:21)

I am not personally a holy temple that I take care of with leafy green vegetables and high-intensity workouts. Rather, I’m a part of this holy temple whose spiritual health is mutually connected with others so that we might give praise to God through Jesus Christ.

Community groups are one rhythm we practice to call each other out of our radical individualism. But these groups are to serve as catalysts to ordinary togetherness, not as an artificial, programmatic substitute for it. What’s required then is for us to practice this community and togetherness in the average, everyday stuff of life. Here are some ways we can do just that.

Dinner

Eat dinner with other people. This means if you’re single you’ll need to invite others over for dinner or essentially invite yourself over to eat dinner with someone else. And if you’re married and/or have kids, make a point to share your dinner table with others on a regular basis.

Think of the loneliness that would be abated if we simple did this one thing. Not to mention, it would break down some of the dividing walls between single individuals, college students, and families within our church family and even give our children a vision for what it will look like to follow Christ when they become college students and single working professionals.

Errands

What are some errands you need to do in the next week or even month? Why not involve others in that process? Grocery store shopping, car registration renewal, take your dog to the vet or planning for a birthday party. The possibilities here are endless.

Projects

What is a project that you’re working on right now or will be in the coming weeks? Whether it is fixing a leaky pipe, painting a room, having a yard sale, or moving to a new house or apartment, these are great opportunities to get help, to teach, and to care for one another.

For us to enjoy the wonderful benefits of the radical togetherness that Ephesians speaks to we must make intentional choices to reject our radical individualism. It will mean we must think about how to include others as Christ has included us. But that is kind of the whole point.

Posted by Dustin Walker with
in Prayer

Pray With Us

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By: Joel Polk

This past Sunday was very special for our church family. In both services, we gathered in groups to pray for how we believe God is leading us. We focused on five things that we are asking God for as a church:

1) To Be Sacrificially Diverse: Revelation 7:9-10
2) To Intentionally Multiply: Matthew 28:18-20
3) To Be Involved In Doing Justice: Micah 6:8
4) To Be Theologically Healthy: 1 Timothy 4:16
5) Spirit-Filled Revival: Ephesians 5:15-21

We want you to continue to pray with us over the coming weeks and months for these things. Please use these prayer points and the accompanying Scripture to focus your time with God.

1) Sacrificially Diverse

After this, I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

Revelation 7:9-10

Prayer Points

1) Help us see racial prejudice in ourselves and repent.

2) Help us see racial injustice in our city and act.

3) Prepare us to sacrifice to make our church diverse and unified in Christ.

2) Intentionally Multiply

18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Prayer Points

1) Help me make disciples in my neighborhood and friend-group.

2) Help me make disciples in my workplace, campus, and classroom.

3) Help me make disciples in my church.

3) Doing Justice

Mankind, he has told each of you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Prayer Points

1) Open our eyes to see injustice in our city and our hearts to care about it.

2) Show us what more we can do to help current justice efforts in our city: Bradley Academy, Journey Home, Portico, Greenhouse Ministries, etc.

3) Give us a clear direction and faith to serve the marginalized.

4) Theologically Healthy

Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:16

Prayer Points

1) Help us repent of our indifference toward your Scripture.

2) Make us unafraid to read the Scripture, ask questions, and engage our doubts.

3) Use this church, our community groups, our elders, and each other to help us believe right things about you, God.

5) Spirit-Filled Revival

15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-21

Prayer Points

1) Will you show us how we are quenching your Spirit with our sin and move us to repent?

2) Will you make us sensitive to your Spirit?

3) Will you bring Spirit-filled revival in our church and our city?

Posted by Joel Polk with

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