Vol. 23 No. 3

Community | 2/25/2015 | Comments: 1

Community

Long, long ago in a land far, far away there was a couple who read Acts chapter 4 and wondered; “Why, do we not see a functioning ‘community’ in the church?”  They researched, read books, and had this desire to see a community functioning, but could find it anywhere except in the book of Acts. 

When the apostles had finished praying, their meeting place shook. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God boldly.  The whole group of believers lived in harmony. No one called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything.  With great power the apostles continued to testify that the Lord Jesus had come back to life. God's abundant good will was with all of them.  None of them needed anything. From time to time, people sold land or houses and brought the money to the apostles. Then the money was distributed to anyone who needed it.  (Acts 4:31-35 God’s Word)

This couple was looking for a Church where there is a common ground, and if one person has a need, then others step up and help.  The land started in State College, PA and then they moved to Winston Salem, NC.  Later this couple moved to Rocky Mount, NC, which is a place where they had their first experience with a sample of an Acts life.  The couple, of course, is us.

I know this concept sounds like Socialism.   But before I share, I want to put this to rest. 

socialism definition: An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity.

Socialism is forced – it is a government-run situation.  Community is a way of life.  Community has to come from the heart.  It is a heart where God dwells, and a heart that surrenders to HIM. 

The word “community” comes from the Greek word “Koinonia” which is defined as: “joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ.    

In Rocky Mount we found a church family that would set time, money, or their own desires aside to relieve a burden if someone had a need.   There is no begging or poor-mouthing, it is a heart.  We were recipients many times of others’ hearts, and we were also able to bless others.  This church would make sure that we were able to keep the ministry of LPM on the road either by finances, or by providing vehicles when ours was out of service.  Oh, and don’t forget the prayers.  Oh my, we could call each other in the middle of the night for prayer.  Truthfully, they are still there for us and us for them.    

A few years later we also ran into a few prison ministers whose heart was to be a community without calling it that.  We locked in friendship and suddenly we found that “our abundance” provided for those who lacked and “their abundance” provided for us when we lacked! We were separated by miles but that didn’t seem to make a difference.  If there was need, we were there for each other—from needing a vehicle fixed (we all seemed to always have that need), to home improvements, to computer work.  We ministered together and sometimes traveled together.  There was this one van that was passed through several of us and maybe passed twice to some.  This poor van went through 4 ministries that TRAVELED.  That poor van finally died after MANY years of service. But this group also went a step further; we became accountable to each other.  There seemed to be a safety with the group that enabled us to expose Satan’s hand in our lives.  We learned to operate in what James 5:16 talked about.  We trusted that we would not to be judged by each other and that rumors would NOT to be spread.  It was freeing to be able to defeat the enemy by exposing his lies.   

So admit your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you will be healed. Prayers offered by those who have God's approval are effective.

These friends are still accountability partners and we are “there” for each other.

So I know you are wondering WHY I am telling this.  I am going to tell you where God has us now.  He is combining what He let us experience and what he taught through the love of our brothers and sisters in the above examples.  Now HE is leading us through another example. 

 Be humble and gentle in every way. Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other. Through the peace that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives. There is one body and one Spirit. In the same way you were called to share one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over everything, through everything, and in everything.  God's favor has been given to each of us. It was measured out to us by Christ who gave it.  That's why the Scriptures say: "When he went to the highest place, he took captive those who had captured us and gave gifts to people."  Now what does it mean that he went up except that he also had gone down to the lowest parts of the earth?  The one who had gone down also went up above all the heavens so that he fills everything.  He also gave apostles, prophets, missionaries, as well as pastors and teachers as gifts to his church.  Their purpose is to prepare God's people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:2-12 God’s Word)

Another thing that we have seen in the Word is the example of the 5-fold office flowing together in unity to prepare God’s people for the work of the ministry.  God has DRILLED into our hearts that HE HAS A CALLING on everyone that He created.  We all have meaning to why we were born.  That means everyone has a God-given CALLING.  If you are reading this, you have a calling on your life!!!  He has stirred this truth in our hearts for years.  We have preached this truth up and down the eastern seaboard.  In my understanding, the purpose of the 5-fold ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4, is to be servants helping you to walk out your calling.

It is so important to us to see the body equipped.  In fact it is a burning because we don’t believe the days ahead are going to be easy.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says that we are to gather together to ENCOURAGE one another as we see the day drawing near. 

We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.

Right now, we are getting up early and meeting with a group of people daily to pray.  We are praying about our area, and the doors that God would open for us.  I can see that God has built each step in community upon the previous experience. 

What do I think all of it is about?  The bottom line is I believe that we are going to see the vision that the Lord gave me years ago.  It is going to be a time where we will have to be willing to share everything.  We may be at a place where we have to sell everything and go, or sell everything to be able to give.  Our stuff may not matter in the days ahead.  God would say to us today: “I did not call you to fulfill your vision; I did not call you to fulfill your plans; I did not call you to build your Kingdom.  I called you to die to your old self.  That means that you exchange your vision for My vision; your plans for My plans; your Kingdom for My Kingdom.”

 I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God's Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins.  (Galatians 2:20 God’s Word)

What about you?  Who is living, you or Christ?  God may ask this of us, but he may ask something else of you. 

What is it worth to you to further the Gospel?  You see, we are praying in desperation, “Lord, please send an awakening to our region; please send an awakening to our nation; please let Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!” 

 

 

 


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Comments

Perry   2/25/2015

so awesome to watch how God works through you guys . I agree wholeheartedly with that vision and I believe those words were God breathed. Love you guys.

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