So, it’s my turn. My turn to tip my hat to the incredible network, no, not network, at last I can use the word community of friends I have and have been given.
I use the word community because network is way to formal, far too detached for the love I have started to feel in and for this group of people. We eat together. We pray together. We worship together. We dance together. We party together. We even minister together in a growing number of ways.
What makes it so special? Really, I DON’T KNOW!!! It just IS!!! I mean, ultimately, it is Jesus and our collective love for Him, but really, I think we all just are open to loving each other. Sure, we may at times have our own secondary motivations (that sometimes become prominent?), but ultimately, we really, I think, love each other, and are committed to truly trying to love each other and learn more about God love for, and will in, community. Yes. That’s it. As I’m writing I realize that is exactly it. We are committed to the idea that Jesus values relationships and community, and we are committed to trying to live that out. And hey, it’s FUN!!! 😀
This community keeps on growing. It started what seems like long ago with just a few people who read or were reading the book “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. Before long, people reading this book started meeting each other- sometimes randomly at coffee shops (thanks Dunn Bros.!), sometimes at church young adult groups, but always with the same zeal for the “real life Christian” life that Shane seemed to embody.
Before long, this community started bringing in lots of other people, all of whom offered something unique, many of whom may or may not have read the book, but all of whom were incredible in their own way. I honestly don’t know how this is happening, but in our efforts to be intentional in our relationships, I am finding more of God then I ever have in possibly any group of friends I have ever had. I am opening my heart to people I never thought I would, and quicker than I ever thought I would. I guess maybe that is what God intended, eh? People I may have first looked at and thought “oh boy, here we go” have quickly become some of my favorite friends and some of the most intriguing people I know. This has happened to me in the past on occasion, but never so quickly and with such a growing number of people.
And so our little group is growing. Into a community of believers from different churches, who all really just want Jesus. A community that recognizes we have our own faults. And also recognizes that we all have our own gifts. And that celebrates, oddly, both of those facts. Is that frickin’ awesome, or WHAT!!! 😀 That’s the REAL church, ladies and gentlemen!
We have farther to go. I hear the girls cry frequently when they get together. I have yet to cry in front of a guy or a girl in our community, but I pray for, and look forward to the day it happens.
We are not yet close enough that we will correct each other when we feel another person may need guidance. Or even ask the questions that may be on our heart because we care about another person and their relationship with God. But we’re getting there! And in our culture, even that fact deserves a big “Hooray!” There will be a day, praise God, soon where every girl who I know well and every guy to whom I am accountable will approach me when they think I may be in the wrong. And they will do it not out of anger, not out of envy, or jealousy, but they will do it out of love. Won’t that be amazing! Be GONE, American culture! Enter, passionate Godly love for another human being!
There will be a day when we are totally free, and able to completely be ourselves in the midst of worship- just like Tiffany was the other night reading a poem at a particularly great night of prayer and fellowship. There will be men marching around and praying like holy warriors, proclaiming victory. There will be women so burdened for people’s hearts, they cannot help but cry in front of everyone. And the opposite will be true for both genders as well. Man, when that day comes, we KNOW we’re close to God’s heart!
And, when we are finally free. When we are FINALLY free, here on THIS earth, who knows what it will look like??? Maybe the devil will persecute us like we’ve never seen. I wouldn’t doubt it. The devil hates freedom. He persecutes it like nothing else. But the point is, we will not be ignorant, and nor will we care. We will stand up, and say to that old satan, “Stand behind me, satan!” And we will continue on, not motivated by ego, or pride, or anything else- but LOVE.
And when we are given the choice, to either die and love, or live and continue the status quo, we will chose to die and love. God, help us to love!
I can’t wait for the day when I truly love people!!! It may cost me everything. It may cost me even my life, but I just plain can’t WAIT!!!
It’s about Jesus. He sets us free. He show us WHO we are.