“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
As I entered her home, Lilly immediately began showing me around, reminiscing about how several years ago she and her husband had known that THIS was the home they were going to purchase and make their own. The living room was the perfect size to host a small group she explained to me while also pointing out that the kitchen had plenty of space for friends to gather round for food and fellowship. Her “tour” ended with a glance out to her porch and modest size swimming pool, which she noted was always available for baptisms. My dear friend passed away a few years ago, but she will never be forgotten. Her legacy reminds us to be devoted to community life in the church.
Understanding community life in the church is not about having the perfect home. It is about being devoted to doing life with other believers right where you are! Lilly just happened to have the gift of hospitality and so her devotion took on the shape of the gifts God put in her. In the Book of Acts we read about how God used miracles and the community life of the church to literally launch the wonderful work of giving Christianity it’s start in the world. Both of these were quite the attention getter!
With unceasing emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the early church learned and lived and grew to be a movement that continues today.
The simple decision to gather weekly with the church to learn a practical lesson from the Bible, fellowship with others who believe in Jesus and remember Jesus’ resurrection can be life changing! This community gathering continues to be a way God encourages believers and shares HIS HOPE with those yet to believe. So much happens when we make it a habit to show up every weekend to experience community in the church. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
While the larger weekend gathering of the church is important and where many first hear the hope of Jesus explained, it was in a small group that I first saw community lived out. Mine was an amazing experience I will never forget! My seventy-year old grandmother had recently rededicated her life to Christ when I went to visit her over my spring break. She took me to her new bible study small group. This circle of women opened God’s word and talked about life. I was totally blown away that there were real answers to my questions and that I didn’t have to just exist, wandering from one insignificant experience to another. I was seeking truth and was totally stunned by how they had the source for truth sitting in their laps! In this multi-generational group of real women, I got a glimpse at what I was searching for. My life change was not overnight, but the seeds planted in my soul that spring break grew and I was eventually baptized into Jesus Christ. Bigger conversations do happen in small groups!
At Real Life, we call our small groups, Life Groups and they meet all over Central Florida. Click the link below or visit a Welcome Center at any Real Life campus to learn more about attending or hosting a Life Group in your area.
Exhale isolation and inhale spiritual growth and connecting relationally in a Life Group.
Father, I love you and need your direction in my life. Lead me to the community where I can fit in and grow spiritually and relationally. Thank you for the hope and healing I have because of Jesus. In His name, Amen
Today’s post was written by Beth Holland.
Beth Holland lives to make a difference that will encourage, inspire and impact lives for eternity. She loves to write, travel, read and work on significant projects. You can often find her spending time with her family at local parks, museums or the beach. Being the mother of two grown children, son Micah (soon to be married to Alyssa) and daughter Ashley Elizabeth and married for over 30 years to the love of her life, Dan, is what she is most thankful for. She can be found on Sunday mornings at Real Life Christian Church | Kaley Campus.