May 302007
 

With the changes in our culture that have debilitated community, it is imperative that the Church facilitates environments and leads people toward authentic Community.  (By the “church”, I am referring to the people of God and not a building or organization!  See this previous post here regarding the Church)

In Randy Frazee’s book The Connecting Church, he quotes Paul Geisel, professor of urban affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington:

Before suburbs, developers would build on city streets already laid out for them.  In a typical pre-World War II urban neighborhood, homes were built upward to promote density and placed close to the street.  They had spacious, covered front porches close to the public sidewalk, making it easy to talk with neighbors walking back from the local market.  Today’s subdivisions feature wide, winding streets, which promote speedy driving.  New homes with tiny front porches sit imposingly behind large private lawns.  And there is no corner store, or public space for community gatherings. 

Suburbia is not set up for easy development of Authentic Community, so the church has its work cut out for it in these suburban settings.

We need people that will BE INTENTIONAL about getting OUT of their houses and connecting relationally with other people.  This will happen most effectively if we are motivated by the love of Jesus!

Simply get out of the house and WALK ACROSS THE STREET!  Start a conversation or discussion.  People are lonely and Christ IN YOU will create community! 

 Posted by at 5:37 pm
May 292007
 

The purpose of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission!  Period!  Read it here!

Possibly the most significant way that the Church will accomplish its purpose is through BEING an authentic COMMUNITY that TRULY and GENUINELY reflects Christ BY engaging the COMMUNITY on ITS TURF!

I love my neighborhood!  It ROCKS!  We have absolutely the most incredible neighbors in the world.  Last night we had a great Memorial Day block party/cookout/bar-b-que.  We had an incredible turnout.  I have never seen so many children in my life.  AND they were all playing in the street.  We experienced a taste of authentic community!

I am reading The Connecting Church by Randy Frazee.  It is a great book about “Authentic Community”.  It is about people engaging other people in a real and genuine way.  It is about being “good neighbors” and honoring Christ in doing so.

Frazee identifies the “problem of isolation” and quotes Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff writer Liz Stevens regarding the loss of “community” in the American culture:

Suburbs were created after World War II to remedy a housing shortage where the land was the cheapest.  The automobile made it easy for people to commute longer distances to work.  The clean, spacious suburbs, as they were, fit neatly into the concept of the American Dream.  What happened is that suburban developers created a housing market aimed at newly affluent populations.  That, plus deteriorating inner-city services (especially schools), racism, and other factors, catalyzed the white middle-class’s flight to the “burbs”.  But these developers were not architects or urban planners, and the new suburbs did not take into account basic human needs.

I believe the basic human need the writer is referring to is the need for relationships!  I saw my neighborhood take steps in authentic community last night.

Our neighborhood “community catalyst” is my friend Jimmy.  He is an unbelievable “people person”.  People love him and are drawn to him. 

Bottom line, people are lonely and are craving friendship and authentic community.  The church, as part of its mission and natural reflection of Christ, should be the leader in providing “authentic community” to people in its community!

Part 2 coming soon!

 Posted by at 5:56 pm
May 282007
 

We have freedom so easily taken for granted.  Only those who have been outside of our country of abundance and incredible freedom can entirely appreciate the freedom we have been granted!  Thank you to those who have gone on before us to help protect and provide for our freedom!

Yesterday was another incredible day at Church at the Grove!

Attendance was down some 70 or 80 people but we had many people with us for the first time. 

I want to say a special thanks for many of our men from the Loganville Police department for being with us and especially riding their bikes to church and going on a ride afterwards. 

I challenge you to memorize 2 Peter 1:8 this week and think about how we can all grow more into the character of Christ!  Are you “walking in the ways” or Jesus?  Make these character traits part of your life: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love!

This summer is going to be awesome!  I hope you will invest in relationships with people around you.  Get out and talk to someone in your neighborhood!

 Posted by at 2:43 pm
May 262007
 

Tonight I had the privilege of attending my father’s 55 year senior class reunion for Southwest Dekalb High School.  My brother Butch attended with my mother.  My father passed away almost ten years ago.

It was fun and interesting to hear the stories everyone told about my father.  They all shared how everyone loved my father and he was always laughing and having fun.

To be quiet honest it was enormously emotional for me to be there.  With all the sharing about my dad, I was constantly holding back tears.  We regularly entertained conversation about my brother Eddie that passed away into eternity this month fifteen years ago.  It was emotionally draining as we continued to talk of my Dad and Eddie and how sad it was not to have them there with us.

But the good news is this!  There will be a reunion with them in eternity at some point.  Because they both placed their faith in Christ and the other members in my family had also turned to follow Christ, there will one day be a reunion of all reunions!

I look forward to that reunion.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe I will be absolutely overwhelmed with JESUS to an extent that everything else will not matter.  When I am able to get a grip on myself and settle down, I will look for my Dad, Eddie, my grandmother, Mammie and many others I will want to connect with.

That is one reason I do what I do.  I want to take as many people as possible with me to an eternal reunion in the presence of God. 

Will you join me!  It is going to be a lot of fun!

 Posted by at 10:17 pm