In all of my years of ministry, there is one piece of my personal walk that has remained important to my spiritual growth ~ the realization that through meeting with others, I experience God differently than in my alone time with Him. It’s hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t involved in some type of small group.
In my experience, the #1 reason people choose not to give time to meeting with other people, is THE OTHER PEOPLE! This past Sunday, Pastor John asked us during the message to close our eyes and picture a place that represented peace to us. He then shared that most of our placed probably had NO people. It is hard to open up to new people, or to show grace and mercy to people who may not think the same as us.
People need community. In the midst of busy lives, and over committed schedules, we can sometimes feel alone. From Andy Stanley’s book, Creating Community, here is a list of consequences we suffer when not connected with others:
- When living in isolation, we lose perspective on life. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood” and our enemy’s greatest strategy is to isolate us from others so we remain discouraged.
- We lose our ability to be vulnerable and trusting of others. Practicing transparency helps us recognize our challenges and gives us confidence to face truth about ourselves.
- Disconnected people tend to be more selfish. Ouch! I find myself at times just wanting to do what I want to do, and becoming self-absorbed.
Let’s remind ourselves of the reward when we connect. People I have sat in groups with have become teachers to me. I have wept when something surfaced in a discussion that I didn’t know hurt so much, or when someone was so transparent that I couldn’t help but be moved. My heart has become more open to people because I have learned how to live in community in small groups. Most important lesson ever. Gathering with others teaches us how to extend ourselves and share hope with others outside the church. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes sacrifice and you have to believe that taking the time to come together with others is a good thing.
Over the next few weeks you will hear more about Crosswalk groups you can connect with in September. Start praying, face your excuses, and trust that God will bring you to the people you need to be with. We are in this together and God is so good.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
While involved in community here, Rosemary Sellen and I are also involved in community in the Philippines. We leave in one week for the Doorway to Hope compound in Samar, Philippines and words cannot express how supported we feel by our Crosswalk family. Here are a few areas of the mission trip you can keep in prayer:
CORNERSTONE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY
Linda will meet with students and Administrator Mark Selgas to get up to speed and strategize next steps. We are also excited to meet with a Pastor from Northern Samar to discuss the potential for opening another CSM location two hours north of our Calbayog city home base. We seek an open spirit to God’s direction and blessing as we move forward with this school of ministry..
THE PURCHASE OF LAND
Since our last visit, the price of the land we are looking to purchase has significantly increased. We are confident that what God has begun, He will finish. God will provide what is needed to accomplish His work in the Philippines. We plan to meet again with the owner while we are there, and attempt to negotiate an equitable deal for both parties.
CHILD EVANGELISM FELLOWSHIP Partnership
Last month, Rosemary met with Vicky Teves from the National CEF offices in Manila. She was here attending the International CEF Conference in Missouri and then headed to California where she heard about Doorway to Hope. The outcome of meeting with them is CEF’s desire to partner with Doorway to Hope in the Philippines! We will meet with Vicky while we are in Manila and coordinate future plans to provide training to Pastors and leaders in Samar.
See you in community,