A Community of Christians

 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. 

John,  an apostle of Jesus

Have you been watching the news of late? It seems that it's filled with nothing but strife and hatred and killing. Such is the world apart from Christ. One of the things that I appreciate the most about genuine Christianity is the peace that it brings in the communities that practice it. This is not to say that evil men have not hijacked Christianity for self serving purposes, nor is it to deny the words of Jesus when He pointed out that it would bring strife among those who rejected His teaching. But the Christian will seek the good of his fellow man, and this brings peace when practiced among a community of believers.

This is one of the things I love the most about living in a small town where the majority of its people honestly believe that Jesus is the Son of God. It shows in every facet of every activity - from the way people do business to the way people care for their neighbors to the way the schools are run. At our particular school, we have a superintendent with a PhD. His wife is also highly accomplished, yet it is nothing unusual to see these two cleaning up the stands after a ballgame. They have the heart of a servant.

Our two principals are sincerely focused on the well being of their students - this shows in just about everything they do. Our teachers are some of the most incredible individuals that I have ever been around - most could work for higher salaries elsewhere, but they like the atmosphere of their small town.  Our secretaries actually run the school, but are kind enough to let the administrators think that they are in charge. Their real talents lie in the loving way that they treat our children. The maintenance people have been here for years and are family - not mere custodians. The man who oversees much of the school property coincidentally went to college on a track scholarship. Not coincidentally, he took the first girl's track team to State in many years. But his real asset is that he, like nearly everyone else at school and in this town, loves Christ.

There are four different houses of worship here, but the reason for our not worshiping together is not due to animosity, but to a different understanding of the Word. We still gather together at ball games and concerts and picnics and awards assemblies, just to be with one another and to cheer one another along. All of these things come from being in a community where nearly every person believes not only in God, but in Jesus as well. We don't make the news much, but I think that the blessings that stem from such Christian living is worthy of note.

Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. 

Luke 11:28, NIV

 

Advice for a Lifetime  

Read the Bible as much as you can.

Pray as much as you can.

Worship with the church as often as you can.

This advice seems too simple to be heralded as "advice for a lifetime" but it is simple only in the aspect that it is easy to understand. It is anything but simple from the standpoint that it will require a total commitment to God. It also requires a return to the basics, which is important because religion has become so complicated, convoluted and partisan that many people have become discouraged and have given up on the most important area of their life - their service to God.

Here is why this simple concept works: If you read the Bible as much as you can, you begin to find out what God wants you to do. While there are difficult passages, the old myth that no one can really understand the Bible is ridiculous. If you can tell your children not to lie and expect them to know exactly what you mean, then the Creator of the universe can tell us not to lie and expect us to understand.

Concerning prayer, what could be better than to have a constant line of communication with God? Since we have it, we should use it! Use it to thank Him for everything, for requesting help for others and for seeking guidance.

As for worship, everyone wants to know where to worship. Just read your Bible and find the one closest to the church you see described. You've been given a mind - use it! We must settle for ourselves whether we will believe what we believe because of where we worship, or if we will worship where we worship because of what we believe. In short, the worthwhile life we seek will come down to this:

 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment."

Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 22:37-38, NIV