One of my favorite responsibilities with GEM is managing the blog. Every week, I have the privilege of reading, editing and posting our missionaries’ blog posts. I get so excited to be able to have a sneak peek before the rest of the world gets to see it! The best part of the GEM blog is that the missionaries are free to write about whatever is on their hearts. They can tell a fun story about their classroom or what it has been like to live cross-culturally. They can share what God has been teaching them through His word and through their experiences. They can even write about how darn HOT the weather gets in Mexico this time of year (it has been done plenty of times).
During this past school year, I have seen a theme in our blog. Almost every single missionary at one time or another this year has chosen to write about community. My first thought as a blog manager and a type A person (anyone else out there?) was… “Man, I need to email everyone and tell them to mix it up and start writing about something other than community. We are beating a dead horse! Come on, there have to be other topics out there!” Then I got a nudge from the Holy Spirit indicating that my heart wasn’t in the right place… oh, how thankful I am for these nudges.
At that moment, God opened my eyes. How amazing is it that every single one of our missionaries or staff members have chosen to write about the love they have felt through their community? How special is that? And now… here we are… my turn to write a blog post. It is completely up to me what I write about, and I can mix it up and hit a brand new topic of interest!!! But what do I find myself writing about? …community 🙂
This day in age, so many Christians around the world feel that they don’t need community. They try in every way to avoid it if possible. Sermons can be found online. You can get a daily dose of encouragement from a devotional book. And life is way easier without people getting into your business, right?
It feels easier, because… “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Living in a Christ-centered community leads to life! Sure, it can be uncomfortable at times, but it is oh so worth it. I encourage everyone who follows Jesus to find a Christ-centered community. People you can call on when you’re being tempted. People who will rejoice with you during times of excitement as well as times sorrow. People who will pray with you and for you. Those who will love you when you don’t feel lovable.
I am so grateful that I have been a part of many different Christ-centered communities. I have felt the love of God through His people in times when I needed it desperately. It is good for us to go out into the world and proclaim the goodness of Jesus, but it is also difficult, exhausting and at times overwhelming. Which is why God encourages us to go spend time with people that will remind you of truth, encourage you, and build you back up to send you back out!
I encourage you to go and experience this kind of community. Once you do, you’ll understand why our missionaries (and myself) can’t stop talking about it. There is joy and life to be found while spending time with God’s people.
So, to end my not so original blog post… let me leave you with the scripture I read this morning that encouraged my heart in a big way:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 4:8-11