Community

Back in our Young Life days, we had instant community. If we moved, we met people who quickly became friends and it was good. We had a common burden for high school kids to meet Jesus and the bond was tight. I did not realize at the time what a gift this was to us. The past two weekends we have been given this gift again. We gathered with community and it has been so encouraging. It has very much felt like returning to those Young Life days.

IMG_5834The first time was an outdoor concert/fundraiser for Young Life. We sat under blankets and stars and listened to great music. I hope our little town will do more of this kind of thing. The next event was a community night of worship. The title for the event was “Never Alone”. The night was perfect and a sweet group of people made it happen. I love how everyone has something they are good at. When each brings their gift to the table, a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together in unity is the result. Isn’t this what God had in mind? In fact, we can read these words written by David, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” (Psalm 133:1). Seems so often Christians can be known for their differences and not our unity.

I know in recent news Ellen DeGeneres received a lot of attention because she sat by George W. Bush at a Cowboys game. Her response was very good. The short explanation I heard her give was that we are to be kind. We might not agree, but we can be kind. Can we do more of this in our homes, neighborhoods, cities, schools, churches and country? Often this whole liberal vs. conservative thing really bothers me. Each bashing the other and both looking anything but unified. It amazes me that the names “right wing and left wing” are used in politics. Has a bird ever flown with only one wing? The answer is no, I looked it up. Why do we divide then? Seems both wings, maybe not always agreeing, but flapping in unity would cause our nation to soar.

I know that our community is not perfect and we are small, but what I saw was very encouraging. When there is a common cause, many of the reasons for division end. Both events had the unifying goal to lift up our powerful God. Can you even wrap your head around what our country would be like if this was our common goal? A glimpse of heaven is what I see. I pray revival breaks out again!

Awhile ago I read 2 Chronicles 20 and cannot seem to get away from this unified kingdom. I will summarize it for you and I hope you love it as much as I do. King Jehoshaphat gets word that a vast army is coming to attack Judah, his county. He is alarmed, but resolves to find out what the Lord would have them do and everyone fasts. “The  people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD..” (vs 4). He prays and reminds the people of who God is. He then says the most beautiful, comforting words. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (vs. 12). The situation has not changed, but they know where to focus.

The account continues and “…the Spirit of the LORD came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah..” (vs. 14). He gives them a message from God. He tells them not to be afraid and the battle belongs to God. He tells them that God will be with them and they will not have to fight. Have we not received the same message and promise that God will be with us? The people fell facedown in worship. What a sight this must have been! Then they head out very early in the morning. As they begin, the king reminds them of the message they have received from God. Then he does the most interesting military move. He places singers in front of the army who sang, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” (vs. 21). As their song rang out, “the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (vs. 22). Only God can do the impossible.

What would happen if we followed their example? What if we started with ourselves? What if we lifted our eyes to our powerful God, fasted from our need to be right, bowed in worship to the only God who has the final say in what is right? What about if we went about our days in thanksgiving, trust and surrender? I will tell you what happened in this country. “When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground, no one had escaped.” (vs. 24). It took them 3 days to gather all the plunder! They returned home rejoicing and what a sound that had to be! There is no sound more amazing I am certain than that of a follower of Christ who has seen an impossible victory.  How their faith must have soared! Then something else happened. “The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.” (vs. 29). Their country experienced peace.

I do not know what you will decide, but as for me and our family, we have our eyes focused on the only source of victory. There is uncertainty and somethings that could easily usher in fear. Everyone I meet has something impossible to see their way out of. It may be a relationship, family, school challenges, lack of direction, health issues, finances, loneliness and the list could go on and on. We can choose to go our own way and gather likeminded travelers to our cause. Or we can come together, trade our “right” ideas in for His and unite in worship. My prayer is that we hear each other singing, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” (vs. 21). This must be what revival sounds like. And trust me when I tell you that His love transforms you in the most beautiful way and worship is a natural response.

I will leave you with this verse. “Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God” You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:13-14).

*One of my daughters just told me tomorrow is National Kindness Day!!

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