This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Scott Williams, Northpoint’s Pastor of Adults and Families.
Our Need for Community
Today we live in a hugely individualistic culture. Our western society loves to champion those who can “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” those who would consider themselves a “self-made man or woman.” Even many of the movies or books that we enjoy laud individuals who have surpassed all the odds and even the opinions of other people to achieve great things on their own. Whether it is the rogue secret agent Jason Bourne, or the stereotype-breaking bunny who wants to be a police officer in Zootopia, we are inundated with the message that if you are true to yourself and set your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
I am afraid this type of thinking has even made its way into the church, where, for the most part, the Christian life is merely up to you and God. It’s up to me to become more like Christ, and when I fail, I must merely and privately “pull myself up by my bootstraps and try harder.” This, however, is not the picture that Scripture paints for what it means or looks like to become more like Christ. In their wonderful book, How People Change, Paul Tripp and Tim Lane say that change is a community project. They write, “Our fellowship is an essential ingredient for lasting change. The work of redemption involves our individual relationship with Christ alongside our relationship with others.” Community is not just an added benefit we have as Christians that defines our friendly relationships or those people who we lean on in troubled times, but Christian community is one of the means by which Christ brings the daily redemption of sin to make us more like him.
In Hebrews 10:24-25 it says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” These verses stand as the third of three commands to the church resulting from the salvation we have in Christ and our new relationship with God. Let’s take that first phrase, “consider how to stir one another up toward love and good deeds.” The words to stir up have the idea to provoke or incite. At first glance, “love and good works” might be taken as simply being charitable, or neighborly. Buy the homeless guy a burrito or give some money to Haiti relief. But I think it is much deeper than that because we don’t often have to incite one another to act charitably, but we do have to provoke one another to fight our indwelling sin. This verse is much like the one earlier in Hebrews 3:13: “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” While exhorting one another to be charitable is part of being in community, it is even more essential that we also stir one another to fight against the sin in our lives so that we can become more like Christ (which, in turn, makes us more charitable!).
That’s why I would like to encourage all of you who aren’t already in one to join one of our many Growth Groups. A Growth Group is a gathering of 6-16 Christ-followers who meet 2-4 times a month, apply the Scriptures together, and pray for and encourage one another. If you are interested in joining one of these groups, please check out our website at http://northpointcorona.org/ministries/adult/growth-groups/. Or you can email Michele Balga at email@example.com.
Join a group today!