Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Place of Refuge....and a bit on sharing

We are moving right along (slowly) on the plan to help build a community. We have agreed on a purchase price for half of the land, and are still working with the land owners to arrive at an agreement for the lease with option to purchase on the other half of the land. God gave us the project to work on so I have no doubt it will succeed, but, wow, what a road this has been thus far. Here is a little more information on what is going to be a thing of amazing beauty. I will try to provide pieces of the puzzle over the next several weeks. Hopefully, these pieces, when they come together, will provide the big picture of what we hope will be accomplished.

God wants us to help to kick-start a living community to reach out to the people of this area. God has outlined his plan for community living in Acts of the Bible. His plan includes people living in fellowship with each other, sharing their blessings, and sharing their burdens.

Acts 2:42-47 (NLT)
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Acts 4:32-35(NCV)
The group of believers were united in their hearts and spirit. All those in the group acted as though their private property belonged to everyone in the group. In fact, they shared everything. With great power the apostles were telling people that the Lord Jesus was truly raised from the dead. And God blessed all the believers very much. There were no needy people among them. From time to time those who owned fields or houses sold them, brought the money, and gave it to the apostles. Then the money was given to anyone who needed it.

Over time we have lost that vision. People don't often share what they have. They don't share possessions, or meals, or even their time. They have sealed off the avenue toward sharing by the way they live their lives. People don't live in close proximity to one other. They live in secrecy. Sometimes they live emotionally isolated from others within their own home. Look around as you drive through town. Homes face the road not for access, but for appearance. People drive around back, go through a back door, shut the doors and windows, and retreat into their secret lives. And if they go outside, it is often within the confines of the high 'privacy' fences they have erected. How many of your neighbors do you know?

At one time or another, each and every one of us bears something that needs to be shared. It doesn't just apply to things. Sometimes it is our hopes and our dreams, or our concerns or burdens that require sharing. When we have good news, we can't wait to share it with someone else. Victories seem hollow unless there is someone to share in your joy. When we are dealing with guilt and shame, they continue to eat away at our peace until we share the stories with someone else. Once we break free from those chains that bind us in secrecy, we are liberated. And when we are struggling, emotionally, physically, or even financially, we need to share that too with people. We need to stop trying to tackle those sorts of burdens on our own. Struggling against these powerful burdens ourselves is like trying to fight our way out of quicksand by ourselves. The more we struggle, the deeper we sink. But if we only had a hand to grab hold of, someone to help pull us out. If only we were given the opportunity, in turn, to be that hand reaching out to others.

....more to come on sharing, fellowship, and living in community....


Suds to Love said...

Hi Natalie: you were tagged for a bloggin' award, check out my blog for details.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm really thinking about this now. Not that i haven't thought of it before but i'm thinking. I love what you are allowing the Lord to do. I learning that this is not far from the thoughts of many believers at this very time. It's interesting i hopped over here today to read.

My mothers childhood friend and her hubby have 12-13 adopted children and he's an engineer for the gov't. They purchased a HUGE plot of land that they built a house on and there is so much room they were telling my parents they'd love to offer it to some of their christian friends and allow them to live right there a few steps away. Then they could grow old together and serve the Lord.

Seems like the Lord is speaking to others about this very thing. I'm exited for you and for how the Lord will work all this out. I never seems to get tired to watching even from a distance the hand of gone moving on behalf of his own. It's truly awesome!

Praying for you!