Friday, 25 November 2011


Believing that God created human beings for relationships Pill Corps is committed to being a place where authentic and honest community can be built. As a prayer beacon we want to share our prayer space as much as is logistically possible and show hospitality beyond our own fellowship in as many ways as possible.

When we make our statement that as a Prayer Beacon we want to be a sharing community, a place where authentic and honest community can be built it’s a very good intention but I suppose the next question is “Yes but what does that actually mean? What does an authentic and honest community really look like?

Anyone who has done a jigsaw knows that it is always easier to complete the puzzle if there is a picutre to follow on the box. It gives a framework and an idea of how the pieces might fit together.

In terms of what an authentic Christian community might look like 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 is the picture on the box of the puzzle.

1. Respectful
The first thing Paul deals with is the relationship that this family has with its leadership and the relationship of leaders to their family.
It is clear from the Bible that God has ordained leadership for communities including the local church.

Leadership in the Christian community works best when two things are balanced. Those who lead work hard, provide loving care but also are prepared to give a challenging word when needed. On the other hand, it is the responsiblity of the community to value leaders and “hold them in the highest regard in love.

Personally I cannot bear laziness and I know I have to be careful because with my tendency overwork I have to watch that I'm not judgmental about other peoples work ethic. Still don't you think it shows lack of respect to the community if leaders want people to do the work of the kingdom if they are not prepared to do some of it themselves?

But at the same time it is also disrespectful of the community towards a leader if they are taken for granted. Over the years I have sadly met those who walked away from leadership, not because the work was too hard or the decision making difficult but because they just couldn't take the relentless criticism anymore. Respecting leaders doesn't mean we can't disagree with leadership, it doesn't mean we don't give feedback but we do it with courtesy and dignity.
As brother and sisters in Christ, leaders are among us and at the same time “over us in the Lord. This can be a tension apart from Christian love. It demands grace and the power of the Spirit to be evident in the whole family.
2. Building each other up.
There are some important words and phrases here about how we're supposed to be treating each other; urge, warn, encourage, help, be patient, try to be kind.

William Ward once said: “Flatter me and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”

We can all see the need to be kind and encouraging to one another but some of those words are harder words, like urge or warn. Being kind to one another doesn't mean we have nothing to offer each other by way of correction and guidance.
When we spend time trying to help an individual, one of the first things we realize is that people don’t change as fast as we want them to, which is why Paul slips in the instruction, “Be patient with everyone.”
There are people in the community who will hurt us. What do we do when that happens? Whatever you do, refuse to retaliate. Instead we should practise kindness. Kindness is an underated quality. We tend to applaud people for their talent or their vibrant personality, their wisdom or their creativity but without kindness, a community is like an engine without much oil.

3 Positive Attitudes
We can't have a good community if we're the kind of people who are always looking for things to criticize. Negativity makes us miserable. It's just easier to be close to someone who's joyful, isn't that true? It's just easier to be close to someone who's thankful.

Paul warns us not to put out the Spirit's fire. The Holy Spirit is someone's life creates positive attitudes in abundance. Paul calls them the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians. The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit.

Paul recognizes that a community that puts all the things he has suggested in place is a miraculous thing. It is relationships that operate on a deep level and we almost gasp at the expectations he puts before us.

He qualifies his high expectation by ending not with a call for everyone to make a greater effort at all this but by referring to the activity of God.

God is among us creating a sanctified community that shines out in the world because of the quality of the life that is shared.

It is God who creates authentic community around us as we cooperate with him. What the blessing says is, "The one who called you is faithful, and he will do it." What ultimately matters in the life of a family of beleivers is that we don't just muddle along together but we let the grace of God to truly sanctify our relationships.

God bless