Finding your tribe
Belonging to a community with the Rev Keith V Garner
I suspect we all have a story to tell of something meaningful someone has done for us. It might be the inspirational word of encouragement of a teacher at school, the gift of a musical instrument or sporting equipment that awakens a hidden talent, or perhaps it might even be the outstretched arm that stopped us from unwittingly stepping in front of a car.
I remember when as a young person who was relatively new to the Christian family, I was supported by a group of very committed Methodists to pursue my early Christian studies. I shall never forget them, or the practical generosity they showed me. Without this it would have been impossible to have begun my own road of Christian service.
In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the ultimate expression of love and sacrifice, for us. To know that Jesus Christ laid down his life and was raised from the dead for the world is one thing. Yet if we know he did this ‘for us’, this takes on a new meaning. How do we respond to this act of profound love and sacrifice?
Do you belong to a community that helps you grow?
Bible verse: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character," 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV.
Thought: God uses friendship as an instrument of sanctification. It is important that you carefully choose the community you connect with. Scriptures indicate that connecting with the right friends will help you to grow and live a purposeful life.
Prayer: Lord, help me to find godly friends and influences in my life, so that I may become more like you. Lead me to belong to the church family and play an active role.
Does your community stand by you when times are hard?
Bible verse: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing," 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV.
Thought: We live in a world that is more connected than ever before through technology, yet so many people experience real loneliness and disconnection. Sometimes we can feel as though our life has been purposeless. The good thing is we have a God that help us to remain vitally connected because of Jesus Christ, to support and build each other in such trying times.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for fellow Christians, and the strength that you’ve given us to continue growing together as your people. Give us patience to love and encourage one another to live more like Jesus.
What does it mean to belong to God’s family?
Bible verse: "In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit," Ephesians 2:21-22 NIV.
Thought: How do you think about other Christians? Do you know them? Do they seem strange to you? If Jesus is our cornerstone, he has brought us into the same home—meaning that the people in your Christian community are not strangers, but family. We are all in the same house, being built together through the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that because of Jesus, I can have a new family with so many members. Help me to find a group of Christians and help me to get to know them so we can bring each other closer to Jesus Christ, through your Word and may we serve our community better.
What makes God’s family different?
Bible verse: "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," Romans 15:5-6 NIV.
Thought: When we think about our brothers and sisters, we are encouraged to have the same attitude towards them as Jesus had. Remember that Jesus died for each and every one of your fellow believers. This kind of sacrificial love is not easy to give, but God gives us his endurance. The point of loving each other like Jesus is so that we can praise God together, and bring glory to him through our community.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to remember what a blessing it is to be surrounded by brothers and sisters who know and love you. Encourage me today to look at other Christians with Jesus’ love, so that we can do glorious things together, in your name.
You are given a special gift to support each other
Bible verse: "Now to each the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good," 1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV.
Thought: God gives different types of gifts to his children. One person may be particularly great at reading the Bible aloud, another may give wonderful advice to his or her fellow Christians in a crisis. Any special spiritual gift we may have is meant to be shared for the common good, not kept to ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, whatever it is you have given me, help me to recognise it as a gift from you. Surround me with other Christians who I can share my gift with, and who will in turn share their own. Help us not to get jealous of each other, but to build each other up.
Finding your tribe: Sunday 1July
Rev Keith Garner speaks with Nigel Lindsey and April Edler about the importance of belonging to a community and how that relates to the work they do at Wesley Mission.
Rev Keith Garner talks about the power of belonging to a community and the role this plays in our lives.