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Christian Counseling - The Sense of Community Lights The Way

In the 80's, President George H. W. Bush spoke about a "thousand points of light," which referred to the many people who's beacons shine because of their societal contributions. Acts such as these give the world another reason to believe in America's great and generous spirit and help solidify its exceptionalism. People's light inspire others to similar action in their communities and/or serve as an attraction beckoning people to come and live in the Land of the Free.

As Christians, we are given the honored title and responsibility of being the "light of the world." In a world that's dark, light attracts. What light attracts the most? There is nothing like the light of genuine community. A diverse group of people who are unified by love around spiritual truths and the wondrous presence of God. Unfortunately, this is not the state of the institutional church in America who has lost sight of true community, but seems to be the property of only a few small groups. The powerful and telling words of Jesus reflect the importance of community in His priestly prayer in John 17:23, "I in them and You in Me, that they [Christians] may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." Christians in genuine community are the spiritual thousand points of light.

A genuine community is open (not reserved in the give and take of love, honest criticism and deep self-disclosure), accepting (without condition, despite being so different in looks, customs and beliefs--there's ample room for individuality), a place of unique belonging (we are family. As Jesus said, family is no longer about biology, but spirituality-- Matthew 12:46-50), committed to God and one another (like the strong unconditional covenant God makes with us and exemplified in the relationship between Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 18:1 and 2 Samuel 1:26 and other verses interspersed between them). The focus of such a group is on the here-and-now; that is, the relationships between self, God and others who are present. Group tasks and book studies, etc. can distract people from the primary focus of relationships that are happening in the room. Harmony, safety and love rule in genuine community, even when they are in conflict. Such people don't just showcase the sense of community, they live it with each other, out in the open. Who wouldn't be attracted to that?

Are you in a genuine community of believers who shine like this to each other and those outside? Don't settle  for less. Find, create or reform a group (with a couple of others) and develop that community. Jesus wants it and every person needs it. It starts with one person who is willing to live the life. Is that you?

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