Pastor Greg is teaching a seven-part Wednesday night series on the seven core values of our church and all of his life ministry.
This week is Core Value #3: Authentic Community
Refers to Thoughts, Beliefs, Opinions, Core Values
Harmony, Cooperation, Collaboration, Unity, Teamwork. It seeks the harmony of bringing people to an agreement. It seeks a spirit of cooperation or collaboration. It’s all about an experience of unity and teamwork.
Mana’o Lōkahi: Shared core values that we can have as brothers and sisters in Christ and especially as we function here as Waikoloa Community Church.
Authentic Community. Authentic Community is a place where accountability, belonging, care, and spiritual growth happen on a regular basis. That happens best with relationally-connected believers in a small group setting. That’s why I strongly encourage everyone to participate in a weekly small group in addition to attending weekly worship on Sunday morning. They typically meet in someone’s home on a weekly basis for a meal, fellowship and Bible Study. In their best version, they function like an extended family, doing life together for support, encouragement, sharing of grief, celebrating victories and more.
God created humans for community. God is a community in Himself. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is three in one.
Then God said, “Let US make humankind in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” – Genesis 1:26a (NET)
BOOM! Did you catch it? God is speaking to Himself in the plural. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ONE and at the same time They are a community. The US and the OUR in that passage are in reference to the Trinity.
TWO HOLES IN OUR SOULS FILLED BY AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY
1) A God-Shaped Hole.
Since it is a God-shaped hole, it can only be filled by something God-shaped and, of course, the only thing God-shaped is God.
I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in Me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. I pray that they will be in Us, so that the world will believe that You sent Me. The glory You gave to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one – I in them and You in Me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that You sent Me, and You have loved them just as You have loved Me.” – John 17:20-23 (NET)
This is a prayer that Jesus prayed FOR YOU! Isn’t that cool? God wants YOU to be united with Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2) A Human Community-Shaped Hole.
From the very beginning, God tells us that we are not meant to live life as a hermit. Even if we have a relationship with God, we still need other people to be a fully functioning human being.
“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.” – Genesis 2:18 (NET)
This is not a marriage verse. It is a community verse. Human beings don’t need to be married but they do need to be around other human beings in order to live a healthy human life. We need authentic community with other human beings. Not necessarily romantic community, just community. God designed us that way, to need to be around at least one other person, preferably more.
I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NET)
People who are not Christ-followers will watch those who claim to be followers of Christ and they will be asking these questions about us: “Are they really any different than the rest of us?Do they really treat people differently? Do they really treat people any better? Do they really have more love, more unity, more joy in their lifestyle than I do in mine? Do they really have better friendships, better relationships with their friends and family? Or are they full of hot air? Are they posers? Are they hypocrites?”
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who labor among you and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all. See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (NET)
Now may the God of peace Himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is trustworthy, and He will in fact do this. Brothers and sisters, pray for us too. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I call on you solemnly in the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 (NET)
God is the one who is building this community. God is the one who is building these character traits in each individual life. We can’t do it without Him. We don’t create Authentic Community for God, God creates Authentic Community for us. God creates authentic community around us as we cooperate with His plan for our lives. The one who called you is faithful, and He will do it. God is always building Authentic Community with those who are willing, calling all of us to Authentic Community between Himself and us and He is building and calling us all to Authentic Community between brothers and sisters. Are you willing to accept His invitation to unity, commUNITY, to join both Him and your other brothers and sisters in Christ in Authentic relationships? I hope so. If you aren’t in an Aloha Group yet I hope you will join one soon.