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July 19, 2014

We are part of a community, we belong to a community (communities) – but it may not be the physical community you live nearby. It may be a community of work, or of sport/hobby – it may be a virtual community on facebook or twitter. It is certainly true that we end up making good friends with people who are similar to us! We do this because we want to be affirmed, to be noticed and to feel accepted and loved: and of course none of those things are bad.
Nonetheless the principle on which we want to build our community is about our growth and maturity. We do not simply want to have friends who validate who we are, but friends who genuinely want us to reach our potential. We need to choose our community, our friends – with care, after all we will end up being the average of the people we spend our life with, so note carefully who we are hanging out with – are they people whose lives we respect and admire?
Within our community we need to learn to be brave: When Jesus brought the church into existence he did so to deliberately “make peace” between racial, gender, economic divisions. We should aim to be communities where the `core` of our connection is around the values we hold, but where there is sufficient difference and challenge to prompt us to grow – and reach our potential.
This in turn means challenging our own hearts. We want people to affirm us in our journey, but we are disappointed when others succeed where we have failed, where others are noticed and we are side-lined, we experience loss when people move on without us: the reality is that most of life is mediocre because we do not want to outshine our friends. We happily accept a level less than our full potential because we will also feel the loss of having to leave people, good friends, behind.
But a community can be about team, it can be about rising to achieve something that is more than the sum of the parts – to all be great by helping each other up. To do this we have to accept the cost, to serve others in ways that are unrecognised, to continue to give even when we are underappreciated, to push to unreasonable lengths to enable the whole community to be great!
To do this we cannot be anything less than intentional and committed to the community that we are building together.

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