The Community Standard

We need each other.

This is a crucial thing for us to remember in the midst of a culture and media that would tell us “we are more divided than ever before.” Maybe the media’s statement is true (probably not) but either way, we still need each other.

The church ought to be the premier example of what a good need-each-other community looks like. We, as the church, haven’t always been that shining example. We can do better.

Mankind was created to live in community because (have I said this yet) we need each other. It is pretty undeniable that human beings crave community. We hate being lonely, and we can’t “do life” all by ourselves (no matter how much we might try to deny it.) We hate being alone because we were not created to be alone.

A good and healthy community was God’s plan for human beings from the very beginning. God said, in Genesis 2:18, “it is not good that the man should be alone.” Both men and women, being made in the image of the Triune God, need a community to support and be supported. Without some sort of healthy community, we all suffer.

The Church (When I talk about “The Church I am talking about both local churches and the Universal Church as a whole that is comprised of all believers worldwide.) should not have to suffer in this way. A lack of, or an unhealthy community should be the least of our worries. We ought to understand the great and amazing gifts that we have been given- each other.

The Body of Christ should, and needs to be there to encourage one another, (1 Thess. 5:11) comfort and pray for one another, (Gal. 6:2) look after one another, (Phil. 2:3-4) and love one another (John 13:34-35).

When the church focuses on doing these things and caring for one another in these ways other people will begin to take notice. Jesus’ prayer in John 17:22 was that “they [followers of Jesus-i.e. the church] may become perfectly one so that the world may know that you [The Father] sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Our community with one another as believers is our strongest form of evangelism. This community-evangelism serves to remind us that the Family of God (those who put their trust in Jesus alone for Salvation) was intended to be open to all and ever-growing.

Our communities (churches, small groups, friend groups, Bible studies etc.) need to be a place where believers can love and support one another while growing in their faith as well as a place where non-believers can observe a healthy and biblical community that ultimately points to Jesus as Savior.

Another incredible reason why we need to focus on our community health more is that each of us, as individuals, has so much to offer. Every single person who has put their trust in Jesus has a God-given gift. These gifts (spiritual gifts) are given for the building up and strengthening of the church. And, as we looked at earlier, when the church is strong and focused that means good news for the spreading of the Good News.

There is a big difference between attending a church and participating in church. A healthy disciple of Jesus will be an active participant in the body of Christ. Those who simply attend church deprive both themselves and the rest of the Body, of a true and godly community. Those who participate in church (use their gifts and serve one another) will benefit both themselves and the rest of the body.

Romans 12:4-5 reminds us that the Body is made up of many members who need each other. A true and growing disciple of Jesus is one who understands and fulfills their purpose in the church.

What would our churches look like if we were to focus more on the health of our community with one another?

Imagine just how much more impactful we would be if we were more loving, caring, and committed to one another. It’s time for the church to, once again, set the standard for what a good and healthy community looks like.

Transforming Society

Chances are that this last week, whether on the news or in a casual conversation, you heard the questions; Why did this happen? and What can we do?

The answers to those questions are both very complicated and yet plainly simple.

This, along with every other mind-numbing tragedy, happened because of sin. And what can we do? A lot.

Before you read on I would challenge you to stop for a moment and pray. Pray for all of those who have been impacted personally by the horrific events of last week. I would also encourage you to pray for the transformation of our society of which has become numb to death and destruction.

It is saddening to see “shares” on social media of numbers of deaths caused by guns vs. drunk drivers vs. knives vs. etc. Giving into those arguments only continues to make us numb. I fear that we have gotten to a place where we forget that there are real people behind each of those numbers represented. Human life is worth more than that.

Laws are important, but I do not want to get into any sort of debate here. The reason is that neither the right nor the left have the remedy for what ails us. That remedy only comes in one form and one form only. His name is Jesus.

Jesus is the centerpiece of the Bible and He carries with Him the message and the mission of the Bible: redemption. In simpler terms, God heals what is broken.

Our society is broken. Our neighbors, co-workers, families, and friends are all broken. We are broken. Jesus can fix that.

2 Corinthians 5:17 promises that if anyone belongs to Jesus they have been made new.

Ephesians 2 tells us that we can be transformed from death to life because of God’s great love.

Romans 5:6-8 reminds us that Jesus welcomes us in our weakest, ugliest, and worst states.

So, what are we, those who have been transformed by the love of Jesus, to do in the midst of times such as these? We do what Jesus always intended for us, the church, to do.

We transform society. (Matthew 5:13-16)

We shine so that others may see. (Matt 5:16)

We don’t conform but rather allow the Holy Spirit to transform us. (Romans 12:2)

We remember where we come from. (John 17:16)

We stand up against what is wrong. (Daniel 1 & 3)

We remember what our mission is. (John 17:15 &23)

We remember who is with us on this mission. (Matthew 28:18-20)

We tell others what Jesus came to do. (Luke 19:10)

We walk what we talk. (James 1:19-27)

We trust God to make beauty from ashes. (Genesis 50:20)

One of my favorite Missions organizations (Send me a message if you’re interested in finding out which one and I will tell you all about them!) has an incredible missions statement. Here are my favorite parts of it.  “A movement of God…that finds its home in the local church and transforms society.”

I love that statement so much because a movement of God that is fueled by local churches and transforms society can and should happen anywhere. Whether we are here or there, God can and will use us, His church, to impact the world around us. Imagine what could happen if believers everywhere began to focus all their time, effort, and energy on transforming society. We transform society by telling people about Jesus and by living our own lives like He did.

We can’t afford to not tell people about Jesus. We can’t afford to not live for and like Jesus. The people around us can’t afford it either.

Revelations 21:3-6

Come soon Lord Jesus.

MLK Jr. & Light in the Midst of Darkness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. “

This weekend, for many students and teachers, was a three-day weekend. I remember, when I was in school, always looking forward to three-day weekends. Monday holidays were always my favorite. Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, President’s Day, Casimir Pulaski Day, (you only would know that if you’re from the great state of Chicago… I uh, mean Illinois) Labor Day, and of course Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

But I want to take a few moments to remind all of us that yesterday wasn’t just about getting a day off. Yesterday was a day to celebrate and commemorate the life of a wonderful, godly, loving, caring, and courageous man.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born as Michael King Jr. on January 15th, 1929. His father, Michael Sr. actually legally changed his own name, as well as his son’s, after a trip to Germany. During that trip, Michael Sr., a Baptist preacher, was so impressed by the life of the famous reformer that he made the legal switch in names in order to honor the hero of the Reformation.

King Jr.’s new name would perfectly fit his life’s work. He was in every way a true reformer of social, civil, and political norms.

The amazing man lived his life in such a way that inspired others to live in the same way. He truly walked the walk to back up his talk. He was a Christian who followed Jesus not only in word but in action.

King has so many incredible quotes. Yesterday, I was scrolling through my social media feeds and I saw quote upon quote from Dr. King. The extra cool thing was that I rarely saw a quote repeated. This is even more proof that this world changer had so much to say that we all should continue to listen.

It is one particular quote of his that I want to focus on today. It just happens to be one of my absolute favorites. The following is from a sermon that the good reverend gave back in 1957.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. “

Perhaps one reason why I love this quote so much is that it reminds me a lot of another line from a very quotable source.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)


The verse in John is talking all about Jesus-the light who came into the world to bring light and life to those who were dead in darkness. The darkness has not, will not, and cannot overcome the light that Jesus brings.

King’s quote is so impactful because it reminds us that more atrocity cannot put an end to atrocities, more hate cannot put an end to hatefulness, and more sin cannot put an end to our sinfulness. An argument isn’t ended by raised voices, all that results in is a louder room.

Unfortunately, in today’s culture, many things that Dr. King fought for and stood against are still hot-topic issues. However, we must remember that the fight against injustices is an ongoing one. And please, hear me clearly, this is our fight. As followers of Jesus Christ, no matter what the color our skin, we must stand against injustice. We must be light-bearers who, as we reflect the one true light, send darkness packing. We must remember that the root of our issues and frustrations are not caused by politics, nor economic status, not even race…but sin.

Sin is a thing that every single human being (no matter what background, race, intelligence, religion, nationality, or anything else) has in common. Thankfully, the Savior of the world is an equal opportunity rescuer.

In Luke chapter 4 Jesus read a Scripture from the Old Testament.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus then sat back and humbly said, (I’m heavily paraphrasing) “This is all about me. I am now doing all these things.”

Jesus was all about Saving the world, something only He could do through His death on the cross. Jesus was also all about justice, and therefore, we should be too. I’m reminded of a lyric from one of my favorite music groups, Beautiful Eulogy, and their song, “Slain.”

“I’m not afraid to talk about social injustices

Let’s also talk about the throne where perfect justice is

It sounds insensitive and some will hate the stench of it

But the church is not faithful if we fail to mention it

We worship a God who can speak to the world’s pain

Because salvation for us came through the Lamb who was slain”


Did you catch that second line? I hope so because I underlined it. Perfect justice can and will only come from God Himself. That truth is something that we believers need to talk about…and not stop talking about.

I think that Martin Luther King Jr. would agree, after all, he did say,

“The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.”