What Do I Bring To the Table?

ENGAGE: CONNECT. GROW. SERVE. #2 – WHAT DO I BRING TO THE TABLE? – SERMON RESOURCES

  1. Sermon Manuscript
  2. Sermon Audio

ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us from any difficulty life can throw at us.”

— Tim Keller

This requires we find ourselves in relationship with others. God has so much to show us through one another that to take anything less than one step closer to community is a loss.

We see the early church living a common life, in unity with one another. Not only do they have “everything in common” and common purse, but they enjoy the favor of one another. As we look at what they were doing, we can see they were devoted to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. They met daily, ate together and praised God together. This is what a life group is. Not daily meeting, necessarily, but this: Sharing your life in this kind of way with the people you see around you right here and now.

The early church in Acts had a different economy, a different kind of life from others at the time and certainly different than ours now. Life Groups are about this kind of Life, the life of the early church In a Life Group, you are sharing together and you are given the chance to experience what it means be known.

Jesus lived in community, in dependence on others for his needs. He was basically homeless. If Christ is our model, then we learn from and emulate him.

We come as a community, alongside one another to Communion, The Eucharist, united by Christ as a reminder of Our Lord’s sacrifice for us. We bring ourselves to this table to acknowledge our great need for each other and also express gratitude for the blessed fellowship in Christ. We come to the table as a diverse group of people united in Christ as His body here on earth, sharing in His love, and serving each other in humility in the example of Jesus who humbly served and modeled true humility for us.

The table is also where we gather with friends for fellowship. Its where we can have conversations, get to know one another while doing what we already all need to do: eat (which, in its own way makes space to acknowledge God’s provision for us). As we recognize Christ in these shared meals (as you may do in your Life Groups) we create a space to talk about things that are on our hearts, what God is doing in our lives, and what we need help with. And we hear the same from those across the table.

It’s also, where, over time the way we see things changes. As we live into this idea of unity as brothers and sisters in Christ… something happens at the Table. The influence of this world… the materialism, individualism and speed that impact our personal imagination loses some power. And we see things through a lens that is our shared imagination and reflects a glimpse of the reconciled diversity of our community.

We come together in community at church; however, I believe we are called to do more than just Sunday mornings together, I believe we are called to do “life together.” We are called to truly know and love one another. We are called to walk together through life’s ups and downs, celebrating good times as well as mourning and grieving together. We are called to serve in His name together as His hands and feet, caring for the marginalized and those in need, sharing the Gospel. We are called to learn and grow together as iron sharpening iron, supporting each other on our spiritual journeys together. We are called to pray for each other and build each other up. Most importantly, we are called to love Him and worship Him together, “For where two or three are gather in my name, there I am with them.”

ENGAGE IN COMMUNITY

Spend some time this week reflecting on the role of community in your life. Do you have a group of people that you are able to be yourself with and share your struggles as well as your joys with? If not, are you open to taking one step closer and finding a life group, or intentionally seeking out and befriending others and working on building Christ-centered relationships with them?

If your one step closer is not yet engaging in a life group, why not find a family or some friends or even someone new to go to dinner with and share a meal.

Serving alongside each other is a great way of connecting to God and building community. If you are currently serving or volunteering regularly, reflect on the relationships you have with those who you serve alongside. Is there a sense of unity based on your common call? If you are not currently serving regularly, are you open to finding opportunities to do so?

How do you hear God calling you to connect with and build stronger relationships with others?

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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