What is Community?
Friday night as I sat in the forum, I looked at the group that was there and thought about how different we are, but yet we come together to learn more about Yahweh, discover our destiny and train to walk in our calling. We are a community, but what exactly is community? Last night, we had a former country music singer that is now the president of a growing ministry, a lady that has been to hell and back who watches over us as gatekeeper. There was a lady from Alaska that brings joy and encouragement when she walks in the room, a man who is strong in the Lord and the list could go on and on. We are all different but, yet Yahweh has brought us together as the Firestorm community.
When you came to Firestorm what were you looking for? I have learned over the years that we don’t really get to “pick” our community. Yahweh does that. Who knew that when I “somehow” ended up in the “wrong” AIM chat room over 20 years ago I would become a part of the Firestorm “community?”
The reality is that you can’t order a community to your exact liking dimensions. C. S. Lewis once said, “The Church is not a human society of people united by their natural affinities, but we are the Body of Christ in which all members however different (and Yahweh rejoices in our differences) must share the common life, complementing, helping and receive one another precisely by their differences.
I Corinthians 12:12
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
We see in the above scriptures that we are ALL different parts of the same body, and because we are different, we are able to complement and help each other. When we are all doing our part and contributing to the body, we enable the body to grow. So, what does it look like for a community of Christians to actually do this?
The Focus of Community
Recently Bonnie and I have talked a good bit about how to describe “Firestorm.” I asked Bonnie to come up with a “meta tag” which is used to describe Firestorm in just a few words for the search engines. The “meta tag” she came up with is “Are you Prophetic? What is your calling in Christ? Join us & find out. Online Prophecy/Prayer Training & Equipping thru Video Stream forums & Website articles.” So, what is the goal of Firestorm and what is it is purpose? Firestorm’s purpose is to “prophetically train and equip the saints.” This provides clarity of what Firestorm is so if you choose to become a part of Firestorm you are coming to each other and to this vision.
Looking at the big picture:
Matthew 22:36 – 39
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 28:18 – 20
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Day-to-Day of Community
The Bible also specifies how Christians are supposed to interact with each other. On a practical level, the one-another statements in Scripture teach us how to be this community that loves the Lord, loves our neighbors, and makes disciples. These “one another’s” are how the big picture plays out on a daily basis:
Accept one another (Rom 15:7)
Admonish one another (Col 3:16)
Be devoted to one another (Rom 12:10)
Be honest with one another (Col 3:9)
Be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph 4:32)
Be of the same mind with one another (Rom 12:16)
Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)
Bear with one another (Eph 4:2)
Build up one another (1 Thess 5:11)
Care for one another (1 Cor 12:25)
Comfort one another (1 Thess 4:18)
Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)
Encourage one another (1 Thess 5:11)
Exhort one another (Heb 3:13)
Fellowship with one another (1 Jn 1:7)
Forgive one another (Eph 4:32)
Greet one another (2 Cor 13:12)
Honor one another above yourselves (Rom 12:10)
Instruct one another (Rom 15:14)
Love one another (Jn 13:34; Rom 13:8)
Offer hospitality to one another (1 Pet 4:9)
Pray for one another (Jas 5:16)
Pursue peace and build up one another (Rom 14:19)
Serve one another (Gal 5:13)
Spur on one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
Submit to one another (Eph 5:21)
Obeying the one another’s is how we grow biblical community. It is the New Testament model for what it looks like to be the church, and only “when each part is working properly” does the “body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:16). Each part––each Christ-follower–– must contribute. As we strive to obey God’s commands, we must also keep in mind that community (in and of itself) is not the ultimate goal for Christians, but it does occur when we as believers come alongside each other to glorify God and to make disciples.
Yahweh designed His people to gather faithfully and to connect meaningfully. This community is a good gift from God, but it is also one that we each cultivate by our commitment and contributions. Yahweh intends for us to care for one another and help each other mature spiritually and, in doing these things, to stand as a compelling example of community to an unsaved world. Together we make up the “Firestorm community” that Yahweh is putting into place to “prophetically train and equip the saints” to reach the world and WE NEED your part to function correctly.