with a passion to worship God,
who care for one another
and bring God’s love into a broken world”
A couple of weeks ago I began to read and pray through the gospel of John. And as the Lord always speaks through His Word, you would not be surprised that all of a sudden a certain word, verse or passage jumps out to you. And so it happened on a random morning, when I read a certain passage that the Lord spoke quite clearly. In fact, this passage made me think about certain questions:
We’re halfway our Advent series ‘The Kingdom of God is near’. The purpose of the teachings is to provide in a set of practices that will help you to embrace a missional lifestyle. Part of this is the practical challenge to ‘open up your house one day a week during Advent and invite your neighbours over for dinner’. Who of you did actually did this during the past weeks?
Let me be clear that this is not a project what we are doing in the invitation. And you should also not feel guilty when you haven’t invited a neighbour yet. You probably have good reasons for that. But since we want to learn to embrace a missional lifestyle, I would like to encourage you to look for opportunities or ways that fits with where you are, to connect with your neighbours, even when Advent is over. We are just making a beginning and will not stop!
We’ve entered our Advent today; 4 weeks of celebrating and anticipating Christ’s coming into the world. The first candle is burning, the candle of hope; and our hope and that of the world is found in the coming of Christ!
Part of our Advent is the intention for every one of us to open up your house one day a week and invite a neighbour for dinner. I am really excited about it! Last Sunday we had the privilege of having one of our neighbours coming over for dinner. She and her kids just moved in our street after her divorce, but up until now we’ve not been able to connect with her. We had a really good time together and are looking forward to the next opportunity!
Today I am going to build upon the message that I’ve shared two weeks ago on theme of ‘community’. And in that message we’ve been particularly looking at the question what it means to ‘belong’ to a local community of followers of Jesus, like we are as Vineyard Groningen. Part of this message was Paul’s call to ‘to be devoted to one another in brotherly love’. This devotion can be put in practice in many different ways, and two of them are to ‘share with God’s people in need and practice hospitality’ (Rom. 12:13).
Today we’re going to take up the theme of ‘community’. A couple of weeks ago, Ernst did a great job preaching on this theme as well. One of the things I remember of his message is ‘grace’. We cannot function as a community if there is no grace!
Our vision statement on community reads: Community [IN]: Vineyard Groningen is proud to be a multi-ethnic community. We celebrate diversity, care for one another and show compassion to the world…’ This is really our desire and we believe God’s will for our church in terms of community. And yet, experience tells me that it isn’t so easy to be a place where diversity is celebrated, people care for one another and compassion is demonstrated!