Good Monday morning MABC,

 Hope you all survived the Kansas weather last night!  In Augusta we lost power in our neighborhood for about an hour.  I actually enjoyed it as Sherry and I sat outside listening to the rain and enjoying the peace and stillness.  We have covered porches at our house!

Community, one of the definitions of koinonia, is important to the two of us.  Our small group dwindled on us last night as one family prepares for surgeries on Tuesday and Wednesday, one couple had an aunt celebrating a 92nd birthday and yet another had just returned from a hog show and said they were shot.  We quickly made some adjustments to our small group program for the evening.  At some point in our relationship you will hear me talk about “be flexible in the mission field.”  So, the remaining three couples decided to forgo a lesson and went out to eat together including one family’s “littles.” It would have been easy to say half the group was out and cancel but our people love community.  All night messages were flying between us checking on needs with the storm and preparation for medical procedures.

 It is my prayer that all of you have a smaller community than the greater church family to do life with.  And yes, even different than your biological family or family from a marriage.  Not everyone in my family is on the same page faith wise!  It may mean that you take the initiative to start a small group of your own.  Visit with a few people you know who seem to be solid in their faith and find a few people who need help on their spiritual journey. You don’t have to be a scholar, just willing. Small groups, if they are effective, are to disciple and multiply.  What if the small groups in the book of Acts had never multiplied? 

 In one church that Sherry and I felt called to help in a difficult time, a “small group” invited us out to supper.  We went to the restaurant and met up with three couples.  As we visited, I asked them who else was in their small group.  “No one,” was the answer.  I followed up with another question. How long have you all been a small group?  “Ten years” they told me.  Friends, that is a social group, not a small group.  The core of our current group has been together for about two years.  We lost a couple and recruited another twice in those two years.  In the near future, Sherry and I will help the group split. Then the new groups will go find two or three other couples to join them and have two groups for four to six couples.  It isn’t always easy to leave a group but we have work to do in the Kingdom.  Many people are living lives isolated and alone and need community.  Fellowship doesn’t happen by chance.

Beware of the danger of self-centeredness and isolation.  Be aware of the value of coming together in our churches and our homes. 

 I will not be in the office the rest of the week.  I have a few people I need to check on, some planning work with Lawrence Elementary as they wind up the year and another project that I am working on for Sunday as we move on to our next discipline – SERVICE.

 Have a blessed week.

Pastor Rick