The year is coming to a close, and all over social media and even the Christmas decorations, I see people commenting on how bad 2020 was. You know, they are right! It was horrible! But it also showed us just how resilient the human spirit is. It forced us to think out of the box and to try new things. New things in both our home and at work. Things we have never thought about before. It forced families to slow down and spend more time with each other. It made us realize just how meaningful relationships are. God intended his creation to be in a community.
I recently read an article by Dave Ramsey that discusses the importance of community. Ramsey writes; “He specifically designed us to crave—and thrive in—relationships with others. We’re our best selves when we’re experiencing life’s highs and lows with others. That means everyone, whether you’re single or married, needs community.”
Ramsey goes on to list four reasons in his article why community is essential.
Community is encouraging.
Being in a community gives you the chance to be around people at different stages of their faith journey—and to bear their burdens alongside them (Galatians 6:2). That’s awesome because everyone has something to teach and to learn. It creates the ideal environment to be a Barnabas (friend), pursue a Paul (teacher), or train a Timothy (student). It comes down to lifting each other, learning from one another, and being the friend each of us needs. That’s how Hebrews describes community:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV
Community is fun.
A community should never feel boring or forced. It should be the exact opposite. Psalm 133:1 (NIV) tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Our culture can sometimes portray Christians as a pretty boring bunch. But that couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be further from the truth! Believers can be goofy, witty, and just really fun to be around. Yes, community has a higher purpose. But it should also be enjoyable!
Community attracts the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit is present whenever believers gather together (Matthew 18:20). A great example of this was the early church of Acts, which made a habit of meeting together, eating together, and worshiping together. As a result, “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46–47 NIV). Being in church on Sundays is definitely important. But if you want to be a Christ-follower, be one every day in the context of all your communities. That’s where you’ll see ministry happen.
Community fosters love.
We’ve probably all been to a wedding where the officiant recited the familiar words of 1 Corinthians 13, which ends with, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Paul held love above all else in his letter to the Corinthians. And he did the same with his letter to the Colossians: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:13–14 NIV).
Community is life-giving—and essential to following Christ. Scripture says that’s because we’re better together than we are alone (Romans 12:4–5).
The pandemic sure has forced us to alter, change or adjust our plans as we prepare to gather this Christmas. I pray for each of you and your families throughout this holiday season. I pray you protect those around you as we continue to face this virus, keep each one of us safe and I especially pray that you enjoy this time with those you love.
I look forward to spending time with each of you in our FA community.
God bless you, and Merry Christmas.
-Dave Buckles, President
As you go through your day, I want to remind you that you have been chosen – chosen to teach and mentor those students that God has placed at Foundation Academy. You are a servant of the Most High! Just as Mary knew in her heart that her God would not leave her on her own, you have that same promise. He is here! HALLELUJAH He is here!
In Luke 1:38, Mary tells the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be as you have said.” YET, she knew in her heart she had been chosen by God, a servant of the Most High. Only Joseph, no family to comfort her and celebrate with her. A feeding trough to lay Jesus in instead of a clean, soft bed. Rags to wrap her newborn son in instead of a royal garb surrounded by animals instead of skilled ladies to assist her. I can’t even begin to imagine what thoughts Mary had going through her mind as she gave birth to a child – one she knew was to be the savior of the world. She was giving birth to a king – yet she lay on the floor of a smelly stable instead of in a palace.
Take a listen and know He is here.
–Carol Grosshans, VP of Education
Thankful – what does that word mean? According to my online dictionary, it means pleased and relieved, expressing gratitude and relief. I wasn’t surprised seeing words like pleased and gratitude as part of the definition; however, the words relieved and relief caused me to ponder. As we consider using the word thankful, we usually go the direction of being pleased with what we have been given or experienced – having been given a gift we have asked for, the birth of a child, time with a sweet friend, and the list goes on. However, have you been thankful for the things that have not come your way? Have you been relieved? God’s grace and mercy are sometimes things we don’t acknowledge in our thankfulness. I don’t know about you, but as I look at our world today, there are many things that I am not happy about, things that I wish were different, which then leads to me complaining or being critical. What would happen if, instead of complaining, I was thankful to God for His mercy and grace in my life? My world takes on a new perspective. Think of Paul as he sits in prison; instead of dwelling on the smell, pain, the sound of groans and cries from the others there, and the lack of food or lack of quality of it, he is thankful for contentment. If there ever was anyone who could have complained and could have left thankfulness out of his vocabulary, it was Paul. Listen to what he wrote, “ . . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, my prayer is that we will truly thank God not for just the blessings given to us, but also thank him for his ever flowing grace and mercy. There are times in our lives we want for more, however to see that we are blessed with more than we actually deserve and being thankful leads to a life of joy.
Enjoy this reminder.
–Carol Grosshans, VP of Education