Christians have to choose between isolation, which is easy, and belonging, which is costly — yet much more satisfying
— Ray Ortlund

I want to start with a short disclaimer. While this is a message intended for the college students and young adults that a part of our ministry at Arrowhead Church, I'd invite any and all to join us in our pursuit to follow after Jesus, together. 

What has felt like, at least to me, the endless summer is coming to a close and over the next few weeks we're all headed back into regular work and class schedules. With the understanding that most people may not be too excited about that, I want to offer up some thoughts on why I'm deeply excited to return to regularly living in community.   

Don't misunderstand me, I am not condemning summer. For many, the summer is a season to spend much needed time being refreshed and energized by vacation and family. For others, it's been a summer full of service. Some have packed their bags and headed to various places in the states or over seas on mission trips to share the hope of Jesus with the lost and to be the hands and feet of Christ. Others have strapped on their chacos and spent 6-9 straight weeks at student camps loving and discipling kids. And then there are those who have spent their summer in internships or jobs. Regardless of how you spent your last two and a half months, it's pretty clear that summer isn't spent in the same kind of close-proximity community that we're used to during the school year. I'm deeply excited about returning to that kind of community because I get to experience so much of Jesus through relationships, and I hope you'll be able to do the same. 

Whether you're dreading or excited about the return to "normal life," I want to share a vision and offer a simple challenge. Put simply, my desire this year is for it to be in our Church as it is in Heaven. For it to be in your hallways, classrooms, dorm rooms, locker rooms, campuses, ministries, jobs, and relationships just as it is in heaven.

What does that mean?

Throughout the year, we'll experience the presence of God in lots of ways: through teaching, small group studies, and times of worship. However, there's one very specific way that the kingdom of heaven is engaged and multiplied here on earth. That's through our relationships with one another. Since the beginning of time, God has been building His kingdom through the community of believers who follow Him. He's continuing to do that now and will do it forevermore. This means the most meaningful, heaven encountering moments aren't during a worship service or in our perfect church attendance. No, heaven is made real to us here on earth when we can experience the presence and person of Jesus Christ through one another. 

So as you soak in the rest of your summer, my prayer for you is that the Lord would give you an excitement- like the night before Christmas kind of excitement- to jump into community with one another. When the redundancy of the fall schedule sets in, don't isolate yourself, and don't do life alone. You're made for community. We're made for one another. We're made for more. Let's not do surface level friendships that are based on how happy we can make each other or how much we have to offer one another. Instead, let's be humble, honest, and selfless. Let's pursue one another just as Jesus pursued us: relentlessly and with unending grace. Get excited now about imaging Jesus to your friends and allowing them to image Jesus to you. When that happens, we'll see it become here just as it is in Heaven. Choose the costly, yet much more satisfying life of pursuing Jesus together.

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