Monday, July 26, 2010

Building a Community

To say the current economic crisis has affected many people would be a gross understatement that I dare say any rational individual would agree with. It didn't just happen, though. At its root is our moral decline, which has affected, not just many people, but everyone. Many have become so comfortable with a personalized, self-serve lifestyle that we have precious little community with each other and even less with God. Generation after generation has inched farther and farther from what our lives have been intended to be from the beginning of time - a relationship with our Creator and with each other. We've become comfortable but not satisfied. People are still seeking that community as we found out at a recent neighborhood barbecue we hosted. We invited some friends and neighbors we had just met. One of the men thanked us for getting everyone together and said he has lived here for twenty-eight years without knowing his neighbors. Another couple stayed well into the evening talking with us. These aren't people who don't care about community. They crave it.
Still, we had a much easier time finding interest in God among the people of Brazil. Based on the fact that we had travelled so far just to share the gospel won us the favor of many willing ears. In the U.S., however, most people have already heard some perverted version of the story of the life of Jesus and the chances are good they have also experienced some toxic religion. For this reason, being a minister of the gospel in the United States can be a daunting task. There is practically a church on every corner and people don't seem to be busting the doors down to get in. God knows this and has chosen us to expand the kingdom walls anyway. We submit to the fact that this is not possible for us and, to be successful, we must make ourselves wholly available to His will and remove ourselves from the equation as much as possible. It's very freeing to realize that our job is not to pursue anyone - that's God's job - but to love them with a selfless love that they won't find anywhere else and to create the potential for a community where people are otherwise segregated.

Since moving to Boca Raton in January, we now have a solid group of three families that meets several times a week in our home. One of the families that was part of the original group that called us here has moved on to a larger, more traditional church. We are sorry to see them go but understand that we have different callings and wish them well. At our last meeting together, the children recited the scriptures they had learned for their family.
A family who meets with us faithfully is a single mother and her nine-year-old son. I met her at the YMCA during the kids' baseball season. They have come out of a very dysfunctional background and her son is troubled and acting out. He is staying at our house this week for a tough-love boot camp. Another single mom that I recently met in the YMCA parking lot lost her husband just six months ago and is raising a four-year-old daughter alone. She has been attending a local church but said a few days ago she believes she has found her true family and wants to begin meeting with us on a regular basis. Brick by brick Jesus is building his foundation for a revival in this part of the world. We pray that He will bring about a movement of people who wish to return to a simpler, better way of life and an eternal relationship with Him.


  1. Amen Jewells!

    Keep being church to your friends. There is no better way to grow God's family than by being Christ to your neighbors.

    We love you guys and pray that you continually feel His presence.

    You are an encouragement to our family.

  2. Thanks for the work you and your family are doing. Thanks also for your keeping us informed. Keep up the GOOD WORK.

  3. You are doing a great work! I appreciate your perspective. It is not so
    important how much you grow but how well you grow.