One of the wonderful ways we bear God's image is in relationships. God exists within Trinity—a relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit. In Genesis 1:26 God says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." He made Man, then declared that it isn't good for man to be alone, so God created Woman. This is core to all our hearts—what we were designed for and what we were made for—intimate relationships with God and others.
In Matthew 22, when Jesus is asked which commandment is the greatest, he doesn't point to Exodus 20 where the Ten Commandments reside. Rather, he quotes Deuteronomy 6:5:
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Mattew 22:37-40 (NIV)
We live in a glorious love story set in the midst of a great and fierce battle between God and Satan, Good and Evil, Light and Dark. We need friends and allies to make it through—Redemptive Friendships of hearts committed to caring for one another, loving one another, encouraging each other, and inspiring one another to the full and abundant life ... Zoweh!
The first ingredient to a heart fully alive is Orientation—knowing and experiencing God’s love in a way that reshapes and remodels who we are. The Life of the Kingdom—the Way of Freedom—is violently opposed by the kingdom of darkness. To enjoy this restoration we are going to have to fight for it. Many of us have experienced what it's like to be wounded in a community; and yet, it is in community where Jesus will often rescue and restore.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. Acts 4:32
We aspire to live like the first century believers and hold to a hope that it was not just available for them. We hope to live locally in a Redemptive Friendships where we can impart courage to one another, fight for one another, love one another as Jesus modeled for us to do.
Redemptive Friendships must be small and intimate. Yes, we have and want many friends; and no, we are not trying to be exclusive. However, a small fellowship of hearts where you can know another's story, their journey and glory—know and be known—is how we have found men and women best experience the fellowship of the saints.
Below are the tenets that we've found to be critical for a community of Redemptive Friendship to flourish ...
Redemptive Community: A Fellowship of the Heart
Is formed when individuals pursuing intimacy with God come together to know and be known, to share life in the Kingdom together, aspiring to grow in love for one another.
Is a place where a person’s true, authentic self is invited and welcomed.
Is a place where a person's glory is pursued, not their sin.
Is a place where, at its core, the belief that the redeemed heart is good fuels both acceptance and growth.
Is a safe and trusting place where deep places of the heart and soul can be pursued, known, and touched.
Is a space where we seek to offer good care to one another. Where we hold space for stories, processing, pain, and grief. Where we aspire to listen well and respond with kindness and curiosity, without judgment and without trying to fix or give advice.
Is a place where everyone is free to participate, offer, and contribute. Where no one's glory is muted, their wounds honored, and their stories valued.
It cannot be a substitute for God, but rather is a place God inhabits, and what God designed in order for love and life to be experienced.
It must be small. It must be intimate.
Is a place where our lives intersect, and how we live in the kingdom together. Where we pray, play, worship, eat, share, care for, and journey together. Ideally, it is intergenerational.
It is larger than itself. It must be missional and intentional - for others and on behalf of others.
It cannot be contained in a day, a time, or a room.
It will be messy. In the complexity and messiness of relationships, we understand God will provoke and disrupt in order for there to be opportunities for healing and growth, and for the possibilities of moving in new ways of relating. Change and disruption are inevitable and even necessary.
Is a place where we understand that the Life and Love of God and each other is fiercely opposed, and we therefore acknowledge that we are in a battle and have an enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
Is a space where walking with God together for healing, transformation, validation, training, and initiation is seen as a sacred privilege and priority.