The Importance of Community

In the 1830’s Alexis de Tocqueville wrote this about the United States. “Individualism is a word recently coined to express a new idea…Individualism is a calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself.” Continue reading →


UhaulSaturday morning Bev and I went to a friend’s house to help her move.  We got to her new digs about 9:30 AM where we met her to help unpack the first truck load.  That went pretty quickly.

After lunch we went to a storage shed to empty it, and we picked up a few additional items at her old house.  The second truck load was just as full as the first—front to back.  There were just 5 of us to do the work.  And there were several feet between the truck ramp and the front door of the two-story house.  Lot’s of walking.

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ServicemasterOur Chamber sponsors a monthly “connector” for our members.  These connectors are held at various City businesses which provide refreshments and a great opportunities for networking and visiting with business friends.

Today’s connector was held at our local Servicemaster.  A few months ago, Servicemaster moved to a new and much larger location, so this connector gave them an opportunity to showcase their new digs.

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Part of the Problem

Brian McLaren included a link to a Bread for the World video that is poignant and convicting.  I’ve attached it below because I think it identifies a too common belief that organizations, not individuals, are responsible for bringing change to the world.  The same abdication of responsibility can be seen at election time when a pitifully small portion of the electorate turns out to cast a ballot.

So take a look at Bread for the World’s take on this.  It will make you squirm.

Table Talk

Eucharist 02At LifeSpring Church we believe that everybody should be able to participate as fully as they would like.  So we give people ample opportunity to volunteer to lead congregational prayers, read scripture, and provide the Lord’s Supper meditation, which we call the “table talk.” 

When we started doing this over a year ago, you could see some awkwardness.  We didn’t know each other that well at that point.  Folks didn’t know what was expected of them.  Most of us had grown up believing that such involvements should be reserved for an elite group of leaders.

But now our church community has grown comfortable with our egalitarian approach to worship and participation.  Everyone feels included and appreciated.  We are often blown away by the profundity of what is shared in communion mediations, or we’re moved by the skillful reading of a text.  It’s a really neat process in which to participate.

Yesterday Sean told us about the changes he has experienced in the last two years of his life.  He said that the Lord’s Supper is like a “pit stop” on the Amazing Race television show.  It has served to slow him down and make him think about what is happening in his life and the Lord’s relationship to that.  I was thankful for Sean’s transparency as well as for the eloquence of what he shared with us.  He made the Lord’s sacrifice real for us.

I am glad that LifeSpring recognizes the strength of everyone sharing.  By getting to hear what was on Sean’s heart, my life was improved.  Now I can’t wait to hear what the next LifeSpringer shares.

Christmas Parade

Santa 01Today, December 1, was the day of Merced’s annual Christmas parade.  The parade route went down Main Street right past Playhouse Merced.  LifeSpring was invited to put up a table inside the Playhouse entry way, right next to the sidewalk.  We all thought that was a good idea, although we didn’t know what to expect.

In a planning meeting it was suggested that we serve coffee or hot chocolate to parade goers.  LifeSpringers also brought homemade cookies to serve, but it was soon discovered that we didn’t have nearly enough.  The parade crowd was huge.  An emergency run was made to purchase more, and by parade end, all of the cookies were gone.

Our team agreed that the event was a huge success.  We gave away 200 drinks.  We gave away even more cookies.  Several LifeSpring invitation cards were taken, and we provided a very positive image of our church community.  Probably the best outcome was the enormous fun that we all had working together to do something good.

After the parade was concluded LifeSpring conversations began about how we would improve on what we just did.  A number of excellent suggestions were made, and we’ll be even better prepared next time.