The morning I received the phone call from my brother telling me that Mom & Dad were both dead, the ladies from one of my Bible study groups showed up at my house literally within minutes of me calling them. It was a Monday morning. They all work yet they immediately left their jobs and were there for me. I was amazed at their support.
That was just the beginning of the flow of love, prayers, and support that God lavished upon me and my family. It truly has been amazing to see God's love in action! I have saved every card and kept a list of all that others did for me in the minutes, days, and weeks that followed. I can't express how every prayer, every card, every act of kindness touched me!
Last Sunday at church, Dr. Ross spoke about the importance of community in the church. The book of Acts talks about how the people met in homes and supported each other. Of course, if they were meeting in homes, then they had to be in small groups. Homes were small. (You can hear his sermon at http://www.SpringfieldFirst.org)
We do a lot of social networking via computers these days but it seems that face to face communicating has lessened. I am blessed to be a part of several small groups. Some that I lead and others I just attend but they're all important to me. I get so much out of each of them, things like: encouragement, love, education, support, friendship, advice, someone to listen, someone to help, prayer, intercession, accountability. I could go on but you get the point.
Mom & Dad loved their small groups. Mom had been a part of Bible Study Fellowship (commonly known as BSF) as well as mission groups, Sunday School groups, etc. Dad too had men's groups and Sunday School groups that he was a part of as well. They also hosted Bible study groups in their home. They knew the value in small groups.
Jesus taught in a small group. He had 12 disciples and He often taught them alone away from the crowds. It is good to worship and praise God together in corporate worship (church) but it is also important to learn and grow in the safety and intimacy of a small group.
Mark 9:30, 31a (The Message)
"Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know their whereabouts, for he wanted to teach his disciples."
Acts 26:46 (NIV)
"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts."
If you're not a part of a small group, I would encourage you to find one or start one! You'll be glad you did!