I LOVE dessert, I especially love ice cream. It started when I was a kid and my parents started rewarding us for a good report card, or a high grade on a difficult test, or to celebrate milestones in our lives. Money was scarce in those days so going out for ice cream was a particular treat. Even now as an adult, I still love going out for ice cream. Somehow it feels extra special.
There is one flavor of ice cream that I cannot stomach though: cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream! YUCK! That stuff turns my stomach. And I know why…
There was this one time, at a church small group gathering (we called them “home groups” in those days)…
…That one time they left the cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream out….
…and I, being a kid of 10 or 11 thought I could eat the rest of the container of ice cream. I ate SO MUCH ice cream I made myself sick. I couldn’t tell my parents because that would mean admitting I had taken 4 or 5 helpings of ice cream…I just suffered in silence that night, and the next day.
I may not be able to stomach cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream these days but I have tons of fond memories of growing up living life with other families and their kids in our church small groups. We used to gather in a friend’s living room and have family worship time. We sang songs like, “Jesus Love is-a Bubblin Over”, “I’ve Got a River of Life”, “Ho-Ho-Ho-Hosanna”, “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful”, etc. Then we would talk about the Lord and pray. Eventually the kids would be dismissed while the adults kept talking. I have no idea what the adults talked about after that because I was busy building memories with my friends. What I do know is, those years helped build something in me far beyond a cookies ‘n’ cream aversion.
Those years and years of doing life together with other families showed me God’s love, God’s character, God’s promises and purposes, and the truth of God’s Word. I didn’t know it then but I was developing a relationship with God through His people.
That is the beauty of living life in community. It’s not perfect, there will be mistakes made (like leaving the dessert table unattended), but the possibilities abound for God to take messy people and grow them up in His love and grace.
The possibilities abound for us as a church in these days, to live in community and reach out to others to show God’s limitless love and grace. If you haven’t yet joined a Community Group, I am personally inviting you to come and see!
Visit the church website at thesanctuarychurch.com/communitygroups or grab one of the Community Group info cards, contact one of our AMAZING Community Group Leaders, and GO! Don’t forget the ice cream!