Merry Christmas! You can probably blame the lack of activity around here on the fact that LifeWay empties out faster than you can say, “Ho ho ho” during the Christmas season.

We do, however, stay somewhat active on Twitter, so find us there!

The Navigator: @rickhowerton

Agonistes: @bcdaniel

Nomad: @chinavols

Philo: @philbdavis

Syeira: @vanderbiltwife

You can also follow Steve Gladen, the general editor of Small Group Life, or Pete Wilson, who was featured in the Canvas videos.

heroes The past few weeks have certainly seen many of the mighty fall.  Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Steve McNair, oh yeah…Michael Jackson (could you have missed that one on the news?).  While many conversations have taken place around the water coolers and social media sites, most of them I have noticed have not been very redemptive.  At times when our heroes fall, there are so many mixed emotions.  We think back to a show, a poster, a game, a song, and it brings back so many memories.  It also evokes emotions, and emotions can be powerful forces indeed.  When emotions are heightened, people are listening.  People are more open.  And at such times, it would be great if someone could step into the conversation and be redemptive.  Bring the Larger Story to bear. Express struggles, confusion, doubts, and listen to others do the same.  And NOT have all the answers…especially the nicely packaged religious answers.  Usually the right questions will lead people who are not Christ-followers on a journey to answers for themselves.  What do you think this guy valued in life?  Who do you think was important to him or her?  What are you learning from those who are now coping with the loss of this person?  What does the loss of this great person show us about our own hopes and desires?  Without a lot of work, you’ve even got a great small group meeting in the making. Hey, people are listening already and ready to talk.  I can’t think if a better way to honor the memory of our heroes than to allow their lives to be a bridge to redemption for someone who’s still in the battle.

A term we toss around a lot up here on the 9th floor is redemptive community. Just in case you hadn’t noticed.

In our products, we urge Christians to be a part of small groups. Love one another and build each other up. Help each other see your true selves, diarming one another of the lies Satan’s convinced us are truth.

Never do we see the effect of community so greatly as when we are clothed in grief.

My grandpa died this past Saturday. While he was 86 and had congestive heart failure, it really wasn’t expected. I think he was ready, he was old, he is in heaven. And all that jazz. But, we still grieve. It’s natural.

After the tearful phone call with my mother, some time being held by my husband and remembering, I retreated to the computer to spend some no-brain time playing a Pogo game. But first I stopped by Twitter.


And of course, Twitter feeds into my Facebook account. Within the night, I had 16 sympathy notes on Facebook, 4 on Twitter, and multiple e-mails offering help. My cousin told me she’d keep Libbie during the funeral if we wanted, even though she lives an hour from where it will be. My co-worker said she’d watch the baby while we packed, if needed. When I shared at work, I got many encouraging e-mails and a circulated prayer request.

While this has certainly not been the sudden, overwhelming grief of an unpexected tragedy, I still appreciate so the comfort of community. Of knowing that many, many people in my life care about me enough to reach out when I’m hurting. That Christian friends grieve with me and yet rejoice that Grandpa is at home, finally. I’m not sure that we realize how vital community is until we’re thrust into a time when it is essential to our well-being.

Acts tells us that the first Christians met together every day: “Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46). And the writer of Hebrews urged his readers: “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25). Community is important. Christ lived in community with His disciples, the Bible urges us again and again to join together in it, and God desires to have community with us. It’s all over His Word.

Don’t get to the point where you need the love of a redemptive community before you seek it. Whether it’s a small group, a close-knit group of friends, a Sunday School class, or even Facebook buddies, find it now and start communing. It is totally worth the time to make dear friendships.