Together...

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I lead a life group.

If you were to ask me to define what a life group is, I would have to say it's a group of people coming together to experience life together. It's a group of people who have said YES to community and NO to isolation.

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There are 14 of us men on a spiritual journey together. Sometimes we study the bible. Usually we act like idiots. Always we challenge one another to bigger and greater things.

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There is something about the regularity of a weekly meeting together. Every Monday evening around 5:30pm people start trickling in, and they typically trickle out around 11pm. I've been leading a group at my house for around 4 years now. It's been a huge mix of people. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Over time, we grew to such a large co-ed group that we decided to split off into a men's group and a women's group.

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My wife has been leading that women's group ever since. We've both had other groups birthed off of our original groups too. And there's a reason for that...because we don't want to keep such an amazing thing to ourselves. This is something that needs to be shared.

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You have to ask yourself some questions:

* Who is speaking into my life?
* Do I have people I can trust with my stuff?
* Who can I call at 3am when everything is crashing down?
* Do you fully know anyone?
* Are you fully known by anyone?
* Do you have others to lean on when you're too weak?
* Are you trying to rely on yourself for everything?

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Now I fully realize that the idea of a group like this is a foreign thing. It shouldn't be. We are east of Eden in so many areas of our lives. The intention of this world has been off kilter for so long that we've come to a place in our lives where we never want to have true and intimate contact with other humans...and we're lonelier than ever.

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Did you know that a Belgian work horse, when properly trained, can pull upwards of 8,000 lbs?

More interestingly than that however is the fact that two Belgian work horses, who have never worked together, can immediately pull upwards of 24,000 lbs. This is without training together. Have them work with one another for a little while and they'll be dragging over 32,000 lbs behind them in no time.

Simply by working together.

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Are you a lone ranger? Do you try to do everything on your own? How is that working for you?

The end.

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19 waggish utterances thus far...:

DanThoms said...

a) You guys have helped me not to be the Lone Ranger

b) I look creepy by fire light.

c) As for that last picture, hey don't encourage him.

Sonja Chandler said...

Again, I have to say those are great pics.
And I love this time of year for the exactly that reason.

We get to be together with those we love a lot more with the holidays and all.

Yes together is a good place to be.
But even if I'm not "with" people I always feel connected to others even when alone, I just do. But do love being with people also, it's awesome to congregate.

Kelly said...

Great post as always, Ryan. This time of year I would love nothing better than to be a loner. Being a part of 2 life groups, filled with people I love and admire and that inspire me is getting me over this. Well that and God and prayer.

Becky said...

Thanks for this. God has been impressing this upon my heart...and he used you to re-confirm it. Thank you.

Tracie said...

I am a part of a life group that began this summer. I LOVE having a group of women whom I can trust with anything and everything. We are forging a group that can love one another without being catty, that can trust one another, and most importantly, we can pray for one another. It's a wonderful gift!

Christy said...

Those questions (especially #3) led my husband and me into a home church. It's been intense and it's been lots of work, but after six years I can safely say that it's a wonderful thing to be known and to know others deeply, and yeah....I know just who I'd call at 3 AM.
(I found my way here through Ree's blog a while ago - I've really enjoyed your photos and hearing another voice from the outer fringes of the faith)

Steve said...

It was weird, I felt sunburned on my front half and frozen on my back.

Dan is sexy by firelight.

melanie said...

Oh, dear...is that yet another shot of Ryan D's butt? Must we?

Kimberly said...

This is so very thought provoking. I am part of an online book club of sorts. We're having this conversation over there.

We may not be near each other physically, but we're there for each other to mentally/virtually support one another. Our church in Tacoma, WA has small groups. They're not called life groups, but work much the same way. I'm working hard at building personal relationships.

Bonnie said...

I love the idea of a life group. Just forming a community of support. Especially for those of us facing challenges of the workforce, parenting, and relationships in this fast-changing world. It's funny, I can't ever imagine my parent's generation reaching out like that.

Snobound said...

Great post - you said all that's been on my heart for a while. Thanks!

ksw said...

I'm a loner. It's a lot less painful than being subjected to the judgment and rejection that is the eventual result of trying to belong somewhere.

Also, did you know that a single parent has to work three times as hard as a belgian horse?

Carly said...

I am a loner during my drives to and from work...totaling 10 hours a week....and that's plenty, thank you.

Reverb said...
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Krista said...

I'm a forced loner. I do not spend my time alone by choice. I know who I'd call at 3am ... but they are 3000 miles away and couldn't physically help me anyway. Though emotionally, sometimes it really helps to know there is SOMEONE out there.

justmetoyou said...

This is a happy post. Good questions.

Brad Ruggles said...

Those are some great pics but I like the message of the post even better. We all need people in our lives that can speak truth to us and help us pick ourselves up when we've fallen flat on our face.

Great stuff Ryan.

nerves05 said...

These some good questions.

Who is speaking into my life? No one
* Do I have people I can trust with my stuff? other than my mother no
* Who can I call at 3am when everything is crashing down? no one
* Do you fully know anyone? nope
* Are you fully known by anyone? no
* Do you have others to lean on when you're too weak? Nope
* Are you trying to rely on yourself for everything? Yep.
and this has become a real problem espically in my marriage.

Kind of depressing. :-(

MaLady said...

Amazing. I've been challenged from many angles to REALLY LEARN how to do/be community.