“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” – Gina Bellman

The second card is connections. Connections means we are all products of the relationships in our lives. Each of us has a variety of relationships. Some are casual acquaintances, people we know a little bit about, but not too much. With things like Facebook growing in popularity, people have more and more of these casual acquaintances. Then we have close friends, people that we share with on a deeper level what’s going on in our lives.

We are products of our relationships with our parents, our siblings, our teachers, our wives, etc. Research shows that the single greatest factor in how you view yourself is how you think the most important people in your life view you. That’s why if you are want to be healthy emotionally you need to make the most important person in your life Jesus. Because we need to base who we are on what He thinks of us, not on what cousin Jimmy thinks of us. If we make anyone but God as the most important person in our life, than we will struggle with our identity.

You didn’t choose your connections, but you can make new relationships and mend or nurture the ones you already have. God made us to be part of a community sharing a common life in Christ. The biblical ideal of community challenges us instead to commit ourselves to life together as the people of God.

Even though forms may not matter much, size does. For community to be specific and personal enough to reach its potential, we need groups small enough for everyone to be directly involved. That’s why we challenge you to join a Northstar group.

The practice of the earliest Christians suggests a small scale. They often met in each other’s homes for meals and teaching, for worship and prayer (Acts 2:44-46, Acts 12:12-17). And it is clear that when Paul advised the Corinthians that “everyone” should be ready with a psalm, some instruction, or a revelation, he expected the meeting to be small enough for everyone to participate. (1 Corinthians 14:26). The goal was to strengthen everyone through relationships, through community.

Certainly that doesn’t mean that we need to limit our relationships to small groups. It does suggest, instead, that we are more likely to find community and relationships that will help us with the connections card, we were dealt, in a Northstar Group. Northstar Groups is a place to “love each other”, “pray for each other”, “encourage each other”, “serve each other”, “teach each other”, “accept each other”, “bear each other’s burdens”, and be “devoted to each other”.

It’s my heartfelt prayer that each of you will be courageous and join a Northstar groups. I am convinced that once you do, you will discover how much more rewarding the Christian life is when you build connections with other believers.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you believe there is a difference between being around or in proximity to someone and being in community with them?
2. How many times do you feel you must attend a Northstar Group before you benefit from that group?
3. Pray and rate yourself on the following two statements: I have developed significant relationships with people at Northstar. I intentionally try to get to know new people I meet at church?
4. Do you believe Northstar Groups are a key part of your spiritual development? Why or why not. If you do not attend a group, what other ways do you intentionally make time to fellowship and interact with other believers? What additional ways do you spend time with other believers to help you grow in your faith?