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Beliefnet is pleased to present an inspirational devotional from the gifted Christian author Brian McLaren. This is week 6 of the 8 week-long devotional. If you missed the previous entries, stay subscribed to this feed to start over.
Jesus’ followers start spreading their message around the world, creating communities of faith, love, and mission called churches. They want their good deeds to bring light to all, demonstrating the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus. They bring together rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, women and men, rich and poor, and they spread their way of life across the world. They make many, many mistakes, too, but God patiently forgives them and teaches them.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. (Acts 2:42-44)

17. If you have been part of a church or other faith community, choose either a positive or negative experience that has impacted you. Then (without identifying names, if you plan to share your entry here) write that story, and explain why it is important for you to remember.
18. Describe what an ideal Christ-centered faith community might look like situated in your town or city. Let your idealism run wild.
19. Write a thank-you letter to your current faith community. Ignore problems and weaknesses for now, and instead focus on ways that this community helps you and provides enrichment, challenge, and blessing to your life.
20. Think of a specific friend of yours who is not currently practicing a living faith. Imagine that this person came to you and asked for guidance: “I respect you and your way of living. I’m hoping I can learn about God and faith from you because I’m searching for answers. Would you be my spiritual mentor?” Write the first things you would share with this friend.
–Brian McLaren

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