The Roof of Common Life

I moved into the Common Life during the winter of 1989. I thought that since my heart was steadfast, I would not move ever again. But things did not go as I expected. Instead, we moved every single semester, from 1989 to 1992. I don’t know why we moved so frequently, even to this day! I was just a member and was not involved in that decision. But strangely, every semester, we moved yet again, and every semester what belonged to me became less and less. When I first moved in, my books alone were about 13 boxes – I had accumulated nearly 200 books related to my major. But after moving several times, all of them were gone, except the bare minimum of textbooks for my classes (I still have them today).

One time, something happened so that we had to come out of the Common Life before we had secured the next one. So the seven of us had no place to go. Thankfully, one of the married couples who lived near the church offered one room to us. But half of the roof was gone, and the rest of it was slanting inward towards the middle of the room. Each morning when we got up, our clothes and blankets were already soaked from the morning dew. Whenever other shepherds saw our living conditions, they were so alarmed, saying, “Do you live there? The roof can collapse on you any moment, it’s dangerous!” Even the married couple was concerned for us. But we had no choice…and we had no worries. We were more than happy and thankful to have a place to lay our heads, and the morning dew was refreshing. (However, it’s a good thing it was summer, not winter)

Outwardly it looked somewhat like this
Inwardly it looked like this

Since that room had no cooking facility, each evening we cooked a gourmet meal at the church. We used a BIG electric square cooking tray in which one brother might put canned tuna, kimchi, onions, squash, fish cake, and imitation crab meat, sometimes sausage. Then that brother would boil it all together into a delicious soup and take it back to the room, where we would gobble up our dinner together with bowls of rice. It was scrumptious. Msn Grace was in the Sisters Common Life at the time. She told me later that they all wondered why it seemed like every night, the Brothers Common Life had a big feast!

We did not worry about the roof falling on us at all. We talked about it – we said that if it fell, it would fall when we were not there. The church had a library, and many shepherds would study late into the night. So we would come home and sometimes, we could look up and see many stars from where we lay, even though there were a lot of city lights. It was beautiful. We enjoyed common life that way, and several months later, we secured a new Common Life room and moved out.

Soon afterward, the roof finally fell in. Indeed, God protected us, just as we had expected!

It was a blessed life to be in the Common Life – no worries, but experiencing God’s protection and God’s blessing. Our hearts were dedicated to God, so there was freedom, and we enjoyed our new life in Christ. Now I am in a home where the roof is secure – I am happy. I once was in a home where we had only half a roof – there I was happy. The Psalmist says how pleasant it is for the brothers to live in unity. It indeed was pleasant. There God allowed us eternal life as we stayed together in unity, with our hearts dedicated to Him – whether the roof was secure or caving in. I praise God for those precious moments.

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JRenteria

Beautiful post 😊. I always enjoy reading your blog posts Msn John; they are spiritually classic! The Common Life Roof and the many times you moved reminds me of what Jesus said, “the Son of Man has no place to lay His Head.” Common Life is really a glorious time with God! Praise God for Common Life!

Praise G for CL indeed!! Such a blessed place. Holy ground.

…that’s why we don’t wear shoes inside the CL 😂

I laughed really hard when I saw the pictures – outside view and then inside view. God changes our perspective so that we see everything so beautifully. Not that we’re naïve or hallucinating, but because life with Him fills our hearts fully and we have nothing to complain about.

I know, those pictures crack me up too. I can’t stop comparing them and laughing xD

angie

Thank you for sharing your beautiful experiences as Jesus disciple! Life together with Jesus makes everything exciting and wonderful. I was touched when you mentioned that you could look up at the sky and see the stars from the hole in the roof, I could imagine God looking down upon you with love and joy as He saw His great vision unfolding in your life. I praise and thank God for His calling in your life and for using you and your house church as a source of blessing!

“God looking down with love and joy” That’s really comforting and even encourages me to follow G wherever he leads me…even to a CL without a roof! Jesus is a good good master – appreciating everything we do for him and genuinely concerned for our well-being

CristoJesus1

Great testimony. You all had faith and peace.

Peace is one thing that everyone wants. I see that in God we can have peace in any and every circumstance 🙂

leotbrzl

Hey wait a second is that Ivan and Imanuel on the roof of the common life. 😂 I can agree that common life is really a beautiful place where brothers can live in harmony. My first common life started of rocky but in time all of us became closer and started working well together. Common life became a beautiful place filled with many wonderful memories and many spiritual victories. And during my second common life Gods Grace was with us as we struggled to live in unity. We would eat carne asada and be super spiritual all the time. 😂… Read more »

It does look like Ivan and Imanuel on top of the roof!! Hahaahah.

I think I see someone underneath them inside the house sitting down. Maybe its @johnbaik hoping the roof doesn’t fall in 😆😆😆

leotbrzl

[HIMorales]lol I didn’t notice someone inside. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit keeping the roof up or from falling on the brothers inside the common life. 🙏

Oh no. You caught us wandering on the roof. Umm… It’s not what you think. It’s the dogs that ate all the grass in the common life.

Precious moments indeed. God was with you protecting you and guiding you the entire time. Indeed God is with us when we live for Him. God is our Shepherd who goes before us and behind us to guide our way and to ultimately lead us to himself. There is nothing on Earth we desire besides him and if we have an open roof, then we should still be grateful because God is there with us.! I loved how you could look up at the stars as well. Counting them one by one…so shall your offspring be~~~ 🙂

“we should still be grateful because God is there with us!” That’s an awesome perspective! When I can see things that way then I think I’ll be full of joy, thanks and peace in any situation.

maburdi

Thank you @johnbaik. I very much enjoyed reading your post. I like to learn about the early church and how all the shepherds lived in those days doing God’s work with very little (even little roof covering lol). I laughed because of your picture of what the room looked like on the inside. Such a beautiful view from the inside looking up at the heavens at night. Also, I was very amazed that God spared you all and he was holding up that roof with his own strength for maybe months by himself so that it would not fall until… Read more »

Wow, God is personally protecting me from so many harms, holding back so many dangers! Makes me feel a little invincible lol

Yeah it’s super fun learning about how shepherds before us have served God. It’s different in each generation yet still so similar!

When all the brothers lived together in unity you LITERALLY enjoyed “the dew of Hermon” falling on your common life. God must have been pleased to “bestow his blessing” upon all of you. 🏔🌧

Also I see that brothers have always enjoyed gourmet feasts, its not new but like tradition 😉

Whoa cool I never heard about the dew of Hermon and had to look up the verse. Herman your name is in the Bible, that’s awesome haha!

I wonder if they were asking for another grill 😉(a joke from common life referencing my apparently lavish understanding of what it’s like to be a shepherd)

Haha. And now, I am enjoying that tradition in the CL

I love this post! Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful example of God’s provision and protection. I’m greatly encouraged by this. In all situations, we have joy–not because of what we have or don’t have, but the sweet fellowship with God and his people. Also, I agree with @maburdi–I always enjoy your stories. I think if everything were written down, even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written 😉 Maybe we will have daily story time in the kingdom of God! Side note: On the side of this page, it shows people’s… Read more »

Haha wow I never noticed that! We’re all on the roof of common life xD

leotbrzl

The roof is on fire with shepherds, ramen and bible studies. Who would have thought that during the quarantine we would be having so much fun. Thank God for these wonderful blogs. See you all on the roof. 😎

Nice 😎😎😎😎 So it’s not enough to cook ramen or study the Bible on ground level like normal people, we gotta take it up to the roof. Living on the edge, I see! This brings new meaning to the hymn lyrics “Lord lead me on to higher ground” LOL

HAHAHAH “lead me to higher ground”

Umm.. Be careful. Remember Msn. John’s warning. Don’t go up to the roof. (Daniel 4 : 28 – 37) 🐄

OH MANNN did not see that. Quick, everyone, off the roof!! Let’s not turn into cows…

Haha, that’s true! Well, we can still enjoy our Bible Studies and ramen party on solid ground.

It is painful that I never get to have a common life experience, sounds really adventurous. Eating Ramen and saying Amen with brothers, that’s great!

Btw, the picture on the top of this page, are they Imanuel and Ivan…?

Me too, so sad T.T But we’re all (kind of) in Common Life on the blog and during our zoom meetings 😀

Maybe we can eat ramen and have a zoom meeting 😛

I am the one inside the house 😆

I am reminded of Jesus’ instructions when he sent the out disciples two by two, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.” Indeed, God’s guidance, protection, and blessing was there for you. I am led to think about the blessing I had in common life- Prayer together was awesome. Oh and there was lots of laughing! Praise God!

Yes, there was lots of laughter. We could hear it hahah. Your laughter made us laugh.

It was that loud? Oops. Well, I’m glad that at least, our laughter blessed you too.

I miss going to the morning prayer with you and @ikovalen, and the evening prayer circle too. Prayer was so wonderful at that time. Maybe, after this pandemic is over, we can have prayer together again

Sombowebster

I remember this story you had told the sister’s common life long ago. It was so wonderful and reminds me that I should not accumulate many things here but entrust all matters into God’s hands; where I live and what I have is from God. He is the One who protects and takes care of all of us. It would be amazing if we could have more spiritual story telling from you. I remember at the first international conference I went to. It was so fun sitting there on the airport carpet hearing about shepherds and missionaries and your life… Read more »

I remember Msn. John sharing this story too. I was amazed and a little scared. Lol. It takes a lot of dying to self to get rid of everything to the point that you’re only left with one box of belongings. That’s a great work of God in them, actually!

Oh that detail was missing in the post! Only 1 box of belongings…man that’s really living like a pilgrim! But even that is more than what Jesus told His disciples to take with them to the mission field. *mind-blown* I have too much stuff…

Brian_154

Woah, this is a very encouraging testimony! Christian life is truly adventurous. You never know where God will take you but wherever God is, there is also great peace and joy there.

I also see a great spiritual message in the pictures. On the outside it doesn’t look so good but on the inside, the “view” is not so bad hahah. So, even though our outward circumstances don’t look so good, on the inside we are still satisfied with God.

Thank God for His protection. In Him, we can live and stand up even in a place that has a roof that can fall on us at anytime, and not have any worries or belongings, because He is our shield and very great reward.

Amen! Woah, Genesis 15:1 really sums up Christian life! That’s awesome!

This post reminds me to count my blessings lol. In my various common life’s at least we had a stable roof, but in another sense we still had missing parts in our foundation that caused some turmoil. Yet, there were moments where God worked in our hearts and lives and I am glad I get to see that continue with various brothers who I shared such intimate moments with. It was really a blessed time in God where I learned a lot. 😁😊

Share some of the things you learned, we want to knowwww! 😃

I love the example of how the roof looked on the outside (psuche mindset) and the way you saw the roof because of your faith (zoe mindset). It inspires me to look at everything in my life with the same eyes so that I can always have peace and seek and serve God joyfully in any circumstance.

So many things to talk about in this post. I had a somewhat similar experience as Msn. John but instead of moving places I was moving people and now have the third CL bro that I am living with one to one, except for a blessed time where there were 3 with Darius. Some moments were challenging for me as I am not always good with people, but I can see that I am blessed to be here, and as Herman once said I can learn to be with all kinds of people. Each time interestingly as some other brothers… Read more »

I agree. At first, I was scared of moving into the CL because I had a history of not living well with others. Yet, because of God’s grace, I can now enjoy life with King @ikovalen. We enjoy eating together, cooking together, gardening together, coming to zoom meeting together, and watching movies together. Haha. (Torchlighter tonight, King @ikovalen?)

Wow working on testimony in such a peaceful way must really be heaven on earth! I remember being touched when I heard how @maburdi and @meliburd worked on their testimonies across from each other on the kitchen table. Unfortunately I only distract myself and others if I try to do that. @Sarah Lingberg would know 🤣

Wow. Talk about God’s protection! Compared to this, I feel so pampered in the common life. It’s like being in the garden of Eden. @ikovalen and I each has our own room where we can enjoy prayer, Bible studies, or the word of God. There is a huge driveway, a lawn to work and take care of, and a complete roof. On the downside, we cannot enjoy the night sky when we sleep. It sounds so fun to look at the heaven and to count the stars with other brothers each night. Oh. But one common thing is that we… Read more »

MSN John’s stories are classic. This story reminded of when the Israel people traveled in the desert during the time God led them in a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night . They never settled in any place. At the same time, God was always with them. Certainly God let MSN John and the brothers enjoy life even when they were living in a roof caving in. Maybe God was looking down waving 👋 when the brothers were staring up at the stars. What a memorable moment! (I had often wanted to hear MSN Grace’s… Read more »

leotbrzl

[Berto200] “Maybe God was looking down waving 👋 when the brothers were staring up at the stars.” Definitely a Abraham moment when God told him to count the stars. It must have been such a beautiful time. I starting to miss the common life days more and more. It was really a beautiful time. And I too want to hear MSN Grace’s common life stories as well, maybe the next blog. 😁

Wow, praise God indeed for His protection upon all the Common Life members during that time! “We were more than happy and thankful to have a place to lay our heads, and the morning dew was refreshing. (However, it’s a good thing it was summer, not winter)” – this reminds me of Jesus’ attitude and how He would sleep wherever was available in serving God’s work. I’m also impressed by all that gourmet cooking that the Brother’s Common Life did – good training!