The Roof of Common Life

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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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May 3, 2020 11:01 pm

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!

Reply to  jckygod
May 3, 2020 11:17 pm

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

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

May 3, 2020 11:16 pm

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.

Reply to  Inez
May 3, 2020 11:37 pm

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

May 3, 2020 11:45 pm

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!

Reply to  angie
May 4, 2020 10:34 am

“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

May 4, 2020 12:03 am

Great testimony. You all had faith and peace.

Reply to  CristoJesus1
May 4, 2020 10:36 am

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

May 4, 2020 1:02 am

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. 😂 It was really a blessed time that showed me the value of unity in Jesus. Now I have a new common life aka house church, and God‘S blessing is all the more evident. Thank you Missionary John for this wonderful testimony. It has reminded me of Gods Grace, love and training during common life.

Reply to  leotbrzl
May 4, 2020 1:18 am

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

Reply to  leotbrzl
May 4, 2020 8:43 am

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

Reply to  HIMorales
May 4, 2020 10:43 pm

[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. 🙏

Reply to  leotbrzl
May 7, 2020 12:39 pm

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.

May 4, 2020 1:16 am

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~~~ 🙂

Reply to  shepalexandra
May 4, 2020 10:49 am

“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.

May 4, 2020 7:22 am

Thank you . 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 afterward. This is what God is doing all the time; he is holding back all the dangerous things so that we can walk through unharmed. Reading this made me miss our church cooking also. Please, LORD, let us go back to the church and feast! 😛 So inspiring. God bless you!

Reply to  maburdi
May 4, 2020 10:42 am

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

Reply to  maburdi
May 4, 2020 10:55 am

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

May 4, 2020 8:38 am

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 😉

Reply to  HIMorales
May 4, 2020 11:03 pm

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!

Reply to  HIMorales
May 6, 2020 11:32 pm

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)

Reply to  HIMorales
May 7, 2020 1:12 pm

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

May 4, 2020 9:08 am

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 comments, and it makes it sound like everyone is on the roof of common life. For example, it says, “ on The Roof of Common Life” and “ on The Roof of Common Life.” Hahaha. Common life roof party!

Reply to  Melissaburdi
May 4, 2020 10:15 am

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

Reply to  Melissaburdi
May 4, 2020 10:49 pm

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. 😎

Reply to  leotbrzl
May 4, 2020 11:07 pm

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

Reply to  bub4life
May 6, 2020 11:09 am

HAHAHAH “lead me to higher ground”

Reply to  Inez
May 7, 2020 1:20 pm

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

Reply to  imanuel
May 7, 2020 3:45 pm

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

Reply to  imanuel
May 10, 2020 5:10 pm

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

May 4, 2020 9:23 am

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…?

Reply to  remfeng
May 4, 2020 1:34 pm

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

Reply to  bub4life
May 7, 2020 1:24 pm

Maybe we can eat ramen and have a zoom meeting 😛

Reply to  remfeng
May 7, 2020 1:23 pm

I am the one inside the house 😆

May 4, 2020 9:26 am

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!

Reply to  Montair3509
May 4, 2020 1:14 pm

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

Reply to  Melissaburdi
May 7, 2020 1:26 pm

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

Reply to  Montair3509
May 7, 2020 1:29 pm

I miss going to the morning prayer with you and , 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

May 4, 2020 3:55 pm

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 experiences there.

Reply to  Sombowebster
May 4, 2020 11:04 pm

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!

Reply to  Inez
May 7, 2020 3:31 pm

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…

May 4, 2020 4:17 pm

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.

May 5, 2020 8:52 am

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.

Reply to  maryangeline_g
May 6, 2020 11:12 am

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

May 6, 2020 7:54 pm

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. 😁😊

Reply to  Jsheep
May 7, 2020 3:33 pm

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

May 6, 2020 8:02 pm

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.

May 6, 2020 11:28 pm

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 mentioned there was a time where we learned each other and then things got smooth. I think I am enjoying that now. One wonderful time that makes me feel like I’m in the kingdom is when each of us is in our rooms in the evening, working on testimony or reading the Bible (or the blog haha). There is the pleasant white noise of the cars passing by and crickets chirping and it is so peaceful as we enjoy God’s words. The temperature is also great at that time. There have also been some great times of laughter and it is really by God’s grace that I can enjoy life with others like this.

These stories of Msn. John and the senior brother’s common life always sound so cool like the disciples all packed in one room, even being in danger with their lives. When I first heard about that, I did not think I could be in that and when I heard about the option of common life I was scared and said I wasn’t ready. I am too sinful. But, Jesus brought me to the CL now, yet still compared with this story I feel like a king. At least we don’t have a kitchen and have to wash our dishes in the bathroom sink! And we do all the laundry at the coin laundry. Thank you for the testimony

Reply to  ikovalen
May 7, 2020 1:40 pm

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 . We enjoy eating together, cooking together, gardening together, coming to zoom meeting together, and watching movies together. Haha. (Torchlighter tonight, King ?)

Reply to  ikovalen
May 7, 2020 3:52 pm

Wow working on testimony in such a peaceful way must really be heaven on earth! I remember being touched when I heard how and 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 🤣

May 7, 2020 1:00 pm

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. 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 are also enjoying gourmet food at the common life. Recently, we just had our own ramen party too, after being inspired by The Joy of Noodles!. Haha.

May 8, 2020 6:09 am

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 stories but to be determined, I suppose 😁)

Reply to  Berto200
May 9, 2020 8:32 pm

[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. 😁

May 10, 2020 5:08 pm

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!