Monday, June 23, 2008

Make us one

I don't know about you but I have never seen so much need, so much hurt and so much uncertainty in the world at one time. I am sure that there have been much worse times but I sense something is coming on the horizon. I am concerned about the strength of the church during times like these. We are so divided. A hundred different denominations and a thousand different ideas about the actual mission that Jesus gave us leaves us weakened as a church at best. Think of all the resources the church has...People, property, money, talent, passion...I could go on and on. Much of it is difused. If we could somehow come together we could completely change the world. Maybe there are times just ahead that will force us to drop the differences and rally together and be what Jesus prayed for us to be.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

I have often had discussions with other pastors about he possibilty of partnership between churches but inevitably issues of territory and ownership get in the way. Recently I heard someone say that Satan wants churches to compete with each other but God wants churches to complete each other. The church I pastor does some things very well but there are other things we will probably never do well. I suspect the same is true of every church. What if we could just be one? Share everything with each other. What could be possible? How many could be reached? How many churches would move from one level of effectiveness to another?

I have often said that I would join our church with another church in a second if the real opportunity were to arise so we could reach & disciple more people. I mean that is the goal is it not? I long for unity in the church and hope for the opportunity to bring it about. For the next several weeks we are joining with over one thousand churches to do a message series called "One Prayer". It will be a significant time for us to stand together with others in prayer and ask God do great things. This week we pray for unity. Don't miss even one week and pray with me.
Lord, Make us one!


Natalie White said...

Good morning everyone-hope this is where I'm supposed to blog. The question-how can I reach out in love to bro and sis and be a catalyst for unity? Definitely praying-because that changes me. Bringing unity I think means sharing the word together with other believers. Bringing unity in my household means being willing to listen and humble myself even if I think I am right.

Tyler Byrd said...

catalyst2 [kӕtəlist] noun

Someone or something that helps bring about a change.

It's funny the word catalyst happens to be a noun. This means that it is people that must make the change. That's you and me and Bob, Sally, & Joe! God entrusted us with the most important message the world has ever known and we always find a way to focus on differences and faults. Well, there will always be differences in this life but we can't always share the message of reconciliation with perishing people. We must rise to God's expectation and love the unlovely, forgive the unforgiving, and do the impossible in the world's eyes. We are called to be the "light of the world"! I pray that the church would be held high that it would be a place of authentic and real unity, peace, & love. My hope and prayer is that it would start within each and every one of us and we would grow stronger as a community of Believers. I pray that we would then seek to bless other congregations within our community and through our love of Christ the world would know we are one and who we stand for. Jesus said that if two or more people would come together in agreement and ask anything in his name that it would be done.

Amanda Deaton said...

I've been sitting here reading the original e-mail and this blog over and over...asking myself what this means to me. My heart feels heavy and clouded. There is so much anger, hurt, and distruction all around us. Where do we start? As I sat here trying to weed through some of my thoughts and feelings, my 4 year old started singing "I love Jesus Christ...I love Jesus Christ..." That's when it hit me. I LOVE JESUS CHRIST. But I pray that my love for Him would be renewed. Not only my love, but the love of all believers. That's what we have in common. That's what brought us to this point right? I remember the excitement and life that filled me when He and I first met (or should I say when I first met Him). I glowed "The glow of new love". I pray that we would all carry "The glow of new love", but more importantly strengthen one another constantly so that the glow wouldn't fade. Let us "love one another" as we have been commanded. Let LOVE be our motive. Just like when our kids upset us...we still have the responsibilities, and we set aside our anger and emotions and do what's right "out of LOVE", even when we don't feel like it. I'm excited about this time that we are all sharing in. My heart has been long over-due for a renewed love for my Lord.

Michelle said...

I was recently having a conversation and I mentioned that sometimes in our faith we get stuck in neutral and sometimes we're just in park. The person I was speaking with replied, sometimes you have to be rear-ended to get back in gear. That's absolutely right, although sometimes we're not just in park but we're actually in reverse. I think that's what all the bickering and backbiting is doing to the church as a whole. There is so much strife within the church that we're not just keeping people away but the church is actually driving them off. Pastor recently said it's easier to steer a car if it is moving. That's what we need to do. We need to get moving. it's not just enough to "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all". sometimes we have to find something nice to say. Let's be proactive. Let's take "love one another" to a completely new level for us. let's be so loving and gracious that people will be drawn to Jesus. but first we have to get out of the parking lot and into the world. It occured to me as I was reading the devotion that Judas was a close advisor to Jesus and a trusted friend. In spite of the fact that Jesus knew exactly what Judas would do in the end. Too often we look at people and think they are going to hurt us and put up walls so they can't hurt us. Jesus went right into that situation and he behaved no differently knowing Judas would betray him than if he hadn't known at all. He loved him, he was gracious and caring and sacrificing.

Sambi Katano said...

I know that God does great things through just one person. I can't even begin to imagine what God can do through the body when united in one heart and purpose.

I will continue to do my part, and pray that others will do the same.

lynnie said...

Being a Christian in this town for over 30 years, I have seen the best and the worst in churches. Competition and division has been a part of the Church in LV for a long time. In fact, I have been a part of that ugliness and am truly sorry and forgivien. My hope is in the fact and truth that Jesus prayed for our unity. Isn't that great! His prayers are always answered so in aligning our prayers with His, unity is possible. "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

I am hungry for more of God in my life--with Him unity will come. As I am transformed to look more like Him I will bring my little part of the puzzle--my little piece of unity to the table. Unity in my heart, in my family, in my church family, in the body of Christ as a whole. I am at an age where I really want to get it right this time--So I am going to passionately cry out with Jesus for the miracle of unity in the body of Christ.

Gary H. said...

Have you ever noticed that we fear or are suspicious of folks we don't know very well? Then, when we get to know them better, we no longer fear or mistrust them.

I think we need to meet more people from other churches and denominations! Hear their point of view, gain some empathy, and look for Jesus in each of them.

Oh, Yeah. And get to know Jesus better, so you will recognize the Jesus in others.

Finally, let's let others see Jesus in us. He prayed for our unity, and we should believe His prayers are effective.

Grace and Peace!

Lani H. said...

Tonight at dinner I had this week's message driven home even harder for me.

At every meal the kids take turns leading prayer and it has recently become a battle over "who's turn it is"! Which of course it is always your turn when you're three. Tonight's battle became God's big HELLO in my face. Family Prayer Time is where the ohana is suppose to come together before God united, connected, humbled, and thankful as ONE! Not yelling and screaming over who gets to lead prayer.

A much smaller version but exactly what our world is doing on who's views are right.