Saturday, September 29, 2012

Unity starts with "U"

“I plead with Eudia and I plead with Syntche to agree with each other in the Lord.”
Philippians 1:2

In the Bible, Paul reminds us over and over again to have unity in the body of Christ.  This verse is one example of his heart on the issue.  He pleads with two women who are arguing.  He begs them to stop so that peace may fill the body again. 

This is just one tiny little fight, yet Paul (and GOD) made it a point to include it in the Holy Word of God for our instruction.  If this small issue was such a concern to the Lord, then what must he think of the fighting in the body that goes on now?  Church of Christ and Baptists can’t worship together.  Catholics and Pentecostals refuse to break bread together.  Everyone stick with your denomination and don’t wonder into anything else or you will be shunned.

Hmm…this doesn’t seem right to me.  Aren’t we supposed to all be in search of TRUTH that comes from the Word of God?  Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”


Not several, not two, not hundreds. 

We are to be all one body of believers who function, act, and worship together in oneness.  Unity.

So you probably agree with me up to this point, right?  Well, what are you going to do about it?  How does this concern you personally?

“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Romans 12:18

As far as it concerns YOU.  Be at peace with all men.

Who do you judge for going to a different church?

Why is it a competition to see how many people we can fit in our pews versus how many are in the pews across the street??

That’s not love.  That’s not unity.  That’s business and numbers, jealousy and dissention.  Satan wins when we fight over numbers and people rather than fighting for each other and working toward the common goal of complete fellowship with God and ALL his people.

You have been brainwashed by society, and now you need to let the Word of God wash over your mind and cleanse it (Romans 12:2.)

Perhaps you don’t go to church because you are fed up with the fighting, the hypocrisy, and the judgment (much like my last few posts.)  Well in that case you need to know something very important.

There is no perfect church.

There are no perfect people.  No perfect worship service, nor pastor, nor doctrine.

We’re all broken and we’re all doing our best, yet we fall desperately short, including me.  Hebrews 10:25 tells us to not give up meeting together with other believers.  The book of Acts displays what the church should look like, and that is a body of people meeting together regularly to lift each other up closer to the Lord.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another daily.  That means we all need a TIGHT group of close Christians to lift up and to lift us up.  Note: the verse says “daily.” 

Yes, that means it is a lifestyle.  Not a once a week social event.  Do you realize how much happens in a week?  What if Sunday you see Sally and she’s on top of the world in love with Jesus, but Wednesday she finds out her husband is having an affair and her kids are failing classes in school. 

Is she supposed to wait until Sunday to ask for prayer and encouragement?  Are you supposed to wait until the Sunday meeting to hold her hand as she cries and walk her through the situation at hand?

NO.  O course not, because by the next Sunday she will have done what we all seem to do oh so terribly well: stuff in down deep, smile, and keep going.  By doing that she gets no healing, no encouragement, and no help.  Satan wins again and the church keeps a squeaky clean image.  Everything’s fine.

Yet on the inside our hearts are breaking and our pews are slowly murdering us. 

We weren’t meant to live this way.  We were meant to live in community with other believers…despite the well known fact that THEY TO ARE HUMAN, and they too will hurt us and disappoint us, leaving us bruised and broken at times.  But they will also pick us up when we need it too.

How do we start this revolution?

One person at a time.  Be the Christian you want others to be.
Help people the way you want to be helped.


“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32

Do not hold others to impossibly high standards and you won’t be held to the same judgment.  (Matthew 7:2.)

Love in spite of everything.  Love cancels out fears. (1 John 4:18.)  Love never fails.  Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13)

Have you been loving your neighbor lately?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Functioning as a Body

Christians don't know how to help Christians.

This is my new soap box topic.  I have talked to a few different friends about this lately.  They all agree.  These are strong, solid, God-seeking Christians I'm talking about.  They admit that they don't feel comfortable opening up at their churches and asking for support or forgiveness for sins...yet this is what the Bible asks of us.

Why do they feel this way?

Because an open moment with church family often turns into a gossip scandal or a hateful glare down the end of someone else's nose.

Then there are those who think they are helping when they offer advice from their own pocket book. "It's a shame you got caught up in that mess.  You know what the Bible teaches about those kinds of sins..I'll pray for God to help you."

But that isn't really helpful at all.  It's actually a nice way of judging and throwing the person off as someone else's problem, namely, God's.  However, the Bible teaches over and over again that we are to be the BODY of Christ.  His hands, his feet, his love.  The power to heal, raise up, forgive and anoint lies within us.  Jesus gave us that power when he sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In fact, he said it is BETTER that we have the Holy Spirit because of all the power it bestows upon us.

So when people come in a vulnerable moment asking for prayer and help...there is a whole heck of a lot more we can and should be doing besides just throwing a verse at 'em and saying "I'll pray for you."  

No, we are called to walk them through the healing process.  Connect on their level.  Get to the root of the problem.  Why do you act this way?  What led you into that sin?  Where did the pain start?  What do you need to heal from?  How can I walk with you towards the comforting arms of Christ?

The book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands really takes this idea and breaks it down into detailed steps.  I recommend reading it if you want to be a Christian that truly helps others.

It's more than just listening.  It's understanding.

It's moving closer to that person not only in spite of their sin, but in order to help walk them through it.  Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4, and Colossians 2:19 all speak of the role of the BODY.  We go through stuff together..not as individuals.

Ephesians 4:16
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

"Builds itself up in love."  In love.  

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love is not rude.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil.
Love rejoices in truth.





Love never fails.  Love never gives up.

Where would you be if God gave up on you?  Where would you be if you were surrounded by a body of believers who walked with you through the sickness of your soul as well as the joy of your deliverance.

Forgive us world, for we aren't perfect, and we haven't done our job.  Forgive us church, for we aren't moving and breathing as we ought.  Lord, give us a second chance.

Psalm 34:18
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Beer and Jesus Post

So obviously my posts have been about the raw vulnerability of Jesus and how most of our churches miss that completely.  I've shared my thoughts about comparing bars to churches, and yesterday I hopped in my truck to hear this song for the first time.  It's called, "If I Could Have a Beer with Jesus."  The thought of having a beer with Jesus brings tears to my eyes.  I can't imagine the level of intimacy our talk would have.  Yeah, I talk to him throughout each day, and every morning before I leave my room, but He also wants the most intimate places of our hearts, the most excellent part of our day.  I don't drink every day, but like I said previously, sharing a beer with someone is a very special thing, and I think time with Jesus is about just that.

If I could have a beer with Jesus...I would tell him everything that was on my heart.

If I could have a beer with Jesus
Heaven knows I’d sip it nice and slow
I’d try to pick a place that ain’t too crowded
Or gladly go wherever he wants to go

You can bet I’d order up a couple tall ones
Tell the waitress put ‘em on my tab
I’d be sure to let him do the talkin’
Careful when I got the chance to ask

How’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
Do you hear the prayers I send
What happens when life ends
And when you think you’re comin’ back again
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d put my whole paycheck in that jukebox
Fill it up with nothing but the good stuff
Sit somewhere we couldn’t see a clock

Ask him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
Have you been there from the start
How’d you change a sinner’s heart
And is heaven really just beyond the stars
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

He can probably only stay, for just a couple rounds
But I hope and pray he’s stayin’ till we shut the whole place down

Ask him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
What’s on the other side?
Is mom and daddy alright?
And if it ain’t no trouble tell them I said hi
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."
Proverbs 3:5
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