Saturday, March 17, 2007

I have gotten some emails that I have not posted anything lately. I apologize I just have not had a ton to post about. The weather is getting nicer though so I hope to get out and take some pictures again.

Nathan just wrote this article for our chuch newsletter! I loved it!!

Unity - The Heart of Mission

Have you ever stopped and noticed that the world we live in today seems to thrive on competition? Already at very young ages our kids try to compete with each other to win their parents approval. Then as they grow older we teach them to compete in sports, to be the best in their class at academics, and to look better than the other kids. This culture is just as strong in the adult life. We want bigger houses, better behaved kids, higher paying jobs, and so much more. We gage our success based on those around us. Even our country has become a nation of competition. Our political party is better than the other. The issues we believe in are the right issues. We try with all our might to make others believe as we do. The competitive nature has even permeated into our churches. We try to have better music, more people attending, better programs, even believing our denomination is better than the rest.
God does not call us to compete with each other. Quite the opposite is true. He calls us over and over again to live in unity with each other. Although unity is hard in a divisive culture, the Bible gives clear answers on how to obtain unity. In Philippians 4:8 Paul says Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things. Paul knows that as humans we tend to always have our glass half empty. We can look past ten good things and focus on one bad. When we dwell on the bad our attitude towards God and others becomes negative. We become irritable because the bad thing is consuming us. Through this arguments and division are sure to follow. This is the normal path of the sinful nature. If we dwell on the good things our attitude towards God and others becomes a positive one. We praise God for all the good He is doing and ask others to join us in that praise. Unity in the faith soon abounds.
So what do we have as Christians to dwell on that will bring unity? Again Paul gives us the answer in Ephesians 4:4-6. There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Wow, does that sound like a call to competition? So often as Christians we jump right to issues without having a common starting point. As Christians we need to first realize that we are unified through our God, our savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that dwells in all who earnestly call on His name. When we realize this issues melt away through the power of that unity. This was the atmosphere of the early church. Acts 2 :40-47 tells of a church that was unified in faith and doctrine. Who met daily and praised God for all He was doing, and were willing to sacrifice anything (except that faith and doctrine) to help a brother or sister in need. It is this kind of church that so many people around the world are looking for. Especially, it seems, young people. People are looking for something real, for people who are unified because of their love for Jesus. If we show them this it won’t be hard to convince them to accept our Savior.
I know by now you are asking, what does all this have to do with missions?
The answer is found in the Jesus’ high priestly prayer at Gethsemane. This passage, found in John17: 20-21, gives the purpose for unity. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent me. Stop for just a minute and read the last sentence again. Understand the depth of what Jesus is praying. Unity verifies that Jesus was sent by God to be our savior! No wonder Satan tries so hard to divide the church, by dividing us we deny the validity of the gospel! No wonder we are exhorted so often to make every effort to be united. It is for this reason we go into the mission field not only telling people about Jesus, but also showing them our love for each other. This is what the world is looking for! As we interact with people let’s show them that our God is real by setting our minds on things above, by dwelling on what is good and pure, and being unified through our one and only savior, Jesus Christ!