United

Aerial View of Multiethnic People Forming Circle and GlobeThis word is the first part of the name of our country – United States. “United” means to have a common interest and agreement. Our country is made up of 50 states that are one country united together by our love for freedoms and self-government. There is much strength when we unite together. It often seems like we are a polarized nation these days instead of a united nation. I believe that we must lay down our hate and celebrate our differences. I’m not going to get all political, but it seems that we’ve lost a lot of respect for one another. If I disagree with someone or they disagree with me, I shouldn’t hate them.

In our churches, there is strife and disagreement. The different denominations of the evangelical church agree on 97% of teaching from scripture, but we tend to focus on our disagreements rather than celebrate together the part of our teaching that is the same. I believe that the church is stronger when we stand together in the name of our founder – Jesus Christ. We must seek to make Him famous in our world. We do that best in unity. Check this out…

10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:10,30-31 NLT)

I am who I am because of Who He is and what He has done in me. He changed my heart many years ago. He’s still changing my heart and growing me to look and act more like Him. I have my moments when I get off tract and off purpose, but He welcomes me back. I am a recipient of large doses of grace over the years and I’m learning to be a dispenser of grace. The fact that we ALL need grace should definitely unite us. I don’t know a single follower of Jesus who doesn’t need grace. In fact, if there is one who thinks they don’t need grace, the very arrogance screams out their need for it. If we keep our pride in check, we can certainly be unified. It’s when we think we know more than others (pride) that we tend to pounce on our differences. We need to unify to lift up Jesus and make Him known instead of making ourselves known. Where there is humility in each of us, there is unity with all of us. When we realize our need for Him, we can come together in fellowship with one another in His Name.

Humility unites us.

Grace unites us.

Gratitude unites us.

Forgiveness unites us.

Serving unites us.

Loving unites us

Jesus unites us.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Body Parts

 

Vocabulary worksheetI have lived long enough to know that there are some parts of my body that I can live without and other parts that necessary. For example, I could live without my eyes if I had to. I could also live without my ears – but I don’t want to. My eyes and ears get a lot of attention and rightly so because of their function, but they aren’t as important as my stomach, kidneys or heart. I can’t see any of these parts, but I know they are working because I’m alive to type out this simple little blog.

The apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth to explain the parts of the church, the body of Christ and how important each member is. We all are gifted way differently, but we all have similar parts of our own bodies. Check this out…

18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. 23 And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, 24 which our respectable parts do not need.

Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corinthians 12:18-26 CSB)

I don’t really think a whole lot about my stomach until it gets upset – then that’s all I think about until it settles down. I don’t think about my kidneys until they get an infection. I think it’s important to be aware of my whole body, not just my skin, face, hair, eyes, hands, feet, etc… My body is complex and very detailed just as the church is complex and detailed. I need to look at the church differently. If the beautiful parts get all the attention, what about the unseen parts? I need to notice every part of the body. I need to care for the invisible yet vital parts as well as the parts that I could live without. It’s very complex and complicated, but also simple – I need others and others need me – The body parts of the church are vital to impact the world for Jesus.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Unity

Many hands together: group of people joining handsI like this word in many different contexts. I like it when my wife and I are in unity (this contrasts with when we have extremely different ideas about an issue). I also like it when my family is in unity. Unity doesn’t mean we always agree, but I do think it means we are always agreeable. It is not always easy for sure, but I think unity means that I’m keeping my eye on the big picture. I see unity as agreement on the big picture items. Unity is defined as: “the state of being one; the parts of a whole; oneness of mind; harmony and agreement”.

This word jumped out of a Psalm of David – a song of assents and it reminded me of what a beautiful concept unity can be. Check this out…

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life for evermore. (Psalm 133:1-3 NIV)

Unity is sometimes very difficult to achieve because I or the other person want our way. Unity can only be achieved when we are all working for the greater good of any team that we are part of. I believe every group I’m part of needs a mission. I didn’t say that they need a mission statement, although I think it’s an excellent idea. A mission statement is simply our mission in writing. In my family, we seek to honor God in our choices and decisions every day. It’s not written down anywhere, but we know it and try to live it out. At Southern Hills Christian Church where my family and I serve, the mission is: Disciples who make disciples.  At Metro West Realty, our team of REALTORS rally around a mission of: EXCELLENCE. Always.  I know that there are other organizations that I am part of that are on mission. If we get “off mission” then the tensions begin quickly.

Unity is an incredible concept and can be very fulfilling to be part of. If there is to be unity, then I can’t always have everything “my way or the highway”. I must seek common ground underneath the mission.  I have been part of organizations where there was no unity and it can be frustrating. When unity disappears, dysfunction comes on the scene. There are so many instances where the Lord has “sanded my rough edges off” and helped me see the big picture. I need to remember that any organization that I’m part of is only as strong as the unity of all its members.  I do believe that everyone needs a big picture view even in the trenches of debate and discussion.  I love the last line of this passage: ”for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life for evermore”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Unity

Taking CommunionI’m having the opportunity to slip away for a day from regular routine and meet with our church staff for vision casting and planning. We came to the lake house of a friend and brother who is a follower of God. This place is stunningly beautiful and peaceful. This meeting brings together a very diverse group of individuals who love the Lord and feel called to serve Him. I feel blessed to be a small part of this team. When I awoke this morning, I came across the follow passage. Check this out…

 1 How good and pleasant it is

    when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,

    running down on the beard,

running down on Aaron’s beard,

    down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon

    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,

    even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3 NIV)

 

I think unity takes a lot of work. It isn’t always something that “just happens”. I believe unity takes lots of giving with very little taking. I think it involves a lot of self-less service. Unity involves other people. If I’m the only one working for unity, then by definition it isn’t unity. Unity is defined as being joined together as a whole. I believe the Lord loves it when His kids have unity.

I think it’s interesting that we have many churches but we are ONE body. I’m not saying we will agree on every single facet of our faith. I do think we can agree as to the Leader of the Church is Christ Himself.

I will enjoy today. I’m blown away by the love and generosity of my brothers who are blessed with material possession and talent. We are all needed in the family of God. I’m looking for the blessing of the Lord on this individual and group because of deep unity.

Pressing On!
Dwayne