The following post was first written for the Engage Blog at Bible.org
You can read more of Christen’s writings every 4th Monday of the month at blogs.bible.org/engage
On Saturday I experienced quite possibly the most diverse moment of worship within the body of Christ that I have ever imagined. I can only describe this collective experience as a glimpse into what heavenly worship will look like. In an era where socio-political, racial, ethnic and national unrest seems to rule the day, there has never been a time when the church so desperately needs to move closer. The church must be an earthly representation of this heavenly reality; where every tribe and every nation stand in concert with each other before our God. (Revelation 7:9-10)
Within the walls of encultured bias, where you cringe to hear the measure of hate coming from Christians and non-Christians alike, it is easy for us to lament as Habakkuk did, “How long oh Lord?” (Habakkuk 1:2) How long, Lord, until the church represents the unity that you so earnestly prayed for in your final hours. In your priestly prayer Lord, you lifted up your eyes to the father and prayed,
“I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.” John 17:10-23
But will this ever happen? Doesn’t unity among the brethren seem too big of a dream, too hard of a concept, and far beyond our reach?
Maybe I am the only one who has let the despair of hopelessness blind me when we serve a God who opens the eyes of those who have hearts of stone. If you are like me there are certain aspects of the global ecclesia that you have just simply put beyond our reach: Will racial reconciliation ever be a reality? Will church segregation be a thing of the past? Will people ever stop elevating their politics, their nation and their culture over their identity in Christ? While unity in the body of Christ may be a tall order, the instant we allow despair to dictate our hope we have diminished the power of our Holy God.
Listen to how God himself describes his limitlessness: “I am the Lord, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for me.”
Do we truly believe this? Do we believe that in God’s great love for us and the power of the Holy Spirit imparted to his church, that we can resist Satan and he will flee? If our actions are truly an outpouring of our own thoughts, I would venture to say that we don’t truly believe in the limitlessness of God. If, in fact, we did we would pray differently. Do we believe that the sinful dividing wall that fuels Church division can fall based on the limitless power of our Savior and the continued sanctification of the Church?
On October 20, I stood at the base of a platform, ankle deep in the mud that had been brewing on the grounds of the Texas Motor Speedway all week. In a moment of transcendence the crowd slowed, and I looked around. I saw Black, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, Old and Young with hands held high and heads hung low. I saw Assemblies of God, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Pentecostal arm in arm. I saw liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats moving in concert with one another. I saw a glimpse of what unity in the body of Christ could look like. No one was worried about whether we sang from the Hymnbook or swag-surfed to Christian Hip Hop. No one asked who the other planned to vote for in the next election, no one argued over infant baptism or confirmation. Instead, we all worshiped the exalted Christ as one body. From October 20-21, hundreds of thousands descended upon that muddy track that became a holy place of worship as we praised the Lord at the Together 2018 rally.
It’s easy to be skeptical of the Together Generation revival movement. Honestly, how much can one Christian concert change the face of what’s to come? However, Together 2018 has one central and biblical concept that is, “We, the body of Christ, are better together.” To those who were able to partake in this holy worship last Saturday or simply those who have caught on to the vision, let us not leave the concept of together to wallow in the mud of the Texas Motor Speedway. Yet if each one of us used our sphere of influence to break out of the individualism of modern-day Christianity we will be the change we want to see, as God continues to shape his church into her full maturity as the bride of Christ.
Yes, the task at hand seems impossible but let us not forget there is nothing too hard for God! His unlimited power is unmatched and as his people we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) We are now divinely enabled us to operate in his power and carry on the ministry reconciliation to all as we gather believers one table at a time.
Interestingly enough the high priestly prayer recorded in John chapter 17 gives us a taste of the power of Christian unity in the hands of our limitless God. For it was the unity that Christ wanted to pass down to every believer. Scripture tells us when people see our unity they are likely to believe in our God. (John 17:23)
My hope is that together every nation and every tribe, every age and every stage can walk in the unity that Jesus so desperately wanted for us so that his sheep will be bought into the fold. (John 10:16)
While it is quite the task—there is nothing too hard for God! Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s step up to our responsibility as the church to point people toward Christ through our unity!
For more information about the Together Generation Movement or the Table Coalition click the link below: http://thetablecoalition.org
My husband and I are officially unemployed with three children and a car note. This didn’t occur by happenstance, rather our employment status was the result of deliberate prayer and decision. Approximately 6 months ago I found myself driving to an ordinary ministry conference on an ordinary day only to be met with an extraordinary message-Christianity was not meant to be comfortable!
Let’s see the picture of Christianity that Jesus painted for his disciples:
Click here to be connected to Bible.org to continue reading the full article!
That girl is me… or at least I think so. She, the one in the picture, full of hope and passion. She was limitless, her reach incomprehensible, and her legacy yet to be determined.
That girl is me… that is, about ten years ago. I remember sitting there that day on what felt like was the edge of the earth. La Cueva de la Ventana (The Window Cave) is an almost mystical site in Puerto Rico. You actually have to descend into an uncharted cave, duck beneath stalactites, and avoid the bats that hang like permanent fixtures. The earth then gives way at your feet and the mountain walls part like a curtain giving you the slightest peek of paradise. It was there that I sat hovering over the clouds, just taking it in.
The girl in this picture, she knew hardships but had no clue about the utter darkness of the soul. While she had barely tasted the lowest of lows she was also untouched by the highest of highs. The way her heart would flutter when she giggled about the cute guy on messenger who would soon become her husband. The utter peace she would find swinging in a hammock in the Bahamas mingling sandy toes with the love of her life wondering how in the world she could ever be so lucky. And she had absolutely no clue how much pain, sorrow, and joy raising three tiny humans would give her.
As clueless as this girl was, she knew there would be something. She trusted in a big God who made such a beautiful view and as she sat at the window of this cave, ready for whatever big assignment God had for her.
Since I took a seat on that rock over ten years ago I’ve had some awesome adventures. From moving across country unsure of where I would stay, to trusting God through seven years of seminary, countless miracles including getting my dream job at age 23, to putting my own safety on the line in order to achieve the goal of gaining others for Christ. That girl had some adventures in her life-always crazy, always fun, always unsafe and always awesome.
Things are more settled now, it’s not that I’ve lost my sparkle but things are settled-three kids a wonderful husband and a minivan. We had just been pre-approved for a home loan and then God decided to shake up our American Dream. He whispered adventure into my ear one more time. Before it was easy to do-I could whisk away and live in Juarez, Mexico with no worries other than the relentless prayers of my dear parents. Now I have a lot… It’s not just me, it’s not just my life, it’s not just my safety. And I wonder does this ole’ gal have another adventure in her?
While it may be harder to take the leap these days, I remember what it felt like to sit on the precipice of the earth with nothing but space and opportunity before me. I remember the call, the sense that God is showing me my next step, I remember that in Him, there is always room for adventure.
Today, June 8th, 2018 Christen has ended her tenure at her job. And a week out from that on June 15th, I will have ended mine as well.
It’s really dumbfounding to me on how we got here. Going from a possible restructuring of my job duties, or looking for something different, and now we’re packing it all up and heading 12 hours north.
The setting is 2015. There are not many times that Christen and I get to go out but when we do we make the most of it. When you have zero children as a married couple, you go out all the time. One child, you might take them with you if you can’t find a sitter, but when it’s MULTIPLE children…well that’s an adventure to find a sitter within itself.
Coming to Ft. Worth was a Christian concert extravaganza that tours all over the country with big-name headlining acts. I gave Christen the duty of finding us a sitter because if it was up to me I would be scouring the pages of Craigs List.
Side-note if you have watched The Kids (TM) for us, we are highly grateful. Continue reading
Do you know your neighbors?
When I was growing up we did. My best friends growing up were the neighbor kids Marky and Alysha. To be honest I still remember their phone number because of all the times I would call it to hang out with them. They had a really big yard that we would play in and there was one part of their yard that had really steep “hill.” I say “hill,” but it was just a ledge that you could ride a bike up really fast to try and do a jump. I remember playing wiffle ball in the front yard and using the bush by their driveway as the plate/catcher. I also remember the time Marky and I got in trouble because we were throwing rocks at a guy on a bicycle. Kids are stupid. Continue reading
Do you know who does church better than churches? Bars.
I come from a small town that definitely has the same amount of churches as bars, or the same amount of bars as churches. I grew up in a church where the social hall of the church was directly above, maybe even owned and operated by, a bar. Continue reading
Let me paint you a word-picture. My wife and I both have our degrees. Two, stable jobs with benefits. A rented living space that we don’t have to put extra money into because we just call the landlord. The Kids(TM) are in a great school and day-care. All of the bills are, guaranteed, to be paid…at some point in the month. And my stress levels aren’t too high. Continue reading