A Way Forward

A motivating verse for me in my ministry is John 17:20-21, where Jesus says to His Father, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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.” I’m motivated by Jesus’ vision for unity with other believers, knowing that our unity will be a sign to the world to believe in Jesus.

However, actually achieving unity seems like a challenging task considering the divisiveness of our culture. There’s a plethora of issues for us to debate, and the slightest disagreement has us instantly dismissing each other. The evil one seems to have successfully created an “Us vs. Them” culture where it’s win or lose at all costs, generally running over people and relationships in the process.

Even many within Christian culture use phrases like “culture war,” suggesting that a battle should take place around these issues. Unfortunately, I don’t see this approach successfully leading anyone to repentance and transformation.

The challenge with this mentality is it assumes that controlling our culture is what we have been called to do as the body of Christ. Our culture is not filled with enemies and issues to be conquered, but neighbors to be loved.

Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) I continually pray that we, followers of Jesus, are known by our love rather than our desire for power, control, and conquests. I pray we don’t confuse one for the other.

Surely there is a way for us as the Church to love our neighbors, for us to see the Holy Spirit transform lives, to see repentance, healing, restoration, reconciliation, and true unity! I am encouraged to remember that Jesus walked and lived in a culture that also faced extreme division. And yet Jesus, by laying down His life, transformed the world. This means we must not get discouraged; we must press on and remain hopeful.

Last Sunday we started a three-week mini-series titled “A Way Forward.” We started this series by sharing a meal together, the Lord’s Supper. It served as a reminder to us that in all our differences, in our struggles, even in our disagreements…We unite together around Jesus! In these coming weeks, we will look at Romans 2 and Romans 14. Please be praying for our time, plan on joining us, and if you can’t make it to our in-person services, will you please try to tune in online? Thanks!