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Can’t we all just get along?

October 12, 2010

Saturday morning I sat on the sidelines of the soccer field,  compelled to listen as a woman approached a couple beside us. They spent the 3rd quarter sharing evaluations of local churches, including: opinions about building design, decor, song choice, refreshment availability, relationships with clubs, whether or not the teaching pastors are “good,” and what finally prompted them to “move on” … each time.  Little did they know the stranger beside them was praying and preparing about how to blog about “Can’t we all just get along?”

When I’m in countries where followers of Christ are few, I’m impressed by how they gather around what matters. When we’re in places where Christians & churches are common, our inner “consumer” rises up like ordering at Burger King = having it “your” way. But living with the perspective of “this little light of mine” in a dark world quickly reminds us of what core issues unite, and it frees us up to let peripheral issues take a backseat.

As I’ve worshiped in other lands and cultures, I’ve found the primary thing that matters is what we do with Jesus Christ. Just before Jesus announced He would build His Church on Peter, He asked His disciples:  “What about you? Who do you say I am? (Matt. 16:13-19) What we believe about Jesus is a first step to knowing if we can worship or work together. When we explored salvation in September, we took talked about who Jesus is, because everything else hinges on that. We have to know who He is to believe what He has done and will do.

This key question brings up two other core questions:

Sharing common convictions about core values allows us freedom to worship and serve together, just as differences in these foundations limit us. Sandra shared about how the Church began, described in Acts 2:42 with 4 core elements: teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. Breaking of bread is referring to observing the Lord’s Supper, an act of worship. In his new book, the Church Awakening, Chuck Swindoll says, “You can have more than these four, but you cannot have less and still be a church.” Other things shouldn’t diminish the core four. Sadly, peripheral issues are often reasons people call a time-out … or stand on the sidelines of soccer AND church.

At the 4th quarter, the “church talk threesome” decided to get back to the game, but first they shook hands and introduced themselves. They shared all that without even knowing each other’s names. What would people hear if they sat next to us?

We CAN get along if we remember we’re small lights in darkness, and what matters most for the Bride of Christ is:  What do we do with Jesus Christ our groom?

 

 

Suggested reading: 

John 1:1-5;  1 John 5:20

The Church Awakening, Chuck Swindoll

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2010 7:53 am

    Julie, your experience is a sad, but all too often scenario. Thanks for reminding us about what really matters.

  2. stephanieshott permalink
    October 12, 2010 8:11 am

    Julie ~ My heart breaks for the reputation of the church that is smeared by those who say know Him. We may not all agree. We may have times of difficulties. But like any family, we keep that between each other and guard the family name.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      October 12, 2010 8:41 am

      I like the way you said that: “guard the family name.” Our faith is not just about us, individually, is it? We are truly part of the Body, and all we say and do impacts the Body.

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  3. Stephanie permalink
    October 12, 2010 6:07 pm

    WOW, what a great read for me today and a perfect encouragement for exactly where I find myself these days (both in physical location and spiritual meanderings) 🙂 It is nice living where the community of believers is so small that they “gather around what matters.”

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      October 13, 2010 9:02 am

      Somehow being “few” helps us to see the need to gather together for encouragement and worship, letting the peripheral things go. So thankful that you have others to gather with!

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  4. October 12, 2010 7:38 pm

    “As I’ve worshiped in other lands and cultures, I’ve found the primary thing that matters is what we do with Jesus Christ.” -love this! So true, it really comes down to what we do with Christ.

  5. October 12, 2010 10:34 pm

    Great post Julie! Great for where I am at currently. It is easy in our society to “shop” for churches. Trying to get this best “bang” for the buck. A “what can the church do for me” attitude, instead of a servant heart. I have been reminded so many times of something I believe Teri Lynn said early on in Scripture Dig regarding Bible Study, but it fits here to. It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. (Sorry Teri Lynn, I paraphrased, you said it much more eloquently.) 🙂

    ~Blessings~
    Marita

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      October 13, 2010 8:54 am

      Yes, I remember when she said that. :) From the time we are babies, we spend our lifetime learning it really isn’t about us. It seems like that transfers to church life, too. I’ve had a friend in another country tell me that she prays for us in the US, because it must be so hard for people who have so much to know they “need” Jesus and to be content. Insightful!

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

  6. October 13, 2010 6:31 am

    Oh Julie! You have spoken so clearly on such a heart-breaking topic. Thank you for your grace and tenderness. When we first moved to Georgia, I invited a family to our church and the wife told me they would not visit our church because they had seen our (previous) pastor’s wife act so rudely. What a wake-up call to me … that the enemy is always planting seeds of destruction and using every available opportunity to whisper lies and foster discord. And he doesn’t just use pastors’ wives!!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      October 13, 2010 8:50 am

      It IS a good reminder to us of how we all influence the view of the Body. God forbid that we would hurt His name. I know I am just as capable of doing that if I step away from His Word. This month’s study on the Church is excellent.

      Julie Sanders http://www.comehaveapeace.blogspot.com

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