Last month I attended Winter Jam in Houston, TX and it was amazing! Not only were the artists who preformed great, but there were also powerful stories of changed lives throughout the event. One moment captivated me, it was when Matthew West lead the whole stadium full of people in a rendition of Amazing Grace (which you can see and hear below.)
The most amazing part about this, to me, is the fact that the Toyota Center, was full of believers of different ages, ethnicities, and denominations, and yet for this night, we all had one thing in common, we have been saved by grace and have been transformed by the love of Jesus.
This is a stark difference, since often I have heard the adage that “Sunday morning is the most segregated time of the week.” Not only that, many come from church experiences where instead of finding a place to belong and be loved, you often find people looking out for themselves. Yet, even though there are instances like that, it isn’t typical of every church and of every Christian, but if we are honest we have all find ourselves there at some point.
Jesus called on His followers to love others; that includes fellow church-goers! Listen to what Paul wrote:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
The church is us and we are God’s ambassadors on this planet, and of course we don’t all get along, since we are all so different! That’s not supposed to be a bad thing though. God created us individually and uniquely so that we can express our love for Him and others in our way, yet we often let disagreements get in the way o the bigger picture, and as a result, people don’t recognize that we are followers of Jesus. We may say we are Christians, but it doesn’t show. Here’s what Jesus said:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
It is NOT EASY to love people, believe me I know. As an introvert, I spend time actively trying to avoid people, which comes in conflict with my job as a youth pastor, but nonetheless, it is true. Yet there is a way, it is to love with God’s love. Let’s face it human love sucks. It is often conditional, depending on our mood, or what others do for us, and who knows how long we will stick with that feeling! But God doesn’t just leave us hanging, He says to us, “You don’t have to do it alone, you can live with my help, and with that, come together to do great things for My Name.” I’m not saying I heard that directly from God, but that is the message He is trying to get across. Isn’t it time that we put arguments aside and agree that we have a lot more in common than we think?
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)