Unity Amid Diversity

Just a short quick post on Unity within the church.

If you are reading my posts you are seeing this theme. I was thrilled to see this article in the Christian Index. I hope you will read it.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

3 Churches worshiping together“It was humbling to me,” Collins said, “to know that we can meet under one roof in a world that seems so disunified right now. We came together as one people and worshiped Jesus Christ. . .”

The different-yet-same theme was probably best exemplified during worship. Zion Baptist worship leader Wayne Rickard led familiar songs such as “Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart” and “Amazing Grace.” Everyone sang in his or her own language.

“I saw one person crying, saying she’d never experienced anything like this. Others told me the same thing. They thanked us for loving them, making them feel welcome, and helping them worship in their native language. When one pastor spoke, the other groups could see the translation on the screen behind him so we could all hear the message.”

CLICK HERE for the full article.

 

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sataN Is Not Thwarted

He’s Not Thwarted By Our Politics

He merely changes his tactic.

Stop, and consider this for a moment.

Where are you on the photo above?

When you consider politics, are you:

  • SAD
  • MAD
  • HAPPY

Where are you?

Maybe a better question is, “Why Are You?”

You see, this is my concern in the church. I expect the world to act like the world, and so should you. But the church is what concerns me?

What Is Going On In The Church

It’s diabolitical (Sorry, Freudian slip) It’s diabolical.

But, do you see it?

Regardless of the side of the aisle we prefer, we are all plagued with THE SAME DECEPTION, namely, the priority our political goals play in our life.

NOTE: We think that if we get more people who think like us in positions of power then we will live peaceful and quiet lives (1 Timothy 2:2m).

Have you ever considered that the promise of that verse is NOT THAT GOD gives us peace and tranquility by giving us the right leaders, but He gives you the peace and tranquility BECAUSE YOU’VE PRAYED, regardless of whether or not your circumstances change!

But, that’s a message for later.

Getting Back To Our Deception

The deception in our politics is our focus.

I have a few friends that work in various positions in Washington D.C. One of them recently shared with me, “The only thing that will fix Washington D.C., is Jesus.”

Before you say, “Yah, yah, Mark, of course.” I want you to consider what winds you up more:

  • The political news you see on T.V., or
  • Your heart hurting for the unsaved in D.C.?

Depending on your answer, you  might want to stop for just a moment and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Or, you may not want to, but you should.

You see, that’s the problem isn’t it? We’re more wrapped up in what we want, than what God wants.

The Fallout From This Deception

Getting what we want does not thwart sataN.

Do you really believe that sataN packs his bags and runs away when more and more of your political party enters the city limits of Washington D.C.?

NOTE: I’m not speaking out of the other side of my mouth when I say that, if you are in politics, you are to work as if you are working unto the Lord and not man. Meaning, do what you do with excellence.

The evil one will not cease until Jesus throws him into the pit.

So what does sataN do now, if he doesn’t pack his bags and leave, when your guy/gal wins?

Simple

He changes tactics.

And we in the church are missing this. When we “win” at the ballot box, we think we’ve won in the spiritual realm.

Friends, to use a line from a completely different context, when we think this way, “We above all men are to be most pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)

So, be on guard, for the evil one roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

And be aware that he may fool you, when he comes to you as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Whatever else he does, expect him to return to you at an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

Then What Should We Do

Simple: Follow Scripture.

Instead of telling God what you want, let His Word tell you what He wants.

We like to abide in His Son and in His Word so that we can ask whatever we want and get it, right?

STOP! That’s not what John 15:7 says!

NOTE: It really says, “If you abide in Me (Jesus) and [YOU LET] MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU,  then you will ask whatever you will and it will be given unto you.”

Do you see the focus? The focus is His Word/s abiding in you. The reason you will get what you pray for is because you will be asking for Christ’s will, Christ’s words, because YOUR words will change to match His words.

Do You Believe The Bible

THEN DON’T READ Romans 13:1.

Why do I say, “Don’t read it?” Because you will be faced with an indisputable fact that the guy leading us in Washington D.C. is who God put there, and who God wants there.

And there’s another indisputable fact that you’ll be stuck with:

THE PASSAGE WAS TRUE THE PREVIOUS 8 YEARS ALSO.

So What

You may ask.

Here’s the “So-what.” Are you blaspheming God, by the way you are praying for the current leadership?

Or, did you blaspheme God by the way you prayed for the previous leadership?

How you answer that, will tell you why you are, whichever face you are, from above.

But more than that, I hope that you will hit your knees and ask for forgiveness, either for the way you pray, or the way you prayed.

Further, I hope you will pray for all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity, regardless of political results.

 

Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza Signature

Church Unity, Then and Now

Church unity, then and now, featured picture

Demonstration of Unity

I have been spending a lot of time with the book of Colossians. Because book 2 of my current novel series, (which I just finished this week, YIPPEE!!!) includes a major section that centers around the ancient city of Colossae (you can find book 1 HERE).

I was up late last night rereading the beginning of Colossians and it struck me that Paul says, “hello” to so many of his churches by telling them how much and how often he and his entourage thank the Lord for them.

Love in the Colossae Church

And though I have read it dozens and dozens of times over these this last few months. It struck me how this view of Love in the Colossae Church must differ from ours in the 21st century Church.

Now I recognize that I am painting churches with one broad brush and that is unfair. I give that to you and I apologize if am wrong about your church, which I know I will be.

Love For All the Saints

But I started thinking about many, many of the people that I pray with and I recognized that I see Love For All the Saints in Jerry and Todd, and in the 3 Davids, in Lew and Derrick and Tony.

Love For All the Saints is evident in Bryan and Greg and Aaron and Bryant.

There is Love For All the Saints in Tom and in Bennett, in Brandon and Ben and Marc, in Jerry and Vince and Victor.

I also see Love For All the Saints in Roger and Eugene, in Don in Craig and in John and Reed.

I even see Love For All the Saints in the women that I pray with on these conference calls.

They all pray!

Now you need to realize, these men and women come from all over the economic landscape and the spiritual maturity landscape. They come from all over the theological landscape, and, God forbid, the political landscape.

And it took me only half a second to realize what the common denominator was and is, in every single one of them. Surely you know what that common denominator is, don’t you?

They all pray!

The Colossae Leader Prayed

DON’T think I’m writing ONLY TO PASTORS!

Are you a leader in your home, with your siblings, at work, when you are alone and by yourself?

This message is to ALL OF US!

Is it any wonder that Epaphras who played an important role in the Colossae church (Colossians 1:7a) before he went to Paul’s side, is known and remained known as a man of Prayer (Colossians 4:12-13)?

Whose Fault is Dis-Unity

PS. You may want to stop reading this. Continue at your own risk. . .

There is a reason we do not have unity in the church . . . And it is our fault.

It’s not the fault of those that we believe are wrong in their thinking. It’s not the fault of those who won’t change “no matter how much we pray” that they do change.

I believe the problem is in us, the ones who won’t pray that we would love others unconditionally.

Love them when they see the light and get their act together? Absolutely!

But humbly come before the Lord and ask Him to fix me because I don’t like somebody, with a righteous dislike of course! Absolutely No Way!

What’s the Cost

Why don’t we have #ChurchUnity?

I believe the reason we do not have #ChurchUnity is because it is too costly. And we, the ones who “claim we want” unity are, for the most part, unwilling to pay the price.

Imagine what #ChurchUnity means. It means that I have to engage with, “those other people.”

Scripture and Unity

Romans chapter 15 verse 5 (Mark’s paraphrase) May the God of endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves, as you follow Christ.

You want unity? It’s the other guy’s responsibility, right?

Not at all. You want unity? It’s on you, not them.

John chapter 17 verse 21 (again, Mark’s paraphrase) The way they will know that I came from the Father has nothing to do with your ability to parse doctrine, how you baptize, how you pray or how you vote. The way they will know that I came from the Father is if you have unity. By the way that was Jesus speaking.

The next time you talk about unity in the church, would you ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price to be united with those that you vigorously disagree with?

Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza Signature

A House of Prayer for SOME People

An House of Prayer for All People

I don’t recall all of the story, but the broken part of the sidewalk says,

An House of Prayer for All people

As the story goes, that part of the sidewalk has been there since the church was built at this location in 1892, But, in the mid 60’s someone asked, “a bit too loudly” if all people were welcome, as the sign said. Nobody answered, but the next week the sign was taken out of the ground, broken and a new plain slab laid.

Somehow, the broken pieces were stored and in the 90’s relaid, in their broken state.

Front of FBC Pembroke

May I say, I LOVE teaching prayer in a location that has been broken over unity and is unashamed for people to know it.

Mark S Mirza