Recap & Revival

So, to recap:

Thanksgiving, Christmas, traveling, school parties, elementary basketball, school projects, writing a new series, teaching a women's conference, teaching a six-week series locally, birthday parties (Holland is 6!), and building a house.

That should catch us up from the past two months. I would throw myself at your mercy, but I know I already have it because you understand life since, well, you are living it, too, and probably have a "recap" of your own.

Moving On

In January I listened to a message delivered at Gateway's First Conference by James Robison, also the host of Life Today. If you are not familiar with Gateway and its Senior Pastor Robert Morris, get yourself to their free app on iTunes and check them out (or visit them at www.gatewaypeople.com). While the entirety of his message was a wake up call, I have not been able to shake his opening remarks about the lack of unity among Christians, and as an extension, Christian churches.

Do you want revival? Most of us do, and are praying for it and seeking it in various ways. Yet Robison points out revival won't come without unity among the pieces of Christendom which make up the greater whole. Like briquettes on a barbecue grill, fire won't light unless they are touching. When they are spread thin and apart, a fire which would produce enough heat to cook can't be built, but when they touch a powerful burn takes place.

On a national level Christianity is crucified for what it stands against. But the sad reality is we do the same thing to each other within our own communities. Let me be clear: I’m not talking about non-Christians misunderstanding Christians. I’m talking about Christians misunderstanding other Christians. When did we, Christians, individually and collectively become known for what we are against instead of what we are for … even within our own faith? We can point our fingers and blame other pockets of our faith, but that perpetuates the problems. In my own community, I'm saddened by the different camps of faith, with some feeling inferior, and others boasting they alone have figured it out with chants of "We've got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit, how 'bout you?" The truth is none of us have it all right, and none of us have it all wrong. But we will never collectively have it even close to revival if we can't stop judging each other's ways and start celebrating each other's kingdom advancements.

I have never been bothered by where people go to church. {C}{C}{C}Some of my most treasured friends attend different churches. Yay! {C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}Are you in a Bible-believing church where Jesus is lifted high? Glory! It doesn't have to be my church. The body of Christ as a whole is more powerful when we are each plugged in, contributing, and growing where God calls us. I celebrate a believer who is thriving inwardly and outwardly no matter where they write their tithe check.

(On the flip side, I'm also not a church hopper and have been at the same church for 12 years; I believe in being planted within a church home and being a participant in the call on that house. If and when we change our place of worship, it should be a decision reached after prayer, fasting, and counsel. Changing churches should not be a flight of fancy. Churches are made up of people, just like our families of origin, and sometimes we have to stick it out through some rough patches.)

Here is another thing I'm not bothered by: visiting other churches or crossing the "lines" to attend Bible studies and events. I love to see how God uses different groups of believers to accomplish same and different things for His glory. I am inspired when I connect with other women in my community who also love Jesus and are pursuing his will for their life with boldness, even if their knees are knocking. I recently taught a conference in Texas and was blown away by the fellowship and the downright sweetness of the women. They weren't all from the same church, yet they loved each other and encouraged each other without having to draw any theological lines in the sand. It made me hungry.

None of us think we are the problem. It's always the proverbial them. It reminds of me of the early years of my marriage when I would pray and pray for God to change this or that in my husband so that things would be easier for me (oh, lawd!). Then the Lord, sometimes a prankster, dropped a book in my lap by Evelyn Christianson called Lord, Change Me. Well, snap. The truth is the only person we ultimately have control over is ourselves. Unless we are willing to humble ourselves in the midst of any situation or challenge to allow God to work in us we won't see any real work occur through us. There is no "through" us without there being an "in" us.

What is the answer? There are as many answers as there are people. However, I am excited about a new project God is birthing among a group of women (who all attend different churches! Shazam!) which will be a piece of the pie. It will be one step towards unity. One step towards breaking down barriers and laying down the lingo and picking up the Word of God in one accord.

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are a few simple things we can individually do to promote unity within our communities:

  • Pray for your pastor.
  • Then pray for ALL the pastors in your community.
  • Ask the Lord to show you how you can carry the banner of unity in your daily interactions and conversations.
  • Visit a different church once in a while just to celebrate the presence of God throughout your community.
  • Look for women's events held at other churches and go! Support the efforts of all churches to reach and equip the lost and hurting.
  • If your church doesn't have a Bible study that fits your schedule, find one at another church to attend. It's not mutiny. (And when a woman from another church comes to a study at your church, go out of your way to make her feel welcome and at home. After all, every Christian woman should feel at home in the Body of Christ wherever she goes.)
  • Consider hosting a Bible study in your home and invite women you know from different churches.

The Body of Christ shouldn't be severed from itself within the walls of different churches. It is possible to be a "member" of one church and actively pray for and support the work of God in other churches. It's actually even Biblical.

Do be planted, just don't be stuck.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

What are some ways you think women can usher in greater unity?