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People today have more ways to connect than ever, but are disconnected more than ever. We have cell phones, texting, internet, My Space, Facebook, Instant Messaging, but we are disconnected from the people in the room with us. Families need spiritual unity. Marriages need to be one in the Lord. Husbands and wives need to be in spiritual agreement.
Sermon Central Staff
DEALING WITH DIVISIVE PEOPLE
Ray Stedman said, "Some people for the sake of their point of view would destroy the unity of your church. How do you deal with them? Avoid them. We must keep our eye on them and turn away from them. In other words, we donít listen to them. Weíre never obligated to hear a person out when what theyíre saying is not consistent with Christian speech. If they are tearing down the church, tearing down the pastor, tearing down the leaders or Sunday School teachers or any believer, we should not listen. Because even out of a misguided sense of courtesy, our listening to them would make it seem that we agree, while what weíre doing is giving them another chance to vent their verbal poison."
(From a sermon by Bob Joyce, Paulís Missionary Heart, 8/3/2011)
The Sunflower is probably the most amazing flowers God created. They literally follow the sun. No I donít know about you, but one the most amazing things I have seen is a field of sunflowers. Watching one follow the sun through is cute. Watching hundreds in absolute unison follow the sun is actually quite incredible. Something I found out recently, is that Sunflowers continue tracking the suns direction long after sun set. Through 360 degreeís they ensure that they are always oriented in the direction of the sun. Their unity is totally dependant on one thing. Their relationship to the sun.
JESUS- NOT HATE BUT HOPE
Itís a little name.
A small word.
Say this little name in public, however, in a way other than an obscenity, and stand back and watch the fireworks.
This little name is like a tiny detonator that triggers a nuclear warhead.
You can say "God," and you wonít get a squeak.
You can say "Our Father/Mother in Heaven," and few will flinch.
You can say "Great Spirit," and people will nod in approval.
You can say "Allah" and you will be deemed tolerant.
But say "Jesus" and just wait for the sonic boom.
Articles will appear in the paper. Reprimands will be posted from the home office. Suits will be threatened by the civil liberties block.
So donít say Jesus.
Jesus is divisive, and now is a time for unity.
Jesus is an extremist, and that must mean right wing.
Jesus is exclusive, so His name amounts to hate speech.
Keep His name to yourself. Cloister it in your church. Lock it in your prayer closet. Close it between the covers of your Bible. But for Godís sake, donít voice it in the public square!
Itís immodest. Itís immoral. Itís unloving.
Only one problem.
Jesus is God.
Only one problem.
Jesus alone brings salvation.
Only one problem.
All other gods are nothing.
So speak Hi...
D. Greg Ebie
We can see in our national headlines the power of unity to fulfill a common goal. Each of us will never forget what happened September 11, 2001. Out of that terrible day we saw our nation join together in unity. President George W. Bush had the support of the nation as he led the nation into the war against the terrorist who murdered so many innocent Americans. Letís go get íem!
But now nearly 9 month later weíve started pointing fingers. What did our president know before the attacks? What could the government have done to prevent the terrorist attacks? The unity that was born through terror is unraveling. We have forgotten who our enemy is.
The same happens within the church. We can so easily begin to point fingers at other "sheep;" we become critical of the "shepherd." All the while we forget that we have a common enemy outside the walls of the church. Satan seeks to "steal kill and destroy". Letís not forget who the enemy is.
Josh McDowell writes, in his book, Answers To Tough Questions Skeptics Ask About The Christian Faith;
Lest anyone think this isnít something marvelous, weíd like to give you this challenge. Find ten people from your local area having similar backgrounds, who speak the same language, and are all from basically the same culture. Then separate them an ask them to write their opinion on only one controversial subject, such as they meaning of life.
When, they have finished, compare the conclusions of these ten writers. Do they agree with each other? Of course not. But the Bible did not consist of merely ten authors, but 40. It was not written in one generation, but over a period of 1,500 years; not by authors with the same education, culture or language, but with vastly different educations, many different cultures, from 3 continents and 3 different languages, and finally not just one subject but hundreds.
And yet the bible there is unity. There is complete harmony, which can not be explained by coincidence or collusion. The unity of the bible is a strong argument in favor of itís divine inspiration.
A book that has changed my life is Whatís So Amazing About Grace? In it the author, Philip Yancey quotes Mark Twain. Apparently Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
In this area it might be Baptist, Pentecostal and Catholic. But you know, itís hard enough sometimes for a Wesleyan, a Wesleyan and a Wesleyan to get along.
Two taxidermists stopped in front of a window where an owl was on display. They immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted. Its eyes were not natural; its wings were not in proportion with its head; its feathers were not neatly arranged; and its feet could be improved. Just when they had finished w...
Sermon Central Staff
A man was stranded on an island. Alone for a number of years. Finally he was located and some people came ashore to rescue him. Before they took him off the island, he wanted to show them around. He took them to his hut and said "This is the home I built with my own 2 hands." Then he showed them to another building and he said "This is the church I built with my own 2 hands." Then someone in the group said "Hey, what's that building over there?" And the man replied "That's where I used to go to church."
I don't know how it is in other parts of the world, but it seems like this is the American way. 2 cars, 2 kids, a dog and half a dozen churches we used to attend.
This isn't bad necessarily. There are times when God would have us move on, take our gifts, abilities, resources and energy and use them to serve another body of believers.
But too often selfishness, pride, unforgiveness, a mentality that the church exists to meet my needs prevails and we become disgruntled, we divide and there is disunity for the wrong reasons. Disunity grieves the heart of God and brings dishonor to his name.
I read about a church where there was division and it began over an argument at a potluck supper when a lady brought a congealed salad she made with Cool Whip instead of real whipping cream.
Churches have divided over whether the pianist should sit to the right or the left side of the podium, over whether the Lord's Supper should be served from the front to the back or the back to the front, over trying to decide whether a kitchen should be a part of the church building or not.
One church split over who was the real pastor. They had two pastors. Two groups thought they each had their own guy, and both of them got up to lead a service one Sunday. Both led the singing. Both groups tried to out-sing each other. Then both pastors started preaching, trying to out-preach each other. Finally, they just broke out into fisticuffs, and the police had to come in and break it up.
This from Landover, Maryland, August 1999:
100 years of Christian fellowship, unity, and community outreach ended last Tuesday in an act of congregational discord. Holy Creek Baptist Church was split into multiple factions.
The source of dissension is a piano bench which still sits behind the 1923 Steinway piano to the left of the pulpit. Members and friends at Holy Creek Baptist say that the old bench was always a source of hostility. People should have seen this coming.
At present, Holy Creek Congregation will be having four services each Sunday. There has been an agreement mediated by an outside pastor so that each faction will have it's own separate service with it's own separate pastor. Since the head pastor is not speaking to the associate pastors, each will have their own service, which will be attended by factioned members. The services are far enough apart that neither group will come into contact with the other. An outside party will be moving the piano bench to different locations and appropriate positions, between services, so as to please both sides, and avoid any further conflict that could result in violence.
(From a sermon by Bret Toman, Unity For the Glory of God, 1/3/2011)
The story is told about a small, country church where the pastor called a special meeting of the congregation to approve the purchase of a brand new chandelier. After some discussion pro and con, an old farmer stood up and said, "Buying a new chandelier may seem like a good idea to you, but Iím against it for three reasons. First of all, itís too expensive and we canít afford one. Second, there isnít anybody around here who knows how to play one. And third, what we really need in this church is a new light fixture."