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Summary: Small groups #2

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Connecting to a common purpose

# 2 of Core values of Christian community values

Eric Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ

October 13, 2002

What’s the difference between a southern zoo and a northern zoo?

A southern zoo has a description of the animal on the front of the cage, along with a recipe.

I don’t mean to pick on anyone it’s just that I am headed to Kentucky for a leadership conference this week and I hear that they have some really good food in the south.

A man was walking on a bridge and saw someone ready to jump when he tells the story like this, He said “I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said, "Stop! Don’t do it!" --"Why shouldn’t I?" he said. I said, "Well, there’s so much to live for!"

--"Like what?" "Well...are you religious or atheist?"

--"Religious." "Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"

--"Christian." "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

--"Protestant." "Me too! Are you church of Christ or Baptist?"

--"Baptist." "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

--"Baptist Church of God." "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

--"Reformed Baptist Church of God." "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

--"Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!" To which I said, "Goodbye, you heretic!" and pushed him off the bridge

You know it’s sad that we can come up with so much to divide us around the central issue that should unite us. The bible tells us that Jesus prayed for His church and it says this “I pray that they would be one”

You know that last story was supposed to be a joke but there are some who don’t think it’s very funny. In reality the sad truth is these jokes are born out of situations that are tragic. So I have to ask. Why all this division. When Jesus wanted us to be one.

Why break out words like “Heretic” to describe someone else who is struggling to know the full truth of Jesus Christ. That’s why it breaks my heart to hear someone stand on their soapbox and proclaim exactly who is going to hell. Please people you have to know Jesus offered woes but gave opportunities to repent. He never once left someone for dead and condemned them to hell. When he spoke harsh words He always left the door of faith open. He had compassion on everybody.

One of my favorite episodes of Sienfeld involves a character named “putty”. David putty is a Christian who is dating one of the shows main characters and when his girlfriend finds out he believes is Jesus she asks Him Why she isn’t trying to save him.

I think there are a lot of people out there who want to know why we don’t try to save them, Instead of pronouncing the death sentence and callously moving on with our lives.

There is an urgent need in our world for people to find Jesus because without Him the outlook is indeed bleak. Today we are talking about something different than a culture diverted. We are talking about people who can’t identify the real enemy.

In one of my favorite movies. “Clear and present danger” there is a tank battle and one tank is blown up. Then the distress call is heard and the people realize that they fired at the wrong tank. In the church today there seems to be a lot of people firing at the wrong tank. But the contrary word from scripture is “encourage one another and build each other up”

In fact the church of Christ movement was started by a group of guys who were from other denominations. One was a Methodist. One was a Presbyterian, One was a Lutheran. They came from all denominations and they said we don’t want a denomination. We want to be a church that is known for standing on the Bible. Let that Alone be our all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.

They knew that people naturally congregate. That we look for divisions. We try to find people who are like us so to help the church they set up some basic views. Probable the most important is “In essentials unity in non essentials liberty, in all things love.

Here we are 150 years later struggling to find common ground with those whose non-essential matters would separate us from them.

In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus.

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