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Summary: iT'S TOO EASY TO DISAGREE AND RUN AWAY. iT'S A FAR GREATER BLESSING TO STAND TOGETHER EVEN IF WE DISAGREE ON CERTAIN THINGS. AS I ALWAYS SAY "EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG".

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HOPE BEYOND DIVISION: REASONS TO PULL TOGETHER

1 PETER 1:22 – 2:3

IF YOU WERE TO ASK MY WIFE, SHE WOULD TELL YOU THAT I AM NOT GREAT AT MATH. I NEEDED 105 TO PASS MY FINAL IN HIGH SCHOOL. NEEDLESS TO SAY WHEN I WENT TO UNIVERSITY I DID MY LEVEL BEST TO AVOID SCIENCE AND MATH COURSES, UNTIL MUCH LATER AT UNIVERSITY.

WHEN IT CAME TO REMEMBERING FORMULAS I WASN’T VERY GOOD, AND OH HOW I WISH WE COULD HAVE USED THE CALCULATORS AND COMPUTERS THAT THE STUDENTS HAVE TODAY. I MIGHT HAVE BEEN MORE INTERESTED.

THERE WAS ONE MATHEMATICAL FORMULA THAT I DID DISCOVER I COULD REMEMBER THAT WOULD HELP IN LIFE. I GUESS I REMEMBER IT BECAUSE I DISCOVERED IT. I THINK YOU’LL FIND THAT IT IS A GOOD FORMULA AND ONE YOU CAN APPLY TO YOUR LIVES AS WELL.

HERE IS THE FORMULA AND HOW IT APPLIES TO THE CHURCH:

IF YOU WANT TO ADD MEMBERS

MULTIPLY BLESSINGS

ELIMINATE STRESS AND BICKERING

THEN SUBTRACT DIVISION.

WHILE THERE ARE SOME FORMS OF DIVISION IN THE CHURCH THAT ARE GOOD AND PROPER, MOST CASES IT IS NOT. THERE IS AN IDEA TODAY THAT IF YOU ARE FACING A PROBLEM, THAT THE EASIEST WAY TO RESOLVE THE SITUATION IS TO LEAVE.

THIS HAPPENS IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE INCLUDING CHURCH LIFE. WE HAVE A DISAGREEMENT IN THE CHURCH WE’LL JUST GO AND START A NEW CHURCH AND DO THINGS OUR WAY THERE. IF WE DON’T LIKE THE WAY OUR MARRIAGE IS GOING WE’LL LEAVE. IF WE DON’T LIKE SOME BUSINESS DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE, WE LEAVE THAT BUSINESS AND START ANOTHER ACCORDING TO OUR TERMS.

PRIDE IS ALWAYS THE ROOT CAUSE OF DIVISION. I WANT THINGS MY WAY. THIS FORM OF PRIDE HAS BEEN THE RUINATION OF SEVERAL CHURCHES THAT I KNOW OF, AND DESTROYED THEIR WITNESS TO THE COMMUNITY. I REMIND YOU OF THE CHURCH THAT WAS DIVIDED OVER THE COLOR OF CARPET TO USE. ONE WANTED GREY AND THE OTHER BLUE. THE ISSUE WAS DECIDED WITH CHAINSAWS. THEY LITERALLY SAWED THE BUILDING IN HALF SO THAT ONE GROUP COULD HAVE GREY AND THE OTHER BLUE CAPRETS.

THERE IS SO MUCH TO GAIN WHEN WE STAND IN UNITY. I FOUND THE OPENING OF HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA TO BE PARTICULARLY MOVING. I DIDN’T SEE IT, BUT IT ACUTUALLY MADE THE NEWS BROADCASTS ON TELEVISION FOR ITS SHOW OF UNITY. AS A TRIBUTE TO THE TWO FALLEN SOLDIERS THIS WEEK HERE IN CANADA, THE NATIONAL ANTHEM WAS SUNG IN, MONTREAL, TORONTO, AND I BELIEVE OTTAWA, IN REAL TIME, AS ONE GROUP. HOW MOVING THAT MUST HAVE BEEN TO BE A PART OF IT. I WAS PROUD TO BE A CANADIAN WHEN I HEARD ABOUT IT.

IT IS THIS TYPE OF UNITY THAT CAN BRING HOPE TO THE CHURCH TODAY. WHAT A WORLD IT WOULD BE TO KNOW THAT WE ARE PULLING FOR ONE ANOTHER, AND SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER. THAT WE CARE AND PRAY AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN CHRIST. I LOVE THE FACT THAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO BUILD THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

PSALM 133:1: “HOW GOOD AND PLEASANT IT IS WHEN BROTHERS LIVE TOGETHER IN UNITY!”

CONSIDER WITH ME A PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE IN WHICH JESUS SPEAKS OF THE SPIRIT OF UNITY. JESUS AND THE DISCIPLES WERE IN JERUSALEM AND ABOUT TO SIT DOWN TO A MEAL. JESUS NOTICES THE FEET OF MANY OF THE MEN WERE DIRTY, AND DECIDES TO USE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH.


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