Vol. 23 No. 6

The Cost of Unity | 6/9/2015 | Comments: 1

Volume 23 No 6

June 2015

 

Last month we prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and just didn’t have anything for a newsletter – so we chose not to send anything.  But this month – well we could make up for it.  LOL 

The Cost of Unity

I could start this from almost the beginning of our walk with the Lord, but I am going to spare you.  We NEVER grasped the division in Christians.  My uncle who was a pastor one time told me, “If you go to a church outside our denomination, you might as well not go to church!”  Yes, he was very serious. 

In the mid 80’s we started a Christian newspaper in State College, PA.  We felt God had said to start it so that there would be a place for churches to share information about their special events and Christians would be able to take advantage of them.  Example: A Christian film or perhaps a special speaker.  E A S Y ! !  Whoa – hold your horses!!! WRONG!!  We were so na├»ve, and had rose-colored glasses on.   We didn’t know that there were so many things to be upset about.  There were many reasons why churches felt it wasn’t a good idea for the Body of Christ to come together.  The paper lasted only about a year, but it was used in many ways while it lived.  Failure? No way, just not long lasting.  (Years later we found that someone else had picked up the mantle of a Christian newspaper in that area.)

In the early 90’s God put us in prison ministry.  For a short time we only worked under Living Praise, but then God introduced us to COPE—Coalition Of Prison Evangelists.  Once a quarter for many, many years we would minister for a full weekend together with Christians of all flavors doing full-blown Crusade weekends in prisons.  Sometimes the team would be 75-100 strong.  This was a wonderful way for Christians to cross denomination lines, and meet at the cross.  We loved working together, and the Lord reminded us that working together also gave us a spiritual check-up.  It was good to see and hear what God was doing through others.  But like all works that require unity, there was a cost.  What do I mean by that??  Well because we were working with this minister or that ministry, our ministry was judged by association.  Because we would all lay our “beliefs and doctrines” down and share the LOVE of JESUS, others would decide that we believed what the other ministries “believed.”  We had chaplains that would ask us WHY in the world we would work with this person or that person.  (And probably that worked visa-versa) It probably cost us open doors, but it was so worth it. 

Before I move on to the present, I want to just say that working with other ministries for 25+ years is one of the great gifts God gave us.  We learned so much – One of the biggest things we learned is that NO-ONE has the full picture or UNDERSTANDING.  If they think they do, they are very hard to work with.  We have life-long friends and ministry relationships because God required us not to be right, but to be Godly by letting Him work through us 

Now to the present!  Truthfully, it seems like we are back in State College.  It seems that people are identified by what church they attend in this area.  Last night we were at a political meeting and someone said “this table is for ______________ church.”  REALLY???   Feel the love.  J 

In this area, there are “pockets” of Christians that do not attend any church regularly if at all.  Bruised, wounded, or just don’t fit.  There are many reasons.   Again, we are finding ourselves linked up with others that would cause some to question what we believe.  We really don’t pick-and-choose who GOD links us with.  Truthfully – HE usually links us with those that we wouldn’t pick because they don’t have our passion.  They have the passion that God gave them.  It can be a learning curve, sometimes a trial, working through this.  But with God – all things are possible.    

How can 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or more believers, ministers, or ministries have God-given passions and work together?  How can they withstand the scrutiny of guilt by association?  Our area is a small spectrum.  It is not only here, but it is also where “name ministries” are doing the same thing, but are judged and rejected.  Is it the will of God for us to only associate with those who have our small understanding? Or is it enough to just make sure that they KNOW and CONFESS Jesus as Lord.    

Here we are privileged to meet and be connected with those who are trying to be the body by working together.  Please pray for them and us too.  Some are already bruised and beaten, but there are those that have rose-colored glasses on, too.  Our hearts are to encourage all believers to walk out what God has placed on their hearts.  Recently we were sharing about someone’s vision.  Another person said – that has already been tried!  It may have, but it is not our job to squash someone down.  Our job, according to Hebrews 10, is to encourage one another.  

At the end of this newsletter, I am putting 1 Corinthians 12 using God’s Word translation.  Please read this.  If you are like me, you may tend to skim scripture in a newsletter.  (I am just being honest.  LOL) Truthfully sometimes I assume that I KNOW what it says.  I know – I’m bad.  Please read it twice, once from the head and once from the heart.     

    

Thank you so much!!!     

F R E E D O M   T O   G O   W H E R E    G O D    O P E N S   T H E   D O O R ! ! !

Besides the local prayer groups, meetings, and other doors that God has opened here, we have two prisons in June.  One is Kirkland CI in Columbia, SC.  It is such an honor to worship God together with the men of Christ Church at that prison once a quarter.  Thank you Chaps. 

We will also be going to USP Lee in Pennington Gap, VA.  This is a Federal penitentiary whose Chaplain we have known for years and years.  We have followed him from Pennsylvania to South Carolina to Mississippi to Virginia.   It is our first time at Lee, but not our first time with this pastor. 

Again, please read the scripture below.

Spiritual Gifts

12 Brothers and sisters, I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding concerning spiritual gifts. You know that when you were unbelievers, every time you were led to worship false gods you were worshiping gods who couldn’t even speak. So I want you to know that no one speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is cursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person.

The evidence of the Spirit’s presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom. The same Spirit gives another person the ability to speak with knowledge. To another person the same Spirit gives courageous faith. To another person the same Spirit gives the ability to heal. 10 Another can work miracles. Another can speak what God has revealed. Another can tell the difference between spirits. Another can speak in different kinds of languages. Another can interpret languages. 11 There is only one Spirit who does all these things by giving what God wants to give to each person.

12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether we are Jewish or Greek, slave or free, God gave all of us one Spirit to drink.

14 As you know, the human body is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. 15 Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, so I’m not part of the body!” Would that mean it’s no longer part of the body? 16 Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an eye, so I’m not a part of the body!” Would that mean it’s no longer part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 So God put each and every part of the body together as he wanted it. 19 How could it be a body if it only had one part? 20 So there are many parts but one body.

21 An eye can’t say to a hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 The opposite is true. The parts of the body that we think are weaker are the ones we really need. 23 The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we give special honor. So our unpresentable parts are made more presentable. 24 However, our presentable parts don’t need this kind of treatment. God has put the body together and given special honor to the part that doesn’t have it. 25 God’s purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern for each other. 26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.

27 You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it. 28 In the church God has appointed first apostles, next prophets, third teachers, then those who perform miracles, then those who have the gift of healing, then those who help others, those who are managers, and those who can speak in a number of languages. 29 Not all believers are apostles, are they? Are all of them prophets? Do all of them teach? Do all of them perform miracles 30 or have gifts of healing? Can all of them speak in other languages or interpret languages?

31 You only want the better gifts, but I will show you the best thing to do.[a]

 


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Comments

Aunt Bess   6/9/2015

For years I was afraid of other denominations and any other bible beside the KJ, even tho I couldn't read it. I'm so thankful that the Lord has taught me to be a Berean even tho I can't remember. I truly love the unity of my church and the other churches in the area. They are coming together every Sat. for the Dream Center project.

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