Your Church is Too Small

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are oneI in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23 NIV)

As I prepared to preach on this text I had read countless times, I “could not escape the
truth of what Jesus was asking the Father. He prayed for the oneness of all his followers.” And while he had some sense of what it did mean, he was certain that it had “absolutely nothing to do with what is commonly called ecumenism” – the effort by Christian leaders and churches to create a movement of greater visible unity or cooperation. However, the Spirit of God was working in his own heart and life. Understanding and applying this call has occupied much of my life ever since.

I am, the president and founder of ACT 3 (Advancing the Christian Tradition in the Third Millennium), which has wide experience in many contexts. Having served in pastoral ministry for 20 years, and now, along with ACT 3 responsibilities, I serve as adjunct professor of evangelism at Wheaton College Graduate School. I travel extensively, speaking and consulting with leaders and organizations around the world in a quest to promote “missional-ecumenism”- to ignite a movement of “world-changing leaders who will intentionally invest their lives in the kingdom of God.”

A “gospel-focused and Scripture-based” approach to Christian unity centered within the framework of ministry. Without question early Christians had disagreements as any New Testament reader readily recognizes, and yet, the defining identity for the disciples of Jesus is their genuine love for one another. I have embraced the spirit of Christ’s prayer for unity and am on a quest to convince all believers of its vital importance. In the words of Jesus:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.   (John 13:34-35 ESV)

The Unity Factor: One Lord, One Church, One Mission

The Christ-spoken appeal:

What distinctly marks those who belong to Christ? What truly distinguishes them from those who are not the church in this present age? It is not a cluster of doctrinal beliefs, as important as beliefs and doctrines are for healthy religious life. It is not a label or a particular social marker. Rather, is not the true mark of the church love? Furthermore, is not this love both Christ’s love for his flock?

Love for Christ is, in a profound way, the defining mark of true Christians (1 John 3:11,14,16-18, 23). We can ask a myriad of questions about our own profession of faith in Christ. However, at the end of the day, it comes down to the same question Jesus asked Peter: ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’     (John 21:15-17). And as John’s epistle clearly notes, genuine love for Jesus will be seen in our love for one another. …and their love for their shepherd and one another?

I believe the only way Christians will adequately respond to the call for unity is to recognize three foundational truths – “three ones” – one Lord, one Church, and one Mission.

Following his study of the “three ones”, I will answer the question, “What does the unity factor look like?” You will see glimpses of my personal journey toward this understanding of “missional-ecumenism.”

One must pursue the unity factor. “The vision we need to grasp is one of visible unity in reconciled diversity. For churches and mission organizations taking seriously the biblical mandate to unity, there are six practical steps toward missional-ecumenism.

This is not a call to dismiss doctrinal convictions, nor is it an attempt to pretend that we do not have real differences. It is, however, a challenge to recognize that every person truly believing in the Lord Jesus Christ belongs to Christ and so to one another. And as such, we are one Church universal, and we have one mission to proclaim the gospel of this one Lord.

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama), in his Foreword to the book, reminds readers of English Baptist pastor William Carey’s (1761-1834) call for a coordinated approach to world evangelization in 1810. Though nothing much came of Carey’s call, Timothy George notes that 100 years later the International Missionary Conference convened in Edinburgh, and 200 years later the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization was held in Cape Town, South Africa. He observes:

The modem quest for Christian unity was born on the mission field. Its aim was not the building of a supra-ecclesiastical bureaucracy but rather the unhindered declaration of Jesus Christ, the sole and sufficient Savior of the World.

-John Armstrong

Purpose & Power of Men

 

1) VISONARY AND LEADER
God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to take care of it and the lord God commanded the man(Gen 2:15-16)
Whom did the lord command The male-man.  The male being first received all information.  The female wasn’t formed until instructions where given the male. The male was given the charge to be the visionary and leader.  The male is to be responsible for everything under his jurisdiction, this doesn’t mean women don’t have the capacity, but it was entrusted to the male. You don’t canvas for votes in the family to become the head.  You are responsible, God made it so not the family.  A man shouldn’t get married and say to his wife what are we going to do? Well, we will just wait on the Lord, we’ll see where we are going when we get there.  That’s ridiculous!!!.  A man is giving vision, while the woman is there to make sure he accomplish it.  He knows exactly where he is going.  He makes plans, he sees the future, the woman is a help in achieving it.
2)TEACHER
God told Adam, do not eat of the tree, but he didn’t tell Eve.  Which means it was Adams responsibility to teach Eve and guide her.  If you were the first one to discover something and someone else shows up at the scene needing to know something, what does that make you?  Primarily God made men responsible for teaching his ways, not that women are unable to teach.The male must be responsible for godly instructions to their family.  May not be the way things are, but the way it supposed to.  God expect males to reveal his will and word to females.
Paul told Timothy in 1Tim3.  If a man wants to be a leader in the church let him first get his house in order.
3)CULTIVATOR
God gave male an assignment of cultivating the garden Gen2:15. One of males responsibility is to cultivate. Means to make something grow, and produce greater yield.You as a man is supposed to cultivate and develop everything around you. Make both people and things better. So if you as a man marries a wife and she is looking Haggard, after months of marriage,then you’ve not cultivated her. Every part of the society should be developing if there are real men. Unmarried men what are you cultivating?? Young girls When a young girl comes into your presence she should leave a better person than she came.When she is leaving and someone ask what happened to you, she should be able to say i met a man who told me he wouldn’t sleep with me. Cultivate this young ladies, make them better don’t drag them down.
4)PROVIDER
Primarily, it is very simple. You don’t have to be a batman as a man or compete with Arnold Schwarzenegger. You dont have to develop big muscles, to fulfil that purpose. Don’t be mad at Adam, he is not the reason why you have to work, before the fall in Genesis2 work was ordained. Work is not a curse.Gen2:2-3. God worked. What is the significance of work It exposes your potentials. God gave male work not only because it exposes his potentials but enables him provide for those whom he is responsible in his position as a visionary and leader. Provide comes from a latin word meaning to ‘see ahead’. The Male should be a visionary, he should have a vision for his life and he should work to see it accomplished, both for him, his family and others under his Care. Before a man needs a woman in his life, he needs work. God never told the woman to work. Now don’t get nervous, its just a societal demands. God gave man and not the woman the responsibility to provide for the home. A woman is supposed to marry someone who is already able to provide. A man is to supply the needs of his family.
He is build physically stronger than the female, particularly in his upper body because of God’s command for work
5)PROTECTOR
The lord God took man and put him in the garden to take care of it. Another responsibility of man is to ‘take care’. He was to take care of everything, the woman, plants, animals, everything. God never told the woman to take care but the man. Why Because the woman is one of the things we are supposed to protect. God designed the male to protect everything under his care and covering. A male is a natural protector. His physical frame is an evidence of that but also his mental capacity. The way he is structured psychologically is designed to protect. Any woman should feel safe with you. But you see some men raise up their hands on women they were meant to protect… To protect, God gave men
Physical strength
Logical thinking
A sense of territorial protectiveness
A drive to excel “EGO”