“so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21b NLT)
One of the many things I love (prefer) about Hope Church is the diversity. To me it’s a picture of the New Testament Church. The first century Church saw people from all walks of life – Jews and non-Jews (gentiles), slave and free, religious and heathen, male and female, rich and poor, young and not so young – in short, people who, because of their station in life, had many different preferences (see yesterday’s Post). Yet, because of their newfound love and acceptance in Jesus, they came together, sharing not only their lives, but their possessions and resources to help each other fulfill their common mission of reaching the world for Jesus – “so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21b NLT)
I’ve only been attending Hope Church for less than a year, but from the moment I stepped into the building for the first time, I sensed the presence of the Lord in a powerful way. I came filled with expectation because of my preferences, but I found the presence of the Lord so profoundly evidenced in the lives of those who greeted me, welcomed me, exhibited the “glory” of God so unmistakably that all of a sudden my preferences didn’t matter anymore. Was the worship what I expected? No, but I loved it. Was the Pastor’s message exactly what I expected? No, but the Lord spoke through him right to my heart. Was I uncomfortable as I suspected I’d be in that large setting? Only for a second or two.
The love of Jesus was so richly at work in the lives of those with whom I worshipped, the Lord’s presence so pure and impactful that all my thoughts centered on praise and worship of the only One whose opinion really matters. Suddenly the preferences of all of us present were lost in the joy of worshipping together. The glory of God was put on display through our united expressions of worship. And don’t misunderstand, just because I “prefer” Hope Church, I’m not implying that we’re the only church where the glory of God is on display.
What am I trying to say? Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He’s a defeated foe who is destined to be separated from the grace and goodness of God for all eternity, and his whole focus is to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10) the unity of God’s people by causing us to take our focus off of Jesus and put it on our own preferences.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “A Picture of Oneness”
You know I prefer medium size churches, but absolutely love diversity. Glad that Hope Church feeds your soul and allows you to feed ours in return. Love you, brother.