By guest blogger Keith Shields
I had coffee with a friend the other day. He lamented that it seemed to him that many people rally under the Christian banner but then argue and disagree about a lot of small things. I agreed. It would be nice if we could create a place where people could enter into community and agree to be about the business of the important things of God. Perhaps we could work on the things upon which we agree and ignore some of the small things for a while. Once we got the big rocks in place then we could consider the placement of the pebbles. What might that look like? A few passages from the Bible come to mind:
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.” — 1 Corinthians 15: 3-7 (New Living Translation – NLT)
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” — James 1: 19-27 (NLT)
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”— Micah 6:8. (NLT)
It seems to me that there is enough in those few verses to keep a community busy for a long time. What do you think? Are you part of a community on a mission together? What are some of the big rocks with which we might start?
Keith Shields, LifeHouse Christian Church