Two churches from different denominations were located a couple of blocks from each other and they decided to combine efforts in order to have more resources for ministry and be more effective. So they decided to merge and become one united body rather than two struggling congregations. It was a good idea on paper but they couldn’t agree on many things because they were both set in their ways. The problem? They couldn’t agree on how they would recite the Lord’s Prayer of all things. One group wanted “forgive us our trespasses” while the other demanded “forgive us our debts.” So the news paper reported that one church went back to its trespasses while the other returned to its debts!
It’s one thing to stand firm in major issues clearly set forth in Scripture. It’s another thing to pick fights over jobs and titles. People can be so petty over things that really don’t amount to a hill of beans in the final analysis. Many times we go down paths that we think heaven is holding its breath over. I saw a phrase the other day that said, “We negotiate eyeball to eyeball, and each side is unwilling to blink.”
There is a passage that speaks to the fact that people are going to approach ministry different than you. It is not a matter of doing it right or wrong, it is a matter of different styles. It is found in the book of Mark. I believe there are many churches that can become territorial and think they are the only ones that can do it right. If they are doing it in Jesus’ name, it has Biblical depth, and people are being transformed into Christlikeness, then it is good.
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. Mark 9:38-41
I want to encourage you to give a cup of cold water to those who need it today. When you see another person doing it in Jesus’ name, then celebrate that there is another one serving others for the cause of Christ. It may not be the way that I do it but that is not up to me. I need to be faithful in the way that God has called me to. When you look at life through that lens, it will be more fun to travel alongside of you.
Please remember the Twice Blessed Sale this week as you are out and about. This can possibly be an opportunity to introduce someone to the love of Jesus that will make all the difference in their broken world.
May you serve the Lord with passion today as you follow Jesus with all your heart. I am looking forward to a great day on Sunday as we worship the King of kings and Lord of lords. Remember to also come prepared to vote for next year’s leadership in between services.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene