Cultivating Daily for Unity: yesterday, I posted a post that included thoughts on the important of unity to Jesus. See more of what I’m thinking here…

Yesterday, I posted a post that included a lot of language about unity around mission and how important this is to Jesus. So important that He prayed for it specifically in the Garden of Gethsemene:

18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. 21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. 23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:18-23, HCSB)

Well, I genuinely am not one to try to pimp a book I have written, but I thought it important to share with you that in case you want to read more of my thoughts about unity around mission and why this matters in the work of God among us, you can do so. I wrote beyond MY church, because I felt led to share a message that had big-time wrecked me and the local church expression I am grateful to pastor.

CLICK HERE to go to the book’s website. CLICK HERE to read an excerpt from one of the chapters. CLICK HERE to download chapter one for free.

Hopefully this will share more insight on why I am so burdened to see Southern Baptists along with all followers of Jesus come together around the mission of God so that the work of God will come alive among us.

Or like my friend @JonTyson says, to see “on earth as it is in heaven.”

May we follow Jesus, listen to Him, and cultivate whatever He leads us to cultivate so that “on earth as it is in heaven” may come in our cities.

Hopeful.
-jason

Cultivating Daily for Unity: here’s a great video from @VergeNetwork about followers of Jesus in Austin living in unity on mission to love their city.

Hope this video below will remind us all of the beautiful, gracious daily rhythms that come alive when we commit to live in unity to love the people of our communities TOGETHER.

Grateful for @_Stew_ and the Verge Network for sharing such great stories of encouragement. It’s not too late to sign up for Verge 2012 in Austin at the end of February. Click here for more details.

Praying that we may live as answers to the prayer Jesus prayed in John 17.
-jason

 

Cultivating Daily for Unity: here’s an awesome story of one local church putting the needs of another local church above their own.

It was their first Sunday for a public worship gathering. This new church start had been preparing for this day for some time, already having walked together and grown together and served together during what most call a “core group” phase. But this Sunday they would start a weekly Sunday gathering for the people of the community they had been already loving.

One of their goals was to be a new local church that helped to start other new local churches. But for most leaders, that day will come. It’s not something you do in your first year, right? It’s not something you do at your first Sunday gathering, right? Not when you have so many needs yourself, right? Well, not unless you value generosity toward and unity around mission with other local church families.

Only if you believe that “put the interests of others above your own” stuff applies to the 2nd person plural “you,” too.

And it does. It’s the only way for we as His church to actually be the church that He intended and prayed for in John 17:18-23.

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth. I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:18-23 HCSB)

On that first Sunday, an offering was collected, as does happen in many Sunday gatherings around the world. But on that first Sunday, this new church start did not keep a penny of it.

Visiting with them was another leader whose family and a few friends would be cultivating for another new local church expression not too far away. And without having told him it was going to happen before, the offering collected on that first Sunday was given in totality to the visiting leader of another local church family in order to help their ministry begin.

And that’s love – caring more about what someone else is becoming than what you are becoming. That’s love – being willing to give everything you have denying yourself to help someone else.

And that kind of love among local churches is what cultivates for unity in a community, is what becomes an answer to Jesus’ prayer, is what ushers in the work of God in a city.

The near love of Jesus on display, that the world might believe in the One who was sent.

May we go and do the same.
-jason

Cultivating Daily for Unity: do you ever pray in worship gathering for the ministries & ldrs of other local churches?

Jesus prayed for the unity of His church together in John 17:18-23. Ever since, for the most part, we have ignored His prayer for us together and instead prayed for personal awakening and revival. It might be that awakening and revival would come if we prayed earnestly and cultivated intentionally for unity among the followers of Jesus in our communities.

Here’s one very simple way to do that:

PRAY FOR THE MINISTRIES AND LEADERS OF OTHER LOCAL CHURCH EXPRESSIONS IN YOUR COMMUNITY DURING SUNDAY WORSHIP GATHERINGS.

Do it every week. Highlight the leaders and a few things those ministries are up to. Even encourage the families who make up the church family of which you are a part to engage in those activities, to serve those ministries and leaders. And make sure every time you do this in worship gathering that you mention why you are doing it. And why might that be?

…for the sake of cultivating for unity among the followers of Jesus in the city where we live so that the work of God might come about (or even awakening or revival) in the city where we live.

Maybe even go one step further. Call or email or have coffee with the leaders of the local church expression for whom you prayed and ask them how you can serve them. Putting the interests of other local churches above your own might actually make the local church family of which you are a part stronger. It might actually make you all stronger. It might actually be what Jesus intended.

May we cultivate daily for unity.
-jason

PS _ this Saturday night, “unite” with me to cheer for the New Orleans Saints. Here’s their playoff preview video :)