I met Tim playing tennis and found he was a believer, one who attended a church that taught an extreme doctrine of free will. As a result Tim felt saved one day, but not the next. One day we got into a discussion, bordering on debate. At one point I turned to Bob, an unbeliever who was half listening and asked him what he thought.
He told me. “You know, there are so many churches in town, all with different ideas. Why can’t you all just get your act together?” Tim and I had no answer and we were embarrassed. Bob’s view seems pretty common today for others outside the church. Can we be a better advertisement for Him?
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Mirrors are helpful things, but they are not always kind if they show up new wrinkles. But they do tell the truth. Why do we tend to equate loving our neighbor with family? Is it because it’s easier to love the stranger I may not see again than the one who rubs me the wrong way whom I will see again and again? Aren’t long term relationships, even with families, a challenge? A glance in the mirror shows us that human nature, even redeemed human nature, finds loving in Jesus’ way, a near impossible task.
I mentioned earlier that the Koine road wouldn’t be easy. It’s a narrow way that leads to life. Phillips translates Paul’s cry in Romans 7:25.It’s an agonizing situation…How can I be free of this sinful nature? I thank God there is a way, through Jesus Christ our Lord. By relying fully on the power of His Spirit, we can obey Him. We don’t have to do it perfectly, but we must do it. It’s His command and the world needs for us to get our act together. .
Reviewing the “It’s Greek to me” section
The Horizontal Church is another word for Koinonia. It’s the process of turning us from a family of strangers into a family of friends—within congregations and among congregations. The Lazarus Project is convinced it’s the most important mission facing our church. Yes, it’s a daunting, nearly impossible dream, yet we are told, “with God all things are possible.” So we invite you to dream and work and pray along with Christ and us for his church to move toward deeper koinonia.
We conclude by rephrasing our initial question, “is it we or me?” Is it horizontal or vertical? The answer, of course is, it’s both. However, we hope our mirrors have been adjusted to some degree to help us grasp how we need to pray and work toward developing the “we” side of the ledger.
(1) Matthew 7: 13-15 (Phillips) Go in by the narrow gate. For the wide gate has a broad road which leads to disaster and there are many people going that way. The narrow gate and hard road lead out into life and only a few are finding it.”