/ / We Are Stronger Together {A Call for Unity in the Church}

We Are Stronger Together {A Call for Unity in the Church}

As the country has grown divided over political issues, so has the church. This is a call for unity; that we stand together in love and grace. #Biblestudy #Psalms #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

2020 has been a rough year.  All of us have been affected by the chaos that the Coronavirus has caused.  The stay-at-home orders, political posturing, violence and riots in the streets and mask mandates have ripped our country apart.

We are a divided people.

We are divided over whether masks work and if we should wear them.

We are divided over which news network is giving us the correct information.

We are divided over stay-at-home orders and how far the government can go with their reach.

We are divided over Trump vs. Biden.

We are divided over whether the cops are good or bad.

We are divided over peaceful protests vs. riots.

We are divided over our American heritage and race issues.

We are divided over whether wearing a mask is showing love to our neighbor or whether it’s a conspiracy to gain control over the masses and it goes on…and on…and on.


Less than one week before Jesus went to the cross, Jesus said a prayer for the church. Do you know what he prayed for?  This is Jesus’ prayer below:

20 “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me,that they may be ONE as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to COMPLETE UNITY. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23)

Jesus prayed that believers would have complete unity.

Why?

So that the world would believe in Him!

This means that our unity MUST be visible to the world.

How do you think the church is doing right now?

Jesus wants us to love each other so much and be so unified that when the world sees us and how we stick together – they will want what we have. They will want to know what makes us different and want to know God.

Are we doing that?

Did you know that 150,000 people die a day – around the world – of all kinds of causes?  That’s a lot of people meeting their maker – TODAY!  Have you told them about Jesus? Or are you busy debating one of the issues above? Because I can assure you, when we get to heaven – God is going to be more pleased with our unity and how brave we were sharing the gospel, than any influence we had on people politically or socially.

I am not saying we can’t be educated, have an opinion and lovingly share it – but I am saying, if you really want to love those around you – point them to Jesus.  Because wearing a mask might save someone physically from death – but if you want to see someone saved from spiritual death – you will have to love them enough to both share and live out the gospel.

The way you live your life, says something profound about the God you serve.  When you choose to say no to things that are wrong, say yes to things that are right, love the unlovable – including those who look different from you and even your enemies, forgive those who have wronged you, embrace faith over fear, and embrace unity rather than division – you are different!

We are stronger together.

This is a call for unity in the church.

The Psalmist says in Psalm 133:1,

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!

Every time we obey one of God’s commands, there is a joy benefit.   Psalm 133 says it is both good and pleasant when we are unified.  Wouldn’t 2020 be sweeter if we the church was really working hard to love one another above all else and unified as a result.

We need these difficult times to bring us together – not pull us apart.

We need each other.

We are stronger together.

Stand up church and be strong.

Hebrews 10:25 says:

“Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.”

Psalm 133:1 says:

How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

The word dwell means to physically be together.  It is good and pleasant to be together in unity.

Our unity is being tested.

And by the looks of social media and the empty pews right now – I’d say we have some work to do.

Rise up church!

Jesus said:

You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

Don’t take the bait of Satan.  He will keep you from attending your local church and connecting with other believers if he can.  He will tempt you to argue and fight.  He will tempt you to judge others with different political views.  He will drive a wedge between you and your friends or loved ones if he can.

Fight back with love.

Love God.

Love people.

Jesus is love.

It takes two to have unity and peaceful relationships.  So I challenge you today…go first.  Pursue peace and pursue unity.  There is always a blessing for those who obey God’s word.  And never forget – we are stronger together.

Walk with the King,

 

 

Special Note: I removed two paragraphs from this post that were divisive.  I am not looking to be divisive especially in a post that has a call for unity in it 😉 .  Love you all. 


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40 Comments

    1. Satan might be trying to divide us but what he has done is spread us, away from our buildings and into the community. He only divides us when we allow him to. Be church where you are. Rejoice that you have the freedom to worship where you are. Christ will turn everything for good. Trust in Him.

      1. Amen, as in Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for the good, for those who are called according to his purpose”

  1. I just stopped following you. Shame on you! This is terrible. You can be close to God and don’t have to do it with 500 people.

    1. Dear Leigh,

      I’m so sorry to see you go. I agree with you that our walk with God is not dependent on other people but I was thinking about being close to one another in unity and how vital the local church is for that. I removed two of the paragraphs of this post so that I don’t get off track from the heart of this post. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
      Much Love,
      Courtney

      1. Courtney, I read it before you removed the paragraphs. I am very much convicted by what you shared. Know that the Lord has used this (especially the removed words) greatly here in my heart.

        His,
        Shari

        1. I totally agree with this and the original posts. It moved me and changed how I was feeling about church.

      2. Thank you, Courtney, for this very well-timed and well-spoken exhortation! What a necessary message for Christians today! You have so humbly and eloquently spoken what has been on my heart.

        We are living in a difficult time with many changes and stressors around us so we do need to give grace to others but I’m seeing many, many Christians spending an exorbitant amount of time researching, debating and trying to convince others about these social issues with the end result of an angry mob of Christians who don’t have time or energy to do the main things Jesus has called us to do. We should be more burdened and passionate for people’s salvation than any social issue. I would encourage everyone to make sure they are spending more time in God’s Word and prayer than in reading/discussing social issues. And also, keep connected with your local church which God ordained as the spiritual authority over us to guide & protect us. (There are many ways we can still connect despite whatever restrictions our area has.)
        Only with our connections to Jesus and His body can we ascertain that our passions are pointed in the right direction. When we humbly submit to our Lord Jesus and stay connected to our church, God can unite us on the same path.

        As an encouragement, in my life, because of these restrictions, we have met and connected with more neighbors than EVER before. Relationships have started, friendships have formed and opportunities to share the gospel have opened. We have prayed for years for opportunities to connect with our neighbors to no avail. Then lock down hit and God opened unique doors that couldn’t otherwise be opened. I praise God for the unique opportunities I have had and am trying to be faithful in this time because I know it won’t last forever. Eventually, we will all be back to our busy lives so I encourage others to ask Jesus how He wants to use you to make an eternal difference in such a time as this????.

        …And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? -Esther 4:14b

  2. I wish we could go to church with masks on – you are very blessed to be able to do that. In my state, we are mandated to not hold church services yet so on-line is what we are working with. We thank God all the time for technology! Your words ring true either way – Unity is God’s way – Amen!

    1. Thank you for this, Courtney. I appreciate you! We do need to be unified, not pulled apart. I believe these are signs of the times. I believe God is coming back for His children soon in the rapture and Satan is doing everything in his power to pull the church apart before that. We have to not live in fear and trust God. I gave Ps. 56:3 to a friend yesterday. Thank you for your heart for God and His children.

  3. You are so blessed to have an open church!!! Our county in CA has been closed down since March, and there are no churches opened. In other counties that are, the governor has made worship illegal. I miss going to church with all my heart!

  4. Thank you Courtney for sharing this truth! Calling the church to put others first and walking in unity As believers is the foundation of the biblical church. Thank you for having the courage to call the church to come together as one! Not to shrink back but have the courage to work through extreme challenges! Jesus paid a price of his life so that his body would be as one, and come together as one!

  5. I appreciate many of your thoughts but as a pastor I ask that you not judge those that are not in the church building. We are in a time like no other and this is a health crisis not a rights issue. Out of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our community at large the less large gatherings we have now the sooner we can resume some sense of normalcy . Our church has resumed gathering and we have only about 25% attendance but more than ever are worshipping with us via technology. And it is tremendous work on any church staff to provide a safe environment to worship In a physical location from week to week. God knows the hearts of all. Judging comments do not promote unity. And physically being in a church building to worship (in the midst of a pandemic) is not an indicator of unity either. May God be our strength in these days.

    1. Dear Mary,

      Thank you for your feedback. I did not see my post as judgmental until I read a few of the comments here and so I edited the post and removed 2 of the paragraphs that were probably causing division. I certainly don’t want to do that – especially in a post about unity. Lol! So thank you for your feedback!

      Much Love,
      Courtney 🙂

      1. Courtney I totally support your post and see is as a loving reminder to remain close to the body if possible. I was encouraged .

  6. I was so impressed by this post until the last part about being disappointed about church attendance. The church body has many, many tools today to responsibly gather, without gathering in large groups. Large groups should be avoided, wherever possible, because they can become super spreader events. These events can spread disease among the strong, who will most likely recover, who then carry it home, to grocery stores, and Dr. offices, municipal buildings, ect. Stopping the spread of this disease, means avoiding large groups wherever possible.
    So what is a church to do? Look back in history. The church has survived so, so much worse, without ANY of the tools we have at our fingertips today. Plagues, famines, wars, societies breaking down, societies recovering. Does anyone honestly believe that a (modern day, mind you) global pandemic will stop the Chuch? Will stop Jesus? Will stop our Savior from meeting us where we are? He gives His people creativity, and we can use that creativity to worship! I know a church that has broken down their worship services into 3 responsibly sized (50 or less groups) They group the chairs so families can sit together, use lots of hand sanitizer, and wear masks. Some churches, including mine, have online services and drive in services (fun, right?) How about a small backyard or park Sunday school? Travelling VBS that meets in a child’s front yard, with a message, a craft, and a treat? A church can Zoom, and we can get involved in social work that meets the needs of the community; food distribution, medical supply distribution, well checks on the elderly where you just stand on the porch and check in and pray with someone at an appropriate social distance. The list goes on and on!
    Remember, tradition is not king, the Lord is King. His church will survive, and emerge stronger than ever! Believe that, and be open minded about the type of gathering that the government allows right now. Our respect of guidelines that protect community health is an invaluable witness!

    1. Dear Annie,

      I love your comment! You convinced me to remove 2 of the paragraphs of my post that were coming across wrong. Thank you for sharing your heart here. Very encouraging!

      Lots of Love,
      Courtney 🙂

      1. Thanks! You have weathered some tough times, and I greatly respect your ministry. I truly believe that having faith in times like these will strengthen all of us, if we let it. And oh, when we can all meet again, singing our praises out loud to Him, what sweet, sweet joy we will experience! Until then, I’m digging deeper, boots to the ground, with a firm belief that I will be tested, my response to this testing will grow my faith (if I let it), and that eternal God is always in control.

      2. I love how positive this exchange of ideas was, especially on a topic that can get so heated. This is so rare to see online. 🙂

  7. It is amazing how the devil works! Distraction upon distraction for the church! And confusion is running rampant. That’s what satan wants in these times. I myself am suffering from it daily! I have come off FB, and I can not listen to the news anymore. I do not take the virus lightly, but neither do I take the agendas being pushed. That’s why I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place constantly. I want to love my neighbor so bad. I want to see souls saved. But this is where I am stuck. When I see someone in a mask, I see people being silenced. I see gags in people’s mouths. I see obedience to the government that is trying to control the people and strip us from our rights slowly. Most will not agree with me at all and think me insane for believing such “conspiracies.” But every day, more and more of the conspiracies seem to become realities I’m afraid. I feel like a ping pong ball. I know what I see and what I hear. I live in a state where the governor is a smooth talker and wants to make our state a laboratory for the vax. His exact words published in the NY Times, not mine! This is what I’m constantly bombarded with. I don’t want to live in bubble, but I don’t want to face facts either and go on overload.

    I’m explaining my thoughts so that I can ask these questions…Does anyone else feel this way or am I the only one here? I’m only looking for help, not political debate. The BIG question here comes down to this; how do you keep unity in the church, but continue to fight for your rights at the same time??

    1. Hi there. Your last question is really interesting. As I thought about it, Philippians 2 popped into my head and challenged me:

      “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant …”

      This is what occurred to me: if Jesus stooped so low and made Himself nothing for us, then what is He calling me, as His child, to do for the church and the other people around me? He tells us to be salt and light where we are, an influence for good.

      Also, Paul talks about us being a “fragrance of life” to the people around us (2. Cor. 2.16)

      My conclusion, for what it’s worth, is that if we belong to Jesus, we are called to behave in a way that reflects what He is like and that brings life to the people of our age. It’s the old question of “what would Jesus do?” Time and again, and most of all on the Cross, we see that He put His own needs aside for the sake of other people. He is Lord over all, but He never mentions His own rights.

      Ephesians 4.1-4 is helpful here, and also Romans 14.

      Despite all the strangeness of these days, I hope you find a way forward that actually draws more people towards Jesus 🙂

      1. Fiona, these are really good points with good scripture. I need to meditate on these more. I feel like it is such a fine line to walk right now though. It’s hard, but Jesus never promised a “picnic in the Poconos” as what we say here in the east. There has to be a way to behave as salt and light, yet not back down on our patriotism, I guess you can call it. Another thing God has been working on my heart it that “gentle and quiet spirit” I lack sometimes. BUT that zeal in me just wants to rise up! However, if it causes one to stumble which Paul talks about (Romans 14), then we are not to pursue that in that moment.

        Thank you for taking the time to respond!

    2. I feel the same way. The top 5 vaccines have been developed using aborted fetal tissue. The governor in my state has also hinted that the vaccine will be mandatory. I can not in good conscience take this vaccine.

      It is alarming how quickly people have given up their God given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness (the ability to work, provide for your family, and enjoy the fruits of your labor) for a perceived sense of safety. We engage in activities every day that come with risk and I have chosen not to live my life in fear.

      1. Ooohhhh… don’t get me started on the vax! lol… it is completely against my Christian beliefs with those ingredients, and to be stripped of my rights as an America citizen to choose what’s best for my family regarding my health… but I don’t want to start something here… sigh… this was refreshing to read by Mike Rowe that talks about the other risks we take on a daily basis…

        https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/posts/3445993122077473

        Anyways… I am totally with you!! I have chosen the same. One scripture I like is Psalm 139:5. “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” I have a chock full of them I’ve been studying to keep my head clear and free of the other “sickness” that’s going around.

        1. I wonder if you even read Courtney’s post. You both are purposely bringing up controversial topics to cause division. No one wants to read this craziness here.

    3. Well said, AND You are not alone. At the beginning we stopped having services. We feared the unknown. But May 31st the original date to go back to church we went back. Some sooner then we did, still many not going. We are making decisions out of fear! Where is our Faith? Do we not fear God more then man? I had to close my Business (Day Spa/Esthetician). I thank God my husband still has a job. We are a small church, we can and do social distance. I’m not judging anyone, but for me and my house we have chosen to follow Bible over government. We live in California, near San Francisco. The riots and gang problems are rampant here. Our lives have changed significantly and not for the better. I had to come to a decision, do I really believe God when He said He WILL supply all our needs? Fear God more then man, for what can man do to the? He can take my life but not my Soul! That belongs to Jesus. We can’t pick and choose, what to put into practice, the Bible is not a smorgasbord, take what you like and leave the rest behind. We will give an account to God for every decision we make. As Christians it’s time to Rise up! The thugs and government are winning because Christians won’t take a stand. I often ponder, is God just shaking his head in disappointment? He gave His Sons life for us, yet we refuse to stand for Him, because of fear! We are as sheep being led to the slaughter and many don’t recognize it. Churches here have received a letter from the government wanting every church members name, address, phone number. Absolutely NOT! We are in a Spiritual battle that can only be fought Spiritually. Courtney’s posted, gave me encouragement to rise up! It’s time we take this country back to God! Amen
      Be encouraged you are not alone.

  8. Well said! Loving and convicting. Just what my slothful self needs to hear on a Sunday morning. ????

  9. Thank you for the post. While it is something we should strive for, I don’t know that it is possible to have unity in the church this side of heaven. Some churches today support behavior that is condemned in the Bible. If a church does not value God’s principles, there will be a divide.

    Sadly my church is now supporting Black Lives Matter and encouraging church members to become “woke” and acknowledge their white privilege. I hope they are doing so because they truly don’t understand what the organization BLM supports.

    My church also asserts that we are loving our neighbor by staying home and not worshipping in person. It’s ironic that my church’s slogan is “Doing Life Together” when they kept the doors closed for 4 months (they just recently started meeting again with a mask requirement). They also assert that Hebrews 10:25 doesn’t really mean that we have to meet in person…meeting online is fulfilling our obligation to meet. However, I would argue that there was no other way to meet in Bible times except in person (no phones or Internet), so they are twisting the meaning of this Scripture.

    I’m sad that many of my friends and my church are only listening to “experts” and politicians. They have not taken the time to educate themselves on COVID-19 and viruses in general, how God has created our bodies with amazing immune systems to fight off disease, to seek truth (we aren’t getting it from politicians or the media), research the effectiveness of masks, and are instead choosing to live in fear. My sister, who is not a Christian, had a conversation with me a few years ago and stated that you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. I explained that is true, but God created us for community and the Bible tells us to gather on a regular basis. I recently received a text message from her commenting that the only cancellations on the local news site was for churches. She asked if it’s supposedly important for churches to meet, why are they still closed after 4 months. Unbelievers are watching and drawing conclusions from our actions.

  10. I dont want to upset anyone but can we please focus on God and leave the politics out of it. Everywhere you go on social media that is all it’s about. I had to unfollow a couple of things because it became to stressful. There has to be a safe place to go for encouragement without all the other stuff.

  11. I am one of those people who is at home watching church online. I have a spouse and a child who both have health conditions which would put them at great risk if they would contract coronavirus. We have been pretty much staying at home since March. I can’t tell you how much I miss my church and my church family. I stay in touch through text messages and zoom but it is not the same. I try to stay positive but not attending church is really hard and breaks my heart. Sometimes it is really hard explaining to my christian brother and sisters why my family can’t attend church. It is not because we lack faith, don’t want to be there or because we are buying into a political agenda, it is a health issue. I say all this to make a point. We have to be careful about judging each other, especially now. Satan wants to use this to divide us. Let’s not let him win. Instead, let’s encourage one another. Send a nice note or call the brother or sister’s not at church.

  12. I read this today in my bible study and thought I would share.
    Many of us need to constantly remind ourselves of this dual truth: we are not in charge of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of control. Someone far greater, more righteous, and wiser than us is in charge. This is one of the reasons our worry is futile: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21).

  13. Yes! This is what I’ve been saying! The enemy has seized this opportunity to divide the church and has us right where he wants us. He’s probably laughing at how easy it was to turn us against one another. Thank you for standing up and calling us to unity.

  14. Beautifully put Courtney<3

    I have many struggles daily with my faith and this was a very big nudge for me in the right direction. I like how you brought out ONE. I always wonder how one religion could be the ONLY way. When there are some many that follow our Lord and are such fine examples ie; you.

    I found the Lord thru a religion that is considered a cult. JW Main I crumbled in that denomination I cracked under the pressure to be Perfect. Well that is is how my minds eye saw it. So I have been listening to you, Bruce Gore and Northlake baptist GA Rev. Danny.

    Thank you again and I pray for Peace and Love to continue for you and your family.

    Michele (Michelle) Causes bit of an identity crises. lol

  15. Courtney what a blessing you are to so many. I want you to know I too felt lost without being about to attend church. But, the ability to meet with this group of fantastic ladies has truly been an uplifting experience. 1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no division among you, but you be united in the same mind and same judgment. We need to stand united and love each other as you stated. God bless you for your willingness to bring us together to study God’s Holy Word. Thank you so very much.

  16. WOW! This message is mind blowing. What a call for the bonding and connection to the body of Christ ????. This like a wake up call , asking us to take our stand for HIS KINGDOM ❤️????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  17. Thank you so much for this. It sums up how I’ve been thinking and feeling for quite some time now. My heart has been so heavy by all of the division and condemnation I see and hear from other brothers and sisters in Christ. While I can’t control anyone else, I can control how I respond. I just pray to model grace and love and walk with the Spirit. We all fall short and these are uncharted waters, but God….
    He is and will use all of this for His glory and our good.
    And then there the hope and promise we have of heaven. This is not our home. Again, thanks for this. It’s been a long tough month for me.

  18. I sure appreciated your heartfelt post, Courtney! Thank you for all you do! May God bless you!

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