Archive for July, 2015

bonding agent

July 20, 2015 7 comments

This Spring I acquired a crucifix. I was looking for one, but it had to be the right one. The moment I saw it in an old warehouse in Fredericksburg, TX, I knew! No, I’m not Catholic and there are no immediate plans to become Catholic at any time, but I really do welcome the image of the Suffering Servant who identifies with what we deal with because we’re humans and we live on this planet. Yeah, yeah, I know all about THE victory(s) that followed the cross. No single moment in the story is more important than the rest. All of it is divine.

Last week, while sitting with my crucifix, coffee, and current devo material, I read a passage that I’ve read hundreds of times. Here is what got my attention:

Colossians 3:12-14: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you…”

That’s pretty good stuff right there. The new apostle had to be in the zone to pen something this beautiful and true. It really is anointed, mesmerizing, and dripping in Father-juice. If we could just get this into our spirits! Then he adds…

“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

That last line is what shook me.

IMG_4574The first time I heard the words “City Church” my heart leapt. Back in the early ‘90s, when the modern Apostolic movement was still licking its birth slime off itself, we started talking about “City Church” and “Apostolic Sending Centers.” Before it was just another network marketing strategy, there was so much prophetic juice on the suggestion, that any young man or woman who had a heart for unity, a passion for diversity, or an excitement for setting the stage for the supernatural, would be sucked into that draft in a heartbeat. I sure was, and I gave my soul to the possibility in that little community where I was a pastor.

In a radical attempt at unity, nine pastors in The City of Churches (the actual motto of that city’s founding fathers), myself included, made a glorious attempt to become one—to become brothers. As long as it stayed mostly casual and primarily relational, the thing had legs. But once we tried to establish a proper order of headship i.e. theocratic pecking order, it turned into just another political cesspool. All eyes (our churches, those we influenced, and interested wilderness outsiders) were looking to see how the adults were going to handle the children’s bread. Honestly, we failed miserably.

Why? Well, there are probably a multitude of reasons. Looking back, I think the key component missing in the whole equation was too vital to ignore and still reach our objective: LOVE.

Unity without real love is not the stuff Paul was talking about. Unity that is put together only by a cause, yet ego and pride are the sexy mechanisms of the machine, are doomed to a certain failure. Real love prefers, covers, and lays down its life for others. Without that kind of spirit at the core of unity’s hope, it’s only an arrangement of personal convenience that feeds selfish ambition. It’s “church business” at its worst.

“…put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

If we’re not feeling the bonds of unity in our spiritual communities, we probably need to go back and examine the love element. Hug me all you want. Kiss me, preach at me, pray for me please. But do you really love me? Telling me you love me doesn’t always quench my need to feel loved by you or anyone else.

This love factor is a bigger challenge that we probably realize. Real unity is out of reach until we’re willing to make some serious heart changes. Just because we’re holding hands doesn’t mean we’re unified. We’re all sons and daughters. Our lives dwindle where there is no evidence of love flowing from us. Sorry, but that is in our spiritual DNA. It’s been that way from the very beginning [see crucifix].



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