Unity: Intent

Unity, it is the most powerful concept and tool in the universe.  I am willing to bet that if you let this series of lessons on unity impact you, it will change your life forever.  That's a bold statement.  If embraced by the church, it will also change the way a church functions and the way our family feels about each other.

So with that I am going to lay out an outline of how this mini course will work.  We have to lay down a foundation first.  That foundation is going to give us the tools we need to thoroughly embrace the concept of unity.  We are going to use a combination of scripture, video and some unique "one another" exercises to develop a new mindset of unity.  So here it is:

Lesson 1: Intent

  • Point: Value yourself
  • Group discussion (or if you are reading this on your own, questions to work through)

Scripture:  Luke 10:25-37  The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Being unified is not something you just say, it has to be practiced. I am going to tell you right now, the difference between a church that practices unity and ones that does not is staggering. Being unified, being valued and a sense of belonging is what people want deep down inside them. People that have come from broken homes yearn for this, people join gangs to have this sense of community.  Member clubs and even the military have their own sense of family built into an inherent sense of wanting to belong and wanting to make a difference.

In our church, if you ask members, we would all agree that we want to contribute or make a difference.  Being vital is what drives millions of us to the movies to watch people rise up and be the hero in their favorite action movie.  So how do we do that here?  Some of us think I am just “joe member” with very little to offer right?  Quite the opposite, lets dive deeper.  Let’s start with a look at the scriptures for some guidance and a practical view that we can take home.

At first glance we may walk away with a couple of obvious points.  How to be compassionate, who is my neighbor, mercy and empathy.  So what does this have to do with unity?  Everything!
In order to show mercy, the Samaritan who saw the man beaten had to be intentional  in his actions. He had to NOT ignore the situation, he had to cross the street and he had to ignore the religious and political boundaries of the time.  The key word here is intentional. If you want something, and I mean if you really want it, then you have to focus on it and MAKE it happen.

We Disciples have a bad habit of talking ourselves out of greatness
The world is full of good intentions, so is our church.  Did you read that right?  The church is full of good intentions?  Yes, that is true.  We would all agree that we want to do the right thing, that we intend to do the right thing, but then the day takes over.  The problem is we do not sit down and take some time to figure it out. Unity by itself not unifying. There has to be a focus, you have to change your mind, it’s a paradigm shift.  And I want to encourage you that it all starts with baby steps.  The accumulation of all those steps from each person will build an enormous amount of unity and then things will only start to get better.

So how do we do this?  First, we build a foundation.  That foundation is going to consist on three things:

Step 1.  Adding value
Step 2.  Adding value to the church by Contributing verses consuming
Step 3.  Oneness

In order to do these things we have to understand four points.  The first one we will cover in this lesson and the next ones will be in sequential order.

  1.  You have to value yourself.  The first thing I want to say is that you need to understand how valuable you are.  Most will not agree, but I tell you this with absolute clarity, you are essential.  God choose you to have the opportunity to hear his word.  You CHOOSE to act on it, you were intentional. You have a story, it’s yours and it’s unique and there is someone out there that can ONLY relate to you.  Do you get that.  You are important, you’re a tool in God’s toolbox.  Not just some rusty tool that seldom gets used but a specialty tool. There are tools like that in my workshop, tools that have a specific purpose.  I bought them to specifically fix or repair or help me do something.  For some reason specialty tools cost more as well, which makes them even more special. Guess what, you are that tool.  You were purchased at a price, God spent time and money on you and holds you in high regards of what you can do. You were expensive, but you were worth the purchase price because you are that valuable to God.  So, if you are having doubts about that, get over it right now because this is where an amazing journey starts.  So what do you say to yourself?  What conversations do you have about what you can and cannot do?  What are the lies we tell ourselves?  Are we defined by the stories we tell ourselves?  How about the Samaritan?  Did he stay within the guidelines of what people expected of him?

Now here is where it gets really interesting.
Am I attacking laziness here?  No
Are we emphasizing exercise?  Nope
Are we talking about getting up early?  Nope

Are you taking the attitude of what was said in the video and applying it to unity? Is it a goal?  Is it something to change in your life?  Is it a challenge that you want to accept?  Do you think it will add value to the church? Is it filled with intent?  You bet it is and that is the point.

If you are using this lesson at midweek, break up into groups and and share the answers to these questions.

  • Do you believe you are valuable?
  • Do you think that you are "just another" member or do you believe that there is a specific purpose for you here at South Lake?
  • Would you describe yourself as a wall flower or someone who keeps a low profile?
  • Do you feel like you have some input that is valued? Does anyone ask you for your input?
  • Do you feel like God is pushing you in a direction that makes you feel valued?
  • Do you feel like your family group values you?
  • How do you want to change the way you value yourself?