Every three years InterVarsity Christian Fellowship sponsors the Urbana Conference, a gathering that challenges university students to get involved in world evangelization. Since 1946, the Lord has used Urbana to challenge nearly 300,000 participants with their responsibility and privilege in global missions. One year the following dramatic event happened.
After the main session each evening, students leave the larger conference auditorium to meet in smaller groups for prayer and reflection. In one of the banquet halls, there was a small group comprised of Chinese students, another group of Taiwanese students, and another group of students from Hong Kong. Large dividers stood between the three. These walls were important because, historically, these three peoples have harbored bitterness and animosity toward one another. They felt it was best to pray and worship each with their own people.
But as the Chinese students were praying one night, they told their leader they wanted to invite the other countries to join them. When the Taiwanese students received the invitation, they prayed and sang a little while, and then they opened up the wall divider. It wasn’t too much longer before the students from Hong Kong pulled back their divider, and some 80 students mingled together.
“In Christ, we are all one family,” said one leader. “And [Christ] breaks down political boundaries. In Christ, we have the desire to make the first steps to connect.” The Taiwanese students asked the students from China and Hong Kong to lead them in worship. The next night, they invited the Korean and Japanese groups to join them, nations which also had experienced fierce animosity. The leader told them, “We are living out what we have learned this week in John: This is ‘God with us’.” A girl from China said, “It was a very moving time. This kind of thing would not happen [without Jesus].”
There are many things that bring division and separation but only Jesus Christ can bring true Unity! People split apart on the basis of ethnicity, gender, financial standing, social status, political opinions, religious viewpoints, and much more. Sin separates but Jesus unites! He has broken down every wall that divides (Ephesians 2:13-14) and He is interceding to the Father that we might all be one, even as He and the Father are one (John 17:11).
Does that mean we accept any and everything someone believes? Not at all! But if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, be a Bridge builder, not a Wall builder. You are called to be an Agent of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Be God’s mouthpiece. Your message? “Be reconciled to God!”
How do we handle the differences that will surely arise? “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity (love)” is a wonderful guideline for us. Don’t compromise when it comes to essentials (the divinity of Christ, His completed work on the cross, etc). Don’t make an issue of non-essentials (worship styles, Bible translation preferences, etc). In everything, choose love for “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
This Sunday, November 14, we will conclude our series, “Freely Give!” with the wonderful gift of Unity. Please join us at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted here to our website (honoluluag.org).
Coming Up: The Ladies’ Lunch is this Saturday, November 13, at 11am. The Thanksgiving Celebration and Lunch will take place on Sunday, November 21. Turkeys will be provided by the church. Bring your favorite side dishes to add to the table. Please join us after the 10:35am worship service on Sunday, November 28 to Deck the Halls. We will decorate the building for Christmas and then enjoy a prepared lunch together. Our 9th annual Christmas Lunch and Treasure Trade for Ladies and girls happens on Saturday, December 4, at 11:30am. Please bring your donations of new or gently used items to the church in advance of the event.
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!