Facing the Lion



The story is told of a lion who used to prowl in a field where there were four oxen. Many times he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. One day, a fight started among them. Each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

What on earth was it that caused those four oxen to walk away from each other? Was it how much space they had? Was it the way one snored at night? Maybe it was the color of their fur? Maybe it was the kind of grass they liked best? I doubt that nothing was as great as the common obstacle they faced – living with a hungry lion!

Like most pastors, I get asked now and then, about the differences with denominations (or non-denominations). I also get an ear-full about the problems with denominations. Sometimes, the idea even circulates around that somehow, another church or denomination is “the competition.” Crazy isn’t it?

Jesus prayed these words recorded in John’s history of Jesus life, “I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21 GW)”

A couple of months ago I got an e-mail from George Wright at Cedarcrest Church inviting me to a meeting of other pastors in our area. At the table, I sat with Tom Tanner at River Stone Church, Mike Linch at North Star Church and other pastors of various denominations. Yes, we worship different ways, have some differences in how we express our faith or organize our church…

but…

…when it comes down to the heart of the matter, you need to know something – we’re on the same page. We believe there is a unity in Jesus Christ that is BIGGER than the small things. We are not “competition” but brothers and sisters who share a common faith and belief that God has BIGGER plans for this world than we have.

So in August, those of us who gathered together months ago, we’ll be preaching in our churches a common message: “UNITED.” We are learning as we go mind you. Hey, we’re not perfect – we’re pastors – that should say it all. We have read those words of Jesus and believe what unites us is BIGGER than any little thing dividing us. It was Jesus’ prayer and it is our’s.

So this August, don’t sit on the sidelines but get to church where you can face your lion with help and unite with what God is doing!

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