February 16 – We are ALL IN!

Read John 17:20-26

I love concerts.  There’s nothing like the experience of live music. The lights, staging, video, and especially the MUSIC.  I dream of a day when I might take my wife, Sarah, and both our girls to a concert with me!  Of all the concerts I’ve seen, my favorite has to be U2 at Brown’s Stadium for their 30th anniversary Joshua Tree tour.  It was awesome from start to finish… and that’s what they did.  They played The Joshua Tree (greatest album of all time) from start to finish (plus all the hits too).  It was a huge and they spared no expense.  But why?  Why play at a football stadium?  Why have a giant 4K screen that stretched the width of the field?  Why perform night after night all over the world?  THE FANS!  There’s enough of us around world to fill these venues.  We’re united by our love of this band’s phenomenal music.  With that many fans, the experience has to be huge!  Aside from whoever I came with, I’m surrounded by thousands of strangers—strangers who are united because they’re all there for the same reason!  When U2 plays the song “One”, we’re all singing along “One life with each other… sisters brothers!”  In that moment, we mean it!

When we come together to sing songs of praise and worship to Jesus on Sunday mornings, special services, or nights of worship, the same phenomenon is true.  I may know way more people here at Grace than I do at a U2 concert, but I definitely don’t know everybody personally.  But if you’re a follower of Jesus, we’re united.  We are united in His love!  When we come together in His name, we get a chance to fulfill what Jesus prayed for the night before his crucifixion in John 17.  He asked his Father to make us one in Him as He is one with his Father.

Of course, our corporate gatherings aren’t the only time this happens.  You’re living out this out daily!  But when we come together to celebrate Jesus and the power of His love working in and through us, it’s powerful!  There’s unity in that!  In Romans 15:5-6, Paul prays for unity “so that with one heart and mouth” the church would glorify God!  The person 3 rows behind you or 7 rows in front of you singing their heart out–you’re one because of the love of Jesus you share!

So, if it’s entertaining and even moving to be a part of an experience like a concert, how much more amazing is it to come together as followers of Jesus and lift up his praise with everything we’ve got?!  Plus, it’s contagious! Jesus prayed, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  What if someone was so moved by Christ’s love and the unity around them that they decided to become a follower of Jesus?  It happens every week at Grace Church!  That’s why The Carter’s are all in!

Matt Carter


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