“Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:20
I had always heard and understood that verse to mean that anytime Christians get together for any reason, Jesus is there. Generally, we use that verse to justify skipping church. Going camping or fishing or staying home to watch the Cowboys is OK if we’re doing it with other Christians. “Where two or three are gathered…” Right?
Over the past few years, I’ve come to see the full context of that Matthew 18 passage. It’s about putting aside differences. It’s about making peace with one another. Forgiving each other. Making right the things that are wrong between people. In light of all the bickering and arguing and debating and dividing and judging and pettiness among Christ’s disciples today, I’ve come to hear that verse 20 as Jesus saying, “Man, if two of y’all can agree on ANYTHING, I’ll show up just to see it!”
The passage is really about prayer.
“If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20
Jesus is talking about prayer. He’s talking about people being of one heart and one spirit, coming together to pray about common concerns, to praise God for common blessings, to ask with one voice for his holy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Praying together bonds us to one another. It eliminates the boundaries between us. It destroys the walls. It obliterates the divisions. Praying together allows us to see past the exterior differences between us and stare right into one another’s hearts. Sometimes the only times we really get to see and hear and feel what one another is all about is when we pray together. There are no divisions in a prayer circle. There are no false distinctions. No one is better than anybody else when we come together to pray. We’re all equals in the throne room of God.
Our annual 24 Hours of Prayer here at Legacy begins at 8:00 tomorrow morning. It’s a men’s ministry thing, although it looks like it’s going to be a church-wide thing next year. Open and honest and humble prayer before God and one another. More than 80-men. Close to 3,000 different prayer requests. Continuously, in one-hour shifts, through the day and night, into Saturday morning. It makes us put aside our differences. It forces us to focus on God’s will, not mine or yours. It pushes us to see the world and the people in it through God’s eyes.
I’m meeting my brothers Greg and Jerry and Larry in the worship center at 8:00 tomorrow morning. Herb and Dennis and Gary and James are showing up at 9:00. Elvin and Sam and Jimmy arrive at 10:00. On and on in our worship center. Brothers in Christ crying out to our Father. I’ll be back at 5:00 tomorrow afternoon to pray with Glenn and Bob and Gary. Again at midnight with Bo and Greg and Brian and Larry and Wes. We’re going to pray together.
And Jesus has promised he’s going to meet us there.
David and Olivia Nelson, Legacy’s wonderful missionaries in Kharkov, Ukraine, have finally had that little baby. Caleb James was born last week, September 8. For a very interesting story about what it’s like to deliver a baby in Ukraine, check out their blog by clicking here. Lots of awesome pictures there, too. Congratulations you two. You three! We love you. And we can’t wait to see you here at Legacy in November!
The Rangers have won seven straight. The A’s have thrown in the towel. The magic number is down to eight. And our baseball team is about to clinch it’s fourth division title, it’s first since 1999. The shame of it is that they’re going to clinch it either in Anaheim or Oakland at 12:15 or 12:30am on a weekday.
The Rangers leave today for a ten-game road trip to the West Coast, their last road trip of the season. All of the games except Sunday’s begin at 9:05pm Texas time. It’s so disappointing to me. When the Rangers record that last out on that magical night (morning), and they dogpile one another on the pitcher’s mound and they pop the champagne and they cry and laugh and celebrate this great achievement, most Rangers fans under the age of 15 will have already been in bed asleep for a couple of hours. I hate that. I’ll let Whitney stay up that night. But Carley and Valerie will be long gone. So will Carrie-Anne.
The Rangers’ placement in the AL West division does this team no favors. To be the only team in a West Coast division located two time zones away is a killer. I have to believe it’s really difficult to build up a super strong and loyal fan base when nearly a third of all your games every season begin just as most fans and potential fans in your time zone are setting their alarm clocks and brushing their teeth.
Just as the Dallas Cowboys have benefitted all these years from being in the NFC East with the Giants and Redskins and Eagles, the Rangers have been handicapped by playing in California and Washington with the Angels, M’s, and A’s.
Rangers playoff tickets go on sale Saturday. Daily afternoon naps begin this Monday.