Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Unity in Grace is a non-denominational social Christian website with the purpose of providing an online community for
believers to Love, Grow, Share and Encourage one another in Christ through
the use of prayers, stories, testimonies, fellowships, devotionals, and other site related content.
If you believe in what we are trying to accomplish, please help support us!
To see the full listing of our Core Beliefs, please visit our
Core Beliefs page
My name is Matthew and I helped create this site! I am about 33 years old and I
have a beautiful wife of almost 10 years with two little boys. We currently reside
in Southern Oregon. I just graduated SOU with a Computer Science Degree. I have
built two other fully functional membership based sites; this is my third site and first endeavor into the world of ministry.
I served in the military for eight years and I am also a cancer
survivor. I wanted to use the skills God has given me for Him. This site, a reflection
of that desire, a ministry to glorify the Lord by supporting, encouraging and inspiring
believers around the world; and for those who are not believers, to show them the
reality of Jesus in our lives, and in so doing, lead them to Christ.
After graduating high school, I finally took the advice of Billy (my pastor) and
went to Trout Creek Bible Camp for the summer as a counselor. It is one of the best
things that ever happened to me and the best summer I had ever had! This is also
where I met my wife Jennifer. After camp I joined the Navy and faithfully served
this great nation for eight years.
The first five years in the Navy I spent training and on the USS Boxer. The last
three years I got to teach UHF Satellite Communications as an Instructor in San
Diego. In 2006, as I was leaving the service I was not feeling right and had a pain
in my side. I ignored it and kept moving forward....
I was discharged honorably in 2006 and found a job in Roseville California. I was
more stubborn than ever and committed to finally earn a living outside the military
on my own for my family. But the pain and exhaustion were getting worse, so I finally
relented and went to see a doctor.
Almost all within one week, we found out that Jennifer was pregnant with our second
child AND I had cancer. Talk about bitter sweet.
I had an advanced aggressive cancer. The doctors gave me a 50/50 chance. I was in
complete denial and could not believe I had cancer at age 26! My pride would not
allow it. It literally took a family intervention for me to see how bad my situation
had become. This was the most humbling experience in my life to date. We ended up
saying goodbye to our life in Roseville and to make ends meet, moved in with family
in Medford, Oregon.
Cancer turned out to be a real blessing, but what a rough road it was. I went through
one of the toughest chemo regiments there is. Meanwhile, Jennifer was 9 months pregnant
taking care of me, herself, and our 1 year old.
The chemotherapy took out most of the cancer, but I had to have a major surgery
to remove one of my kidneys and most of my lymph system. Thank the Lord, it is in
remission. On the down side, a side effect of the chemo, I now have a blood disorder
called ITP. But “all things work together for good”, and it is much like a “thorn in the
flesh,” something to always keep me on my knees.
Think about it, if you were told you were going to die in one year, how would you
change your life? In some ways it’s very much a blessing, because for some, they
never get that kind of warning.
I have been cancer free for four years! Praise the Lord! In the mean time, I was
able to go back to school. I just recently graduated SOU with a Computer Science
degree. In the time of going to school I have built two fully functional websites,
both for experience and as a hobby.www.matthewscaloriecounter.com and www.easy-a.com
So we come to the end, which is the beginning of this site, Unity in Grace. This
site has been a long time coming, something all for the Lord. I feel an urgency
like never before to get this site finished. I really hope it glorifies
the Lord and at the same time is helpful to his church.
This site is somewhat a culmination of certain issues and desires I have had in
my life that I have dealt with and have a heart for, but have not been able to do
anything about. There have been two driving forces for the creation of a site:
1. To Glorify the Lord
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying,
let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it
is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing
to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern
diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
I truly believe that we are all put into different positions in life with different
skills and talents to serve the Lord in different ways. Everyone's story is a little
different and everyone is placed where they are by the Lord for a reason. We are
different parts of the body, with one purpose. Sometimes like instruments we need
to be fine tuned before we can begin our work.
After the Cancer I knew I had a second chance that not many people get. I struggled
for a while trying to figure out what I could do for the Lord. I was never good
at public speaking, especially when it came to sharing my faith. I have always been
creative, inventive, but how could that translate into a ministry? While seeking
this answer I went back to school to learn a new trade and earned my BS in Computer
Science, focusing on website development.
During my time in school I started designing websites for experience. It was getting
close to graduation and I was feeling an urgency like never before. It seemed like
all the events of my life were leading up to this point, all my skills, talents
and training were preparing me for something.
After a lot of prayer and seeking the Lord, the idea to build this site was confirmed
by the Lord in many ways. It was like a dam broke. It was time to finally use all
my talents and everything God has done for me to glorify Him.
2. Lack of Church Unity
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love”
As Christians, we are to be lights to the world so others may see Christ in us.
But the problem is that we still have issues and those seem to be magnified through
the lens of the worlds eyes, to the point where Christianity has more negative stereotypes
than good ones. The largest is our lack of unity.
If you have not read “The Heavenly Man,” it is a must read. It is like a modern
day book of Acts set in China. It centers around Brother Yun, in which he tells
the story of the underground house churches of the Born Again Movement during the
70's and 80's. The whole book is fascinating, but the most interesting part for
me happened toward the end, in which this 'Unity" problem dissects itself.
In it Brother Yun discusses how the Born Again Movement sprang from infancy to over
58 million Chinese Christians today. In the beginning they were all one, with one
heart and one mind for Christ. Brother Yun goes on to explain that after a while,
once their stories were starting to get out, help from the west in the form of smuggled
shipments of Bibles were starting to be delivered. This was great at first, but
after a while, along with these Bibles they started seeing tracts hidden here and
there. These tracts were about all kinds of things, from having to be baptized to
be saved to other pharisaical and legalistic rules. At this point, the churches
began to split over these issues, and have been separated ever since. I am sure
these tracts were sent with the best intentions, but exemplify how horribly misplaced
our focus as believers has become.
This story is compounded by my own experiences with the Church.
While in the service, a friend invited me to his church. Right away I noticed a
few odd things. One of the walls was covered in tracts, which is nothing new, but
it was the content that vexed me. Not one was about salvation, every single one
dealt with a different theological issue. Tracts like “Why Mechanical Instruments
In Worship Are Sinful” or “Why the Old Testament is no Longer Valid” were everywhere.
The sermon started out with an announcement of how they were going to debate another
church on whether you need to be baptized or not to be saved. The whole sermon ended
up mirroring a lot of these tracts I saw on the wall, nothing really about Christ,
just pharisaical and legalistic rules. Now don't get me wrong, these issues do have
a time and a place, but our whole focus should not be just on them, it should not
be what defines us. After the service the Pastor and I got into a heated discussion
about these issues, and it was amazing how fanatical he was about them and only
them. Needless to say, this experience shook me to my core. And I have had many
like this since.
The more I dwelled on these issues, the more they bothered me and I did not know
why. The Lord keeps bringing me back to these issues, perhaps for the very purpose
of creating a website where despite our disagreements we can come together on the
same foundation with one purpose – to bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ and in
so, be lights to inspire, encourage, uplift, edify, and help one another in Christ.
I believe much of the Church of today has fallen into the same mistakes made 2,000
years ago. We have become so pharisaical and legalistic with our beliefs that we
are forgetting our first love and basic truths. Just like we are all members of
one body but have different functions, different gifts, so God gives to each of
us, grace -an undeserved portion of Himself, of His strength, of faith… and it is
in His grace, what HE has done in us and given to us, that we can come together,
Unity In Grace.