Stronger Together

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This blog post is the part of a six-post series paraphrased from the sermons of Pastor Mark Hughes of the Church of the Rock, Winnipeg in connection with the ‘40-Days of Community’ small-groups initiative. 40-Days of Community is a method of extending love in the way Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church has demonstrated. Ideas in this series are not mine, I have only a paraphrasing role. 

One of the indelible images from the 1992 Games: Jim Redmond, right, guided his injured son, Derek, across the finish line in a 400-meter semifinal. Taking up another’s burden is an exemplary community initiative. Even Jesus needed Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross. Picture and the first line courtesy of Wikipedia

VERSE OF THE WEEK: 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

God intended us to be interdependent, not independent. There are 58 instances of ‘one another’s in the New Testament. 

David transformed a rag tag men into mighty men from 1 Samuel 22  to 1 Chronicles 11!

1 Samuel 22

New International Version (NIV)

David at Adullam and Mizpah

22 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

1 Chronicles 11

New International Version (NIV)

David’s Mighty Warriors

10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised — 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:

Examples of inter-dependencies:

  • First-ever Everest climbing feat of Edmund Hillary in 1953 could not have been possible without his more experienced companion Tensing Norgay. 
  •  Olympians, rock stars, actors can’t do the feats alone. 
  • Gates’s strategy is not to do it alone, but hire the best candidates even better than himself. 
  • Single snow flakes are the most ephemeral of things that would melt in the palm, but once joined into a big mass, it would stop anything -even an oceangoing vessel (like Titanic). 

ACRONYM FOR TODAY – TNT

T- tell them they can do it; N- Never stand alone; T- Take up the burden when they can no longer take it. 

T – Tell : 

 Matthew 10

New International Version (NIV)

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Jesus was not teaching here, he was motivating the disciples. 

He encouraged, affirmed and empowered them. 

People do amazing things when they are encouraged. Examples: 

  • University experiment – endurance of people to stand in bucket of ice doubled in time when cheered on. 
  • Writing club in the University of Wisconsin. Two groups were formed – female club called Wranglers always encouraged writers with positive feedbacks,  men’s club called Stranglers always excoriated and eviscerated the writers. In the end the encouragers produced five world class writers, while the Stranglers produced none. 
  • Pastor Keith’s son made a dive back into a shallow pool when egged on by onlookers. But he landed flat on water and suffered excruciating pain. When asked why he did it, he said everyone wanted him to do it. 

Even Jesus need affirmation! 

  • God spoke to Joshua to be strong and courageous. 
  • God calls Gideon ‘mighty man of valour’. 
  • Even Jesus was encouraged by God. The voice from heaven said: ” He is my favourite son.’
  • Everyone craves for encouragement. 9th graders in a Morris school were asked to write positives about their friends. Many years later one of them died in Vietnam war. But he was discovered carrying the battered piece of paper in which his friends had written words of encouragement. They were precious to him. It was found out in his funeral that most of his old classmates were holding on to these pieces of paper as well. 

We empower children to walk by calling out sweetly to them. 

But later we forget and refuse to encourage our children when they are teenagers. If we did, they would do amazing things. 

N – Never Stand Alone. 

  • Samson failed, not because womanizing was his weakness, but because he was a loner, never obeying even his parents.
  • David captained 400 ragtag men to make them mighty, but he fell to Bethsada when he sent all of them away to war and when David was alone.
  • Daniel 3. 16 “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. “If they were not three together, they probably would not defy the mighty king. They resisted peer pressure and refused to smoke into crispy critters. \
  • Don Bennet lost his one leg in a boating accident; but he later he founded amputee soccer and did even mountain climbing. He attributed the success to others who helped him. 

T- Take up the burden

  • Even Jesus had his burden of cross taken off him near Golgotha. Simon helped him. 
  • Everyone needs somebody to take their burdens when they can no longer bear it. \
  • Derek Redmond was a record holding British sprinter. But in Soul Olympics he could not win. He injured his hamstring and was unable to finish the race. His father helped him to finish the race, which became the subject of one of Olympic committee’s  ‘Celebrate Humanity’ videos. 

As a postscript: It is Jim Redmond, not Derek who was selected to carry the 2012 London Olympic torch. 


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