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Summary: An inductive message using biblical narrative to call Christians to learn how to focus on God’s purpose even when we disagree on how to work it out.

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Intro:

"It’s easy to see why people like the sea gull. I’ve sat overlooking a craggy harbor and watched one. He exults in freedom. He thrusts his wings backward with powerful strokes, climbing higher and higher until he’s above all the other gulls, then coasts downward in majestic loops and circles. He constantly performs, as if he knows a movie camera is trained on him, recording.

"In a flock, though, the sea gull is a different bird. His majesty and dignity melt into a sordid slough of in–fighting and cruelty. Watch that same gull as he dive bombs into a group of gulls, provoking a flurry of scattered feathers and angry squawks to steal a tiny morsel of meat. The concepts of sharing and manners do not exist among gulls. They are so fiercely competitive and jealous that if you tie a red ribbon around the leg of one gull, making him stand out, you sentence him to execution. The others in the flock will furiously attack him with claws and beaks, hammering through feathers and flesh to draw blood. They’ll continue until he lies flattened in a bloody heap."

Citation: Phillip Yancey, as quoted in The Strong Willed Child by James Dobson (Tyndale House, 1995); submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International

 Have you ever witnessed a DISAGREEABLE disagreement – between Christians?

At the board meeting: "So the vote is as follows: Larry, Ruth, Dan, Sid, and Marcia are for the proposal. God and I are against."

Citation: Cartoonist Joseph Farris in Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 3. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International

 What about a DISAGREEABLE agreement?

Comedian Emo Philips used to tell this story:

In conversation with a person I had recently met, I asked, "Are you Protestant or Catholic?"

My new acquaintance replied, "Protestant."

I said, "Me too! What franchise?"

He answered, "Baptist."

"Me too!" I said. "Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

"Northern Baptist," he replied.

"Me too!" I shouted.

We continued to go back and forth. Finally I asked, "Northern conservative fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region, Council of 1879 or Northern conservative fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region, Council of 1912?"

He replied, "Northern conservative fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region, Council of 1912."

I said, "Die, heretic!"

Citation: New Republic. Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International

Disagreements CANNOT be avoided. Even Tom Hanks argued with himself on a deserted island in CAST AWAY. Whenever two or more individuals get together there will be differing opinions about something.

Paul & Barnabas had a “SHARP disagreement” over how to carry out the work God had assigned to them. Listen to the story.

Acts 15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." [37] Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, [38] but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. [39] They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, [40] but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. [41] He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.


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