Summary: Too often in the western world, we minimalize connections thinking that teaching principles is enough but 90% of the people who come to church do so on the basis of their friendly connections.
Enjoy the Synergistic Blessings of Being United in Spirit (Phil. 2:1,2)
"Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose." (Phil. 2:2)
"Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another and working together with one heart and purpose." (Phil. 2:2 - New Living Translation)
"Agree with each other, love each other, be deep spirited friends." (Phil. 2:2 - The Message Bible)
"Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention." (Phil. 2:2 - Amplified Bible)
Connection - The state of being joined with, associated mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. To be synchronized with another in meaningful relationships. (Oxford Dictionary)
Illustration: Serving in Nigeria as a seminary professor for nineteen years taught me that without good connections, my teaching effectiveness was minimal. Being and staying in good connections with students, staff, faculty and key leaders in the community was essential for credibility. Each lesson was measured by how well I could make connections with significant people in the community. Without good connections the teaching came across as lacking contextualization, clout and communicational relevance. Too often in the western world, we minimalize connections thinking that teaching principles is enough but 90% of the people who come to church do so on the basis of their friendly connections.
"It is not what you know that counts very often but who you know."
Illustration: The Overflow
When F. B. Meyer was pastoring Christ Church in London, Charles Spurgeon was preaching at Metropolitan Tabernacle, and G. Campbell Morgan was at Westminster Chapel. Meyer said, “I find in my own ministry that supposing I pray for my own little flock, ‘God bless me, God fill my pews, God send my a revival,” I miss the blessing; but as I pray for my big brother, Mr. Spurgeon, on the right-hand side of my church, ‘God bless him’; or my other big brother, Campbell Morgan, on the other side of my church, ‘God bless him’; I am sure to get a blessing without praying for it, for the overflow of their cups fills my little bucket.”
The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 193
The Holy Spirit, working through the word, the church and His will, is the glue that provides effective connections through all aspects, opportunities and people. Selfishness is often the biggest hindrance to gaining effective connections as many people lack a genuine sense of humility. By asking the Lord to help us stay in good connections, relationships and communications with people we are seeking to act synergistically for God’s greater purposes.
Stop trying to just make a good impression with others for the benefit that connections can bring to you. Having powerful connections can often be done just to bring personal benefits to us. However, selfishness ulitmately brings discord, strife and conflicts. Paul emphasized spiritual unity by preserving the bond of peace through good connections.
Ask the Lord to help you love one another and to be one in attitude, mind and leading by the Holy Spirit. As we work together for the greater glory, will and kingdom of God, we are enhancing the benefits of godly connections. People like Bill Bright and Billy Graham and Rick Warren are effective as they had millions of great connections throughout the world.
Let us ask the Lord to help us care mutually for one another. By seeking to solve problems in a spirit of harmony, cooperation and mutual appreciation and respect we will strengthen our connections. As we correspond, prayer with and communicate with the other members of the body of Christ we are enriching our connections.
The following eleven suggestions help us learn how the Holy Spirit can help us enrich, enhance and enable our connections to help Christ’s kingdom and righteousness expand in greater qualitative and quantitative measure throughout the whole world:
1. The Holy Spirit helps us connect to a full complement of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ. Paul writes, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge; faith; healing; miraculous powers; prophecy; distinguishing between spirits; speaking in different kinds of tongues; interpretation of tongues. (I Cor. 12:7-10) Allow the Lord to help you relate more effectively to a wider range of people possessing many spiritual gifts throughout the body of Christ.
Illustration: Philippians 2:2
Out of Tune
A high school orchestra was preparing for a concert that featured a pianist in a rendition of Grieg’s A-minor concerto. Before the performance, it was customary for the orchestra to tune up with an “A” sounded by the oboe player. But the oboist was a practical joker, and he had tuned his instrument a half step higher than the piano. You can imagine the effect. After the pianist played a beautiful introduction, the members of the orchestra joined in. What confusion! Every instrument was out of tune with the piano. What would it have been like if half the orchestra insisted on playing in one key and the other half in a different key?