Summary: This was part of our 40 Days of Community series (in conjunction with Saddleback Church). Sermon was delivered to our "unplugged" worship which includes primarily students and parents.

Just like the people in our game had some serious growth issues - so do we! We know from learning about being purpose driven and living life with a purpose that God calls us to GROW. The problem is that we don’t always know HOW to grow and we don’t do a very good job of it on our own. Today, were going to talk about GROWING BETTER TOGETHER.

As we go through 40 Days of Community together, we are working our way through the book of Philippians. Let’s look at today’s passage from chapter 2 verses 12 through 30.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:12-30

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,

Phil 2:15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

Phil 2:16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

Phil 2:17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

Phil 2:18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Phil 2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.

Phil 2:20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.

Phil 2:21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

Phil 2:22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

Phil 2:23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.

Phil 2:24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

Phil 2:25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.

Phil 2:26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.

Phil 2:27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.

Phil 2:28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety.

Phil 2:29 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him,

Phil 2:30 because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.

You might be wondering right now what this passage has to do with GROWING, but stick with me and think will all learn a thing or two. The first this that we can learn is that…

Point 1: We help each other grow by…

. . . APPRECIATING each other

In this particular passage, Paul does a lot of appreciating. He really takes some time here to appreciate Timothy and Epaphroditus for all that they do.

Before we get too far, I want to talk about that word – appreciate. Can anyone tell me what the word “appreciate” means?

• Be thankful for

• Tell someone that you’re glad they’re your friend

• To increase in value

Have you ever thought about how the word ‘appreciate’ means to increase in value? What about when we appreciate each other – we increase their value! When we tell someone that we appreciate them, we’re raising their value. Let me explain it this way:

• Becky and I bought a house in 2000. We got it for a really good price – because it was in need of a lot of work! We put a lot of time and energy into that house. We remodeled the kitchen, the baby’s room, the dining room, the bathroom, we put in a furnace, we tore out two old chimneys, we put on a new roof… holy cow, did we do a lot to that house. And we only lived there for 2 years! When we sold that house, we sold it for about $15,000 MORE than what we paid for it. It went UP in value, because we INVESTED in it. We put our time and energy and effort into that house and it went up in value as a result. In the same way, when you invest in other people, they grow in value. They feel better about themselves, better about your relationship and are more motivated to continue to excel in the areas where you encourage them. Appreciating others helps them grow!

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