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Summary: Unity. We used a picture of the church. Took it to a local business and had them make it into a puzzle. We numbered each piece on the back. Made a map of the puzzle. Gave each guest a puzzle piece. At the invitation had them put the puzzle together.

Healthy Puzzle Pieces

“Under his (Christ) direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16

Intro: A pastor was just setting up his office at a new church when his secretary told him there was a man there waiting to see him. The pastor wanted to make a good first impression by having the man see that he was pastoral and caring, so he told his secretary to show the man in. At that moment, the pastor picked up the telephone and pretended to be having a compassionate conversation with a church member. The man waited patiently until the "conversation" was over. Then, the pastor put down the telephone and asked, "Can I help you?" The man shook his head and replied, "I don’t think so, I'm here to connect your telephone."

We all want to make good first impressions. You are all being so welcoming and warm and friendly. Me…, I am just trying to not put my foot in my mouth and say something so stupid that you all be talking about it over lunch today. And talking about it at dinner tonight, and still talking about it at breakfast tomorrow morning.

On the other hand I want to say something memorable. Something wise. Something that lets you know I want to be here. Something that tells you I am a good listener. Something that says I am going to learn about you and from you. Something that shows you I am willing to love you like Jesus loves you.

Ephesians 4:16 “Under his (Christ) direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly.”

John Silsbury was a mapmaker in London. Around 1767 he mounted a map on a piece of hard wood, cut around the borders of the countries and made the first jigsaw puzzle as an aide for teaching children geography. In the late 1800’s with the invention of cardboard the idea really caught on as more than just a tool for education but also an enjoyable way to have fun and pass the time.

Everyone here has put together jigsaw puzzles at one time or another. What starts out as a bunch of cut up pieces with persistence and time, with endurance and staying power, eventually comes together to form a picture. One strategy for working a puzzle is to start with the corners and the edge pieces first and work your way in. That defines the borders and the sets the framework for seeing the big picture. That creates the vision and the dream of what the finished goal looks like. Christ puts us together. Christ forms us into a holy body from an individual piece to a group of pieces who are united in purpose, mission, and love for one another and love for the Lord. The whole body fitting together, that is the kind of church I want to belong to. One that Christ is directing. A community of faith that God has brought together.

The church is just like a puzzle. When we are directed by Christ, when we are following the leadership of the Holy Spirit everything fits. Everything works when we allow Christ to join His divine life to ours. That’s when we all become “Healthy Puzzle Pieces.”

I have met a lot of healthy Christians over the years. Here are a few things that healthy Christians have in common. “They Have Turned Over Leadership to Someone Else, and have Taken On a New Leadership Role.” Think about the scripture “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow.”

You have your own special work for God. This means that you are a perfect “10” at something. Go ahead and turn to the person setting next to you and say, “You are a perfect 10 at something.”

One of the greatest things you will ever discover in life is how God wants you to serve and lead. And then do it. That is our response to knowing God’s love. Service and leadership are the results of faith.

I recognize that some of you have been faithful here for many years. You may have heard it said that 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work. I would like for us to think about this a little different. Conrad Hilton the founder of Hilton Hotels said that he read the essay by Helen Keller titled “Optimism.” At age 15 he said that changed and shaped his life like no other books did to him. "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope. Optimism is the harmony between man's spirit and the spirit of God pronouncing His works good."

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