Summary: working together

Synergize your spirit

Eric A. Snyder, Minister

Farwell Church of Christ

November 4, 2001

Synergy is a principal that is woven throughout the Bible. I don’t know how regularly you or I would use that word but it is a very real part of God’s design for the church.

Synergy basically means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that 1 + 1 can = 3, 8, 16 or more.

I fact you may not realize it but you witness synergy all the time. It exists in the most simple forms of nature.

If you plant 2 plants close together, the roots commingle and improve the quality of the soil. So both plants will grow better together than if they were separated.

If you put 2 pieces of wood together they will hold more weight together than each one could hold individually.

It basically means synchronized energy

1. Synergize Your Communication

Everyone having the same dream

One night a man and his wife had matching dreams about not being able to sleep on the same floor. In both of their dreams, the wife was forced by the mother in the dream to sleep on the couch and her husband was made to sleep upstairs alone. When their kids woke up and after discussing their dreams of the night, they discovered that each of the kids had experienced the same dream, and her daughter’s dream, being remembered more completely also matched one of her other dreams.

Now I don’t know what this is, but I do know that as children of God, He wants us to have the same dream.

There is a need for us to demonstrate synergy in communication

A rather old fashioned lady, was planning a couple of weeks vacation in Florida. She also was quite delicate and elegant with her language. She wrote a letter to a particular campground and asked for reservations. She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped but didn’t know quite how to ask about the "toilet" facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word "toilet" in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old fashioned term "Bathroom Commode," but when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again; rewrote the entire letter and referred to the Bathroom Commode" simply as the "B.C.". Does the campground have its own "B.C.?" is what she actually wrote.

Well, the campground owner wasn’t old fashioned at all, and then he got the letter, he couldn’t figure out what the lady was talking about. That "B.C." really stumped him. After worrying about it for several days, he showed the letter to other campers, but they couldn’t figure out what the lady meant either. The campground owner finally came to the conclusion that the lady was and must be asking about the location of the local Baptist Church.

So he sat down and wrote the following reply. "Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter. But I now take pleasure of informing in that the "B.C." is located nine miles north of the camp site and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along, and make a day of it..... They usually arrive early and stay late. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now, there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats.....They plan to hold the supper in the middle of the B.C., so everyone can watch and talk about this great event.....I would like to say it pains me very much, not to be able to go more regularly, but it is surely not for lack of desire on my part....As we grow older, it seems to be more and more of an effort, particularly in cold weather..... If you decide to come down to the campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go...sit with you...and introduce you to all the other folks..... This is really a very friendly community.....

In the book of Numbers Moses is frustrated. He is frustrated because he has been leading the people of God and he thinks they are going to make some progress. Through all of his hard work, through all of the communication and positive reinforcement of the people. God’s followers complain. Then they said it “we had meat in Egypt”. They started looking back and that mad Moses angry. But more importantly it made God angry. It’s interesting to me that so many sermons have been presented on God’s anger. You know when God gets angry? He gets angry when people sin. But He really gets angry when people look back. When you don’t see what you have. Remember what happened to Lot’s wife? God said don’t turn around” and uh oh she was turned to salt. God’s followers are in the desert being provided for and they find something to complain about. So Moses has a meeting, Rather the Lord has a meeting with the leaders in attempt to get everyone to dream the same dream.

Numbers 11:24-30 So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. 26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, "Moses, my lord, stop them!" 29 But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!" 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Moses says I wish everyone was a prophet

Because if they were we would all see the future that God has in store for us. If everyone could see the same thing we would communicate much better.

How can we all dream the same dream?

A. Listen first

In this text God even recruited the people who were trying to skip the elders meting. I find this interesting, why would they miss a meeting with God? But then I remember that every Sunday morning we have a tent of meeting. A place where God’s truth is spoken and His vision is set.

So God wants to tell you two things if you attend sporadically

1. He will give you the truth wherever you are, but if you want to better understand His vision and hope for the future you should make a commitment to be at the tent of meeting.

2. This is the regular meeting place. Now you can see God in nature but if you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself make sure you are here on Sunday. This is the place where his vision is set every week. This is the place where God is supposed to speak every week.

Someone said that most people don’t listen to what you say because they are thinking about what they want to say next. That’s why God tells us to be silent, because He wants us to listen to Him first.

The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." The guests responded with phrases like, "Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir." It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, "I’m sure she had it coming."

The leaders of this church believe that God is giving us a vision for the future. It is a dream that can become real in a matter of a few months if everyone will listen to the spirit of God. Currently there are 1650 students attending our local school district and only 100 go to a church in the Farwell, Lake, or Gilmore area. Our leaders believe that adding staff here would be beneficial and meaningful. We fully believe that a youth minister is the direction that God is calling. But It’s going to take support. We believe that within 18 months of hiring a youth Minister God will have other plans for us as a church. Our leaders have bathed this subject in prayer and we encourage you to do the same. It is important that everyone has the same dream because without the same dream we will do nothing.

We believe that we have a very realistic plan in place that would allow us to hire the person in the near future. To date we have almost a months salary put away because some of you are responding.

You may be wondering what you can do to see if this is what God wants, we invite you to pray. If you are already doing something financially we encourage you to continue because sometime soon we will be ready.

B. Be genuine

During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his cowpunchers lassoed a maverick steer, lit a fire, and prepared the branding irons. The part of the range they were on was claimed by Gregor Lang, one of Roosevelt’s neighbors. According to the cattleman’s rule, the steer therefore belonged to Lang. As his cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said, "Wait, it should be Lang’s brand."

"That’s all right, boss," said the cowboy.

"But you’re putting on my brand," Roosevelt said.

"That’s right," said the man.

"Drop that iron," Roosevelt demanded, "and get back to the ranch and get out. I don’t need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me."

God wants us to be open and honest about our fears and frustrations

He desires that we are real about it but he also does not want us to complain or look back to the past. He desires that you share legitimate concerns so you can work through them and find a solution. He does not desire that you complain, or blame Him. Then profess that He is to mean because He has put an unreachable goal in front of you. The future is full of sacrifice and hard work we are not going to know all the answers or solutions. But if we stay focused, and stay positive He will lead us.

Two explorers were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. "Keep calm" the first explorer whispered. "Remember what we read in that book on wild animals? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, he will turn and run." "Sure," replied his companion. "You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?"

God wants to let you know that no matter what your fears are He wrote the book.

2. Synergize Your Concentration

Everyone on the same page

Philippians 2:1-41 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Not only do we have the same goal but we need to be on the same point in the process. We are going to have to be on the same page every step of the way.

A. Creative solutions

Synergy is created in an environment that is open and honest. It is not defensive or negative. It is a free flowing dialog where creative ideas are encouraged. These creative solutions make themselves available when 2 sides that usually disagree look for a third option.

One of the things that I cover in pre marital counseling is that when couples fight they need to step back from the situation and take a healthy look at the current settings.

As a church for progress to continue we all have to look at the reality of the situation

The next thing that I tell the couple is that they need to value the differences. There are obvious differences between men and women and for a marriage to work they need to appreciate and respect the other’s point of view? Problems are better solved when both sides can say if you think this, based on your experience and your education, then you may have a viable point. We need to learn this phrase “Good you see it differently, now let’s work together to come up with a better solution”

The idea is that a solution is reached that will be beneficial to everyone. When people argue they have a tendency to look at the issue from different angles and the only one that wins is the one who is right. We need to seek a solution that both sides feel good about. In order for this to happen we all need to get on the same side of the table and look at the problem together.

It’s vacation time. A husband wants to take his family out to country to enjoy camping and fishing. This is important to him; he has been planning it all year. He’s made reservations at a cottage by the lake and arranged to rent a boat, and his sons are real excited about going.

His wife, however, wants to use the vacation time to visit her mother some 250 miles away. She doesn’t have the opportunity to see her very often, and this is important to her. The differences could be the cause of a major negative experience The plans are set. The boys are excited. We should go on the trip," he says. “But we don’t know how much longer my mother will be around and I want to be with her” she replies. “This is the only opportunity to have enough time to do that” "all year long we’ve looked forward to this one-week vacation. The boys would be miserable sitting around grandmother’s house for a week. They would be driving everybody crazy

Wife "My mother is more important than fishing."

Husband "Your husband and sons are more important than your mother." As they disagree, back and forth, they finally may come up with some kind of compromise. They may decide to split up-he takes the boys fishing at the lake while she visits her mother. And they both feel guilty and unhappy. The boys sense it, and it affects their enjoyment of the vacation

The husband may give in to his wife but he does it grudgingly. And consciously or unconsciously, he produces evidence to fulfill his prophecy of how miserable the week will be for everyone.

The wife may give in to her husband, but she’s withdrawn and over reactive to any new developments in her mother’s health situation. If her mother were to become seriously ill and die, the husband could never forgive himself, and she couldn’t forgive him either.

Whatever compromise they finally agree on, it could be acted out over years as evidence of insensitivity, neglect, or a bad priority decision on either part. It could be a source of contention for years and could even polarize the family. Many marriages that once were beautiful and spontaneous and loving have deteriorated to the level of a hostility through a series of incidents just like this. The husband and wife see the situation differently. And that difference can polarize them, separate them, and create wedges in the relationship. Or it can bring them closer together on a higher level. If they have cultivated the habits of effective interdependence they approach the situation differently.

People who synergize don’t necessarily compromise and give up something. They work together to find a better result for everyone.

In 1 Corinthians 12: 31 Paul says “But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”

There is a better way. You may be looking at the past scenario and wonder how would they solve this problem. Both appear to have valid points but how are they going to come up with a solution that they all like?

In searching for a better way the husband and wife realize their love and respect for each other and they get on the same side of the table and address the issue synergistically.

As the husband and his wife talk they begin to see the each other’s need. The wife sees that her family really does need some time together and the husband sees that the wife really does need to spend some time with her mother. So they look for a more excellent way together. They begin throwing out ideas until they both like the end final solution.

One says we could arrange another time to see her within the month.”

Or perhaps we could split the trip up half the time with the family and half the time with the mother.

Or they could find a campground closer to the mother’s house, The boys wouldn’t be bouncing off the wall the wife could visit the mother and they could even spend some time with some cousins. An added benefit that they would not have had if they would have went with the original plan.

When Paul talks about a more excellent way he means that we need to grasp our love and respect for God and search for His most excellent way.

But this is not just a professional principal this is a Godly principal so the Bible tells us that when we get on the same side of the table, we need to be on God’s side of the table.

Countless times the leaders of God’s people had to draw a line because there was opposition. They flat out told people that they needed to be on God’s side. That they needed to stop looking backward and start looking forward.

If you are looking backward being critical and demanding that we go your way. God invites you to turn around and see the possibilities. He wants you to see the horizon of hope.

B. Finding a better solution

We need to seek God’s solution

3. Synergize Your Cooperation

Everyone working together

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

A. Value the differences

So in other words the apostle Paul is saying that you need to be content with your role. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t sing. You have another gift and the gift that you have is the gift that God gave you. God gives us all the gifts that He knows will suit us best. The first lesson is being content that you are different. Everyone is going to be different and since God is your creator you can be confident that He delights in your uniqueness.

There is a scene in Robin Hood where a little girl asks Morgan Freeman: Did god paint you? He says indeed he did and the child asks why?

Morgan Freeman then says it’s because God loves variety.

God loves variety. To really experience the fullness of Christianity we must learn to embrace and appreciate out own differences but we also have to learn to appreciate the uniqueness of others.

Thank God that there are people here who can sing, because I can’t

Thank God that there are people here who can teach.

Thank God that there are capable leaders here who can lead.

Thank God for the people here who can cook.

Thank God for everyone who does something that you wouldn’t like doing or don’t know how to do. Because that’s what make the church work together. We are all one in Jesus but we are all different parts. Given different abilities. So value the differences. Value the difference in thinking, value the differences in personality, and value the differences in appearance.

B. Work together

Dave Stone tells a story about a farmer that noticed that every year his barn was getting flooded because it was at the bottom of a hill. And every year the water would come into the barn. It would make the ground a huge mess and sometimes the water would be a couple of feet deep. The barn would sit in the water and rot.

One day he was walking around the barn with his son in law and he said “you know it’s to bad we can’t move that barn” The son in law was a physics engineer and he said let me do some calculations.

The son in law went to work he figured out the exact weight of the barn and then drew up for crossbeams on the bottom of it he calculated that if 500 people would all lift up at the same time they only would have to life 67 pounds.

They cut holes in the sides of the barn and ran the crossbeam through and cut handles for easy griping then cut the bottom away from the foundation.

The day of the moving came the family had games for the children and food for everyone and at the end of the day with all 500 of the local people from the town they all lifted on the count of three. Together they carried the barn 86 feet onto higher ground. And when Dave stone called to check the accuracy of the story the farmer’s wife said you forgot 1 thing Dave said what’s that she said well they turned it too.

Working together as a church is going to mean that we are going to have to turn. We are going to have to look long and hard in God’s direction

We really believe that this church has the opportunity in the near future to move off of the low ground and onto the high ground. Of the 11 churches in the Lake, Farwell, and Gilmore area 1550 youth don’t go to a local church. We have the opportunity to offer a meaningful ministry to over 1000 local families. We could be the only game in town.

But in order for this to happen we are going to have to work together and in an environment of synergy.

Because very soon on the count of three we are all going to be asked to lift. Your load will not be unbearable but with everyone else lifting at the same time we God is going to take us to new heights.