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Its Not About The Hand

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IT’S NOT ABOUT THE HAND

1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-12:22 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)

THERE'S A STORY ABOUT A PASTOR WHO WAS IN THE SUPERMARKET ONE DAY

AND THERE WAS A LADY COMING DOWN THE AISLE STRAIGHT FOR HIM. 

SHE SCREECHED TO A HALT WITHIN A FEW FEET OF HIM,

PEERED OVER HER GROCERY CART

AND WAGGED HER FINGER AT HIM.

SHE SAID "I LEFT YOUR CHURCH.        I LEFT YOUR CHURCH".


THE PASTOR SAID TO HER,

"WELL, IF IT’S MY CHURCH, I THINK THAT WAS A VERY WISE DECISION.

IF IT’S MY CHURCH, I THINK I’M GOING TO LEAVE TOO."


SHE SAID, "DON’T YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY I LEFT?"


HE SAID, "NO, NOT PARTICULARLY,

BUT I THINK I’M GOING TO FIND OUT ANYWAY".

 
SHE SAID, "YOU WEREN’T MEETING MY NEEDS".


HE ANSWERED HER BY SAYING,

"ACTUALLY, I DON’T EVER REMEMBER SEEING YOU BEFORE,

LET ALONE TALKING TO YOU,

OR KNOWING WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE.

DID YOU EVER TELL ANYONE SPECIFICALLY

WHAT YOUR NEEDS WERE?"


SHE COULDN’T RECALL THAT SHE HAD,

SO THE PASTOR RAISED ANOTHER QUESTION.

"CAN YOU TELL ME, IF WE HAVE 5,000 PEOPLE SITTING IN THAT CHURCH,

ALL WITH YOUR ATTITUDE,

HOW ANYONE’S NEEDS ARE GOING TO BE MET?

IF YOU RESERVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE THAT ATTITUDE,

THEN YOU MUST GIVE EVERYBODY ELSE THE FREEDOM

TO HAVE THAT ATTITUDE TOO.

AND IF EVERYBODY HAS THAT ATTITUDE,

WHO ON EARTH IS GOING TO DO ALL THE NEED-MEETING?"


STANDING HER GROUND, SHE DEMANDED,

"WELL THEN, YOU TELL ME WHO WILL."


PASTOR SAID, "I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK.

THIS IS WHAT WILL WORK:

WHEN PEOPLE STOP SITTING IN THE PEW SAYING,

’THEY’RE NOT MEETING MY NEEDS’ AND START SAYING,

’WHOSE NEEDS CAN I MEET?’

THEN NEEDS ARE GOING TO GET MET.

WHEN A SERVANT SPIRIT FLOURISHES IN A CONGREGATION,

THEN THEY'LL MINISTER TO EACH OTHER AS UNTO THE LORD."

ROMANS 12:3-16

AS GOD’S MESSENGER, I GIVE EACH OF YOU THIS WARNING:

BE HONEST IN YOUR ESTIMATE OF YOURSELVES,

MEASURING YOUR VALUE BY HOW MUCH FAITH GOD HAS GIVEN YOU.

 

{4} JUST AS OUR BODIES HAVE MANY PARTS AND EACH PART HAS A SPECIAL FUNCTION, {5} SO IT IS WITH CHRIST’S BODY.

 

WE ARE ALL PARTS OF HIS ONE BODY,

AND EACH OF US HAS DIFFERENT WORK TO DO.

 

AND SINCE WE ARE ALL ONE BODY IN CHRIST,

WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER,

AND EACH OF US NEEDS ALL THE OTHERS.

 

{6} GOD HAS GIVEN EACH OF US THE ABILITY TO DO CERTAIN THINGS WELL.

 

SO IF GOD HAS GIVEN YOU THE ABILITY TO PROPHESY,

SPEAK OUT WHEN YOU HAVE FAITH THAT GOD IS SPEAKING THROUGH YOU.

 

{7} IF YOUR GIFT IS THAT OF SERVING OTHERS,

SERVE THEM WELL.

 

IF YOU ARE A TEACHER, DO A GOOD JOB OF TEACHING.

 

{8} IF YOUR GIFT IS TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS, DO IT!

 

IF YOU HAVE MONEY, SHARE IT GENEROUSLY

 

(2 CORINTHIANS 8:7).

IF GOD HAS GIVEN YOU LEADERSHIP ABILITY,

TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY SERIOUSLY.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE A GIFT FOR SHOWING KINDNESS TO OTHERS, DO IT GLADLY.

 

{9} DON’T JUST PRETEND THAT YOU LOVE OTHERS.

REALLY LOVE THEM.

 

HATE WHAT IS WRONG. STAND ON THE SIDE OF THE GOOD.

 

{10} LOVE EACH OTHER WITH GENUINE AFFECTION,

AND TAKE DELIGHT IN HONORING EACH OTHER.

 

{11} NEVER BE LAZY IN YOUR WORK,

BUT SERVE THE LORD ENTHUSIASTICALLY.

 

{12} BE GLAD FOR ALL GOD IS PLANNING FOR YOU.

 

BE PATIENT IN TROUBLE, AND ALWAYS BE PRAYERFUL.

 

{13} WHEN GOD’S CHILDREN ARE IN NEED,

BE THE ONE TO HELP THEM OUT.

 

AND GET INTO THE HABIT OF INVITING GUESTS HOME FOR DINNER

OR, IF THEY NEED LODGING,       FOR THE NIGHT.

 

{14} IF PEOPLE PERSECUTE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN, DON’T CURSE THEM;

PRAY THAT GOD WILL BLESS THEM.

 

{15} WHEN OTHERS ARE HAPPY, BE HAPPY WITH THEM.

 

IF THEY ARE SAD, SHARE THEIR SORROW.

 

{16} LIVE IN HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER.

 

DON’T TRY TO ACT IMPORTANT,

BUT ENJOY THE COMPANY OF ORDINARY PEOPLE.

 

AND DON’T THINK YOU KNOW IT ALL!


THIS IS BASICALLY SAYING

THAT WE ALL HAVE A JOB TO DO.

MANY PEOPLE LOOK TO THE PASTORS AND LEADERS

TO DO THE WORK,

BUT A LEADER’S JOB IS TO LEAD!

EPHESIANS 4:11-12

HE (GOD) IS THE ONE WHO GAVE THESE GIFTS TO THE CHURCH:

 

THE APOSTLES, THE PROPHETS, THE EVANGELISTS,

AND THE PASTORS AND TEACHERS.

 

{12} THEIR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO EQUIP GOD’S PEOPLE

TO DO HIS WORK

AND BUILD UP THE CHURCH,      THE BODY OF CHRIST,

APOSTLES, PROPHET, EVANGELISTS,

& PASTOR/TEACHER

ARE NOT THE ONES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING EVERYTHING.

THEIR JOB IS TO EQUIP THE CHURCH!

EPHESIANS 4:15-16

{15} INSTEAD, WE WILL HOLD TO THE TRUTH IN LOVE,

 

BECOMING MORE AND MORE IN EVERY WAY LIKE CHRIST,

WHO IS THE HEAD OF HIS BODY,      THE CHURCH.

 

 

{16} UNDER HIS DIRECTION,

THE WHOLE BODY IS FITTED TOGETHER PERFECTLY.

 

AS EACH PART DOES ITS OWN SPECIAL WORK,

IT HELPS THE OTHER PARTS GROW,

 

SO THAT THE WHOLE BODY IS HEALTHY

AND GROWING AND FULL OF LOVE.

1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-22

THE HUMAN BODY HAS MANY PARTS,

BUT THE MANY PARTS MAKE UP ONLY ONE BODY.

 

SO IT IS WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST.

 

{13} SOME OF US ARE JEWS, SOME ARE GENTILES,

SOME ARE SLAVES, AND SOME ARE FREE.

 

BUT WE HAVE ALL BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST’S BODY BY ONE SPIRIT,

AND WE HAVE ALL RECEIVED THE SAME SPIRIT.

 

{14} YES, THE BODY HAS MANY DIFFERENT PARTS,

NOT JUST ONE PART.

 

{15} IF THE FOOT SAYS, "I AM NOT A PART OF THE BODY BECAUSE I AM NOT A HAND,"

THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT ANY LESS A PART OF THE BODY.

 

{16} AND IF THE EAR SAYS, "I AM NOT PART OF THE BODY BECAUSE I AM ONLY AN EAR AND NOT AN EYE,"

WOULD THAT MAKE IT ANY LESS A PART OF THE BODY?

 

{17} SUPPOSE THE WHOLE BODY WERE AN EYE--

THEN HOW WOULD YOU HEAR?

 

OR IF YOUR WHOLE BODY WERE JUST ONE BIG EAR,

HOW COULD YOU SMELL ANYTHING?

 

 

{18} BUT GOD MADE OUR BODIES WITH MANY PARTS,

AND HE HAS PUT EACH PART JUST WHERE HE WANTS IT.

 

{19} WHAT A STRANGE THING A BODY WOULD BE IF IT HAD ONLY ONE PART!

 

{20} YES, THERE ARE MANY PARTS, BUT ONLY ONE BODY.

 

{21} THE EYE CAN NEVER SAY TO THE HAND, "I DON’T NEED YOU." THE HEAD CAN’T SAY TO THE FEET, "I DON’T NEED YOU."

 

{22} IN FACT, SOME OF THE PARTS THAT SEEM WEAKEST

AND LEAST IMPORTANT

 

ARE REALLY THE MOST NECESSARY.


BODY ON STRIKE ILLUSTRATION

ONE DAY IT OCCURRED TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BODY

THAT THEY WERE DOING ALL THE WORK

AND THAT THE BELLY WAS GETTING ALL THE FOOD.

SO THEY HELD A MEETING;

AND AFTER A LONG DISCUSSION

THEY DECIDED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO GO ON STRIKE

UNTIL THE BELLY CONSENTED

TO TAKE ITS PROPER SHARE OF THE WORK.

SO FOR A DAY OR TWO THE HANDS REFUSED TO TAKE THE FOOD, THE MOUTH REFUSED TO RECEIVE IT

AND THE TEETH HAD NO WORK TO DO.

BUT AFTER A DAY OR TWO THE MEMBERS BEGAN TO FIND

THAT THEY THEMSELVES WERE NOT IN VERY GOOD SHAPE.

THE HANDS COULD HARDLY MOVE,

THE MOUTH WAS ALL PARCHED AND DRY,

THE LEGS WERE UNABLE TO SUPPORT THE BODY.

THEY BEGAN TO REALIZE

THAT EVEN THE BELLY IN ITS DULL QUIET WAY

WAS DOING NECESSARY WORK FOR THE BODY

AND THEY ALL NEEDED TO WORK TOGETHER

OR THE BODY WOULD FALL TO PIECES.
-- AESOP



 

THE HUMAN BODY DOESN'T EXIST TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE HAND.

THE HAND EXISTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE BODY

AND IN DOING SO GETS ITS OWN NEEDS MET.

THE CHURCH (BODY OF CHRIST) DOESN'T EXIST TO MEET OUR NEEDS.

WE EXIST TO CARRY OUT THE WORK OF THE BODY

AND IN DOING SO OUR OWN NEEDS GET MET.

~ZIG ZIGLAR ONCE SAID:
"YOU CAN HAVE EVERYTHING IN LIFE THAT YOU WANT
IF YOU WILL JUST HELP ENOUGH OTHER PEOPLE GET WHAT THEY WANT"

THAT'S HOW IT IS WITH US IN THE CHURCH.

WE SPEND OUR SELVES HELPING EACH OTHER

AND THEN SOMEHOW WE GET OUR NEEDS MET TOO.

COLOSSIANS 3:15-17

AND LET THE PEACE THAT COMES FROM CHRIST RULE IN YOUR HEARTS.

 

FOR AS MEMBERS OF ONE BODY

YOU ARE ALL CALLED TO LIVE IN PEACE.

AND ALWAYS BE THANKFUL.

 

16} LET THE WORDS OF CHRIST, IN ALL THEIR RICHNESS,

LIVE IN YOUR HEARTS AND MAKE YOU WISE.

 

USE HIS WORDS TO TEACH AND COUNSEL EACH OTHER.

 

SING PSALMS AND HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS TO GOD

WITH THANKFUL HEARTS.

{17} AND WHATEVER YOU DO OR SAY,

LET IT BE AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE LORD JESUS,

 

ALL THE WHILE GIVING THANKS THROUGH HIM

TO GOD THE FATHER.

VINCE LOMBARDI TELLS US,

WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A WINNING TEAM.


THERE ARE A LOT OF COACHES WITH GOOD BALL CLUBS

WHO KNOW THE FUNDAMENTALS AND HAVE PLENTY OF DISCIPLINE

BUT STILL DON’T WIN THE GAME.

BUT THERE IS A THIRD INGREDIENT:

IF YOU’RE GOING TO PLAY TOGETHER AS A TEAM,

YOU’VE GOT TO CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE EACH OTHER.

EACH PLAYER HAS TO BE THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT GUY

AND SAYING TO HIMSELF "IF I DON’T BLOCK THAT MAN,

PAUL'S GOING TO GET HIS LEGS BROKEN.

I HAVE TO DO MY JOB WELL IN ORDER THAT HE CAN DO HIS."


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDIOCRITY AND GREATNESS, LOMBARDI SAID,

IS THE FEELING THAT THESE GUYS HAVE FOR EACH OTHER.


IN A HEALTHY CHURCH,

EACH CHRISTIAN LEARNS TO CARE FOR THE OTHERS.

AS WE TAKE JESUS’ COMMAND TO

"LOVE ONE ANOTHER," SERIOUSLY

WE CONTRIBUTE TO A WINNING TEAM.

GALATIANS 6:1-5

DEAR FRIENDS, IF A CHRISTIAN IS OVERCOME BY SOME SIN,

YOU WHO ARE GODLY SHOULD GENTLY AND HUMBLY

HELP THAT PERSON BACK ONTO THE RIGHT PATH.

AND BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL INTO THE SAME TEMPTATION YOURSELF.

{2} SHARE EACH OTHER’S TROUBLES AND PROBLEMS,

AND IN THIS WAY OBEY THE LAW OF CHRIST.

{3} IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO HELP SOMEONE IN NEED,

YOU ARE ONLY FOOLING YOURSELF. YOU ARE REALLY A NOBODY.

HOW DO YOU THINK A FOOTBALL TEAM WOULD REACT

TO SOMEONE THAT THOUGHT THEY WERE BETTER

THAN ANYONE ELSE AND DIDN’T NEED THE TEAM?

WHAT WOULD OUR CHURCH BE LIKE

IF EVERY MEMBER WERE JUST LIKE ME?


EXPLOSIVE GROWTH?
DATA FROM 78 U.S. DENOMINATIONS

(NOT INCLUDING MORMONS, JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES, OR ROMAN CATHOLICS)

SHOWS THAT 190,420 CONGREGATIONS REGISTERED

AN ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP GAIN OF 32,951 PEOPLE.

THAT AVERAGES OUT AT LESS THAN TWO NEW MEMBERS FOR EVERY FIVE CHURCHES.                                                          1997 YEARBOOK OF AMERICAN CHURCHES, IN PASTOR’S WEEKLY BRIEFING, MAR 21, 1997, P. 1.


PERCENTILE OF U.S. CHURCH ATTENDANCE

PERCENT ....... ATTENDANCE

30%                     ----- 0 TO 40             MEMBERS

25%                     ----- 50 TO 100         MEMBERS

20%                     ----- 100 TO 175       MEMBERS

12%                     ----- 175 TO 225       MEMBERS

10%                     ----- 225 TO 400       MEMBERS

02%                     ----- 400 TO 700       MEMBERS

01%                    ----- 700 OR MORE MEMBERS
100% OF CHURCHS


RATIO OF CHURCHES TO PEOPLE IN THE U.S.:

1:900

CHURCH HISTORIAN MARTIN MARTY SAYS THAT ONE WORD DEFINES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHURCHES THAT GROW AND CHURCHES THAT DON’T:

INVITE!

WE'VE GOT TO INVITE PEOPLE.

WHAT IS ATROPHY?

ATROPHY NOUN

1: A DECREASE IN SIZE OF AN ORGAN CAUSED BY DISEASE OR DISUSE.

2: ANY WEAKENING OR DEGENERATION (ESPECIALLY THROUGH LACK OF USE)

VERB : UNDERGO ATROPHY; "MUSCLES THAT ARE NOT USED WILL ATROPHY"

HEBREWS 10:24-25 (KJV)

 AND LET US CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER

TO PROVOKE UNTO LOVE AND TO GOOD WORKS:

 

{25} NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, AS THE MANNER OF SOME IS;

 

BUT EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER:

 

AND SO MUCH THE MORE, AS YE SEE THE DAY APPROACHING.
_________________________________________________________


DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE WAS A DEATH IN OUR CHURCH LAST WEEK?

IT WAS ONE OF OUR CHURCH’S MOST VALUABLE MEMBERS --

THERE NAME WAS 'SOMEONE ELSE'

SOMEONE’S PASSING CREATED A VACANCY THAT'S GOING TO BE HARD TO FILL.

ELSE HAS BEEN WITH US FOR MANY YEARS,

AND FOR EVERY ONE OF THOSE YEARS,

'SOMEONE ELSE' DID FAR MORE THAN THEIR NORMAL SHARE OF THE WORK.

WHENEVER LEADERSHIP WAS MENTIONED,

THIS WONDERFUL PERSON WAS LOOKED TO FOR INSPIRATION

AS WELL AS RESULTS.

EVERYONE SAID 'SOMEONE ELSE' CAN WORK WITH THAT GROUP.

WHENEVER THERE WAS A JOB TO DO, A CLASS TO TEACH,

OR A MEETING TO ATTEND,

THERE WAS ONE NAME ON EVERYONE’S LIPS,

"LET 'SOMEONE ELSE' DO IT".

IT WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT SOMEONE ELSE WAS AMONG THE LARGEST GIVERS IN THE CHURCH.

WHENEVER THERE WAS A FINANCIAL NEED,

EVERYONE JUST ASSUMED THAT 'SOMEONE ELSE'

WOULD MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE.

'SOMEONE ELSE' WAS A WONDERFUL PERSON,

SOMETIMES APPEARING ALMOST SUPER-HUMAN,

BUT A PERSON CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.

WERE THE TRUTH KNOWN,

EVERYONE EXPECTED TOO MUCH FROM 'SOMEONE ELSE'.

NOW 'SOMEONE ELSE' IS GONE.

WE WONDER WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO.

'SOMEONE ELSE' LEFT US A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW,

BUT WHO IS GOING TO FOLLOW IT?

WHO IS GOING TO DO THE THINGS 'SOMEONE ELSE' DID?

REMEMBER, WE CAN’T DEPEND ON 'SOMEONE ELSE' ANYMORE.

ACTS 2:46-47

THEY WORSHIPED TOGETHER AT THE TEMPLE EACH DAY,

 

MET IN HOMES FOR THE LORD’S SUPPER,

AND SHARED THEIR MEALS WITH GREAT JOY AND GENEROSITY--

 

{47} ALL THE WHILE PRAISING GOD

AND ENJOYING THE GOODWILL OF ALL THE PEOPLE.

 

AND EACH DAY THE LORD ADDED TO THEIR GROUP

THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.
___________________________________________________


NINETY PERCENT OF THE NEW CHURCH MEMBERS

WILL STAY IN THEIR CONGREGATION:

(1) IF THEY CAN ARTICULATE THEIR FAITH;

(2) IF THEY BELONG TO SUBGROUPS

(SUCH AS A CHOIR, HOME BIBLE STUDY,

OR A SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS);

(3) AND IF THEY HAVE FOUR TO EIGHT CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS IN THEIR CONGREGATION.



THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE IS MADE UP OF MANY PARTS WITH CHRIST BEING THE HEAD.

THE BODY IS MADE UP OF HANDS AND FEET,

BUT WHAT ARE HANDS AND FEET MADE OF?

FINGERS AND TOES.

AND FINGERS AND TOES ARE MADE OF…CELLS.

JUST AS THE HUMAN BODY IS MADE OF CELLS

THE LIVING AND ACTIVE BODY OF CHRIST

IS ALSO MADE OF CELLS.


 

 

THIS IS A STORY FROM A FORMER LESBIAN:
SHE WROTE THIS LETTER;

THANK YOU FOR YOUR RECENT RADIO PROGRAM,

"HOPE FOR THE HOMOSEXUAL." WHICH AIRED IN APRIL.

I'M A FORMER LESBIAN.

AFTER MANY YEARS IN THE GAY COMMUNITY,

I JOINED A CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY GROUP,

WHERE I MET HAPPY, HEALTHY, NORMAL CHRISTIANS

WHO TREATED ME WITH RESPECT.

I’D NEVER HAD MY EMOTIONAL NEEDS MET BEFORE.

MY MOTHER HAD REJECTED ME

AND THE LESBIAN COMMUNITY WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR "LOVERS."

BEING AROUND REAL CHRISTIANS

WAS THE MOST HEALING EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER HAD.


GALATIANS 5:13

YOU, DEAR FRIENDS, HAVE BEEN CALLED

TO LIVE IN FREEDOM--

 

NOT FREEDOM TO SATISFY YOUR SINFUL NATURE,

BUT FREEDOM TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE.



 

GENERAL EISENHOWER ONCE REBUKED ONE OF HIS GENERALS FOR REFERRING TO A SOLDIER AS

"JUST A PRIVATE."

HE REMINDED HIM THAT THE ARMY COULD FUNCTION BETTER

WITHOUT ITS GENERALS THAN IT COULD

WITHOUT ITS FOOT SOLDIERS.

"IF THIS WAR IS WON," HE SAID,

"IT'LL BE WON BY PRIVATES."

IN THE SAME WAY,

IT'S THE COMMON, ORDINARY, ONE-TALENT CHRISTIANS WHO ARE THE VERY BACKBONE OF THE CHURCH.

WE HAVE OUR GREAT EVANGELISTS,

WE HAVE OUR SUPER CONGREGATIONS

LED BY DYNAMIC PASTORS,

AND OUR WEALTHY BRETHREN

WHO ARE ABLE TO FINANCE GREAT WORKS.

BUT, IF THE WORK OF THE LORD IS TO BE DONE,

IF THE GOSPEL IS TO BE TAKEN TO THE LOST,

IT'LL BE US "ORDINARY" CHRISTIANS

WITH GOD'S ANOINTING

WHO WILL DO IT.

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