Showing items filed under “Ralph Sawyer”
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“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”   Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)

 ...has written a book entitled Team of Teams.  If you get a chance to pick it up some time I think you’d enjoy the read.  He addresses the fact that the development of information technology is changing the way we live. There are so many unpredictable outcomes that can occur within any group trying to reach goals that organizations have need of flexibility and adaptability to be successful. 

He cites a YouTube video which started a revolution in Tunisia that didn’t end until Egypt.  A protester named Tarek protested police corruption in his local city by setting himself on fire.  His cousin filmed the whole thing and posted it on YouTube which led to millions of views and then people started their own protests...which eventually led to the end of the reign of President Mubarak in Egypt. That outcome was totally unforeseen at the time of Tarek’s protest.

You used to be able to predict outcomes of certain actions with a certain degree of accuracy and plan accordingly, but things are a little different in our day.

In a complex world, efficiency does not equal success.

That’s one of the reason we have teams in our church...they were designed by God  to be able to adapt to whatever they might need to do to reach the goals that are set forth for us in the Scripture.  We have ministry Hope and VBS...and the roughly thirty other ministry teams that have poured out from the gifts that God has given to His people who serve Him with gladness through our church. Team members have common spiritual gifts and talents, share a common ministry, with all committed to a common purpose. We have too many people to put on just one team so we have multiple teams that work closely with one another and stay effective in reaching the overall goals set for us in the Scripture.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;  and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;  and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (ESV)

The General discovered, as he let the American Task Force in Iraq, that the teams you have need to share in the overall purpose of the whole and work towards the same end if you are going to succeed.  Once, when he was visiting the Task Force’s intelligence facilities, he found a storage room full of unopened bags of intelligence that had been gathered on raids.  That team had done their job well, but lacked an understanding of what they were trying to accomplish as a whole.  Thus the intelligence sat in a room until it was stumbled upon later and  the time-sensitive intel was useless; it was already too old.  They did a good job...but it didn’t help.

He discovered what the good Lord has already revealed to us, that every team needed to understand the overarching purpose of the whole team to make good decisions within their own team.  You can’t lose sight of the context of what you’re trying to accomplish.

He also discovered you can’t just throw people together and have a team.  A real team, whether in the military, or in a church setting will be comprised of people who have similar skill sets (the Bible calls them gifts and talents), who use those skill while learning to trust one another and work together with a shared understanding of why they’re doing what they are doing.  That happens by sharing experiences with one another and developing relationships within the team.

But you can do that within a team and still have that team not contribute to the overall purpose of the organization.  The intelligence team did a great job of collecting intel...but not seeing themselves as a crucial part of the overall purpose of the larger task force made what they did ineffective at best and downright a waste of time at worse.  A single military team intent on just doing what they are doing without thought of the overall purpose doesn’t help the organization at all.

Same thing can happen in church ministry.  All of us should discover our gifts and talents and find a place of ministry and service to the Lord...join that team of people who are like minded and similarly gifted who will work together with you for the glory of God.  But, make sure your team understands the overall purpose of the church as given to us through the Scripture or you might be doing a good thing but it has no value towards reaching the goals set forth in the Scripture.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,   to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,   until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,   so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.   Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,   from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)

The leaders of the teams...beginning with the Holy Spirit...through the leadership of the church...are the glue that holds the teams together.  They make sure the teams have the opportunity to make great decisions about what to do next within the context of the larger goals of the church.  The military...along with the businesses this book is addressed to... are  just now beginning to learn what the Bible has already revealed as the best way to be successful.

So, I trust you have identified a team to join...or a team to start...whether it is with our Adult teams or Student teams or Children teams...whether it is with Bibles Study teams or Vacation Bible School or Legacy  or ________________ and that together we can team up to serve the Lord with gladness. We serve Jesus because we want to...not because we have to.

And by the way...You do know the overarching purposes of the church right?  If not, check back here next week.  GOOOOOOO....TEAM...GO!

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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out to the general public at the bottom of the news program, scrolling across the bottom of the screen.  There had been another terrorist attack, this time in Manchester, England, this time at a concert being given by Ariana Grande...not an artist that I was familiar with, but the aftermath of the attack is beginning to become all too familiar.

At least 19 (the toll is now up to 22) people were killed Monday night, including an 8-year-old girl, in the explosion at the end of Grande's concert. Manchester hospital officials raised the number of people wounded to 119, which include 12 "seriously injured children." The total number of injured jumped from the previously reported 59 because of the "walking wounded" who sought medical treatment after the attack.

I couldn’t help but think about the reality of the situation...the reality is...nineteen souls were separated from their physical bodies in an instant...and thrown out into eternity...their destination either heaven or hell. 

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 (ESV)

Let me ask you a question.  What do you think?  Out of the nineteen souls flung out into eternity, in an instant, on Monday evening...if you we’re trying to make an many do you think went to heaven and how many do you think will spend an eternity separated from God in that place named hell?  There’s no way for us to could have been all nineteen went to heaven or it could have been that all nineteen went to hell, or some other number in between...the only thing we know for sure is that their life on this earth was ended by evil, and they are now residing in their eternal abode.

We would like to think that all of them had an opportunity to hear the good news that Christ came into this world to die on the cross, as a substitute, in their place, for their sins, and offers forgiveness of sin to all who repent and trust Him as their Lord and Savior thereby receiving the gift of eternal life in heaven.  We would like to think that someone cared enough to tell them that Jesus came to make the only way to heaven possible and available for those of faith instead of there remaining no hope for people, perishing in their sin and having nothing to look forward to, except eternal death in hell.

Reality is hard to type out at times, it’s difficult to think about on occasion, but it has a way of bringing to focus the most important need of any life...and that is salvation...a deliverance from the power and effects of our sin.

It really happened on Monday night, people went to heaven or to hell.

When confronted with the truth, there is brought with that truth an urgency to help and to pray and to make a difference...and while there is much that can be done with the broken families and friends who are left behind in this world in their grief and pain.  No longer can anything be done for those that are gone.  It will not matter for them.  Their eternal destiny is sealed.

What if it happened...the sudden deaths of a football a stadium, or family and friends attending a a local venue, or in your place of employment, or in your neighborhood, or in the hospital you visit, or anywhere, where people you know and work with, and play with, and worship with...were a second.  How many of your fellow workers would go to heaven?  How many of your neighbors would go to heaven?  How many of your Bible Study group would go to heaven?  How many of your teammates would go to heaven?  How many of them have heard about eternal life and Jesus and the way of salvation?

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”    Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

Shouldn’t those who are saved reach out immediately to those who are perishing with the good news of salvation through Christ?  Can we just take our time?

Are we so arrogant that we think we know when someone will die and someone will live?  I would imagine that all nineteen...were completely amazed at where they were...five minutes after they died.

Our hearts mourn for those that are dead, for those that were lost...for those we have no knowledge of their personal relationship with God through Christ.  We hurt for their friends and family, we hurt for their nation and their peoples.  There is so little we can do...confronted with the reality of it all.

If you’re like me...when confronted with the reality of it all...I have asked the Lord to help care...for those who are living...especially for those I know and live life with...for those who can still make a decision about whether they will receive the gift of eternal life offered to them by Jesus or not.  There is still so much that we can do...confronted with the reality of it all.

I have asked Him to help me care enough to share with them the information that they need more than anything else in life...the gospel.  So that they can know and be certain that they will go to heaven when they die.

Shouldn’t everyone you know have an opportunity to hear about Jesus.  Shouldn’t everybody you know have a chance for eternal life?

There were two tragedies, at least, on Monday night.  One, that broken men...lost in their sin...can take the lives of the innocent through a barbaric act of terrorism.

And two, that if those who died, never had a chance to hear about and receive the salvation offered to us by Jesus.  The tragedy that Christians are not motivated not care not believe enough... to share with them...what they needed most.  Good news.

We cannot prevent the first tragedy...they will continue to happen...because this world is broken...and broken people are lost in their sin.  We will try to prevent them...but try as we will...they will occur.

The second tragedy can be averted.  In our world, where we live, with the people we encounter.  We can care enough to share the truth...and leave the results to God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)

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