Teamwork

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

“Also, if two lie down together, thy will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

 

What kind of team member are you? We take pride in being the best individuals. We get jealous of other people. We compete. We throw people under the bus. We leave people hanging. Do you value teamwork?

Some of the best individuals make the worst teammates. And some people who are not the best individuals make the best teammates because they are “pro-teamwork.”

A lot of times the framework of teamwork collapses because someone is not content being anything less than the team captain. But being a good team player includes treasuring teamwork even when you are not the team captain. Sometimes good teamwork is “you are doing the majority of the work” while others do very little. But that’s teamwork! Do you value teamwork???

It’s not always 50-50. But do you value teamwork??? There is power in teamwork. God loves teamwork. There’s more to life than you. More to life than me. Teamwork is bigger than me. It’s a privilege to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

What good is a teacher without students? Students without a teacher? But together they make school.

The quarterback can’t throw a pass if no one blocks for him. And if he throws a pretty pass, it’s useless if no one is there to catch it. When one person scores a touchdown, the team scored. “Touchdown Broncos. The Broncos are now 6-0.”

 

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D. Barlow

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A Leadership Challenge

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“You and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – the Israelites.” (Joshua 1:2,NIV)

The Bible makes it no secret that the Israelites were God’s chosen people. It also makes it no secret that they were difficult people to deal with!

They would turn on you in a heartbeat. They were “religious” yet unholy. They were complainers and rebels. They were idol worshippers. They were wishy-washy. Matter fact, they were just typical people like you and me.

God told Joshua, “Get ready to cross the Jordan River…You and all these people.” Crossing the Jordan was a problem. But going with all those people was a bigger problem. I say that because people are crazy!

I was listening to a beautiful song by BB and CC Wynans on YouTube (Close To You). Over 3 million people viewed it; and about 500 people disliked it. I was like, “What in the world were they listening to???”

Have you ever worked in customer service and had to deal with a lot of customers? I was amazed at how irrational people can be. How impatient. How rude. How sensitive. How offensive. How weird.

And then it happens: God taps you on your shoulder and give you a leadership challenge. “You and these people get the job done.” Lord have mercy…

Step your leadership skills up. People have always been people and will always be people. Lord have mercy…

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D. Barlow

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Love Work

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“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…” (Genesis 39:1-2, NIV)

Joseph, the son of Jacob, was the man. He supervised his brothers and managed Jacob’s estate.

Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers. He went from doing the ideal job to doing “slave work.” Have you ever went from doing ideal work to doing slave work? Joseph had to do “slave work.” He was not slave-material, but he had to do “slave work.”

But I like to say that, yes, God definitely was with Joseph and thus Joseph prospered. It’s also noteworthy that Joseph loved working. A person who works hard and smart and is not lazy will prosper in slave work or office work.

Scripture time: “Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him ; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

God gave Joseph favor. We like to talk about how we are favored. Lazy, unfaithful people do not get favor. God will not place Joseph over Potiphar’s estate and over the warden’s domain if Joseph was not smart and hardworking enough to maintain it. (It’s worth noting that Joseph’s work ethic minus the favor of God would not have the same effect.)

My point is, we need to love working. Joseph did shepherd work. Farmer work. Slave work. Joseph did inmate work and warden work. When he fell off in life, he kept working. When things were going good in life, he kept working.

How do you feel about working? Will you work with conviction and passion and guidance from the Lord? Will you work with the strength of the Lord and in the wisdom of the Lord to solve problems and make major decisions or adjustments? Will you maintain your passion to work where God put you even if it’s slave work? Do you love working?

 

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D. Barlow

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Learning to delight

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“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Corinthians 12:8-10, NIV)

There are some aspects of our life that are strong points. Others are “so-so.” And yet others are less than so-so.

We can improve in some areas if we work hard at it. And yet, we have to work extra hard to improve in other areas.

However, there are some areas that we cannot improve at. You may be saying, “What are you talking about preacher? If I put my mind to it, I can do anything.” I hear you, but not this! There is an area that you can’t improve at.

The Apostle Paul said that he pleaded with the Lord three times to remove it. Why? Because Paul couldn’t do anything in that regard. He needed God to step in. There is an area that you cannot improve at. You need God to step in! You been mad at yourself…but what you need is for God to step in.

Paul said, “Take it away, Lord.” Then somewhere along the way something happened. He went from saying “take it away” to “I delight in it.” (Think about that.) Something happened along the way.

Paul saw his very, very weak points…the ones he could not improve at…as magnets that attract the grace of God to himself. Those weaknesses became a basis for premium fellowship with God. God knows how to build up anything torn down. He knows how to be a crutch. He knows how to increase the depleted.

The problem is not that you and I have a very, very weak area or two. But we have a problem when we don’t learn how to “delight.” There is great opportunity there!

 

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D. Barlow

 

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The Voice Of The Lord

 

“Lord, if it is you, ” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” Come,” he said. (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV)

When the disciples were stranded at sea, the bible says they thought they saw a ghost coming towards them. They couldn’t really figure out what “it” was. Verse 27 tells us that Jesus informed them, saying, “It is I.”

But that wasn’t enough. Peter said, “Lord if it is you…bid me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said to Peter, “Come.”

What is significant about the word “Come?” Anyone can say “come.” If it were me, I would want Jesus to say something so profound that only He could say – but all that was said to pinpoint that it was Jesus was the word, “Come.” Anyone can say, “come.” What’s so special about “come?”

Nothing at all! Nothing is special about the word “come” in and of itself…but because Jesus said it, that makes all the difference. The voice of the Lord saying anything is impactful. The voice of the Lord will convict you; bring tears to your eyes; will stop you in your tracts; will compel you to take action that you otherwise will not take. So when Jesus said “come,” Peter, hearing the voice of the Lord, stepped out of his boat in the middle of the sea!

The Lord may not always say something profound, but as long as He says something! He may say to you, “Stop” and that one word can save your life or redirect your life.

When I lost my cousin, I tried to carry on with life as usual. But that didn’t work. I got so heavy and depressed. And the Lord said to me, “Mourn.” One word. “Mourn.” I needed to stop trying to carry on…and instead just mourn.

I was crying aloud. Screaming. Whaling. Shaking my head. Seeking the Lord. Hollering. Crying day in and day out. The tears had a mind of their own.

A few days later, the Lord said to me, “Live.” That meant I needed to quit being the king of sorrow. I needed to go back to learning and improving as a person and preparing myself for my future. He told me to “Live.” I’m alive, so “Live.”

Nothing about “live” in and of itself is profound, but coming from the Lord it has such power. The voice of the Lord.

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D. Barlow

 

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