We Need Each Other!

September 22, 2017

“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him… a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote that we were not meant to fight our battles alone. We need community. Jesus told us that He is present where two or three of us get together in His name. (Matthew 18:20) Jesus was not consoling us for poor attendance at a prayer meeting. He was giving us a prescription for an intentional dynamic we call a small group.

For nearly the first 300 years of Church history it was illegal to be a Christian. That forced the Church to meet in small house churches. In large mega churches today, often the only way to have meaningful interaction with other believers is to meet in small groups. All over the world the Church is again meeting in small house churches as in the beginning 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps this is what Solomon meant when he wrote that a threefold cord is not easily broken. A cord of three strands is not only strong – when cord number one is you, cord number two is another believer, and cord number three is God – you have a cord that is not quickly broken.

The Old Testament calls this “Hesed.” The New Testament calls this concept of community “fellowship” and “koinonia.”  When you are part of that threefold cord you are “wrapped in a bundle of life with the Lord your God.”  (I Samuel 25:29 Berkeley)

Have you personally discovered one of the greatest dynamics in the Bible? Or do you believe you don’t need anybody because you can handle anything that comes your way alone?

Dick Woodward, 22 September 2012


Making a Difference

January 22, 2013

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you… for your fellowship in the gospel…” (Philippians 1: 3, 5)

As Paul begins this letter he uses a beautiful word when he writes: “… your fellowship in the gospel.”  The basic meaning of the word is partnership, but Sam Shoemaker paraphrased it as: “two fellows in the same ship.”

I met with a man who was on the threshold of coming to faith.  He had many, many problems.  So, I said to him, “There is a word you’re going to be learning soon: “fellowship.” It means “two fellows in the same ship.”  I want you to know, Charlie, I am in the ship with you!” As he took a long drag on his cigarette, with tears in his eyes he blew smoke in my face and said, “Well row, *bleep* it!”

Charlie was saying to me that he did not fully understand this new word but he wanted to know what difference it was going to make.  Was I just going to take up room, or rock the boat or was I going to grab an oar and row?

I often said to others what I said to Charlie.  But Charlie added to my paraphrase of this word.  After Charlie, when I said those words I found myself asking, “What would it look like if I got in this person’s ship with them and rowed?”

When Jesus got in Peter’s little ship He surely made a difference.  He filled Peter’s ship and his partner’s ship with fish (Luke 5: 1-11).

What difference does it make to others when you get in their ship with them?  Think of the difference it could make because you are bringing Christ with you into their ship.


Reality Contact

November 1, 2011

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

A long time ago I lunched with a friend on Mondays.  I’d always ask him, “How are you, Skip?”

“Great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous!” he’d answer.  Always!

On many Mondays I’d not had a good weekend, and life was not great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous for me.  But this guy was always emphatically optimistic. After this pattern continued for some time, one Monday I asked him, “Tell me something. If everything wasn’t great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous, how would you answer my question?”

“Oh, I’d probably lie to you,” he responded.

I then decided to rephrase my question.  I asked, “How are you, really, Skip?” He worked with a group of people who emphasized Scripture memory and they all memorized a verse of the week.  “Frankly, if you really want to know,” he said, “My verse of the week is, ‘Hang it on your beak, freak!'” We then had some really honest conversation, what I call “Reality Contact.”

What James had in mind is that if we are honest with each other we will be burdened to pray for each other.  Then as a result of our mutual prayers for one another we will be healed.  If when we meet together we are not honest, we will not pray for each other and the mutual healing will not happen.  One translation reads that our honest prayers will explode with power!

We should have this kind of relationship with a believer we trust, but we are missing something important if we do not have “Reality Contact” with someone.  Do you have that kind of relationship with anyone?