2-21-16 DON'T FLY SOLO

DON'T FLY SOLO
February 21, 2016

      Brother Randy found the following lesson we can learn from geese:   
    "In the Spring, when you see geese heading north for the Summer or south in the Fall, flying along in "V" formation, you might be interested in knowing what scientists have discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own."
    People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.  If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as we are. 
    When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.  It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese. These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.  So we need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind. 
    Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another, and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.
    God sends us such wonderful lessons through his creation.  In this case, there is much we can learn from geese.  So often we forgot why God established the church in the first place.  We lose sight of why we should worship together, pray together, and do the work of the Lord together.  We need each other!  The apostle Paul said to the Romans, "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. 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. Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other."  (Romans 12:4-16)  And Paul also told the church in Corinth, "The body has many different parts, not just one part. 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. And if the ear says, ˜I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,' would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?  But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 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.' In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:14-27)  What happens if you cut off your hand?  Does the hand continue to function apart from the body?  And is not the body handicapped because of the loss of its hand? 
    In our Gospel reading (John 17:6-23) we heard part of the beautiful prayer of Jesus for his disciples.  Not only for his disciples that walked the earth at the time of his earthly ministry, but for all who would become disciples of Christ in the centuries to follow.  The last verse that we heard (vs 23) said, "May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me."  Not only does unity in the church help us to build up one another in the faith and keep us on course; but it serves as a witness to the world.  If the world sees us fighting among ourselves, or sees us each going our own way with little regard for the other members of the Body of Christ, how are we a witness for the love of God?  Why would anyone want to learn more about Jesus, if all they see in us is the same spirit they see in the unbelievers - sometimes even worse!  There is a bumper sticker that says, "Jesus, save me from your followers!"  I find it more sad than humorous because unfortunately there is quite often way too much truth in it.  So let's live in such a way that instead the world prays, "Jesus, I want to be one of your followers!"  Amen.

          CHILDREN'S MESSAGE:

          After their wind-up bunnies went in every which direction, even falling off the step, I asked them what animals work together.