Strength in teamwork

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

As John Wesley frequently said, “The New Testament knows nothing of solitary Christianity. The Scriptures refuse to believe that there could be such a thing as un-churched Christian.” God expects Christians to meet together, but even more than that, he encourages teamwork. That’s one way that they get the strength to carry out work for the kingdom.

Sometimes two seemingly unrelated incidents in Scripture can shed light on the meaning of a third. Paul’s experience in Athens and Jesus’ preparations for  his last visit to Jerusalem may seem unrelated, but they both illustrate the truth of the quotation from Ecclesiastes about strength in teamwork.… Read the rest

Loving disagreement: Paul addresses heresy

I confess that I usually pass over the first few verses of Paul’s epistles without paying much attention. After all, they’re just greeting formulas and opening remarks before getting down to the real meat, right?

So I have just prepared a Sunday school lesson based on the first fourteen verses of Colossians. Colossians has fewer verses to skip over than some epistles. It begins with an account of how Paul prays for that church. I have studied that as an intercessory prayer. The assigned lesson is about faith within a community, so I have had to take a fresh look at this passage.… Read the rest

Next words of Jesus: Haven’t you any fish?

“He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered him. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” — John 21:5-6 (NIV)

Jesus seldom does the same thing twice, yet this was the second time he told his disciples to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. Nearly every sermon I have ever heard on either passage points out that commercial fishing was and is done from the left side of the boat.… Read the rest