Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)
TITLE: Threefold Unity
By Tim Pickl
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The thunderous clapping and cheering of the agreeing crowd mingled with the static on my radio. I was listening to an answer to prayer: For years, I prayed and fasted for this day to come. The walls have finally fallen!
It’s too bad it had to take a <i>Great War</i> to make it happen.
I am a pastor of a small town church in the middle of—well, we call it “Nowheresville”. Ironically—or fittingly—our little town has 3 distinct church congregations in it, one from each denomination that just decided to unite.
The applause continued. <i>Wow…this is amazing</i>, I thought.
I am friends with the other two pastors in town—we meet about once a month for lunch or breakfast, or both (we call it brunch). Our fellowship would often go on for hours. Unity is already here in Nowheresville! In fact, while I’m listening and writing this journal, my two friends are right here beside me.
Excuse me, for just a minute.
Thank you for your patience. I had to stand and hug and weep with my pastor friends—John and Oscar. We’ve all prayed for this day to happen. Why not? Why were our denominations so divided on petty, manmade rules and traditions, when we have a literally dying world—and, in our case, town—full of lost souls to reach?
Well, the town is not so full anymore. Some died in the bombings and military occupation.
We’re working on our first combined sermon, and since I have the only working typing device, I was chosen to write it out:
The premise of our sermon is Ecclesiastes 4:12:
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
and the last part of Nehemiah 8:10
“…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The word <b>J.O.Y.</b> itself is an acronym for the threefold cord of blessing and priorities in our lives.
<center><b>J</b> (John will deliver this portion)</center>
The “J” in JOY stands for <i>Jesus!</i> We are to bless the Lord Jesus by thanking Him each day <i>for that day.</i> Every day, we are to praise and worship Him and Him alone in Spirit and in Truth. While the loss and devastation is all around us, we still have much to be thankful for. <i>Lord, we thank You and we praise You for all that You are. We love You and appreciate all You’ve provided for us during this Great Trial. We are Your remnant on this earth: help us to reach many souls for a great harvest for Your great kingdom.</i> Truly we live in perilous times.
<center><b>O</b> (Oscar will deliver this portion)</center>
The “O” in JOY stands for <i>others</i>. The Great 7 Day War has deeply affected every surviving soul on the planet. It’s our job to bless others—and each other in our new congregation—using whatever the Lord has given us. We can help others by sharing Bibles, food and clothing. Whatever we do unto them, we’ve done it unto You, Lord. <i>Lord Jesus, help us to bless others, and each other, today.</i>
<center><b>Y</b> (Pastor Yale—that’s me—will deliver this portion.)</center>
The “Y” in JOY stands for <i>yourself</i>. In order to bless Jesus and others, you need to be healthy and ready to serve. <i>Take care of yourself, please.</i> Believe me, I’ve done this: Running yourself ragged makes you ineffective in the kingdom of God. You will run yourself down so far, then <i>boom!</i> Your body will get so sick; it just shuts you down in spite of yourself. <i>Lord Jesus, help us to remember to take a little time each day to take care of ourselves—not selfishly for ourselves, but to be able to bless You and serve others in Your kingdom.</i>
John, Oscar and I rejoiced together as we heard the joyful radio reports: thousands were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
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