THE NEXT CHAPTER
Chuck Allen, Pastor
There are lessons we learn the hard way and lessons we learn from the strangest places. Sometimes it is fun to just look around and see what we can learn. BTW, there’s always something to learn, even if it’s what not to do! I loved watching cartoons when I was a kid. I learned a lot from watching the Road Runner. And from Scooby Doo!
Sometimes we can learn some lessons from some interesting places. If we would take the time to look around us, we could learn some good object lessons. One of the things that I have enjoyed over the years is the great outdoors. I worked in an office that had a lake behind the office. I loved to walk around that lake, but in the summer, there were a lot of geese around the lake. I enjoyed watching the geese, but trying to walk around that lake was tough. The geese left multiple deposits on the sidewalk and if you got too close to them, they could be pretty aggressive.
I’ve noticed that geese seem to be able to do something that we in the Church should want to do. Their flocks seem to get larger. These geese do this by reproduction, but they also must invite other geese to come join them. I don’t think that geese have an email or smart phone to communicate with one another, but as I watch geese, their flocks get larger and larger as the season goes on.
Have you ever noticed geese when they are flying in a “V” formation? Have you noticed that one side of the “V” is longer than the other side? You know why?
Yes, yes you were set up for that one. But there are some lessons that we need to learn from these geese. The end of the book of Acts sets the stage for who we are to be, and what we are to do as a church. It has this abrupt end as if it’s screaming at us to write the last chapter with our lives…our church!
What are some lessons that the church can learn from the world of a goose?
GEESE HANG OUT WITH PURPOSE
IT’S THE CONCEPT OF FELLOWSHIP
What is fellowship? I am sure that you have heard this word from the IN church life before. Fellowship means “to have in common”, “to share”, “to participate for a common cause”.
ACTS 2:42 And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
I want to ask you, “As Christians, what are we doing together other than meeting on Sunday?” Why do the geese get together before they head south for the winter (God made them that way, they do not think about it)?
The geese get together because together, the journey is easier. And together they can fly further! (Daytona Drafting)
When you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing that science has discovered why they fly that way. Re-search has revealed that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately behind it. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
People who share a common direction and sense of community get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on one another’s thrust and trust!
Part of being in fellowship with one another is making sure that we are going in the same direction and that we are flying in formation.
Have you seen a group of geese heading out in all directions as they try to head south? Never – they are together. That is a great lesson for the modern church…and a great lesson for us here at Sugar Hill Church!
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone. It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
When we fall out of formation with God, we also feel the resistance pull us down away from our goal of growing closer to Jesus. Of being an encouragement and accountability with each other!
Listen, folks – if we will set off together and stay together, serve together, love one an on our journey to become more like Jesus together, the journey becomes easier and the results become greater!
The geese, because of their instinct given to them by God, get together and head south for the winter for their survival. As Followers of Jesus, we need to get together and walk together, we need to spend time together and grow together. Give Together and Go Together!
1 JOHN 1:6-7 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
The geese stay together and head south for their survival, we too must work together as one body for our survival. As a church, each of us need to think of ways that we can grow together in Christ.
If we as Followers of Jesus have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and so will those who are headed the same way we are. Like the Apostle Paul – growing every day, every month and every year toward acting, reacting and loving this world as Jesus taught us.
GEESE NATURALLY WORK TOGETHER
THEY ILLUSTRATE THE CONCEPT OF SHARING THE WORKLOAD
I’m pretty sure that we really don’t work together, or think together, because so many of us believe Jesus left His church in goth hands of people that care about this world and care less what is in it for them.
I was taught a general rule regarding giving and getting work done in the church. 80% of the work and giving gets done by 20% of the people. This rule applies to churches who are not really growing, growing churches are active churches, the more people involved in the work of the church, the more that gets done.
80/20 – The Perato Principle sounds great, but it’s not really true in the church. With more than 500 family units attending each week, less than 260 of them give anything at all! Those numbers are far less when you measure the number of folks that invite other folks to join them at church.
But let’s give ourselves the benefit of the doubt – What happens when 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the people? The people who are doing the work become discouraged and sometimes get burned out. Some of you are pulling far more than your share – Thank You!
These geese tho’ – When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the “V” and another goose flies the point. (It pays to take turns doing hard jobs.) It pays to share leadership and followship!
What would happen to the geese if only 20% of them would take the lead? The geese would not achieve their goal of survival. They would fail and most likely freeze! Sharing the workload ensures that the work will get done. But it doesn’t insure that it will be easier…just better!~
But we often cannot bend toward cooperation because it might ask more of us! It might cause us to be found out, or even ask us to sacrifice our preferences or orthodoxies!
Remember the words that Jesus sent His church to be, do and live? Matthew 28:18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The work of the church is important; we are building the kingdom of God. There are many of you with various talents that could enhance the ministry of this church, make sure that you use them. 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we are one body with many parts, if all of the parts are not working in the body, the body does not function properly. What if 80% of you car engine decided to quit working?
By instinct, geese share the work load among all the geese, as a church, we should do the same thing. To do that we need a clear, common and compelling purpose for which we exist. Watch this…Sugar Hill Church exists to Make the Bible a BIG DEAL, to Make Jesus the BIGGEST DEAL of all time and to cooperatively serve people in need with the passion, obedient love of Jesus the Christ!
GEESE KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET WHERE THEY ARE GOING!
THEY ILLUSTRATE THE CONCEPT OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Have you ever heard a flock of geese flying high overhead? They are making all kinds of noise, they are honking at each other as they fly. I know that on the highway, the only honking you hear from behind is someone wanting you to speed up or get out of the way.
Why do geese honk as they fly?
The researchers tell us that geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. IN ESSENCE, EVERY HONK SAYS YOU ‘DA GOOSE – KEEP GOING!
What do we say when we honk from behind? Is it encouragement? Maybe gossip? Maybe a slight roll of the eye? Listen to Paul’s letter in
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
Or Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Far too often, the noise that we hear behind people who are working is not the voice of encouragement, but instead, the voice of criticism.
These geese are trying to encourage one another as they are on their long journey south, as Followers of Jesus, we should do the same thing. We are on a long journey to Jesus and we need encourager’s. In the New Testament, Barnabas was known for being an encourager. ACTS 4:36 And Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means, Son of Encouragement). We need to encourage one another. We need a little honking going on around here!
GEESE SHARE THE LOAD
THEY ILLUSTRATE SHARING BURDENS WITH ONE ANOTHER
This last concept is one that desperately needed in the church. The concept of sharing one another’s burden, other’s loads, sorrows and heartaches. Notice that it’s not talking about problems but helping to carry each each others challenges!
When a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gun-fire and falls out, two other geese fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the goose until it is either able to fly again or dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
ROMANS 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.
Folks need to know that when they need someone, they have a brother or sister in Christ that they can reach out to. We all need encouragement.
Too many times we shoot the fellow Christian who stumbles, we need to stay with them until they heal or die. Stay the course!
I pray that as a church we will fly together in the formation, that we will share the workload of the church, do a lot of honking, and share one another’s burdens.
If the community knows that is the way this church operates, people will flock to us. You know how I know that? John 13:35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
What are you doing on a personal level to enhance the ministry of Sugar Hill Church? Let’s fly together and do a lot of honking around here. Let us be guilty of being known as a people in love, people committed to a clear common and compelling purpose as we make a big deal about the Bible, Make the biggest deal about Jesus, and never miss an opportunity to serve folks in need, starting here in our community and to the ends of the earth!
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