5 Key Parts To A Synergy Relationship

img_1970King David of Israel was a stud! Outstanding song writer, professional shepherd, bear killer, lion killer, giant killer, decorated army general, and ultimately king of Israel.

Near the end of his life we read an extensive list of Mighty Men that supported David. Some of these guys were also giant killers. One guy singlehandedly defeated 300 enemies, another guy defeated 800 bad guys, one guy killed a lion, and on and on the list goes.

I believe it is clear that David wouldn’t have become king without the support of his Mighty Men, and these guys probably wouldn’t have been recognized as “Mighty Men” without David’s support.

This is a classic definition of synergy. Synergy is when the outcome is so much greater than just the addition of the parts. Sort of like 1 + 1 = 5.

All of us can be a part of synergistic relationships, if we will include these five key parts.

[1] Humility

Without humility, you will never let anyone else into your life, and it’s doubtful they will let you in. Humility says, “I don’t have all the answers. I need some help in fulfilling my God-given dream. I have some areas of weakness where you are strong.”

[2] Confidence

Just like humility, without confidence it’s doubtful others would allow you access to their lives. Confidence says, “I have some something I am willing to offer you. I have a God-given strength in an area where you may be struggling.” The Apostle Paul said, all of us have strengths that God has given us that are to be used to help others (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7).

[3] Collaboration

Quite simply, in order for synergy to work, the people in the relationship have to be willing to labor together. Paul used the example of one person planting the seed and another person watering the seed. Both laborers are necessary if there is going to be a harvest.

[4] Patience

The journey with others may be slower and messier than traveling solo, but it’s so much more rewarding (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

[5] Investment

Synergy is really about there being a return on investment. But if you’re not willing to invest your time, your learning, your love, can you really expect there to be a synergistic return?

I just wrapped up a year-long investment with a group of guys from my church. What an amazing time! I am definitely better for having been involved with this synergy group, and I believe all of the other guys would tell you the same thing. You, too, can experience this same joy by investing in a synergy group of your own!

Around, Awake, Aware

Fathers DayThe statistics on fatherless homes are quite alarming:

  • 63 percent of teen suicides are from fatherless homes;
  • 90 percent of homeless children and runaways are from fatherless homes; and
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.

Since the latest numbers tell us that 40% of babies are now born to unwed mothers, we could have a potential societal collapse looming! But there is good news: It’s not too late to do something about this. We—the men in the Church—can make a difference. A father has life-changing power. Not simply someone who is a biological father, but someone who will step into a fatherly role to invest in a person’s life.

God chose David His servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep He brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel His inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:70-72)

God is looking for men who are His servants; men who don’t want to plan their own course, but who say, “I am Your servant; use me however You see best.”

David was given a ragtag bunch of men, which the Bible describes as “in distress, in debt or discontented” (1 Samuel 22:2). With integrity and skill David poured into their lives, so that by the end of his life this ragtag group became heroes (see 2 Samuel 23:8-39).

Throughout Scripture God calls men to step into the lives of the fatherless. These distressed, indebted, discontented children of today need a father who is:

  • Around physically—Ephesians 6:2 (it’s hard to honor an absentee father)
  • Awake emotionally—Ephesians 6:4a (one who won’t exasperate them)
  • Aware spiritually—Ephesians 6:4b (one who will bring them up in…the Lord)

We can be a part of reversing the downward slide of our culture.

Hear me, God-fearing men: countless distressed, fatherless kids could become our generation’s mighty warriors because of your investment! 

1-on-1 Time

I love my 1-on-1 time with my kids. It’s wonderful when we can spend time together as a family, but there is something special about the times I can zero-in on just one of my kids at a time.

Harrison & I read Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Teens awhile ago, and now Samantha & I are working our way through it together. Brandon is just beginning to get into some serious reading, and right now we are discussing the situations in which Frank and Joe Hardy find themselves in The Hardy Boys series.

It doesn’t have to be over a book. Go for a walk … schedule a daddy-daughter date … play some basketball on the driveway … debrief the life lessons you just watched in a movie … play a video game.

Listen to this Dad and Mom: It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing together, as long as you are doing it together. Not what you want to do, but what they want to do. Get involved in their lives. The precious time you invest 1-on-1 with your kids will make all the difference in the world!

Brave Enough

If God asks me to give $1, I can quickly and easily say, “Yes!”

If God asks me to give $10, I say, “Okay!”

If God asks me to give $100, I say, “Um, well, if You say so.”

If God asks me to give $1000, I say, “I need to pray about this ‘faith promise.’”

If God asks me to give $10,000, I say, “As soon as You bless me, I’ll be able to do this.”

This same principle holds true for anything else:

  • Used clothing? Sure. Brand new stuff? I’m not so sure.
  • Volunteer an hour? Okay! Make a commitment for an hour every week? Let me think about it.
  • Pray for someone? No problem. Add them to my daily prayer list? Whoa!
  • Support missionaries? Yes! Become a missionary? Well….

It’s easy to obey when the stakes are low. But the more “zeroes” that get added to the amount, the stakes seem so much higher. Am I brave enough to obey then?

This is what tripped up Saul, Israel’s first king. He was supposed to devote everything from the defeated Amalekites to God. Devote” means a complete and irrevocable giving to God. For the things where the stakes were low, he obeyed. But when he perceived the stakes being higher, he wasn’t so brave –

Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality. (NLT)

He captured Agag, king of Amalek, alive. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army made an exception for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn’t include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban. (The Message)

Ironically, because Saul held on to what he thought was valuable, he lost something invaluable: a close relationship with God. His cowardice led to disobedience, which led to ultimate collapse.

I pray that I’m brave enough to obey just as quickly when the stakes are high as I do when the stakes are low.

What about you? Are you brave enough?

Worth It

We went big for our Resurrection Sunday celebration. Instead of our usual format, we had two services. And we provided breakfast for everyone. And we wrote and presented an original Easter drama. It was a stretch for us. Going big means:

  • More nights and weekends spent writing and rehearsing.
  • Recruiting more nursery workers.
  • Asking these nursery workers to give up being in the service to minister to our kids.
  • Spending Saturday setting up tables and chairs.
  • Spending money on food that we wouldn’t normally spend.
  • Asking our music team to come earlier and stay later.
  • Speaking twice.

But it was so worth it! At the end of the morning, 18 people invited Jesus into their life!

Since Jesus gave His life for these folks, I think it is a small sacrifice for us to give the money and time and effort that we gave.

I’m so proud of my cast and crew, and kitchen workers, and worship team members, and nursery workers. Not to mention all of our church members who invited family and friends to come to our Easter breakfast drama this morning.

Ah, yes, it is so worth it!!

Prayer Works

This phrase is powerful on so many levels —

  • Prayer is effective.
  • Prayer makes changes in me.
  • Prayer makes me work better.
  • Work is made better with prayer.
  • It takes a lot of work to pray.

Most Christians give the first day of each week to God. I’m challenging myself and our congregation to give the first week of the new year to God. January 3-9 will be a week of working in prayer. We’ve called this week Total Access: When we pray, we have total access to all of God’s blessings. He wants to bless us so that…

1. We can be more fruitful.

2. We can bless others out of our overflow.

3. We can glorify God.

Why don’t you join us in giving your first week of the year to God. It’s work to pray, but prayer works.

Sharper

Yesterday was one of those days that I was on “receive” mode. As a pastor I usually spend more days in the “dispense” mode: teaching, counseling, advising. But yesterday I was blessed to sit back and soak in some great counsel. And I’m sharper for it.

It’s too bad that many people never take the time to allow others to advise them. Or, if they do go through the motions of “listening” to advice, they never put that counsel into action.

I met with a seasoned pastor yesterday morning. He asked me several questions to assess where I was personally and professionally, and then he gave me some invaluable insight. He’s one of those “been-there-done-that” guys who has learned the lessons of history well, and he was gracious to share with me.

Last night I invited my Impact teaching team over to my house. After sharing dinner together I listened as they weighed in on our upcoming series in our youth services. Since they are closer in age to our students, their insight into the teenage mind was so keen. They were able to help me better understand the challenges and culture of middle and high school students. And I’m sharper for it.

A few thoughts from some other wise counselors…

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” – Proverbs 1:5 (KJV)

“Those who will not be counseled, cannot be helped. More souls are ruined by pride than by any other sin whatever.” – Matthew Henry

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” – Proverbs 11:14 (The Message)

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

“To accept good advice is to increase one’s own ability.” – Goethe

Are you getting sharper? Are you listening to good advice?

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