When I was nine I had my own personal bully: Willy Parsells. When he saw me on his turf, Willy would hit me, knock me down and make life miserable. When I came home crying one day with new pants ripped, my dad, who was pretty smart, called my brother Bill over. “Son, would you walk to school with your brother every day, and if this kid tries anything, will you help Wade teach him a lesson? My brother agreed and we shook hands on it.
Another smart guy, Solomon, wrote, ”By yourself you’re vulnerable, but with a friend you can face the worst. If you can round up a third, even better, A three-stranded cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
One day, on my way home from school, my bully came at me with violence in his eyes, but I wasn’t afraid. I had my brother at my side. In no time we had him on the ground crying. What’s crazy about this story is, a few months later, Willy tried it again. Our pal Jimmy happened to be with us and the three of us taught him crime doesn’t pay. I seem to remember a bloody nose. We never heard of Billy bullying anyone after that.
They Weren’t Sent Out One by One: God did a smart thing giving Eve to Adam as a helpmate. Jesus, like his father, did the wise thing sending his disciples out in pairs. Old Noah led the animals into the ark by two-sies; Joshua had Caleb; John partnered with Peter and how about Paul? He always traveled with a team. He was with Silas when beaten and thrown in jail. What if he had been alone? Would things have had such a great outcome if they hadn’t been in unity, praying and encouraging one another?
The power of two or more is nowhere more effective than in prayer. You go into your prayer closet alone and God will surely be there with you. But Jesus promised his special presence and power…“if two of you are in harmony (Gr: symphanos) on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you; for where two or three gather in my name, I am present among them.” (Matthew 18:19, 20). When we unite with others, his presence and our prayers are even stronger.
I’ve have had the privilege of planting two churches. The first was with a Taiwanese pastor. Together we prayed for God to do something for months. Finally, in a single evening, God used us to form a congregation of brand new believers in Taipei. A dozen years later a Gypsy convert asked me to help him reach his people with the gospel. We were in unity and prayed for months. Within a year we baptized hundreds of Gypsies and there are now Gypsy congregations in most major U.S. cities from that church.
So, if you want to do great things for God, put aside your rugged individualism. Find at least one other person of like mind. And if you can find more to agree with you, even better. Remember what Jesus said. To do even greater things, how about 120 or so gathered together, praying in unity? On the day of Pentecost, a little church of 120 became a mega church of 3, 120.
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