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Student Ministry - September 2021

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Dear Church Family,

I have noticed an odd paradox in our world today. Rugged individualism stands on one side and is highly praised in our society. But on the other side stands the expectation for others to support one’s unashamed self-determination. Furthermore, when praise is given for an individual’s achievement, it is usually expected that he or she give credit to others for their support of that individual. I can’t help but think of something like the Oscars or Emmys. It is always expected that whoever wins the award will invariably thank other people who helped  with the achievement and also thank the fans.

We as believers obviously have a different approach to (and even definition of) achievement in our lives. And we know that any achievement of ours ultimately comes from God, because without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). But I wonder if we realize how much God has designed for our growth in the Lord and accomplishments in life to be connected to support from others. If we look at successes in our lives, do we see all the people along the way that made that possible? Do we see how much that was a part of God’s plan all along? I believe that if we see the regular pattern of support and accountability from others that God has designed, then we can pursue those things intentionally and reap even more fruit out of life. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “a chord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Often this verse is used in weddings, which is a perfect application of the text. But the meaning of the text is not simply restricted to married couples. It refers to the wisdom of having a relationship with another person for the purpose of mutual support in life. The significance of the number three points to the need for God to be included in this support system. So the principle we can take away from this is that we need God-centered relationships with people who can help support us, and whom we can help support. In this we will find much success and strength in our lives.

This is a matter of wisdom. So that means that if you do not follow this principle in life, then you might still be a genuine believer who loves Christ. But you will be missing out on many opportunities to experience more of Christ and His blessing in your life. And on top of that, you may be hindering yourself from making more of a difference in the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are many ways to apply this principle to our lives. There are accountability partners, mentors, discipleship groups, and probably many other things people do to make this happen. One way this happened for me was when I was in high school and one of the men in our church asked me if I would like to join him working out at the gym. He knew that God wanted him to help support and grow the younger men in our church, and working out together was just one way he knew how to do that. In our times at the gym, I learned and grew physically. But we made it a point to spend time praying and talking about spiritual things too. So it was not just our muscles that we were training, but also our faith in the Lord.

This is what we in the church need to be doing. So if you are not in a regular relationship with another believer for the purpose of supporting the growth of each other’s faith, then I highly encourage you to pray for God to help you find that person and enjoy the blessing of a three chord relationship.

Pastor Brian Van Doren

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