We thank God and celebrate the growth of our readership in the last 12 months.
We are part of a team, God's team.
DAVID BEARD, long-time captain of the Australian volleyball team, learned from his father that 'Winning's not the be-all and end-all; it's how you play that really matters'.
His colleagues know him as an excellent team player and as an out-and- out Christian.
Imagine this scene: it's 10 am, training time.The trainer eyes his team and notices that the number 6, Phil, is missing. Answering his question, a player says, 'He was really tired, boss, so he's slept in today. But he says he'll be with us in spirit.'
'OK' says the boss. 'Tell him I asked after him'. And then, 'Hey, where's Tony?' 'Ah, he says some old friends turned up last night so he's looking after them. But he did train really well last week'.
The trainer looks again at his squad and notices that Sam's missing. 'He's taken his family out for the day, boss. You know, the kids are off school and it's such a glorious day he couldn't say no to them. But he'll be here without fail for the next session.' 'OK, fine', says the trainer. 'Let's get moving.'
One of the players stays on the bench. 'What's wrong with you?' asks the trainer. 'Boss, you know I can't stand Tom. I've reached a point where either he goes or I go. I see he's still here, so I'm off.' 'Bye,' says the trainer. 'OK, you people, get those legs up high!'
A bit later he divides the remaining players into two teams and while they're playing a practice game Johnny suddenly jogs off the training area and heads for the changing rooms.
'Hey! Where are you going?' shouts the trainer. Back comes the reply, 'We didn't have a pep talk before training. We always have a pep a talk, boss. I can't take it when things aren't done the same way. Sorry, boss.' And he leaves too.
'Man, our numbers are going down. We'll get thrashed in the game'. The trainer turns to focus on the players and he sees Will coming towards him. 'Boss, I can't play in the first team until we get a new kit. My wife says these red and black stripes look awful on me. And you wouldn't want people to laugh at me, would you?'
The trainer is trying to think of a reply when Geoff trots up and says, 'I'm fed up of all this training! All I want to do is play the game. I'm sick of coming here twice a week just to get hot and sweaty. Why can't we just turn up for the match? I'm out of here. Call me if you want me to play in the match'.
And he leaves too. The few that are left have lost all sense of what they are there for. They stand around, looking at the ground. One of them eventually pipes up, 'Excuse me for saying this.
I know most of you won't know what I'm talking about, but all that's happened here somehow makes me think of my church. It's just like this.'
A last word: We are part of a team, God's team. If the above imaginary setting got you a bit wound up, think how we behave in church.
You are part of the team. Your team players need your work, your effort, your service, your words, your ideas. God wants you to be a team player!