“The Power Of Cooperation”

March 3, 2016

Amish home near White Horse, PA 3/2/16
The colorful clothing stands out on an Amish porch near White Horse, PA.Amish farm equipment near White Horse, PA 3/2/16
Machinery at an Amish farm implement manufacturer in White Horse

The Power Of Cooperation”

Message Summary: The Body of Christ truly works as the church “grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work”. Let us do our part today in advancing the cause of Christ in the various ways we serve and realize this is best done in a generous spirit of cooperation. We encourage you today to faithfully serve in whatever manner God has led you; in your local church, your neighborhood, your community, your family and in other areas of service for the Lord. Let us seek to demonstrate the power of cooperation.

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“Each looking not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).

Last Wednesday evening (February 24) we had severe storms pass through our area, along with a tornado warning. We stayed in our basement family room till the warning was lifted. We went to bed and didn’t give the matter much thought. However the eastern part of Lancaster County did have a tornado that destroyed homes and structures such as barns, chicken houses, and an Amish one room schoolhouse. It also ripped many roofs off of houses, churches, and other structures. One man woke up because it was raining on him with the roof blown off! Thankfully and really, amazingly there were no serious injuries or deaths reported. The extreme winds and destructive path of the tornado funneled its way through the Amish area of White Horse.

Yesterday, following the morning milking, our Amish friend Jesse rode with us over to visit the area and then stayed to join the Amish relief team effort. It’s so characteristic of the charitableness of the Amish people. It was a bitterly cold day with high winds that made the work outside all the more challenging for the volunteers. Below our message we post several photos.

It is a model of organization, cooperation, and community spirit. All ages except the very youngest contribute and the women see that there is plenty of energy-giving food available to the laborers. It’s not just a time of physical labor but also a time honored practice of “each looking not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

A common representation of the Church is the image of the Body. Today’s text draws a powerful analogy from the human body and speaks of how, “From Him [Christ] the whole body [Church], joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

The following illustration I share took place in a primary class speaks and volumes to me regarding our need to be on the look-out for others who have a need:

A new boy, Davey, showed up just as the class started. Because he had just one arm, the teacher was a bit nervous, concerned that one of the other children would comment on his handicap and embarrass him. But since there was no opportunity to caution them, she proceeded.

She began to relax as Davey fit in very well. Then, when it was about time for the class to end, she asked the students to stand and join her in making the church. Showing them how to put the fingers of their two hands together, she said, “Let’s make a church. Here’s the church and here’s the steeple. Open the door and see all the people.”

As she saw Davey holding his one hand in the air, the awful truth of her actions struck her. The very thing she had feared the children would do, embarrass Davey, she had just done. She stood speechless, embarrassed by her own unintended insensitivity.

But before she could do anything, Sarah, the little girl next to Davey, put her right hand into his left hand and said, “Davey, let’s make the church together.”

What a tremendous illustration of the Body of Christ at work in cooperation. Today let us merely focus on the final phrase in our second daily text, “as each part does its work”.

It is easily observable that when everything works properly each part is doing its work. This is true all through God’s creation as well as man’s designs. Yesterday I spoke to Tom, a manufacturing engineer, who works with machinery that makes agricultural parts. He has had quite a time with a very complex machine that makes watering components. He explained that for some parts the machine, which works blazingly fast, had to be calibrated to the milli-second (1/1000 of a second). That sure doesn’t leave much room for error!!! If one part in the machine malfunctions it can throw the entire process off kilter. Thankfully in human relationships there’s usually a bit more margin or we would sure be in trouble!

Little things do matter and their failure to perform properly and on time can impair or at times completely destroy the functioning of the whole. Think about it, essentially everything that fails does so ultimately because of something small. Even a catastrophic failure generally begins with something small.

The Body of Christ truly works as the church “grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work”. Let us do our part today in advancing the cause of Christ in the various ways we serve and realize this is best done in a generous spirit of cooperation. We encourage you today to faithfully serve in whatever manner God has led you; in your local church, your neighborhood, your community, your family and in other areas of service for the Lord. Let us seek to demonstrate the power of cooperation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we pray for a spirit of cooperation and eagerness to contribute to the needs of the whole body, so that Your Church is built not just with sweat, bricks, and mortar but with love, care, and teamwork. Therefore we seek to act in cooperation, unity and purpose as we do our part in building each other up in the various natural giftings and learned skills You have given us as we strive for unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. We also want to be on the look-out for opportunities to reach out to those who are not of the household of faith. Through our loving and generous endeavors toward their needs we have more opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with them, helping them not just here and now but reaching them for all eternity. Amen.


White Horse tornado recovery photosAmish home near White Horse, PA rebuilt ground up less than a week following tornado 3/2/16
Yesterday morning we passed this house that was leveled by the storm which was rebuilt to this stage in less than a week! Actually I spoke to Jesse last night and he informed me they may have been able to use the original foundation in this case. They began clean-up early last Thursday morning. They do not work on the Lord’s Day so they got to this stage, including removing the debris, in just five work days!

Tent for horses near White Horse, PA during tornado recovery tornado 3/2/16
This temporary tent was raised for the horses on the cold, blustery day. Unfortunately the horses are not visible due to the dark color within the tent.

Amish barn near White Horse, PA rebuilt ground up less than a week following tornado 3/2/16
I teased Jesse that it was a good thing he didn’t belong to one of the more conservative type Amish groups that forbid the use of modern machinery!

Dinner prep at White Horse Fire Hall following tornado 3/2/16
Dinner prep at White Horse Fire Hall. They fed 1,800 last Saturday. Sadly Jesse told us that the Amish lady who had initially been coordinating the massive feeding effort had a nervous breakdown and had been hospitalized.

Amish barn near White Horse, PA a week following tornado 3/2/16
Jesse ended up working with a crew rebuilding the stone barn.  A close-up reveals that there was damage to the stone side as well. Jesse told me last night they had determined the wall was structurally sound but coated the inside with concrete to reinforce it.

Amish barn roof torn off near White Horse, PA following tornado 3/2/16
Here’s a photo of the barn with the missing roof. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put the new roof on this today.

Stone farmhouse near White Horse, PA 3/2/16
Much of the activity in the above photos was behind this stone farmhouse that didn’t appear to have any damage.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Note: The Amish are well-known for taking care of their own, but lesser known for their volunteer spirit in helping those who are not Amish. They were very involved in restoring homes following the Hurricane Sandy storm in the New Jersey area several years ago as they filled vans for weeks and rebuilt and repaired structures in that part of the country.

White Horse Tornado Damage and Rebuilding Process This video recorded Sunday, thus explaining why you don’t see anyone working!

Location of White Horse PA (Google map)

“Thank You Lord, For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb  I thought of this song when I considered the man waking with his roof blown off. This song helps us to remember the simple blessings of life.

“Thank You Lord, For Your Blessings On Me”  Video  This version has some moving testimonies including the background to the song.

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video  George Beverly Shea tells story behind song and Jason Crabb sings it. This song is a great reminder of what should really matter in life. With all the confusion and noise out there it blesses me to allow it’s perspective to permeate my spirit

“The Servant Song”  Video  Maranatha Singers

“Make me Your Servant”  Video  Maranatha Singers

Finally today:

Helping with Amish milk barn chores 3/2/16Yesterday morning I helped Jesse with his milkhouse chores before we left to visit the area damaged by the tornado.

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