There’s No “I” in Team

We completely understand that thinking and speaking kindness, gratitude, and respect consistently isn’t always easy, but it does make your relationships easier! It definitely takes practice listening to the right things to get our minds renewed from trash which has previously gone in. In the Bible, Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi, and he encouraged them that if they really wanted peace, they had to choose to have pure and praiseworthy thoughts. He told his listeners:


Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)


Paul understood that good thoughts have the power to successfully catapult our relationships, but bad thoughts, like pirates, highjack what could have been a fun and prosperous journey. Most of us think well of our spouse when he or she is kind and doing what we like them to do. The question is, can we put this into practice when our spouse hasn’t met our needs?
Notice Paul didn’t say, “Finally brethren, whatever things are dishonorable, whatever things are unjust, whatever things are unloving, whatever things are a bad report, if there is any dissatisfaction and anything worth condemning—meditate on these things.”
Paul knew most people by human nature enjoy a pity party every once in a while, so he purposefully told people to mentally hang out on encouraging and uplifting thoughts. He knew this would have to be a super intentional effort for us to be able to consistently win in life and our relationships!
Paul was basically saying this: think good, pure, and praiseworthy. Pretend peaceful thoughts have glue on them and our job is to stick those thoughts to our brain each day. We may even need to write these good things on our bathroom mirror, fridge, or desk at work to remind us. Pretend bad and critical thoughts are nasty stuff stuck to toilet paper, and our job is to flush those thoughts down the tube as quickly as they show up each day. When we glue those praiseworthy, grateful thoughts in our head, peace will eventually take hold in our hearts and homes!
Whatever we expect from others, good or bad, we usually get. You have probably heard the statement, “That person really knows how to bring out the best in others!” Legendary basketball coach John Wooden was a classic example of this.
Coach Wooden was known for making his players better, both on and off the court. He daily made the vision clear. He had his team focus on mastering excellence in the fundamentals, and additionally, he trained his players to show each other respect and appreciation. In other words, they weren’t allowed to act like a one-man show.
As the old adage says, “There’s no I in TEAM.” Coach Wooden trained unity like no other coach at the time. He watched closely to be sure in practice and games players always gave a nod or hand-slap in appreciation of each other’s every assist that helped them succeed. It was a simple, team-minded principle that works on the basketball court as well as in marriage and parenting.
How would your life be different if you smiled and thanked everyone in your home each time they helped you in the slightest little way? We dare you to take this simple challenge and let us know how it transforms your home! If smiles and appreciation haven’t been your mode of operation up to now you may encounter some questioning or sarcasm, but stick with it! As I heard Joyce Meyer say, “God will change your circumstances, but He’ll change you first.”
When I was in Bible college, there was a young man in his early twenties who was asked by the professor to share his testimony with the class. His birth mother had been a drug addict who brought him, only a few days old, into a business and left him with the people at the desk, saying she could not take care of the baby. A loving Christian family who had been praying for a baby boy quickly adopted him.
His new mother brought him to the doctor and was told he had so much cocaine in his body that he would certainly be a drug addict himself by a young age. The mom was also told he would never be intelligent, he would have various abnormalities, and he would be little and frail with a weak immune system throughout life. The parents refused to believe the doctor’s report.
His mom prayed over him daily, believing for him to become strong, intelligent, and a mighty vessel for God. She prayed that the blood of Jesus shed on the cross would cleanse his system and cancel every adverse effect of the drugs he had in the womb. As he grew, they saw all of the prayers answered. He became a strong, healthy, tall, and very intelligent young man with a wonderful gift for speaking.
His testimony then became even more amazing. When he was a young teen, his dad walked away from God and divorced his mother for another woman. My classmate said he felt deeply hurt, yet each day at their meals together he would hear his mom pray for his dad with a heart of love and compassion, believing God would somehow draw his father back to Jesus. His mother’s example of unconditional love and forgiveness amazed him and eventually opened his heart to have compassion for his father.
One day, after a few years had passed, he received a visit from his dad, who apologized to his son for what he had done. He had asked God to forgive him and had come to ask his son for forgiveness as well. My classmate forgave his dad, and they were reconciled in their relationship. The next week his dad died of a heart attack.
Certainly, it was not God’s will for the father to die prematurely. John 10:10 tells us it’s the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Thankfully, his dad got things right before he died. This young man’s mother drew out the best in her son through her example of unconditional love and also helped draw her former husband back to God through her prayers.
Whatever is in our heart in abundance will come out. This young man’s mother chose to have a heart of forgiveness even after her husband abandoned her and their child. She meditated on God’s faithfulness to take care of her and her son rather than dwelling on her negative experience. She always had love and forgiveness coming out of her mouth and her son only heard her speak kindness toward his father. What an amazing example! It’s uncommon to see this kind of response these days. Their story is a great reminder that when we meditate on the things which are a good report, rather than bad news, the unconditional love of God will be able to flow out of us and impact others. This woman took acting like a team to a maturity level that few people ever attain.
We pray this encourages you & strengthens your relationships, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy