Cell Lessons, The Puzzle of Christian Partnership

This category of cell lessons represents a change from the usual format of cell lessons on this web site. For one thing, a slightly different type of symbolism is used from most of those used in the Bible — and there are numerous ones used in the Bible. The writer, in our case, Marlin Hoover, has described the subject of Christian Partnership as being comprised of five separate parts of a puzzle. These parts of the puzzle appear as five individual cell lessons. The discussion questions in these five lessons are given at the end of each lesson, unlike in most of the other lessons on this web site where the questions are sprinkled throughout the lessons.

Puzzled over your Christian Partnership?

First things first. What exactly is a partnership? According to the dictionary it’s: a relationship where one is united with another or others in an activity or a sphere of common interest, especially: a. A member of a business partnership (a person associated with another or others as a principal or a contributor of capital in a business or a joint venture, usually sharing its risks and profits) b. A spouse. c. Either of two persons dancing together. d. One of a pair or team in a sport or game, such as rook, horse-shoes, a three-legged race or tag-team wrasslin’.

Being a Christian you’re in a partnership with God and the church. It’s only a partnership if you do your part. Unless you do your part, you’re just in a “nership”.

What in the world is a “nership”?

A “NERship” means a (Non-Existent Relationship) which can be:

  1. The transition period between “just friends” and a committed relationship
  2. People in “friends with benefits” relationships who want to deny it
  3. The relationship status “it’s complicated” on Facebook

Let’s ask ourselves, as Christians are we in a partnership or a “nership” with God and the church or somewhere in between? Do we just have a “friends with benefits” relationship or are we fully invested, in step and willing to jump in the ring when tagged? It’s not complicated.

Are you puzzled? Yes, it’s a puzzle. This is a spiritual partnership puzzle that needs to be put together. When we put it together and all the pieces are there and put in their right places it will reveal a glorious love-filled scene between you, the church and God.

Where do we start? How do we put this puzzle together and make it complete? For these next five lessons we’ll try and figure it out. We’ll try and put all of the pieces of the partnership puzzle together and create a beautiful picture of our relationship with God, each other and the church.

First, all the pieces have to be there and be in good condition to properly fit together. One piece missing/lost or forced in where it doesn’t belong only leaves the puzzle incomplete or messed up. There can be parts to your puzzle that are the wrong parts; parts others have given you or you’ve found lying around. We have to get rid of those. It takes work, it takes effort, but when done right it’s a labor of love. If we do our part we’ll strengthen the church and our relationship with God and His love will more easily pass through us to the rest of the world. We’ll be real partners.

So let’s all put on our glasses of God’s grace, look at our puzzle and get started. First we need to make sure all of the parts are there. There are five parts to the puzzle: your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

Before we look at making any of these pieces fit we need to make sure their righteous sides are up. Some pieces of the puzzle (until we study them) seem they could fit either way (righteous side up or sinful side up) but unless they’re righteous side up the picture we see in the end will be distorted and unclear. So, as we look at each of these pieces we’ll first make sure they’re righteous side up. Then we’ll make sure they’re properly fit into our lives.

Let’s get started!

Pieces of the Puzzle