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I think it was Vance Havner who used to tell the story of two men who were going up a steep hill on a bike built for two. It was hard work, and when they got to the top they had to stop and catch their breath. The guy at the front turned to his buddy behind him and said, “Man! That was a steep hill! My legs are burning!” and the guy at the back of the bike replied, “Boy, you can say that again! It was so steep, if I hadn’t been using the brakes, we probably would have rolled down the hill backwards!”

Those two guys weren’t a very good team. They weren’t functioning as one. Just like the two guys on the tandem bike, a lot of churches experience a lot of frustration, simmering resentment and unrealized goals because they are working at cross purposes and not pulling together.

Let’s see what Paul’s letter to Philemon teaches us about how Christians should respond when they find the church pulling apart rather than pulling together.