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We began on Sunday by noticing something that is so obvious but that we forget: that our culture has a way of taking the depth out of our relationships. 

What I mean by this is in our lives it seems like we have many more relationships at a loss of deep ones. We have lots of friends on Twitter, Facebook, or in our office but don’t have a lot of deep ones.

Jen Pollock Michel writes, “Our connections have grown broader, but shallower”. And I think that’s true. We know so many of the shallow details of one another’s lives, but don’t truly know one another.

But relationships are not just peripheral to our lives, they are absolutely central. They are where we experience not only life, but also God.

Andrew Root writes,

“Our relationships are the very field, the very place where God is encountered”

So relationships matter. That’s what we explored and we began with the only place I know to begin – the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

God became human in the person of Jesus Christ. The implications of this are huge. But right off the bat we should notice one thing if God became a person – persons matter. If the person of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, was shaped and formed by relationships, relationships matter deeply!

Our culture teaches us that relationships are to be used. To be used for our own needs, self-interest, entertainment or whatever. What the Bible teaches is that relationships are sacred and to be shared, and are places for us to give.

Pauls says in Philippians 2 that in our relationships we are to have the same attitude as Jesus, who emptied himself for others. This is to how we live as well. We are called to live with the same self-emptying, self-giving love in relationships.

Our world teaches us relationships are to be used; Jesus teaches us they are places of sacred connection meant to be invested in.

So on Sunday we ended with this main point: Relationships are sacred and meant to be shared. So often we use them, are entertained by them, or are forgetful of them. The Christian’s calling is to give, invest, and cultivate them.

So we gave the challenge to actually invest in relationships. To push past the shallow relationships of culture into real life-giving, God-finding, ones. The challenge for this week wasn’t for a week, or a day, or a month. But for a year. I challenged everyone to journey with at least two other people closely for a year. To choose to invest in relationships. To choose to find God in relationships. To choose to see the sacred and give like Jesus in relationships. Because what I know is this, that without relationships life dries up. But with deep relationships life bursts, spills over, and changes everything.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Relationships are sacred and need to be shared

Teaching Points:

  • 3 Marks of Christians: Love God, Love Others, Love the World
  • Our connections have grown broader, but shallower. Jen Pollock Michel
  • Our deep desire is to be known and to be loved.
  • Developing deep friendships isn’t helpful in following Jesus, it’s necessary if you want to follow Jesus.
  • “Our relationships are the very field, the very place where God is encountered” Andrew Root
  • Relationships aren’t a part of life, Relationships are life
  • Relationships aren’t tangential to our existence, we only exist because of relationships
  • Jesus is self-giving, self-emptying, self-sharing love and relationship
  • Many people now don’t have friends for decades, they have them while it,s convenient.
  • Relationships are places where lives are changed
  • Relationships are not shared interests, but shared connections.
  • “Everything changes because you share in her life and she shares in yours; you dwell with her and she with you. It is sheer grace” – Andrew Root

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What relationships have impacted you most? Which relationships do you have now that are closest? Which relationships do you need to invest in more? How have you seen God move in and through the relationships around you? Who can you journey with for the year?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today, rather than talking about relationships with your kids, invest in them. Ask them what they’d like to do, make it something special and build some experiences and memories. Focus on giving in the time, and be like Jesus emptying yourself for your kids.

Challenge for the Week: To pray about 2 people to journey with for the year.

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