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Summary: Be a light in a world that is searching for God but doesn’t realize it. Be engaged in people’s lives.

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Community – Relationships

We live in a world where friendships and family relationships can be difficult.

There are stresses and personality conflicts that seem to rip through friends and families and no one knows how to fix them.

Well stay tuned because I have the answer for you.

A study conducted by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, the study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years.

It found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%.

Researchers have concluded that having few friends or weak social ties to the community is just as harmful to health as being an alcoholic or smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day.

Weak social ties are more harmful than not exercising and twice as risky as being obese, the researchers found.

So there is a way to move forward, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

We wonder why we can’t connect with people. I’ve heard people say, it’s hard to make friends. It’s hard to connect etc.

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It’s a real problem and it is hard but we have to take some of the responsibility ourselves.

I want us to look at what scripture says about relationships and community and the importance on them.

I. Honor your Family

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.

~ George Burns

“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories.”

“If you shake your family tree, watch for falling nuts”

“It been said that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose family”

But seriously, if we don’t have family, we don’t have anything. And your family may not be the traditional style family but it’s still your family. Maybe people have brought you in to take care of you…that’s family. And God wants us to value family.

Matt 15:4-9; Mark 7:6-13

For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”

So what was going on here?

Well, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for shirking their family responsibilities. In earlier verses, the Pharisees had criticized Jesus and His disciples for not practicing ritual Jewish washings before they ate. Jesus responded by calling them hypocrites for trying to get around the Fifth Commandment—to honor their parents—through their tradition of Corban.

The Corban tradition allowed Jews to dedicate their money and possessions as a gift to God and the temple, but to retain use of their wealth until their death. Under this tradition, such individuals refused to help their needy parents in their old age, saying that their money was tied up in the vow of Corban—that is, dedicated to God.

Jesus pointed out that this was a blatant, selfish way of breaking the Fifth Commandment.

Jesus is saying that if we are making excuses to not honor our parents we are cutting the connection from them and God.

I Timothy 5:8 Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place. (The Message)

We are to honor the family. We are to take care of our family.

Don’t let things from the past build up anger and bitterness.

Research has shown that bitterness can negatively affect many systems in the body cause emotional and physical disease.

When one system shuts down it impacts all the systems and that affects your health.

How do you fix this…? Let it go!

We are to become servants

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II. Love your Neighbor

Sometimes we are so spiritual that we forget that we are to reach out and help our neighbors that live right next door.

Matt 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with (Some of) all your heart and with (Some of) all your soul and with (Some of) all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as (as a good book) yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We are good at focusing on ourselves…really good.

Every Jew would know this “Shem-a” that is repeated twice every day. This prayer is the central statement in the Jewish faith. Jesus knew they could not argue this.

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