Summary: We’re made for connection Why? Because we’re created in the image of God, who is a relational God, and more than anything wants to have a personal relationship with you.
Stephen Arterburn and Bill Farrel tell the story of a small boy pleading with his parents for the gifts he wants for Christmas and when he doesn’t think he’s getting anywhere writes a letter to God about the Christmas presents he wanted. "I've been good for six months now," he wrote. After a moment's reflection, he crossed out "six months" and wrote "three." After a pause he changed that to "two weeks." There was another pause and another erasure. Finally, the boy got up from the table and went over to the little nativity scene that had the figures of Mary and Joseph. He picked up the figure of Mary and went back to his writing and started again: "Dear God, if ever you want to see your mother again ..." Have you ever had difficulty connecting with God, let alone the other people in your life? In this series, we’re going to talk about getting connected spiritually. But what does that mean? What we’re going to find is that you can’t separate one from the other. We connect with God and through that relationship learn how to and are empowered to connect with others. Life is all about relationships.
In fact, we’re made for connection. Why? Because we’re created in the image of God, who is a relational God, and more than anything wants to have a personal relationship with you. We need healthy connections in your life. We have never been more connected. No matter what happens in the world, we hear about it now within seconds. Bombs drop in Gaza or Apple releases a new iPhone or iWatch and we know about it almost instantaneously. Companies are laying billions of miles of fiber optics. We can talk, text, or Facetime with anyone, anwhere in the world. But despite the fact that the world is more connected than ever, people have never felt more disconnected. In fact, Gallop polls have found that Americans have never been lonelier. We’re so busy, so overcommitted and so rushed that we have lost the time and ability to make vital connections in life, with God and with others. Close friends in our lives have been replaced with acquaintances. One recent study found that over half of all Americans don’t even know their neighbor’s names. Human beings are not made for isolation. Without connection, we die or go crazy. Studies have found that in orphanages where there is not enough physical contact with babies, there is a mortality rate of up to 40%. Mississippi has actually ended solitary confinement in prison because it’s now considered cruel and unusual punishment. Close connections to God and other people are the key to a healthy and happy life.
So today we’re going to look at what it means to be spiritually connected to God, to the Church and to each other through four metaphors in the Bible. First, to be spiritually connected is like being built into a building. Ephesians 2:22 says, “In Christ you are built together into a dwelling place for God.” If you’ve ever watched a building being built, you know there are literally 1000’s of different parts welded, glued, stapled, and nailed together. And they all have to be connected to one another for it to be sturdy. I have a friend who’s a Physical Therapist in Slidell. After Katrina, Richard raised his flooded house 12 feet off the ground. When his house was finished, he started to move in and noticed that as he walked through the house, it began to sway back and forth. Why? Because the pilings the house sat on had no cross ties and thus weren’t connected to each other, making the house unsafe and structurally unsound. Everything has to be connected. Connections provide stability and support in our lives. I’ve also noticed as they construct a building that there are always alot of spare parts laying around in the building – wood, brick, stone, nails, screws, wire, electrical wire, etc. and none of them are connected. I was helping remove a center island cabinet after Katrina in a flooded house and we were surprised not only to find spare parts of the building underneath the cabinet but even tools too. They weren’t connected to anything, just laying there on the floor. We joked about whether the guy looked for hours to find his tools.
This really is a metaphor for life. There are people who come to church but they’re not connecting to God or others. But if you’re not connected to others, you have no support. That’s true in any area of life. And what happens is rogue winds are going to blow you over, emotional and financial crises are going to crumble you, and the storms of life are going to sweep you away. That’s why it’s so important for you to be connected. You’re meant to be connected to the God and others as he builds his kingdom. Paul puts it this way in the Message translation of Ephesians 2:20-22 “You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here…God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building….he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together…a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it...”