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Summary: Improving relationships in our lives

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"GETTING OUR HEADS TOGETHER ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIPS”

SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2004

Good morning. We are glad to have you here worshipping with us today. We are on the second part of a seven-part series on “getting our heads together.” We are dealing with it on a variety of topics. Two weeks ago we talked about getting our heads together about our problems. Today I would like to talk about getting our heads together about our relationships. Again, the reason we are getting our heads together is because much of our life arises out of what we think - how we respond rises out of what we think. What we think is key to our transformation and our growth in our relationship with God.

To begin I thought we would start with two clips about relationships. The first one comes from the movie “Frequency” and it’s a picture of what happens when we lose connections with our loved ones. As I show the clip, notice what happens to the son when he connects with his father. Before, in the movie, he loses this connection tragically and it has a profound effect on his life. The rest of the film shows the powerful, positive results when the lost connection is found again. This clip shows the new connection – notice what happens. The second clip is from the film “Cheaper by the Dozen” and it gives a positive example of what relationships can be like if we do certain things.

[Clips being shown.]

Two great clips of the power of love. There is a scripture passage. I Corinthians 13:13 says this – it reminds you of three great things in the Christian faith – faith, hope and love – but the greatest, the greatest is love. In fact it is in love we are born. The first thing we see when we are born is our parents, who loved us, and the last thing we want to be around are our relationships, our loved ones. But how do we develop loving relationships -- relationships that are typified in that last film? If you watch “Cheaper by the Dozen,” it actually has a lot of clues as to what it takes.

[I decided to go through old sermons and see what I have already said because I want to say things that are new]. I have sat down and thought about what is the key, what is really important to making relationships work, making them healthy, and making them loving.

The first thought comes out of the situation with Renee and her dad, and it reminds us with the passing of her father, which hasn’t happened yet; he is holding on. It reminds me of other tragic events in our national history and 9/11 was one of them. Every time crises happen it melts life back to the essentials, and most essential are our relationships and our loved ones. So it reminds me -- the key to strong, happy, loving relationships is to value them, to value what we have before they are lost. I can’t tell you how many people I have counseled who have talked about the years of regret because they did not value their loved ones or their relationships with friends.

These are all transversal principles, not just pertaining to families, but to any relationship. It is important for us to value them and to live each day saying the things we would say at a person’s bedside, and doing the things we would do at a person’s bedside or at their funeral -- speaking our love, not just holding it, but really speaking it, and telling those we love how we really feel. So often we hold it in (especially men). It is important for us to speak our love.

Revelations 3:2 says this: “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.” It is important for us to bless those around us. When I looked up passages on how God relates to his people, I notice how he blesses his people and how he feels about them. Israel is a problem child all through the Old Testament, and yet here is how God talks about Israel. Jeremiah 31:20 says this: “Is not Israel my dear son, the child in whom I delight?” Proverbs 3:12 says this, written in the context of discipline, (and this is in your bulletin outline if you would like to refer to it): “…for whom the Lord loves he reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights.” Notice how God delights in his children- do we delight in our children and do we delight in our relationships, in our friendships, in those we know, or are we holding it in?

I find it a rather twisted quality of human beings that so often we focus on what is wrong in people’s lives. We are focused on the sin; we focus on the rebellion in our children. As Christian people, the most essential part of who we are - if we take scripture quite seriously, scripture says that if we are Christian people, if God’s Spirit is in us, if we commit our lives to him, then his divine nature is in us. So rather than having sin and rebellion at our core (the bad at our core), what is really at the core in us is God’s divine nature. Romans 6:3-4 says this: “Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ when are were baptized? We shared in his death in our baptism. When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life.”

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