Summary: A sermon that encourages us to live a life of loving God, loving each other and loving the community.
Take a few moments to discuss the following question with a few people around you:
What hinders you in having relationships with God, other members of our congregation and the Christian Community and the wider community?
As we look at Christian communities there are two key ingredients to being a healthy church.
Good teaching and having good relationships.
Some once viewed it this way
When the church community is only focussed on good teaching or good relationships we are like a bird with one wing…
we don’t go far
we simply go around in circles
In our vision statement: Frequently engaging with God, with each other and the wider community, we are focussing on having good relationships that are grounded and shaped by good teaching from God.
Over the last number of years social networking has become extremely popular.
Do you know there are people employed solely to manage the social networking of their organisation?
Facebook one of the most prominent social networking sites is reported to have over 500 million users.
Twitter over 190 million users.
This year’s Olympics was called the Social Media Olympics
So what does this incredible growth in social media tell us?
It is a simple reminder that the way we are wired means we desire relationships.
Relationships are part of our DNA.
And when relationships are not fulfilling or not complete then we will continue seeking out relationships.
This should not be surprising to us as Christians.
In Genesis chapter 2 verse 18 God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
God has created us to be people who relate to Him and to others.
And this is supported by the fact that organisations such as Beyondblue,
who help people with depression,
encourage people to develop and maintain relationships as part of being healed when it comes to depression.
Also the National Church Life Survey highlights that having a healthy relationship with God,
with other members of the congregation
and with the wider community means we are being the church God calls us to be.
We will be healthy and growing.
Now the key relationship for each of us is our relationship with God.
Our relationship with God will shape, influence and guide all our other relationships in a positive and healthy way.
But not only that, our relationship with God will help us see and understand that we are truly loved and how much God desires us and others to be part of His family.
We won’t get this understanding anywhere else.
The first commandment highlights how important it is for our relationship to God to be foundational in our life when it says,
From Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse 4 to 5 we hear “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me.”
and Jesus reinforces this when he says the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind as we heard in Luke chapter 11 verse 27.
Seeing our relationship with God as foundational and important will bring about many blessings.
It will give us a correct, healthy and good perspective of life.
And the more time we spend with God, the more we see how loyal God is to us and how much God loves us.
We will discover about God and why He does certain things.
We will also get to appreciate God’s mystery.
We will fully get to understand that our relationship with God depends on Him, and that without the actions of Christ we would have a very different relationship.
Unfortunately though whilst we live on this earth developing and maintaining a relationship with God will not always be easy, nor will it necessarily be comfortable or attractive.
There will be times that we will feel let down by God….
This is nothing new…
However a question to think about has God really let us down?
or Is God up to something else?
Some of the Psalms are about people conversing with God who feel alone and let down….
They are asking God why, how come, where are you??
When this happens the temptation is to feel God has nothing to say on the matter or even worse to think He doesn’t care or doesn’t exist.
Yet the scriptures also remind us that even amongst the troubles and difficulties of our lives that God is at work, sometimes slower than we like, sometimes faster than we expect and sometimes in different ways than we anticipate.
Be still and know that I am God from Psalm 46 verse 10 is a verse many people know from the bible