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Summary: Bad relationships are hindering the effectiveness of our service to Jesus. Relationships that unravel have a negative impact that goes on and on.

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There’s a little girl who is dreaming of her wedding day. She knows what the church is going to look like. She knows what kind of dress she will wear. She can even see the color of her fiancé’s eyes. But something is interfering with her dreams. Her mom and dad are arguing a lot lately. And she’s heard the word “divorce” from their lips. She’s thinking: “Maybe it’s not possible to live happily ever after after all.”

There are young adults here who are considering going into the ministry. Something happened in Positive Impact or 707 that got their attention. They dream about how their passion for God is going to spill over and impact other lives. But now they are having second thoughts. They see how petty differences are handled poorly. They see how leaders have to spend time refereeing boxing matches between Christian brothers and sisters and how these leaders have little time to build the kingdom and storm the gates of hell. These young adults wonder if it’s worth it. And that call they once felt to go into the ministry? They don’t hear it anymore.

We all know stories like these. Bad relationships are hindering the effectiveness of our service to Jesus. Relationships that unravel have a negative impact that goes on and on.

This hits close to home because we all know our own pain – relationships that aren’t working the way we hoped they would. Think about some relationship in your life that isn’t quite right. Could it be that your relationship struggle is having a negative ripple effect that goes far beyond your own little world? Probably so.

This is the third weekend of our series. We spent time in week one thinking about how essential brokenness is for an Extreme Makeover. God says, “This is the one I will pick for a Makeover: he who is humble, contrite in heart, and who trembles at My word.” Are you broken? Last week, we discussed three simple prayers we can pray to live overflowing lives that will refresh others: Father, search me. Jesus, wash me. Spirit, fill me.” Are you praying consistently?

Some of you are taking this seriously. And I’m so grateful. Here’s an email I received this week:

In December 2004 I read a book that prompted me to pray for revival in 2005. When I started to pray, I most definitely didn’t understand what revival really meant. I thought it would be a quick fix from the Lord via the Holy Spirit. I certainly didn’t realize the first steps would be confession and repentance and a desire for obedience. This year I’ve been reading about great historical revivals and have come to appreciate and desire True Revival in my own heart and those around us.

Today, relationship renewal – relationship revival – a makeover for your relationships.

Inside our wedding rings are some simple engravings:

MAC to RAD – that’s pretty simple to figure out. Maryanne Catrino to Richard Alan Duncan.

And then there’s 10 – 2 – 76. Again, that’s pretty simple. On October 2 this year, we will have been married 29 years. We were married October 2, 1976.

But there’s more: 1 JN 1:7. I’m sure most of you can figure that out, too. It’s a reference to a verse in the Bible. I John 1:7.

There have been times when things aren’t working so well in our relationship that I have just looked down at my ring and realized that I messed up in a big way. And I’m reminded that if I will apply the truths of this verse, we will be well on our way to a renewal.

Here’s the verse:

If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

I John 1:7 (ESV)

To renew my relationships, I need…

1. … an intense awareness of others.

The goal is fellowship.

If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…

The norm is fellowship. What is it?

Most of what we call fellowship is really fake. “Hi. How are you?” “Fine. How are you?” “Great.” Then we go home and feel good about our fellowship.

Fellowship – koinonia - community, participation, sharing. Is that what you really have with the people around you? You say, “I don’t know. How can I tell for sure?”

A couple of ideas: Your antennas are up. You are asking God for an intense awarness of others. You sense that something is wrong. So, you ask, “Are we OK? Are we really OK?” Even if you sense that nothing is wrong you can still ask, “What are one or two things you think I could do to improve our relationship?”

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