Summary: A look at what God has to say about relationships
Relationships a Biblical view:
I told everyone last week that the talk today was going to be a talk I felt God prepared me for during the last 5 years of my life. A talk that I felt God put inside of me for just this time. As I began to put down on paper all the thoughts and feelings and emotions I have inside regarding this talk, I realized it was something I might not be able to do. There was just too much raw emotion for me in this talk, there is just too much of who I am inside and I knew it had to be something that just flowed from my heart as I gave it our it would sound hollow and empty. To that end, I asked Nick and BG if we could tape this talk today because I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be any coherent written version to post on the web. So today’s talk is being recorded and that recording should be available on the Grace Point web site. (Please note this written version was for notes basis and is different in flow from the recorded version, but the main points are the same).
Well enough lead in – let’s get to the heart of what’s on my heart. My family and I came to Wolfeboro in Oct. of 1998 and those of you who knew me back then, know that I came pounding one drum and I am still pounding that drum today – Relationships – relationships, relationships:
Grace Point’s Mission Statement reads: Grace Point is a church that creatively communicates Christ’s love for all people through relevant Biblical teaching and intentional relationships.
Intentional relationships because frankly it is what we all need and what we so lack in ability to foster. America and Americans are lost as a society because we have lost our ability to have true relationships – we have lost our ability to have true intimacy with each other. A person I work with blames it on the invention of air-conditioning: He grew up in the Bronx and he talks about when growing up, before everyone had air-conditioning, everyone knew each other because they would all go outside and sit on the steps to cool off and drink lemonade and it was just one big family. But when air-conditioning went into all the homes, people stayed inside and no-one knew anyone anymore and what was once a family – became a neighborhood full of strangers and eventually people even stopped saying hi to each other as they past in the hallways. I don’t know if the advent of air-conditioning is the root of the problem here, but I do know it is a problem that is crippling our society and destroying our kid’s ability to know and have true relationships --- and New England is harder then most places.
The way I explain it is living down south or living out west, everyone is your friend until you prove to them you’re not, here in New England no-one is your friend until you prove to them you are and it can take 15 – 20 years to break through that wall. For what ever reason, intimacy and opening up and sharing who you are with each other, scares Americans and closer to home, scares New Englanders to death.
When we first moved back, we hosted a small group in our home every Friday night and we had additional gatherings at the house throughout the year, summer cookouts and birthday parties and such and well after a year I mentioned in group that we needed to go deeper into relationship with each other, deeper into intimacy and fellowship with each other and you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Everyone looked at me with a blank stare and said what do you mean. And so I explained it like this. I said for the past year you guys have all been over to my house every Friday night for group, plus we’ve had other functions here during the year, now remember, we are the new people in town and can you tell me how many times we have been invited over to anyone else’s home for any reason? Everyone started guessing: a dozen, 2 dozen times and so on, until I said nope, the number of times we have been invited over to anyone’s home for any reason is simply zero – not once.
That mentality, and don’t get me wrong, it’s not a conscience thing, it is just a culture that is so ingrained into us, that we don’t even know it is happening, but it is and it is killing the very core of who we are.
Why do I say that, because it’s true. Turn with me if you would to Genesis Chapter 1: As you read in Genesis chapter 1 you read all about the beginning of creation. It is all God said, God said, God said and when God said, certain things happened, but when you get to verse 26, you get a little twist: In verse 26 God says alright, but God says –: