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5Dec/150

Relationships: The Stewardship of Divine Connections

Required Listening: Choosing to Cheat - Andy Stanley

This month there won’t be a weekly lesson from the blog to read and respond to, rather the goal is for you and your mentor to intentionally what the Bible has to say about a key set of relationships and work hard to let God transform you in that context for the month ahead. In a sense, I want the two or three of you to “do systematic theology” by seeking out what the Bible has to say about an area of relationships that you need to grow in.

I have provided a list of resources that can help you on your journey through the subject this month, however, I recommend that you allow your mentor to choose and focus your attention on an area that they can really help you with AND to focus on the Scripture itself as much as possible.

Suggested Areas to Choose From:

  • Friendship
  • Dating
  • Marriage
  • Parenting
  • Manhood
  • Womanhood

Why Relationships???

2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy — 4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) (1Tim 3:2-5, HCSB)

They are God’s top priority for us

& they determine how successful we are in everything else.

If you are not taking care of those closest to you, then you have no right to expect God to bless anything you try to do outside your home and personal life. So many failures in our world today occur because someone poured too much time and energy into people and activities that were not their top priority in life. They give work 110% of their effort and become successful in their professional role, only to have to give that role up or see it destroyed by the family that they neglected in the process.

23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matt 5:23-24, HCSB)

Biblical Example: King David was an excellent warrior and governor and worshipper—except at home. His lazy attitude toward his children caused a lot of chaos in the final years of his rule as king—almost costing him his kingdom and life, and almost kept Solomon from taking over as king.

Life Example: Countless pastors, my grandfather included, have neglected their families because they were focused on the demands that leading the church and caring for people placed on them. Like David, their efforts raised up many good church people, but they were ultimately drawn away from their ministry when their marriages and families fell apart. Instead of fostering a love of God and ministry into those closest to them, they instead drove their children away from the faith because they would not take time to model the love and care of God the Father to their own children as fathers.

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1Pet 3:7, ESV)

Faulty Relationships are what cause most faith train-wrecks.
The majority of our faith problems come from people in key relationships in our own lives who marred our perception of God by their selfishness and sinful actions. We need to work through these hurts and hangups, as well as shape ourselves so that we never become these people in someone else’s life.

· We can’t trust because the most central people in our lives proved untrustworthy. They broke our trust over and over, OR they broke our trust in one HUGE way that we will never forget.

· We can’t forgive because we have experienced a lack of forgiveness from those who were closest to us…and we struggle to believe that God could truly forgive us too.

· We don’t have any confidence in ourselves because our parents constantly demanded more of us than we could give or severely pointed out our failings rather than praising our successes.

· We struggle to see God as a good father because we didn’t grow up with a father, or our father didn’t treat us like God treats us.

One of our greatest goals in life needs to be to break the cycle of unfaithfulness and poor influence in the lives of those we are closest to, and to heal the hurt by being a faithful person in the lives of those God calls us to serve and love…because the opposite is also true in these relationships: those who model trustworthiness, forgiveness, and love give us a solid foundation from which to believe in God.

 

We grow a TON in our faith when we figure out how to live in our relational roles the way Jesus would if He was in our place.

God loves us like a parent…and we never see the greatness of His love until we try being a parent like He is. He’s also a friend and a husband, and comes alive when we try to fill those roles as well. Continually ask yourself, not just, “what does the Bible command?” but rather, “how does God act toward me or treat me in this role? How can I truly act like Jesus in this situation?”

 

Culture provides terrible guidance for how to live out our God-given roles. We must actively work to counteract it.

The majority of husbands and wives, as well as fathers and mothers portrayed on television are terrible examples for us to follow. Unfortunately they are the only guidance most of us receive outside of our own families for how to do relationships well. And in America, most families are broken.

Think of the differences between families portrayed on TV in the last 30 years. We have always had some bad examples of relationships, but now the good examples are almost non-existent.

familymatters32ahomer-choking-bart-simpson

Older Newer
The Andy Griffith Show Two and a Half Men
The Brady Bunch Modern Family
The Cosby Show Home Improvement
Full House Desperate Housewives
Family Matters Family Guy
Growing Pains The Simpsons
Little House on the Prairie How I met Your Mother
Married… with Children
Rosanne

We need to renew our minds and create higher, better standards of behavior for ourselves, and if God gives us a passion and door into media: to portray a higher standard for the world too!

The Goal:

This month I want you to focus on one specific area, learn and make big, ongoing changes in your life to make that relationship stronger, and hopefully begin to feel the rewards of the effort you’ve put into that role God has given you in life. It is my hope that the experience is rewarding enough for you to commit to taking a month every year of your life and repeat the process of getting better in that relational area. So often we need to focus for a period of time to make marked improvement. That change and the fresh perspective that it brings will keep us from becoming lazy or ignoring that area of our lives the rest of the year.

I recommend taking advantage of marriage retreats, parenting conferences, and good new books or resources that can help bring fresh perspective and renewed energy to the relationships God has given you.

Recommended Resources by Relational Focus:

Friendships:

Friending: (sermon series)

Many of us don’t realize the importance of the people we choose to surround ourselves with. Our friends determine the quality and direction of our lives. In “Friending,” learn how good friends (and bad friends) can impact your feelings, your relationship with God, and your future. Use this series to create a strong foundation for new, Godly friendships in your church community.

http://open.lifechurch.tv/groups/1780-friending

Personality Plus: The 4 Temperaments
Explore the way God has wired us with a natural temperament that drives us into specific strengths and weaknesses. Learn to appreciate the differences in personalities while exploring the strengths and weaknesses of those around you. Learn about personalities in the most practical way possible—a way that does not require you to give someone a test to see their personality and understand it’s strengths and weaknesses.

What’s so Amazing About Grace?

If your relationships reveal that you struggle with trust, anger, judging others, and forgiveness, then take this journey through the powerful and amazing love of God. Seeing the fullness of God’s love will help you express it better in your own life.

Boundaries

If you find that you get hurt a lot and don’t know exactly how to draw lines in your friendships, then take a journey with Henry Cloud. This book talks through the ways in which we go too far or allow others to go too far and hurt our lives in the process. Great for marriage and parenting, this book’s concepts are life changing.

Dating:

Song of Solomon (Audio and Book Format)

Walk through the poetry of the Song of Solomon and the romance He experienced as He recorded the words of the Bible’s greatest love story. Listen to the challenging description of a godly romance and relationship.

http://dbcmedia.org/sermons/love-song-a-study-in-the-song-of-solomon/?st=shopp&s=love%20song

 

I Kissed Dating Goodbye & Boy Meets Girl

Read the story and advice of one guy and girl who did their best to break free of the world’s pattern for dating and do it right. Learn from their advice and be challenged by what they learned in their experience.

Marriage:

 

His Needs, Her Needs (book and DVD Study)

Discover how our human needs create emotions that drive us into and out of relationships. Discover ten key areas where husbands and wives can focus to bring lasting romance, satisfaction, and strength to their marriages. Affair-proof your relationship by understanding what drives attachment outside of marriage.

The Love Dare

Take a 40 day journey through this daily journal devotional that will challenge you to do something each day that comes out of a Biblical, godly love. A great tool for doing things you used to do, daily thinking about how to love your spouse better, and recording your thoughts.

 

Sacred Marriage (book and DVD study)

Marriage is one of God’s greatest tools for shaping our lives. It provides the closes friendship, accountability, and serving roles that we could ever have. Learn more about the pressures and design God put into marriage to shape our lives.

Personality Plus: The 4 Temperaments
Explore the way God has wired us with a natural temperament that drives us into specific strengths and weaknesses. Learn to appreciate the differences in personalities while exploring the strengths and weaknesses of those around you. Learn about personalities in the most practical way possible—a way that does not require you to give someone a test to see their personality and understand it’s strengths and weaknesses.

Parenting:

 

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

Walk through the advice of Tripp as he unpacks what he learned about parenting in our culture and world.

Boundaries

If you find that you get hurt a lot and don’t know exactly how to draw lines in your friendships, then take a journey with Henry Cloud. This book talks through the ways in which we go too far or allow others to go too far and hurt our lives in the process. Great for marriage and parenting, this book’s concepts are life changing.

Love and Logic

Take the challenge of raising competent, wise children by processing this group’s approach to discipline, decision-making, and family management.

123 Magic

Get some fresh perspective from a well-respected and proven method on getting your children to respond to discipline.

Womanhood:

 

Feminine Appeal

A book that has come highly recommended for its powerful impact and Biblical basis, walk through what God intended for the women of the world.

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

Understand men better and in the process, think through how to love your spouse more effectively.

Manhood:

 

Wild at Heart

An epic and challenging book/audio breakdown of what God built into us when He designed men. You simply MUST read this book once in your life.

 

Disciplines of a Godly Man

How do we break down the goal of what God intended a man to be into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly habits that I can work towards? Here’s the answer.

For Men Only

A Guide through the lives of women and how to love them better.

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