The Good and Bad Kind of Authority of a Leader

??????????Leadership is authority. There is no other way around that fact. But in today’s culture we don’t like authority. We don’t’ like being told what to do. We don’t like following authority or obeying authority. We like to become self-made people by each of us rebelling against the same authority (there is irony in that).

But I want to talk about the authority of a leader. Because I still believe that leadership is authority, but the type of authority really matters. Because there are different kinds of authority. There is authority that is based in power, and authority that’s based in gift (people choosing to follow and give you permission to lead).

And this distinction between the kinds of authority is so necessary. And the trouble is that most leaders haven’t consciously decided which type of authority they will rely on. The authority based in power (you have to do what I say) or the authority based in permission (you listen because you choose to).

In my role I’ve decided to never use coercive authority based in power. I could, lots of pastors do, especially when things get sticky and messy. They might say, “I am God’s anointed”, or “I’m the leader”, or even worse “I speak for God”. And the same temptation is for all leaders. That when things get tough, when stress rises, when there is crisis people reach to use power rather than authority based in grace that is given.

Parker Palmer gets at the difference when he writes this,

“The authority such a leader needs is not the same as power. Power comes to anyone who controls the tools of coercion, which ranges from grades to guns. But authority comes only to those who are granted it by others.”

So my question for you is this: what kind of leadership are you using? Is it based in power, or authority, based in grace and gift from others? Do people follow you because they “have to” or because “they want to”. And you might think that in the end the results are the same – as long as the job gets done. But it’s not – why people follow or listen to you is just as important as the outcome it produces.

So in your leadership with your authority is it power based – or people based? Because that small difference makes all the difference.

The Book that Almost Wasn’t: Devils, Distance, and Drawing Close ~ James 4

hand-of-god-1383050-1280x960On Sunday we looked at another pretty challenging teaching of James, but also one filled with hope and promise.

James writes this, ““So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you”. (James 4:7-8)

James is sharing that the heart you respond to God with, is how he will respond to you. That if you are open to God, seeking God, humbling yourself to God – he will draw you close. But if you are pushing him away, fighting him, and rejecting him – God honours our freedom but still seeks to care and have compassion for us.

So James reminds us to check our hearts, to see if they are pushing God away, or opening up to him. 

James also reminds us that if we resist the devil he will flee from us. And as I’ve said before, even if you don’t believe in the devil, you’ve experienced him. In the Bible the devil is the source of accusation, fear, and someone who actively seeks to separate ourselves from God. The truth is we have all felt accusation, and fear which separates us from God.

James wants to remind us that this doesn’t need to be so. That if we just were to resist the accusation, the guilt, the fear, the separation, the devil would flee and we would move closer to God. That if we would but draw close to God, he will draw close to us and the devil must flee as we move closer to God.

We ended up with a pretty clear main idea, that we need to repent and rely on God. 

God promises to be there with us, to push away the devil, accusation, guilt, and fear but we need to repent and rely on him. As long as we are going our own way, as long as we assert our independence, as long as we pretend we don’t need him – he can’t help us. He can’t help us when we are resisting and pushing him away.

So on Sunday to make this real, we did something I don’t often do. We did an altar call. We invited people to simply come forward who wanted to physically say to God ~ I need you in some area. And that was it.

But sometimes we need to do something tangible to connect with God. And the truth is we are all broken and need God, so we can all use with doing something tangible. 

So if you are in the place where you need God today – do something tangible. Maybe kneel, maybe write out your needs, maybe ask someone to pray. But do something, because God’s promise is that if you move closer to him, he’ll move closer to you.

 

 

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: We need to repent and rely on God.

Teaching Points:

  • “God gives what he demands” – Augustine
  • God will respond with the heart you have for him.
  • One of the primary roles of Satan is to separate God and people.
  • Draw close to God and he will draw close to you.
  • How often do we try to go it alone and hide our flaws?
  • We live with a lack of light, because we refuse to rely on him.
  • We need to repent and rely on God.

Adult Discussion Questions:

“The reason we struggle isn’t because we can’t overcome our failures, but because we are too proud to ask God to move.”  What do you think of this statement? Have you experienced the truth of these promises: that God WILL come near as we come to Him in true humility, and that Satan WILL flee from us as we resist him? What do you need to repent of? Confess? Get clean from? Admit? (Remember, this is how James says we come closer to God – it is crucial in our relationship with Him) About what things are you too proud to admit the truth? (Our pretending prevents God from working) How can you practically turn from these things and rely on God, beginning today?

 

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Have you ever needed help with something, but you didn’t want to admit that you couldn’t do it alone? How can we come to God today, letting Him be the one that helps us through our weaknesses and failures?

Challenge for the Week: To repent and rely on God…today.

Love is a dream that enables us both to be our Best

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I read this other day by Joan Chittister as I’m working through one of her books. She writes this,

“Love is not a model that makes two people the same person. Love is the dream that enables both of us to be our own best person – together”

And I wish every single couple I’ve ever done a marriage for, or will do a marriage would sit and think about that.

So often in our world today love is seen as making the same, rather than cherishing differences. We love to make people into carbon copies of ourselves, to find compromises where we become almost indecipherable, where we try to find ourselves in other people, and this is well…it’s not love.

Not love in the way that the Bible talks about it. Love is what binds people together and holds them together, but it doesn’t make them the same. Just go read 1 Corinthians 13 – the well known “love chapter”. This chapter is all about how to love and hold people together, but it’s people who are different. This chapter is set right in the middle of a discussion about how to hold together people with different gifts, ideas, and opinions? Paul’s answer is love can do that. Not love that reduces people to common denominators. Not love that erases all differences. Not love that makes carbon copies. But love that enables both people to be their best.

Love, when it is truly love, doesn’t erase differences; it finds a way to hold onto those differences in harmony. Love actually loves people as they are, without tyring to make them into something else. We have a different word for people who try to change others into their version of perfection. We call that coercion, we call that conquest, we call that wrong when we’ve done that throughout history (see the Crusades, “settling” of the new world, or lots of other examples).

The point is that love doesn’t seek to squish and squash someone into a mold of sameness. Love is a dream that enables people to both be their best. And that’s something worth striving for.

So in your closest relationships today – is there a way that you can help them to reach their dreams? Is there a way that you can both move towards your best? Does it start with a conversation saying – I want you to find the best and be part of that? Does it start with a surprise or a gift? It certainly starts with some effort, so why not give that a shot.

3 (Marks): Connecting Daily with Jesus: The Secret and Connecting with Christ

cross-1195511On Sunday we looked at a secret Paul shares. And honestly the best secrets we do want to share. We say “want to know the secret too….baking a cake, losing weight, or any other number of things. Well Paul wants to share the secret to the Christian life – to finding life.

We began with a quote by Metropolitan Anthoy Bloom. He writes this:

You will find stability at the moment when you discover that God is everywhere, that you do not need to seek God elsewhere, that God is here, and if you don’t find God here it is useless to go and search elsewhere because it is not God that is absent from us, it is we who are absent from God…This is important because it is only at the moment you recognize this that you can truly find the fullness of the Kingdom of God in all its richness within you.

The beauty is that you can connect with Jesus right here, as you are. You don’t have to become someone else, or go somewhere else to connect with Jesus.

Paul says “For this is the secret, Christ lives in you”

We are connected to Jesus, we are connected to Christ, Christ lives in you and me. This is absolutely world changing because we are connected and sustained by Christ. This means that no matter where we are at, we can connect with Christ because he lives in us. Christ is not distant, Christ is within.

This led us to the main point for Sunday: Christ lives in you, and you can connect with him. The Christian life revolves around Christ. The Christian life is centred and propelled by Jesus Christ. And you can connect to this Christ because he lives in you.

The question then is are we connecting with Christ? If Christ is connected to us, are we consciously connecting with him? And how this happens will be different for everyone, the point is that it happens.

So we gave the challenge to daily connect with God. Because the secret is that Christ lives in us.

“God does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.” Brother Lawrence

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Christ lives in you, and you can connect with him.

Teaching Points:

  • A self-focused life always leads to a lackluster life.
  • Christ is not distant, Christ is within.
  • Christ lives in you, and you can connect with him.
  • If it is true that Christ lives in us then we should focus on connecting with the Christ within
  • With a little intention everything you do can be brought into the presence of God
  • One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think. Brother Lawrence
  • The secret to the Christian life is to connect with this Christ within

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What is your first impression of “the secret” that Christ lives in you? How often would you say you are aware of Christ living in you? What are the ways that you best connect with Christ? Do you have any daily rhythms of connecting with Christ? What daily rhythms could you maybe start?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today try to start some new rhythms to connecting with Christ – maybe reading the Bible together, praying together, creating art together. Create rhythms to connect with the Christ within.

Challenge for the Week: Daily connect with Christ.

Old Hymns Are My Favourites, Like Really Old Ones

shape-notes-music-1310183On Sunday we are going to look at one of my favourite passages in the Bible.

Here is a little known fact about me, I love hymns – but they have to be like really old. Like…1900 years and older…

Two of my favourite passages that many scholars think are hymns are the Christ hymn in Philippians 2, and the hymn of the Christ of the Cosmos in Colossians 1. And on Sunday I want to open up the passage in Colossians 1. I want to talk about Jane Fonda, refrigerator hums, and how you are connected to everything that exists.

I know it sounds a little odd, but it’s all in that passage – well maybe not Jane Fonda.

But before we get there this is a passage that many people speed past, or honestly just aren’t familiar with. It has huge major themes of creation, redemption, and how the world exists. It’s mind-blowing in its implications, and all-encompassing in its scope.

So why not take a moment and read it a few times and just let this passage speak to you. Because Christ is part of every thing, and you right now as the passage says. So why not open yourself up to discovering and hearing from him as you listen and read this old hymn.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rose from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

3 (Marks): Serving the World: The Bachelor, Roses, and Serving the World

3Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes this,

“The church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren.”

But I think that is the temptation that the church has fallen for. That being big, having brilliant personalities, and preachers, that this is what will save the church. Bonhoeffer disagrees, and so does Jesus. What will save the church is people serving faithfully like Jesus to the world around them.

So to talk about this obviously we needed to talk about the TV show the Bachelor. You might not think that serving has anything to do with the Bachelor, and well you may be right, but here is what we learned on Sunday.

I believe that the TV show “the Bachelor” highlights a lot of our contemporary culture’s values and beliefs. The show has real people saying things that I think give us insight into some of the cultural waters we live in. And one thing you will notice again and again if you ever watch the show is how naturally selfishness comes out. People will say things like, “I just need to explore all my options”, or “I have to follow my heart, and so break yours”. Or even the whole premise of the show isn’t really to find love, it’s not to be rejected leaving without a rose.

So what’s the point? Well it’s pretty simple. Selfishness is deeply rooted in our culture, it is often celebrating in our culture, and it’s actually killing our culture. No world, culture, neighbourhood or friendship can survive the black hole that selfishness creates.

So how do you break selfishness? That’s what we looked at for the rest of Sunday, examining Philippians 2.

In Philippians 2 we read that we must have the same attitude of Jesus. Paul says get rid of selfishness and all its forms. Stop trying to impress people, making yourself out to be great. Focus on humility, don’t just look out for your own interests, look out for others.

And Paul then says, “be like Jesus”. He is seeking to ground this advice of rooting out selfishness in the practice and life of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not seek to grasp his rights, follow his own desires, but instead emptied himself and served others. This is to be our model as Christians. We are to give, to serve, and to empty ourselves.

In essence, Paul says serving others kills selfishness, and moves us in the direction of Christlikeness. Serving others must be at our centre, because it was and is at Jesus’ centre. Our world may be trapped by self-interest but we don’t need to be. We can live differently because of Jesus, we can live like Jesus. We can serve, sacrifice, give, and break selfishness in all its forms. We can love the world, and change the world by serving the world.

The question is, will we?

So we ended with a pretty specific call and challenge. To actually serve at least weekly, intentionally. The truth is that unless we plan how we will serve, life will get busy and make the choice for us. It is far easier to watch the Bachelor than mentor a youth. It is far easier to Facebook than to serve in a soup kitchen. It is far easier to watch a movie than it is to serve your community. But it is not better. So my challenge was simple – find a way to serve at least weekly. Weekly is really the minimum. It is something we should be doing daily with our lives. But weekly is a good start.

So that was the challenge and it’s a challenge I think we need to do for our lives. To be like Jesus, serve, kill selfishness, and love the world.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Serving others is the thing that kills selfishness

Teaching Points:

  • The church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren.  Bonhoeffer
  • Selfishness is killing our culture.
  • We have accepted the belief that following our hearts fully is admirable and courageous.
  • Our culture says “That you are the most important and what you want is the most important. And that your job in life is to gratify your own desires”.  David Foster Wallace
  • Greatness isn’t about yourself it’s about what you give, sacrifice, and how you serve.
  • Serving others is the thing that kills selfishness.
  • If you are truly serving it will be an inconvenience to you.
  • Sometimes serving is hard, but it is never wasted.
  • If you don’t plan how you will serve, you won’t.
  • To change a life, give of some of your life.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? Do you think that selfishness is a problem in our world? Where do you see it? Now where do you see it in your own life? How can serving help to break self-interest? When have you served and been changed through it? Where can you start to serve weekly now? Is there a place in your church, community, neighbourhood? When will you start?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Teach your kids about the importance of serving. Choose a place to serve together. Maybe it’s to make cookies for neighbours, to go to a soup kitchen together, to go to the Gleaners, or other places as a family. Find a way to serve and go about it, make it happen, and see how it starts to change you.

Challenge for the Week: To intentionally serve weekly.

3 (Marks): Serving the World: Canaanites, Dogs, and Us Vs Them

jesus-1233747Well on Sunday we looked at a passage most people have never heard preached. Because well there is no other way to say it, but this passage makes Jesus to seem to be a racist; it’s Matthew 15:21-28.

But when you dig into it you start to realize something that should be obvious – Jesus isn’t a racist, we are.

And I mean that in the truest sense, that we all have groups of people that we struggle with. Maybe it’s not along race lines, maybe it’s along sexual lines, or theological lines, or geographical line, or political lines. But the truth is that we all have groups that we love to exclude, scapegoat, and blame. Groups of people that don’t really deserve to be in on what God’s doing. Unless of course they change and become just like us…then they can.

But it’s this underlying “us vs them” thinking and scapegoating that Jesus challenges in a unique passage. In this story Jesus is actually enacting out a parable. He is telling the truth but as Emily Dickinson says, he is telling it slant.

Jesus teaches the disciples that what makes someone clean is what comes out of hearts. And he then takes them specifically on a trip into Canaanite country. You know the hated enemies of the people of God. You know the people that God said wipe out. You know the blood enemies of the Israelite people. There is bad blood between these two groups.

And a woman comes up and asks for Jesus to heal her daughter. And then there is this odd interaction between Jesus and her where he seems reluctant. Where he seems to privilege Israel as a group over an individual right in front of him that needs healing and hope. This is a completely uncharacteristic with Jesus in every other part of the gospel. So what’s going on?

What’s going on is that Jesus is trying to reveal the blatant racism and us vs them thinking in the disciples. And this type of thinking lurks in our hearts and is so hard to change without experience, teaching, and blog posts certainly don’t do it. The power of the Spirit through relationships does.

So Jesus leads his disciples to have this encounter with this woman. And when she first approaches him, says nothing, but the disciples do say something. They try to get rid of her, and ask Jesus to send her on her way. They demonstrate what’s in their hearts, hate, hurt, and lack of desire to help and heal. They don’t believe she deserves their help.

So Jesus has a conversation with her that sounds odd to us. But to the disciples it must have been rupturing and revealing. Because I believe Jesus is saying everything that is going on in their hearts, their excuses as to why she should be sent away. 

Let’s be clear on one thing, Jesus didn’t travel all the way into this country to avoid this woman or refuse to heal her. He travelled all the way here to heal her, and the disciples’ hearts which are fixated with us vs them. He wants to heal them, and her.

So Jesus brings the disciples into this interaction and experience where their hate is exposed so that it can be changed. Because if there is any hate within us, it needs to be changed.

So the main point we landed on Sunday after working this all through was that we are called to serve and help everyone, even those we hate. Especially those we hate. We asked the Holy Spirit to convict us if there people, groups, or individuals we believe “God can’t be active there”, or “I don’t need to help them” or “they don’t’ deserve my help”. Because what we see is that God is active even in the enemies we think where God can’t be found. What we see in this passage is our need to serve and help and heal everyone. And we all know that. Christians are to love the whole world, the trouble is when it gets to specifics to that person, that group, that co-worker. We find excuses and reasons not to help and heal. And that’s what this passage is about – taking away our excuses revealing the ugliness of hearts and giving us a chance to change.

So we left with a challenge. To be open to serving the needs of those around us this week – especially those we hate. That if there are people we struggle with, these are the people to serve this week.

Not an easy challenge, but following Jesus has never been easy. It’s been life-changing but not easy. So don’t settle for easy, challenge yourself, reach and love and see what God might do in you, through you, and around you. Because God is moving, and he wants us to join him.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: You are called to serve and help everyone, even the ones you hate

Teaching Points:

  • Disciples are to love God, love others, and love the world.
  • Love towards the world is to mark our lives
  • “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” Emily Dickinson
  • The Canaanites are ancient enemies of Isreal
  • We think with “us vs. them”
  • Faith and hope and God’s amazing working can exist outside the people and places we expect to find it
  • We are called to serve the entire world, not just the people like us who we like.
  • You are called to serve and help everyone, even the ones you hate
  • The mark of a disciple is to be someone who serves everyone.
  • There is no “them”, there is only “us”.
  • There is no one who is outside the scope of God’s love and healing.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? Was this a new passage for you to think through? Why do you think that sometimes “experiences” teach us more than straight “teaching”? Who do you think we as the church struggle with loving – like the disciples with the Canaanite woman? How can we serve them? Who do you struggle with loving? How can you serve them?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today talk to your kids about loving and serving everyone. Ask them who they think gets left out, and needs some love. Then do something about it. If it a classmate invite them over, if it’s a family make some food for them. Serve, but do it together.

Challenge for the Week: To go about your week looking for needs, and meeting them.

Why not be unfair today?

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People are uncomfortable with grace. It’s just true, and I get it because we raise people to react against grace. Because grace, simply put, is not fair.

As I seek to raise my three kids with Krista, one of the things I hear all the time is, “That’s not fair”. We somehow breed or develop in our kids (or at least my kids) this radar for unfairness. That leads to statements like this all the time:

  • Why did Asher get the bigger cookie?
  • Hudson’s played with the car too long.
  • Daddy!!! It’s just not fair!!

And in our household, in many ways, we try to be fair. We talk about being fair, and about sharing all the time. Saying, “Hudson, it’s not fair that you get all the Lego, share with your brother”. Or saying, “Asher, you can’t take all of the books and sit on them, you need to let Hudson have one too”.

But what I think is so interesting is that grace by its very definition doesn’t play according to the rules of fairness. Grace is unfair and it will always be unfair. We see grace and say, “That’s unfair” and it’s true. That’s why grace is so powerful because it gives to us things we don’t deserve, and things that, simply put, aren’t fair.

Francis Spurffod puts it this way:

Something kinder than fairness is, by definition, unfair; and once you take grace seriously it immediately threatens to produce scandalous unfairness in human terms.

It’s true. Grace produces scandalous unfairness in human terms. Which is why it’s so moving, transformative, and divine when truly given. Because in human terms there is nothing fair about grace, about second chances, about 77 chances, about forgiveness, about new starts, about welcoming people who don’t deserve it. There is nothing fair or human about it; grace is divine no doubt about it.

So today why not give a little bit of grace today. Why not be rebellious and rebel against fariness, and spread a little grace divine life today? Why not surprise someone with giving them something they don’t deserve, something that isn’t fair, something that is well…gracious.

Because the only reason that I get to follow Jesus is because God decided to be unfair and give me something I didn’t deserve. The least I can do is to try to follow his example and be a little unfair today, and give someone grace.

3 (Marks): Journeying with Others: The Sacredness of Relationships

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We began on Sunday by noticing something that is so obvious but that we forget: that our culture has a way of taking the depth out of our relationships. 

What I mean by this is in our lives it seems like we have many more relationships at a loss of deep ones. We have lots of friends on Twitter, Facebook, or in our office but don’t have a lot of deep ones.

Jen Pollock Michel writes, “Our connections have grown broader, but shallower”. And I think that’s true. We know so many of the shallow details of one another’s lives, but don’t truly know one another.

But relationships are not just peripheral to our lives, they are absolutely central. They are where we experience not only life, but also God.

Andrew Root writes,

“Our relationships are the very field, the very place where God is encountered”

So relationships matter. That’s what we explored and we began with the only place I know to begin – the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

God became human in the person of Jesus Christ. The implications of this are huge. But right off the bat we should notice one thing if God became a person – persons matter. If the person of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, was shaped and formed by relationships, relationships matter deeply!

Our culture teaches us that relationships are to be used. To be used for our own needs, self-interest, entertainment or whatever. What the Bible teaches is that relationships are sacred and to be shared, and are places for us to give.

Pauls says in Philippians 2 that in our relationships we are to have the same attitude as Jesus, who emptied himself for others. This is to how we live as well. We are called to live with the same self-emptying, self-giving love in relationships.

Our world teaches us relationships are to be used; Jesus teaches us they are places of sacred connection meant to be invested in.

So on Sunday we ended with this main point: Relationships are sacred and meant to be shared. So often we use them, are entertained by them, or are forgetful of them. The Christian’s calling is to give, invest, and cultivate them.

So we gave the challenge to actually invest in relationships. To push past the shallow relationships of culture into real life-giving, God-finding, ones. The challenge for this week wasn’t for a week, or a day, or a month. But for a year. I challenged everyone to journey with at least two other people closely for a year. To choose to invest in relationships. To choose to find God in relationships. To choose to see the sacred and give like Jesus in relationships. Because what I know is this, that without relationships life dries up. But with deep relationships life bursts, spills over, and changes everything.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Relationships are sacred and need to be shared

Teaching Points:

  • 3 Marks of Christians: Love God, Love Others, Love the World
  • Our connections have grown broader, but shallower. Jen Pollock Michel
  • Our deep desire is to be known and to be loved.
  • Developing deep friendships isn’t helpful in following Jesus, it’s necessary if you want to follow Jesus.
  • “Our relationships are the very field, the very place where God is encountered” Andrew Root
  • Relationships aren’t a part of life, Relationships are life
  • Relationships aren’t tangential to our existence, we only exist because of relationships
  • Jesus is self-giving, self-emptying, self-sharing love and relationship
  • Many people now don’t have friends for decades, they have them while it,s convenient.
  • Relationships are places where lives are changed
  • Relationships are not shared interests, but shared connections.
  • “Everything changes because you share in her life and she shares in yours; you dwell with her and she with you. It is sheer grace” – Andrew Root

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What relationships have impacted you most? Which relationships do you have now that are closest? Which relationships do you need to invest in more? How have you seen God move in and through the relationships around you? Who can you journey with for the year?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today, rather than talking about relationships with your kids, invest in them. Ask them what they’d like to do, make it something special and build some experiences and memories. Focus on giving in the time, and be like Jesus emptying yourself for your kids.

Challenge for the Week: To pray about 2 people to journey with for the year.

Relationships are a Gift

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Sunday is a bit of a special day for me. We will be dedicating our beautiful little girl on her 1st Birthday. And one of the great benefits of being a pastor is that when your child is dedicated you also get to preach.

So what I’ve done with our other kids, is to preach a sermon geared to them.

For my special little girl, I’m going to be talking about relationships.

Because here is the thing – relationships are sacred and special things. But they are also so prevalent and so infected by self-interest that we forget that. We so often use relationships for entertainment, our own needs, or self-interest that we forget the biggest thing about them.

Relationships are a gift – and that’s what I want to explore.

The truth is Eden doesn’t “do” a lot for me in any tangible sense of things. She can’t get me a drink, and I spend a lot of time caring for her needs. But because relationships aren’t about “meeting needs” but spaces where grace happen, she has changed me. Because she is a gift, and all good gifts are life-changing.

So that’s where we are going but before we get there take a moment to think through this important question:

Are there any relationships you’ve been neglecting? 

It happens so easily, and so quickly. And if you’re tempted to skip past that question or are too busy then there are probably relationships that you might have skipped past in your busyness. So think it through and change it because relationships are gifts. Gifts of grace, God, and life.