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Rightly Connecting to Key Relationships

Last week, before the storm, Alex York preached the second sermon in a series on Rightly Connecting to Key Relationships

He focused on investing in key relationships outside the church.

He used as a text Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan.

Opening our lives to people in need involves Seeking, Serving, Sharing, and Storying

Seeking

We need to look for opportunities to reach out to others.  This does involve seeking God first.  Ask God to show us how to love our neighbor today.

Luke 19:10 -- The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.  A good shepherd goes after lost sheep.

Jesus deliberately sought those far from God.  He sought them out on their turf, not waiting for them to come to him.

We may need to make margins in our time for this.  Purposely move toward people distant from God.

Serving

Matthew 20:28 -- The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.

In God's economy, serving is important, and not just about serving people who will serve us back.

Philippians 2:4-7 -- Imitate Jesus' attitude.  He put aside his divinity and became a servant.

Preview of a way to do this will be the 2016 Food Fight -- joining with other churches in the area to pack 5 million meals at Dulles Expo. 

We're having a food drive on Super Bowl Sunday as well.

Sharing

We want to share our lives with others and cultivate friendships with those outside the church.

Matthew 5:16 -- Let your light shine before men.  They can't see your light if you don't share your life.

This is also about being open and honest about the areas where we struggle.  People are curious about where God is working in the midst of our brokenness.

I Timothy 1:16 -- Christ displayed patience toward Paul.  Paul's not talking about his strengths.

Can you put into everyday language what God has been teaching you?  Small groups are a good place to start.

Storying

Getting to know the stories of other people and letting them know your story; also pointing them to God's story.

I Corinthians 9:19-23 -- Paul tried to connect with all kinds of people.  This involves respectfully understanding who the other person is and their perspective.

This happens over time.  There may be an opportunity to introduce spiritual elements.

We need to build relationships.

We live in a story-driven culture.

We have the best story!  We need to learn to become better storytellers.

We don't have any idea the impact it can have when we listen to people's stories.

***

This week, January 24, we aren't meeting because of the blizzard.

Next week, January 31, is our Ground Breaking service!  10:00 at Mercer Middle School.

 

Rhythms

On Sunday, Pastor Ed led us through making some resolutions together.

This is going to be an important year for Gateway.  We hope to break ground on our Community Resource Center at the end of January or early February.

Scripture acknowledges the rhythms of life. 

Isaiah 50:4 "morning by morning"

Psalm 63:5-6 "through the watches of the night"

Every song has a rhythm, and so do our lives.

Ecclesiastes points out there is a time for everything.

But the rhythm of our lives has been hijacked and we suffer for it.

We have predictable to-do lists.

In The Cloistered Walk, by Kathleen Norris, she says that liturgical time is poetic time.

The focus on process rather than productivity.

Isaiah 30:15  -- "repentance and rest . . . quietness and trust"

Psalm 27:14 -- "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Psalm 37:7 -- "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

There are daily rhythms, weekly rhythms, and seasonal rhythms.

In weekly rhythms, the Sabbath was created for us.

The seasonal rhythm in the Old Testament was designed to enhance the average Israelite's relationship with God.  The festivals had specific spiritual purposes.

Their rhythm was determined devotionally, organized around their relationship with God.

Ed is advocating for us to surrender our schedule to God this year.

Dallas Willard says we need Vision, Intention, and Means.

Vision:  Things we need to understand clearly.  These are "I believe..." statements.

God intended us to access the rhythm of our lives to enhance our relationship with Him.

Intention:  The values we commit to.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and so is the road to heaven!

Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 1:9 -- We must choose.

Psalm 62:10; Psalm 119:30 -- Set your heart on the right things.

2 Chronicles 11:16; 2 Chronicles 12:14 -- Set your heart on seeking the Lord.

Means:  What we can do to foster Transformation.  Plan for it!

Write down a plan:  Daily, weekly, seasonally

What's your plan for connecting with God?

What rituals will you use?

What seasonal rhythm can you establish this year?

Let's take Lent seriously this year:  Simplify your life; focus on God.

We're going to talk about Israel's festivals and celebrate Passover as a church this year in various homes.

This summer, think about Rest.

And next Advent season, we're going to do something different.

From there, we were asked to talk about these ideas with each other, and we were given a worksheet with spaces for Vision, Intention, and Means.

We're looking forward to see what God will do this year!