Thursday, March 5, 2009

Developing Significant Relationships

We continued our Sweet Relationships series this week as we talked about developing significant relationships.  A significant relationship is one that goes beneath the surface.  I know over the years I've had plenty of friendships that went no deeper than talking about common things, but a significant relationship goes deeper and stands the test of time.  Of course going along with the whole Napoleon Dynamite theme we talked about the friendship of Napoleon and Pedro.  But the biblical example we studied was that of Paul and Barnabas.  Most people know the whole story of Saul's conversion to Paul in Acts 9 but lets look at his initial relationship afterward.  We read in Acts 9:26-28 Paul wanted to join the church but the disciples were afraid to say the least and so Barnabas takes him.  As we look at their relationship there are 4 rules of significant relationships to observe.
1)  If you want to have a friend then you must be a friend
      -Be the kind of friend you want to be
    -Take the first step to develop a friendship, don't wait on them, but don't 
       smother them
2)  Act Thoughtfully
    -Acts 11:25-26- Barnabas goes out of his way for Paul
    -Who would go out of their way for you?  If you ran out of gas on the side 
       of the road who would you call because you know they would be there 
       for you?
    -Now who would call you in a similar situation?  Who thinks highly of you 
       enough to call you when they are in need and can depend on you to help 
       them?
3)  Friends rejoice with one another
    -In Acts 13 this duo goes from being listed as "Barnabas and Paul" to "Paul 
       and Barnabas" which leads us to believe that maybe Paul has stepped up 
       as a leader and is successful
    -We never read anything to lead us to believe that Barnabas gets jealous
    -How are you when a friend receives something whether material or in an 
       achievement?  Are you happy for them or are you jealous?
4)  Friends resolve conflict
    -On Paul and Barnabas' 1st missionary journey they take Barnabas' cousin 
       John Mark to assist them but in Acts 13:13 we read that he abandons 
       them
    -When they go on their 2nd missionary journey Barnabas wants to give 
       John Mark a 2nd chance but Paul disagrees strongly and so they go their 
       separate ways- Acts 15:36-40
    -Its not the conflict that is always bad because it is usually inevitable.  Its 
       how you handle conflict that matters the most.  Do you reflect Jesus in 
       how you handle the conflict?
    -James 1:19-20 tells us how to handle conflict
    -As far as we know Paul and Barnabas never re-connect, but about 
       20 years later when Paul is in prison he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 
       4:11 to bring John Mark because he will be helpful.  It looks like Paul has 
       gotten past the conflict and set that aside in order to continue the work 
       of God

In closing we looked at Romans 5:10-11 and about how we were enemies of God, but Jesus come to make peace between us.  We must get to the point where we realize that our relationships are not all about us and our happiness, but that we must bring glory to God through it.

I also want to give credit to Vine Resources for the pics and themes behind these messages.  I know this has been a long post but I did not want to merely summarize the sermon and miss a point.  We'll have either 1 or 2 more weeks of this Sweet Relationship series according to what God leads us to.

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