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It’s All About Relationships

November 10, 2017

It was a summer night a few years ago. I had played a church softball game earlier in the evening (which proved to be one of the last . . . it came a couple of weeks before the resulting knee surgery, which resulted in Rhonda saying “you’ve played your last game”). I had cleaned up and I picked up a book I had been reading, entitled “Transformational Discipleship”, written by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation.

Originally, I was struck by the word “transformation”, because I realized that was a great word to describe what God could truly do in my life if I would fully yield to Him. I didn’t want to add Jesus to my existing life. I wanted Jesus to transform my life to be in His image.

It was on that night that I got to the chapter which set me on a journey that I’m still on today. In that chapter, the authors issued a challenge to the readers to build Kingdom relationships with intention. They used the phrase “Relationally Intentional”. In other words, our lives should be about looking for opportunities to invest Kingdom love, Kingdom truth, Kingdom compassion, and Kingdom discipleship into the lives of those we encounter.

I was struck . . . and my life has not been the same since. It put into a phrase how I had sought to do ministry for a number of years. There are other “spiritual markers” in my life with other phrases or verses which have altered my course significantly, but this one was different.

Fast forward a bit and the Lord has continued to develop this concept in my heart. In time, the Lord revealed to me that life, if it’s to be lived in obedience to Christ, is all about 5 fundamental relationships. The first two are formative and the last 3 are connective.

  1. God’s relationship to man – Initiation. We are dead men walking until God draws us in by His Holy Spirit. No man comes to the Father on his own. We come as a result of His drawing. John 6:44, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
  2. Man’s response to God – Transformation. There’s that word again. When I respond to the drawing of God, I begin the process of sanctification, becoming set apart in the image of Christ, which results in a transformation of who I am to who He wants me to be.  2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
  3. Man’s relationship to fellow man – Relation. We can only effectively interact with others if we have our relationship with God in proper perspective. Now we can begin to connect with others in a way that brings glory to God.  Every interaction with others is a reflection of our Kingdom view. God will use things that He gives you a love for in order to impact others for the Kingdom. In the past I’ve seen Kingdom relationships develop as I’ve coached my kids in sports, done announcing for ballgames, worked in radio, volunteered in the school or community, or even taking some time to get to know the server at the restaurant or the person who cuts my hair. John 13:34-35, 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  4. Man’s relationship to church – Connection. People sometimes say “I can be a Christian and not attend church regularly”. My response to that is, you CAN, but you can’t be an obedient one. Our connection to the church is a reflection of the depth of our relationship with Christ and our love for our fellow man. If I’m only attending church to have a worship experience, then I’ve made that involvement too much about me and not enough about worshiping and serving God. Hebrews 10:25, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
  5. Man’s relationship to organizations (community) – Reputation. Every time you walk out of your house, you are a child of God having an opportunity to impact the Kingdom. You may not have a relationship with a school building or a workplace or a grocery store or bank, but you have a relationship with the people that make up that organization, that level of community. I want to have the reputation of one who exalts Christ in all of my relationships, all of my interactions. I’ve had people come to the churches I’ve served and tell me, “I came here in part because I saw you were a ‘regular guy’ outside the church.” Let the life you live on Sunday be the same life you live Monday-Saturday and you can have Kingdom impact in “living life”, while seeking God’s direction for opportunities to take those relationships to the “next level”. We were not created to live life in isolation. Matthew 5:14-15, 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

In order for us to effectively impact the world, the community we live in, for Christ, we need to be mindful of opportunities we have to invest Kingdom love and grace in the lives of those we encounter.

Be “relationally intentional” today.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor – First Baptist Church – Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts

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