Being the newest contributor to the Principles to Live By blog is an honor for me! As a pastor, husband, father, and son, I know that life is all about relationships! In fact, my personal blog is entitled Better Together. So it was a no brainer for me to accept the invite to be part of this amazing team of contributors.
God made us to flourish! And as God's created handiwork, we are made to flourish with him and with others in relationship. Therefore, in order to become God's best version of ourselves, we need to be connected with others, specifically seeking to build and cling to these four important relationships in our lives:
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." In this passage, Jesus tells us that there is no other relationship of greater importance; there is no aspect of life any more important than to know and to be in relationship with God. A healthy relationship with the Creator and a willingness to allow God's Word to guide our actions, activities, and govern how we act towards others, will allow us to experience the promise of this verse.
In my life, none of my other relationships work well if my relationship with God is out of whack. I can tell when I have neglected time with Jesus, as I get weary, become less patient, and less present with others. And sadly, this state of mind rubs off into my relationships with my wife, my son, and with those I work with. But as I seek first God's kingdom and prioritize my relationship with Him, everything goes much better, as I experience His presence and power!
Everybody needs a few close friends they can laugh with, cry with, have fun with, and do life with. And there is such power in connectedness. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us that, "Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help."
Zig Ziglar used to tell a story about how Belgian horses are trained to work together -- and how it made these incredible animals so much more effective. Belgian horses are huge, powerful animals. In fact, one Belgian can pull more than 8,000 pounds. That's one strong horse! But the amazing thing is that if you put two Belgian horses together, who are strangers, they don't just double the amount they can pull; they actually triple it to 24,000 pounds. And if you spend some time training them to work together, that unified pair can pull a whopping 32,000 pounds. That's four times what a single horse can do alone!
That story reminds me that connections are powerful. And just as Solomon reminds us, people need healthy relationships to win at life, too.
Life can present us with challenges and decisions that are not easy to make on our own. We may pray about the situation and read God's Word for guidance, but could still feel confused and uncertain about the direction we should take. It's in these times, that it can be helpful to seek the counsel of other wise and godly people.
I believe that everyone needs a mentor in his or her life. To cultivate a relationship with those who have already been where we are or who are a little further along on the journey. A wise counselor is someone in which you can bounce ideas off of, gain wisdom, and get perspective from.
Proverbs 15:22 states, "Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others." Seeking wise counsel is a sign of maturity and humility, and some of the most successful people in life have surrounded themselves with wise counselors.
As a pastor, I have come into contact with many great Christian leaders, like Bill Hybels, Phil Vischer, Dave Ramsey, and Rick Warren, and what strikes me about their leadership is that they are always asking questions. In my conversations with these men, they don't seek to impart with me their wisdom; they seek wisdom by asking lots of questions. And I believe it's this humility and perspective on life that God blesses.
A Close Confidant...
Finally, I believe we all need a trusted friend who you not only enjoy being with, but who speaks truth into your life and with whom you feel safe enough to be real.
Jesus called twelve guys to do life with him, but within his circle of twelve, he had an inner circle of three comprised of Peter, James, and John. These were his closest friends and confidants. And in following Jesus' example, we need to circle ourselves with a few people that truly know our story, our struggles, our insecurities, and our fears.
It's these types of friendships that shape who we become and truly affect where we go! Having these sorts of relationships will not only help us run the race that God has called us to, but will also help us to experience joy and encouragement along the way.
Yes, as we believe at Principles to Live By, life is all about relationships! So start taking some risks to be vulnerable and get connected by pursuing these relationships in your life.
Until next time...
Groups Pastor at Bayside@Adventure
Also known as The Last Supper ...
Did you know that when Jesus and the disciples were eating dinner the night before Jesus was betrayed they were actually enjoying their Passover Seder together?
The Seder is a ceremonial meal performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, retelling the story of the Israelites deliverance from slavery in Egypt. (See Exodus 12:26-27, NIV)
Seders are a very special and meaningful during Passover week. We encourage your participation to help you better understand the Old Testament, the traditions of Jesus' day, and the significance of remembering God's work throughout history and in our lives. The ceremonial items and a full roasted dinner will be served.
Families are encouraged to attend this event together. Free childcare is available for birth to 5 years of age with pre-registration.