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Yet wherever he went he established a band of people who huddled together in supportive and encouraging community.How was he able to create significant relationships?Found in these verses are three words - rhyming words - that form the basis for developing relationship which pass the test of time. It is not enough to admit we need each other, or say, "Oh, a few friends would be nice." We must commit ourselves to getting beneath the surface talk and become interested and accountable to each other.Care - "as a nursing mother nurtures her own children" (v. Remember people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Authenticity occurs when the masks come off, conversations get deep, hearts get vulnerable, lives are shared, accountability is invited, and tenderness flows. Reuben Gornitzke said of the need for assimilation, "We can't simply cheer people on and give them our best wishes.We can share a car pool, an office, and even a home and not have significant relationships. He was born in Tarsus, educated in Jerusalem, lived in Damascus, spent formative time in the desert, moved to Antioch, and that was only the beginning.Professionally, he ventured out from Antioch on three extensive missionary campaigns, traveling from city to city.We were unified because of the influence it had on our squad." What happened for the University of Alabama football team, what happened in the elevator with my friends can happen anywhere. We need to take off our masks, admit our need for each other, cultivate relationships, and strive for authenticity.Finally, it is worth noting Martin Buber words, "Sin is our failure to grant another his plea for community." May we never be guilty of committing that sin as we build authentic relationships.
Those who immediately answer “yes” can hurl as many barrels of anecdotal evidence as those who scream “no.” Few treat this as a legitimate issue — opinions are given in a tone that implies that the very question violates common sense. As we ask the question, “Can women and men be friends? Between a married person and anyone other than their spouse, the friendship should end immediately.We must be a part of a group, affiliating with others, experiencing caring and sharing relationships. To survive in a cold and cruel world requires deep relationships.But those relationship do not just happen, they require effort.The apostle Paul describes assimilation in five words, "We imparted our own lives" (1 Thes. When Gene Stallings, former head football coach at Alabama, was an assistant under Bear Bryant a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter began.Stallings was the first assistant to attend the meetings. After Stallings had taken the head coaching position at Texas A&M, he received a call from Bryant, "Stallings, you know what is the worst thing that has happened to our football team? Those players are doing nothing but hugging on one another, loving on one another, and they won't hit anybody." Bryant left Stallings to ponder those assorted Bear facts.First Thessalonians, one of Paul's most personal letters, identifies some of the key components for establishing and maintaining community. In another letter Paul identified this need to belong, "So the eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" nor again the head to the feet, "I don't need you!Maslow believed that one could learn as much by studying healthy, well-adjusted people as one could by studying those with problems.His conclusion was that each of us has various levels of need."We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us" (1 Thes. Here was a man that every time he wrote to a church, he would always call by name two, three, or four people that were very close to him. A mother cannot nurse her children without sharing a part of her self with her child. We must learn the gestures of love - a hug, a handshake, roughhousing, as well as, many acts of kindness.He had developed significant relationships with these people. For us to share with others in deep relationship necessitates that we get up close and personal with another. May we never forget that love is something you do, not just something you say.