Relationslips

Love One Another

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read John 13:34-35 in the New Testament. Jesus gives his new command in this passage. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” How many people know you as a disciple of Jesus? If there are none, or only a few, then you can sit with the vast majority of humanity. As an observer, how many disciples of Jesus do you know? Where are these Christians who love one another?

Tuesday—Read Genesis 2:18 in the Old Testament. Everything had been declared “good” in the creation story. But then God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We are made for relationship with others and with God. Compare this with your own experience. Has life ever been good when you were isolated? If God’s creative work was not done until he solved man’s isolation problem, are you wrong by interfering somehow with that continued creation in your own life? What is the difference between seeking solitude and seeking isolation?

Wednesday—Read I Peter 1:22-25 in the New Testament. “A man should own a cemetery at least big enough to bury the faults of his friends.” So said William Henry Beecher back in the 1800s. When have you had a season in your life where you would rather be alone than in a relationship with other people? Is there someone that needs to forgive you? Someone you need to forgive? What are some of your strategies for letting go of annoyances and the faults you may find in others? What behaviors would cause you to speak up?

Thursday—Read Ephesians 4:1-7 in the New Testament. You may recall this passage from last week’s study guide. This is well worth a review, since we are to make every effort to keep “the unity of the Spirit through the bond on peace.” As you meet and get to know people in your new groups, there will be opportunities to be patient with each other’s faults, and to bear with one another. When you get close to people, you become aware that everyone has some good and some bad. In order to love them, you may have to overlook some of the small stuff—and maybe it’s mostly small stuff anyway! What, really, does it mean to love one another?

Friday—Read Ephesians 4:25 in the New Testament. Be truthful with all. Now, how difficult could that be? When our namesake, the apostle Paul, wrote these words to a troubled church in Ephesus, he was encouraging that congregation to love one another by being completely humble, gentle, patient, and to be willing to bear with their fellow church members in love. Particularly, he admonished the congregation to speak truthfully to each other—in love. You have to tell the truth, but always in love. It may be truthful to be blunt, but the truth should never become a blunt instrument used for the purpose of wounding someone. Are you able to speak truthfully and honestly about conflict, without engaging in conflict? Your group might appreciate it!

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Relationslips

Encourage One Another

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read Acts 4:33-37 in the New Testament. We are continuing our Relationslips sermon series this week by turning an eye on how we go about encouraging one another. Can you remember a time when you gave up something very special just so you could use that special thing to help someone else? How do you look to those who might be in need in the community around you? When was the last time you showed simple encouragement to another person?

Tuesday—Read I Thessalonians 5:9-11 in the New Testament. ”Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Your friends and fans are most valuable to you when you are at the end of a long race, and your legs are aching, and you just don’t believe you can take any more punishment. Encouragement helps push us through. Do you ever look for someone to encourage? Have you ever been encouraged by a stranger?

Wednesday—Read Acts 11:21-26 in the New Testament. Very often we need to do more that just offering encouragement to those around us. I can be very impactful to seek out those who seem to be discouraged. Have you ever denied being discouraged about something, when in truth you really were? What is it about the fallen nature of people that we would happily deny something like this?

Thursday—Read Acts 15:36-40 in the New Testament. God will do mighty works even in the face of honest conflicts and firm disagreements. This passage shows how God worked despite a rift that had developed between some otherwise very effective preachers. What were Paul and Barnabas at odds about? Have you ever been so at odds with someone only to end up forgetting what it was that caused the rift in the first place?

Friday—Read Isaiah 40:28-31 in the Old Testament. Even the strongest of people will tire out at some point, but the power and strength of God is an unwavering thing. We hold onto the belief that God is never too busy calling on others to stop, turn, to help or to just simply listen to us. Keeping this in mind, when was the last time you called upon God to renew and strengthen you? Maybe the better question is this: when is the next time you will call upon God to renew and strengthen you? Please don’t be shy, because your God knows what you need already.

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Relationslips

Respect One Another

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read Romans 12:10 in the New Testament. This verse seems to be simple and easy to follow. But, how are we doing following? Borrowing from the Life Application Study Bible, “we can honor others in one of two ways. One involves ulterior motives. We honor our bosses, so they will reward us, our employees so they will work harder, the wealthy so they will contribute to our cause, the powerful so they will use their power for us and not against us. God’s other way involves love. As Christians, we honor people because they have been created in God’s image, and because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and because they have a unique contribution to make to Christ’s Church. Does God’s way of honoring others sound too difficult for your competitive nature?” That’s a good question!

Tuesday—Read James 1:19-20 and Philippians 2:3 in the New Testament. Continuing with the Life Application Study Bible, “when we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas are much more important that theirs.” Were you to time your conversations, would you be listening as much as you are speaking? When people are talking to you, do you predict they would say they got a fair hearing? Is it wrong to value any viewpoint? Or is it wrong to value every viewpoint? Isn’t a point in every direction just no point at all?

Wednesday—Read Ephesians 4:26-27 in the New Testament. According to this passage, when might the Devil get his foothold? Harboring anger means that we are giving a safe place for anger to reside, to anchor, so to speak—like a storm-tossed ship, seemingly safe at a deep harbor anchorage. But not so fast! A sunken ship can foul the harbor entrance and just shut the whole town down! That’s a bad thing! The Bible doesn’t tell us that we cannot be angry. It tells us that we must handle our anger properly. If we bottle our anger up, it can make us bitter, and unreasonable to others. Do you ever find yourself saying repeatedly to people “Really, I’m not mad!” What would that tell you?

Thursday—Read Proverbs 18:2 in the Old Testament. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” What kinds of things cause the most drama in your relationships? Are you that someone who always has to add to add some comment to every conversation? If so, then it’s time to reflect on the wisdom of doing that. Being slow to speak can diffuse conflict and engender respect.

Friday—Read Matthew 7:12 in the New Testament. There is nothing better than The Golden Rule to teach us about respect and what respect can do in our relationships. If we treat others the way we want to be treated, then we would be sharing a mutual respect. What could be more relationship building than a mutual respect for one another? Is there something you feel God is asking you to start doing? Or maybe there is something God is asking you to stop doing? How can we all be better at creating relationships that are filled with respect?

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Relationslips

Forgive One Another

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read Ephesians 4:32 in the New Testament. Take this one to heart, and maybe memorize it by heart as well: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” Do you have relationships with people that annoy you? If so, how do you handle that? Now, on the other hand, how do those you annoy in relationship handle you? This is why we must forgive others in order to be forgiven ourselves.

Tuesday—Read Matthew 6:14-15 in the New Testament. It takes forgiveness to get forgiveness. According to writer Adam Hamilton, it is important to think of forgiveness as having two essential elements: there is your internal release of bitterness, anger, or desire for revenge, and there is the extension of mercy toward the one who has wronged you. The more serious the wound that divides you, the longer the forgiveness process will take. Do you have a bitterness toward someone that needs to be released? Is the extension of mercy to another an easy thing for you?

Wednesday—Read Romans 12:19 in the New Testament. What’s past is past and it cannot be changed. Still, God can so something redemptive with whatever has happened in the past. Forgiveness involves attitudes and actions, such that if you have difficulty feeling forgiving toward someone that has hurt you, it may yet be possible to act kindly toward them. If you can’t quite be forgiving, remember to be kind, at least. Is it possible that right actions might lead to right feelings?

Thursday—Read Psalm 32:1-5 in the Old Testament. Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Sometimes, we can be more comfortable asking the Lord for pardon than asking our friends. In either case, the process begins with an acknowledgement from us that we have done wrong and that the wrong thing stands in the way of our relationship. Take a moment and describe to yourself some ways in which sin has separated you from others and from God, and how that made you feel? Can something be done?

Friday—Read Colossians 3:12-15 in the New Testament. What does it look like, or even mean, to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? If we can imitate Christ’s forgiving and compassionate attitude, and let love guide us, then we might just have a good start. Christians should live in peace, but that doesn’t mean that all differences of opinion are eliminated. We are a quarrelsome lot. Unity is the virtue, and uniformity is not required. Are you carrying the burden of someone else’s sin? For the sake of relationship, is it time to let these things go?

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