Today we begin a new message series called “Growing Great Relationships.” Each of us has a variety of relationships with other people in our lives. Each of us has casual acquaintances. People we know a little bit about, but not too much. With things like Facebook growing in popularity, people have more and more of these casual acquaintances. Oftentimes, people you’ve never met, but who know someone you know.

Then we have friends, people we communicate regularly with. All of us have friends at work, in our neighborhoods, at our schools or in our church. We have less friends than casual acquaintances. Then we have close friends, people that we share with on a deeper level what’s going on in our lives. Most people don’t have a lot of close friends, but our close friends are important to us. Some are closer than others.

Relationships can bring us great joy or deep distress. We can’t control what the other person in a relationship does, but we can control what we do. The Bible has a great deal to say about relationships with other people. God wants us to grow in our ability to relate to people the way He wants us to. That’s what this message series is all about. Learning to grow so that our relationships can be everything that God intends them to be.

Today, my first message in this series is entitled “Why Relationships Are Important.” This message will look at some of the basic truths that the Bible teaches us about the importance of relationships. Unfortunately, our society is having more and more problems with relationships. Approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce. People view marriages as disposable. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll find somebody else.

Facebook and other online networks have become a substitute for growing real relationships. Now, there may be some good things about Facebook, but the number of Facebook friends you have or the number of posts you make, really doesn’t tell whether you have great relationships. In fact, a recent study of Christian college students showed them to be spending almost 20 hours a week on social networking sites. Over 50% of the students felt that excessive time with their online friends was causing them to neglect other important areas of their lives.

What does the Bible have to say about relationships? A Pharisee once asked Jesus was the greatest commandment in the Law was.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

The most important thing in life is your relationships. First, your relationship with God and secondly, your relationships with other people. So, today, we’re going to look at why relationships with people are so important.

Listen to my message “Why Relationships Are Important” (message-notes).

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