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Relationships (Part 2)

Relationships (Part 2)


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Episode Overview

We all desire to be in relationship with others, but sometimes we let technology get in the way of those relationships. We also know that we have a God who desires to be in relationship with us, and it's in this relationship with God in which we are sent out to journey with others. We’ll look at the power of relationships with God and others and pause our normal rhythms to pray over ways we can be in relationship with the next generation.

Read the Script

Welcome to The Approach. I’m Connor Owen, and I serve on staff at World Gospel Mission. This is one of our prayer habit episodes where we create intentional space to pray over the topic we discussed a few weeks ago. John and I talked about relationships and how those have changed for Gen Z. With this desire for relationship in mind, let’s take some time to pray over how we can form godly relationships with our Gen Zers.

A few months ago, I was reading about how the Word became flesh. You’ve probably read that, too, is my guess. But let’s lean into what that means. What we’re talking about here is the Incarnation. Jesus came to be with humanity. Through His coming to earth, we are able to step into relationship with God. And this divine relationship with Jesus is what some call “one-ing” ourselves to God.¹ This is what Jesus desires. He wants us to step into relationship with Him, so that we can become like Him. That’s why he came to earth. That’s why He took on suffering. That’s why He pursues you.

I think we can look to Jesus and His Way as a model for building relationships with the next generation. Jesus wasn’t passive or simply waiting on humanity to take the first step. No, He came to us. He gave up His place in heaven, His status, His seat next to the Father, all so He could journey with us.

Am I doing this with the next generation? Am I pursuing those in Gen Z that God has placed in my life?

Back to the familiar line that the Word became flesh. This gives us the reminder that God is with us. He chooses to be with us. And to start out today, we’re going to say a prayer around this passage. I’ll say a line and then you can repeat it to yourself, out loud, or just soak in it.

John 1:14:

The Word became flesh and blood,

And moved into the neighborhood.²

I love that wording—Jesus moved into the neighborhood. We all have heard the word incarnation, and maybe there’s some questions around what that means. Think of it like that, though. Jesus picked up His life, and He moved into your neighborhood. Yeah, yours. The one with all the problems, the difficult dynamics, the brokenness and the pain. He chose to move in there. Right next to you. How does that impact you when you think about Jesus moving into your neighborhood? Moving into your life? For a few moments, consider that reality—that Jesus willfully moved into your life, with all the challenges and overwhelming aspects that you face each day.

We’re seeking to walk as Jesus walked. Because of His stepping into our lives, we should look to step into the lives of the next generation. When God places someone in my life, am I doing this? Am I taking the initiative? I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t. I can list off all the excuses: work, kids, school, things around the house. So, when I think about willfully stepping into someone else’s life, I’m often considering what that will cost me. If you’re a parent, you’ve been here. My kids approach me with a problem as I’m working on a problem of my own, and I tell them not now. But I miss an opportunity when I do this. I miss a chance to move into their neighborhood and deepen the relationship. I miss a chance to walk as Jesus walked. Now, I’m not here to make you feel guilty. I’ve done this with my kids. I’ve done this very thing while working on this podcast that talks about walking with and praying for the next generation. Ironic, isn’t it? What I am here to do is to point to Jesus as our model when it comes to building relationships with the next generation.

I’m going to give you some space to ask God to give you a spirit that is willing to step into the lives of the next generation. Ask God for a willing heart to care for those He’s entrusted to you³ so that you can step into their lives, just like Jesus did for you.

The relationships we’re seeking to build are ones marked by love. And in Jesus, we see the image of that love we are called to live out. It’s through of Christ’s sacrificial love, His moving into our neighborhood and lives that we see the type of love we are to bring into our relationships. As we end today, let these words from First John chapter 4, verses 17 through 19 be something you take with you into the relationships you are in.

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.”

¹ A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God, p. 49
² John 1:14 (The Message)
³ 1 Peter 5:2

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