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John Shirk

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Relationship-Building Principle-Honesty

john : March 24, 2015 3:26 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Ephesians 4:25.

“Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

That word, “therefore” connects with a preceding thought, which talks about putting off the corrupted old self, and putting on the new self, where we are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Jesus trains us to be honest in our relationships. This means that we will be committed to the truth. That does not mean we have to disclose everything about ourselves to everybody. But it does mean that we project ourselves with honesty and humility. We avoid flattery, which deceives others into thinking they are better than they are. We also avoid boasting, which deceives ourselves into thinking we are better than we are. We are also careful not to spread false reports or rumors. Dishonesty undermines credibility, while honesty preserves integrity.

Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life. Under His influence, we put away falsehood and replace it with truth in the way we communicate with those people God has placed in our lives.

Honesty is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship Building Principle-Unity and Harmony

john : March 19, 2015 8:58 am : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Psalm 133:1.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”

Unity is not the same as uniformity. If we think about music, uniformity would be like everyone singing the same note, and playing the same instruments.

Unity blends different voices, singing different notes, using different instruments to turn harmony into a beautiful song.

In the body of Christ, unity is good and pleasant when each person is on the same page, acknowledging Jesus as Lord, and when His name is the anthem of our song. This song becomes a masterpiece of praise when God’s people keep their eyes on the conductor and exercise various forms of service as instruments of His grace.

Romans 12:16 instructs us to “live in harmony with one another.”

Living together in unity is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship Building Principle-Words and Thoughts

john : March 18, 2015 5:45 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Psalm 19:14.

David prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

This is a prayer expressing intent to bring glory to God with our words and thoughts. Life’s most important relationship is strengthened when our love for God spills over into action.

When it comes to pleasing God with our words, that means praising the name of Jesus with our songs and statements of faith. That means speaking the truth in love in our relationships with people. It will mean using edifying words to build them up in the faith and to encourage them to be true to the Lord. Honoring God with our words also means refraining from slander, gossip and boasting about ourselves.

When it comes to pleasing God in our thoughts, that means focusing on those things that are right, and pure, and lovely. That means thinking about Jesus and the words He spoke to us in the Bible. Then, we have direction for following in His footsteps.

Pleasing God with our words and thoughts is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Testimonial Evangelism

john : March 11, 2015 3:26 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is the Testimonial approach.

This is when we tell other people how God has specifically changed our lives with the touch of His grace. This might happen in a setting where we are sharing one-on-one with a friend. Or we might share our testimony in a church meeting.

In John 9, a man who was blind from birth was given sight. When the Pharisees asked him about this, he said about Jesus, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I see.”

Our testimony is where our story and God’s grace meet. When people hear and see the difference that Jesus makes in our lives, they have opportunity to see how Jesus can also change their lives in a profound way.

Psalm 66:16 says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

Taking the testimonial approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Invitational Evangelism

john : March 6, 2015 4:35 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is the Invitational approach.

In our enthusiasm of being a follower of Jesus, we are motivated to invite others to experience new life in Christ too.

In John chapter 4 of the Bible, there was a woman at the well, who had an encounter with Jesus. She was living in immorality, but Jesus did not condemn her. Instead, He invited her to taste the living water of His grace.

She, in turn, went back to her Samaritan village to say to her people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Christ?” The Bible says they came out of the town and made their way toward him. Many of them became followers of Jesus too.

Jesus extends this invitation: “Come, follow me.” Revelation 22:17 says, “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

Taking the invitational approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Service Evangelism

john : March 4, 2015 3:59 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is to take the service approach.

In Acts 9, Tabitha is a good example of someone who demonstrated her love for God through acts of service. She was always doing good and helping the poor.

All over the world, Christian organizations reach out to children in poverty. Churches send out people to serve on mission trips. Disaster relief organizations help people in crisis situations to rebuild their lives. These forms of service are giving Christians opportunities to share the love of Jesus, as we represent Him in various forms of service.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Taking the service approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Direct Evangelism

john : February 26, 2015 5:12 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is to take the direct approach.

We see that in a number of places in the book of Acts. On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave a sermon where he talked about Jesus, and what He had accomplished when He was on the earth-how He died on a cross, rose from the dead, and was exalted at the right hand of God.

The people asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 3,000 people were added to the church that day.

On another occasion, a desperate jailer asked Paul and Silas, “what must I do to be saved?” Paul’s response was direct: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.” That man came to believe in God and was filled with joy.

When someone asks how they can be saved, that is a good time to explain that Jesus is the answer.

Taking the direct approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship-Building Principle-Engagement

john : February 24, 2015 5:17 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from John 17, verses 15 through 18.

Jesus said to His Heavenly Father, regarding His followers, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

One of the perplexing questions that Christians face is “what does it mean to be in the world, but not of it?”

We are not called to be isolated from our culture, but to be engaged in it.

We are not called to compromise godly standards, but to uphold them in our witness for Jesus.

After Jesus said this prayer, His followers engaged culture and became influences for the Gospel. God can work through us to share the good news of God’s love with the world.

Engaging this world with the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship-Building Principle-Not Easily Angered

john : February 20, 2015 2:45 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from First Corinthians 13:5.

Love “is not easily angered.”

God’s love serves to temper our anger when patience is tested. We are not prone to emotional outbursts when guided by God’s love.

That is not to say that we are never angered. Jesus vented His anger when He saw God’s house of worship turned into a den of robbers. There are some injustices in this world that should upset us to the point of doing something about it.

However, when we are motivated by love, we are not easily angered or easily offended when someone disappoints us. We stay calm and cool. If there are differences to work out, love compels us to use conversations rather than shouting matches to address them. James 1:19 instructs us to “be slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

Being slow to become angry is a relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship-Building Principle-Focus Beyond Ourselves

john : February 19, 2015 3:42 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from First Corinthians 13:5.

“Love is not self-seeking.”

Sin is an “I” centered word. So is Pride. Selfish desires get in the way of thriving relationships.

The focus of true love goes beyond ourselves. In the context of our relationship with God, the focus is on bringing glory to God. In the context of our relationship with others, the focus is on blessing them with encouragement, a servant’s heart, and edifying words.

Joy can be an acronym for “Jesus, Others, Yourself”. With those priorities in that order, the door is open for us to experience the joy of living out the Gospel.

Focusing beyond ourselves is a relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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