When Times Were Good
Alex Enabnit – Research Editor
This weekend we began a brand new two-week series on a very, very short story.
The Book of Philemon is so short, you’ve probably flipped over it more than you’ve flipped to it! But what it lacks in length, it makes up for with dense teaching on dealing with conflicts. This letter is the definition of tactfulness, and very useful for us in our relationships
In it, we see Paul (the author of the majority of the New Testament) writing to Philemon (a leader of the church of Colossae) about a runaway slave named Onesimus (we’ll get to him next week). In the first seven verses that we read today, we see Paul and Philemon have history! They are friends and partners in the faith. In fact, Paul actually brought Philemon to Christ! Paul also mentions that Philemon’s love brings him joy and encouragement. Upon that, Paul will make a request that could change their relationship completely. We’ll look into that next week, but feel free to read ahead!
Every relationship goes through seasons – perhaps like Paul, perhaps a little differently, but seasons nonetheless. Cal walked us through four “seasons” that are common in relationships that either determine whether the friendship continues or ends:
- Times of confusion
- Times of conflict
- Times of confrontation
- Times of conclusion
During any of these four stages, there is an option to bow out. Each stage builds on another and escalates, but it is up to the people in the relationship to decide whether they think it’s worth it to continue and push through the difficulty. Can you think of people who you’ve gone through these four seasons with and come through better on the other side? Or is it more likely that most of your relationships haven’t survived these four seasons? Next week we’ll dig into weathering storms in relationships, so be sure to come back!
Genuine friendship is a bridge that can carry the weight of truth. Are you building bridges or burning bridges?
Verses and quotes from the message:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Philemon 1-7;
“A central task of community is to create a place that is safe enough for the walls to be torn down, safe enough for each of us to reveal our brokenness” Larry Crabb
This is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham
Resurrecting – Elevation Worship
Forever Reign – Jason Ingraham
This is Living – Hillsong Music