Defying Gravity Part 3: Connecting Not Isolation
On Sunday 21st February at our morning service, we continued our series 'Defying Gravity' with a talk called Connecting Not Isolation. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
If you would like to listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
We used a youtube clip from the film Martian at the start of our service.You can watch that by clicking here.
Just before the talk we watched a clip from Worshiphouse media called Community. You can watch that by clicking here.
Talk Notes and Summary
What are the absolute best memories you have from your life so far? Who was there with you? I am willing to bet that all the best memories have from your life involved other people. The best experiences of our lives are made better because of who we were with, and the worst experiences of our lives are made more bearable when we have people supporting us.
Mother Teresa once said “We have drugs for people with diseases like leprosy. But these drugs do not treat the main problem, the disease of being unwanted. That’s what my sisters hope to provide. The sick and poor suffer even more from rejection than material want. Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
Loneliness and isolation is the most terrible poverty Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.
So how do we combat the disease of loneliness? What is the cure? I am going to use a letter that is in the NT part of Bible to help us find the cure. It is called Hebrews, because it was written to a bunch of people known as Hebrews! No one is quite sure who wrote it, but it is a great book. So let’s look at one bit of it in Hebrews chapter 10 verses 19 to 25. You can read that by clicking here.
In verses 19 to 23, the author is saying that Jesus has opened a way for people to approach God. We can have access to God, we can have faith in Jesus, we can draw near to God, we don’t need to be lonely because we have God and can have a relationship with him.
But how we do that, how to we find the motivation and encouragement to keep doing that, how do we hold on to faith and hope? How do we ensure we find human relationships to help us along the way?
In verses 24 to 25 we are told how:
Firstly to spur one another on: Now you know this to be true, how much more likely are you to get something done, to keep persevering, keep going, to reach a goal if you have people spurring you on?
Find people to spur you on: mentors, friends, accountability partners.
Secondly meet together: don’t give up meeting together. Meeting together in services and events which is where a church can really help us. Why would we choose isolation when connection is right there available to us? With all the problems of loneliness and isolation why do we choose isolation by not prioritising meeting together?
Finally encourage one another. Find people to encourage you and for you to encourage.
There is a gravitational pull in our culture and society that pulls us towards isolation. We have to choose connection and we have to be intentional about it. One of the things I love about God and I love about his church, he knows we need connection and so he created the church to help us find that. And there are so many opportunities for connection and you don’t even have to be a Christian to take advantage of them. At EBC we have all sorts of opportunities:
Socialising – clusters, social events, friendships
Gathering – services and worship events
Caring – small groups
Growing – courses and workshops
Serving – on teams with others
Choose connection over isolation, because loneliness kills and connection brings hope.
Questions for Reflection
1. What are the best memories you have from your life so far? Who was there with you?
2. Do you agree that the best experiences of our lives are made better because of who we were with and the worst experiences of our lives are made more bearable when we have people supporting us?
3. Why is loneliness and isolation so bad for us?
4. What does it mean to have direct access to God because of what Jesus has done?
5. Do you see God as a Father and Jesus as a brother who you can always turn to?
6. Do you sense the presence of God with you always? How?
7. Who spurs you on and encourages you? Who do you spur on and encourage? How can you find those people?
8. What can you use at EBC to ensure you priorities and choose community and connection over isolation and loneliness?