We Are Not Made to Be Alone

On Take Five today, RZIM speaker Shawn Hart examines the value we put on relationships as being a reflection of our creation as relational beings who are made in the image of a relational God. Shawn reminds us that we carry this relational aspect of him in us. As COVID-19 has made even more clear, we are not made to be alone. We are made for each other.

One of the ways that we have been defining the image of God is that humans have the ability to make visible the characteristics of God. One of these characteristics of God that humans make visible is how highly we value relationship; we are relational beings who are made in the image of a relational God.

God did not create mankind because he was dependent on humans to express his relationality, God created humans as an outflow of his love, to reflect the relationality that already existed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Make it Personal

  • Has this season of social distancing been an enjoyable reprieve from people or a difficult reminder of how much we need one another?

  • How do you see the incarnation answering our need for relationship? How might we share that with the lonely and isolated people around us?

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I really enjoyed this week’s Take 5 videos.
I have definitely felt the effects of social distancing/isolation the past few months. I was living away from home for several months and developed many close relationships with the people in this new area, but had to move back home due to COVID, so while many of these friends are able to be with each other outside, going on walks together, etc., I am restricted to communication via technology.
I was telling a friend the other day the loneliest feeling is hanging up from a Zoom call. It is obvious we are meant to be in relationships where we can physically be together. I am looking forward to being able to worship with my church again, fellowship with my youth group, and spend time with close friends again without fear of illness.

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Hi @jspare
I truly enjoyed you on Youtube and Facebook session on Take 5. Thank you for taking the time to upload those inspiring messages.
To your question, I will admit in my late years now, I have never experienced such incredible upheaval that has affected so many people worldwide. I have missed the fellowship and intimacy of being with fellow Christians and also many non-believers.
I feel that this episode reminds us of the importance of relationships. As Christians, it personifies that foundations of what and why we were created. To have a relationship. Relationship with one another and more importantly, a relationship with God. That relationship grounded in God’s divine Love for his children.
Here in this country, Malaysia, which is a dominant Muslim nation, Christians have gone to the social media to continue that relationship amongst members, with the online church, and bible studies etc., and many Muslims are intrigued by the extent of the effort Christians have gone to maintain that relationship.
It has lead to some very interesting dialogues, which has helped Muslims understand the importance of relationship and how only through the God of the Bible, we can know and understand that relationship. The coherence and understanding why the Triune God of the Bible gives a logical foundation that puts into a reality that relationship with his creation, which is part of our Christian life.
To a Muslim, there is no relationship with Allah and their whole monotheistic belief is based on a book. This pandemic has to lead to many seeking answers and many have found it in the Christian world view and Jesus Christ.
I have a local website that offers answers to questions about life, purpose and moral values. I started it in January 2020 and had only 300 followers by March. It has jumped over 1300 in the last 3 months, with hundreds of daily messages from people asking questions.
For the church here, it has been an awakening of the importance of fellowship and sharing and for people outside the church, it has lead many seeking answers to life questions.
God has a plan and in His sovereignty, and His ‘will’. We have to do what is pleasing in his eyes.
Thank you and God Bless

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Hello again Luke,

I’m fascinated by what you write, about how Malaysians are finding your divinely inspired website. I believe in an earlier post you said Islamists consider this blasphemy and punishable in severe ways? Are you putting yourself in danger in your pursuit of the Great Commission? If so, I admire your courage and passion and will pray for God to protect you.

Paul

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Hi there @pdangelmajer,
Thank you for your prayers. I have been blessed and I know that the Lord is looking over me. I had very little backlash so far. The usual threats, insults and ridicule.
Before I took my walk as the Lord as set forth, I made sure my wife and kids were ready to walk along with me. What I have to face, they were also subjected to it.
I’ve had dead cats thrown into my house, which actually brought my neighbours to defend me, which was great.
God works in many ways, it is our impatience that we lose focus and direction. I have found that God always has a plan, we must always allow it to play out according to his ‘will’.
The RZIM methodology in apologetics is truly wonderful. The emphasis is on the ‘questioner’ and that makes it very compassionate and loving. It personifies the relationship rather than just an answer.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
God Bless

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I am so encouraged by your faithful witness, Luke! And blessings on your wife and children! I will join with Paul in praying for your safety. I am blessed to hear of your website and the hungry souls that are being led there for answers! So grateful for God’s work in your country and for you His servant!
~Belle

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What an intriguing notion that the Christian acknowledgement of the need for relationship has been used by God to reach people in the Muslim faith. Praising God for prompting you to create your website and for being light where you are! God bless and keep you and them as this dialogue continues. May the Angel’s in heaven rejoice at works He is doing with you in Malaysia, my brother.

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Hi everyone and Thank you for your messages and prayers.
I like to update all of your of a get together I had with some local Muslims here. There is a major online discussion that is going on about the Quran. Actually it was sparked by a debate among 2 Muslim scholars who were discussing about the Quran. One actually admitted there are problems authenticating the true version from Muhammad. This type of conversations among my friends are common but what made it very interesting was the fact they were talking about a debate among 2 Muslim scholars. Sheikh Yasir Qadhi and Muhammad Hijab. Not sure if its still available online (You Tube).
As the debate among them continued, I remained silent till they all looked at me and asked. “How do Christians worship when the Bible is corrupted”…Wow, what a question.
I could have taken time to explain the long approach and probably not get anything across to them. I could have talked about the inerrancy of scripture, historical proof, early manuscripts, early historical manuscripts etc etc but I took a long breath and said.“Where did they get this information from?” all of them answered literally in one voice “The Quran”
I smiled and said “The same Quran you are now debating about its authenticity” There was an eerie silence and I closed my eyes. When I opened them I saw them all had gotten up and were walking away from my table.
My heart fell in utter disappointment, as one of them turned to me and said: Islam is all that I am, It is who I am, It is what I am, To disbelieve, is to disbelieve in my own existence.
I was devastated and felt that I had failed.
The next day, I received a message asking if I would like to meet up again and specifically talk about Christianity.
Isn’t GOD glorious.
From my own failures, God has used it to shake the foundations of the 3 men.
It is only in the God that we can gain strength to do his will. It is in his sovereignty that his will be done and we are but his children empowered for his glory.
God Bless.

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Thank you so much for sharing this, Luke! God definitely has you where He wants you, and He is using you as He moves in the hearts of those around you. I am so excited that these men want to meet again!!! I will join you in praying that the eyes of their hearts may be opened and that they may find the Answer to their deepest needs! Jesus longs to draw them in! Blessed indeed are the feet that bring good news!!! Praying for you, brother!!!

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@LukeShori

Luke… what a remarkable story you’ve blessed us with this Sunday morning. I have to say, and I know I’m not alone on this one, I’m a bit jealous that such a wonderful opportunity fell squarely on your lap! Praise God. Don’t we all cherish those moments and pray they come daily.

Such a scene… Muslims debating if their holiest book is errant, and a Christian sitting in silence knowing his Holiest book is inerrant. And our Lord sitting with you all. Luke… my goodness how he trusts you.

Your two short sentences; “Where did they get this information from?” and “The same Quran you are now debating about its authenticity”: Luke these are not only reminiscent of Ravi but of Jesus Himself (and I say this with due fear of God). The result of your few words resulted in a biblical way also… two men departed hearing and sensing the power of God’s wisdom, and one replied the next day with a yearning for more. Question: Which man asked to talk more? Was it the man that made the statement “Islam is all that I am…”, or the man who was silent?

Please let us know how what transpired in your second conversation. My prayers are with you and your friends. Job well done good and faithful servant!

Paul

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Hi Paul @pdangelmajer,
Thank you for your message. I am still numb by what has happened. It was like an out of world experience. I know this is exactly what the Lord wants me to do and I am so humbled. As I sit here and think about it, it feels strange and unattached. Like it wasn’t me.

Actually, its all 3 of who want to meet up again. The gentleman who contacted me wasn’t the one who uttered those words before they left. I could see the agony in his eyes when he said it too and it tore at my heart and soul. I could see the pain in his eyes when he said it. I knew immediately, that it was something I could never comprehend and I felt so distressed by what I had done.

But God has touched their souls, and only by their own turmoil they are facing. The Holy Spirit has shown them the truth and now it has been revealed.

I will keep updating everyone here as I progress along with this group. Thank you everyone for listening. I feel so blessed to be able to share it with everyone, for this is all ours to celebrate. To the Lord God is the Glory personified.

Thank you and God Bless

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Hi Belle @clark.belle
Sorry for the late reply but I honestly did not see your post till just now.Thank you so much for your message and prayers. I must tell you it worked. It has been a glorious week. This forum is indeed blessed by many like you and I find so much encouragement and strength spending time reading the many posts here.

We have given our faith in Christ and lifted our cross’s to walk to the promise in his salvation. Thank you and everyone here. It is in the guilt and humility of our inadequacy and sins that we put all our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to do all that is pleasing to our Father in heaven.

God Bless you and everyone here

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I will say it with one observation. Jesus touched the leper. Jesus could have healed him using many different methods, but He chose to touch him when no one else would for fear of contracting the disease. The poor man had to stand far off calling out “Unclean!”

God created us to need the blessed luxury of being physically touched. Is there anyone who by choice will not kiss his beloved, hug his children, pet his dog, enjoy the feel of silk, cool water, rich cream on his body? Covid19 has blessed me in spending so much more time in prayer, in study and in listening to Ravi’s messages. But I still miss being in my fiance’s arms.

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Thank you Carmen for your message.
You are right that we were created in God image and likeness and it is not what is on the outside that matters but within our hearts. The love of God see past all and straight deep into our fellow man.

All trials are a test of our faith and it is in God that we hold fast to overcome. My prayers are with you that the Lord will comfort you and that you will soon be in the arms of your fiance.

God Bless

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I can’t tell you how much you just blessed me with your tender reply! May He bless you abundantly as He said in John 10:10!!

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Hi everyone @pdangelmajer @clark.belle,

I am sorry for the long break from writing and coming online here. I had a rude awakening these last 2 weeks when it comes to talking to Muslims and non-believers here in my country and realizing who we can depend on as true friends.

As I had mentioned earlier, I have had great successes reaching non-believers here in my country but the stark reality of how authorities fear the truth was revealed to me in a drastic fashion again. I was picked up by the authorities and underwent a tremendous interrogation about my motives on my FB postings and website, which they say question their ‘worldview’, which is the national declared religion.

I thank God that they didn’t pick me up outside but came to my house and my wife and kids were aware and ready to confront it. The religious officials were rude and confrontational but I strangely wasn’t scared, and the police were much cordial and polite. This is the third time this has happened and I know that God’s word is reaching many out there. In fact during the discussion with them, I remembered much of RZIM foundational principles and used it to talk with love and compassion. I looked at each person as a human being with their burdens and obligations and sympathized with them in carrying out their duties. In fact, I even managed to discuss at great length with one officer.

Please understand that I am writing this to tell all of you here, that no matter what obstacles we face, you can always count on God to stand by you. Even my church that I attend avoided me, and I was told later that they told the authorities that they were not involved with my work. Wow, it took me days to come to terms with that and truly realize that there is no one but God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, whose steadfast promise will always be there with you. Imagine God of three, plus me, that makes four.

I now truly understand what Jesus said in Matt 10:38 - “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me”.
I now understand that following Christ is bringing the cross (burdens) of this world and following Christ. We don’t leave it behind because we are still part of it and face these challenges every day. It is only with Jesus can we face them and overcome them. and Matt 10: 40-42 is Jesus’s promise of our just reward in heaven.

It is the promise in scripture and the Great Commission that we find comfort in our Lord comforting words.

For the Glory of God’s Kingdom, we are called to proclaim his promise in his salvation to all the nations.

God Bless everyone here.

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Greetings brother Luke! @LukeShori

So good to hear from you! I was actually wondering if you weren’t writing due to this exact reason. So happy to hear you are well, unharmed and with your family again. God is great!

Luke, your courage on behalf of the Holy Trinity is so admirable and inspiring for me. Amongst all the hostilities you and family are stedfast for God, each other, those you have brought to Christ and those He will put in your path. Because of you I will continue to speak boldly here and even increase my efforts for our Lord and Saviour. AND you say your learned RZIM foundational principles came into play when being confronted in your home by “religious official”! This sentence will stay with me for many years Luke, I thank you.

May I ask, you write that you and family confronted the religious police in your home! I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. Were their words spoken about Allah vs. our Christian God? I can’t imagine these intruders were open for debate, but did you and family actually stand up for our God and for your religious freedom at that dangerous moment?

I thank God you and family are well and pray for your safe future.

Your brother in Christ,

Paul

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Brother Luke!

Like Paul, I am extremely grateful for your safety!!! How faithful is our God to His people!!! I cannot imagine how difficult it must have felt for you when those in your church turned away from you in that time of testing. :pensive: And yet I know Jesus, with great understanding, never left your side! Your faithfulness is a tremendous encouragement to me. I pray that I may be as faithful and as bold in the face of opposition. I pray that the seed planted in the hearts of those who came to oppose will sprout up unto life and bear fruit! Thank you for your faithful service, Luke! May the God of all peace bring you comfort!!! ~Belle

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Your testimony is powerful, Luke! It encourages me to press deeper into Jesus! I pray that you would be strengthened more and more as you obediently proclaim the One, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Praying also for the officer who was intrigued by the message you bore! Jesus most certainly gave you the exact words to share! Rejoicing in His provision for you! Praying for you and your family!

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Continued prayers for you and your family. Thank you for sharing from your side of the world. Thank you for your courage and obedience for the sake of the gospel.

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