Friday, February 13, 2009

40 Days of Love

Each January, the church I attend starts off the year with a church-wide devotional study to set the tone for the year. This year, we chose The Relationship Principles of Jesus
by Tom Holladay. Based on an exhaustive study of what Jesus did and said about relationships, this book guides readers on a forty-day journey that will bring new health and richness to their marriages, families, friendships, and all the relationships in their lives.

Tom is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, a megachurch with over 20,000 in weekly attendance. The Saddleback story is amazing in and of itself, and Tom has been there from the very beginning, working beside Pastor Rick Warren. Many of you are probably most familiar with Pastor Warren from his best-selling book The Purpose Driven® Life which has sold over 30 million copies world-wide.

On January 25, 2009, we were blessed to have Tom and his wife, Chaundel, speak at our kickoff event of what we are calling the 40 Days of Love. Tom and Chaundel were kind enough to share their insights from writing the book and stories from their past that illustrate the six foundational principles that Jesus taught and lived.

Nothing matters more than relationships—and no one understands them better than Jesus. In forty days, the goal is to bring new depth and health to your marriage, your family, and your friendships. You’ll be equipped with insights and a practical path for fulfilling God’s intention for all your relationships—even the difficult ones.

I know God will be speaking to me through the study of these relationship principles and I want to share that with everyone reading Gather and Glean. I think this study will be a great way to kickoff the site. So over the next six weeks, you can expect posts focused on each of the 40 chapters in Tom's book. The posts will be a mixture of an overview of what Tom teaches in the book, some of the scriptures he references, and what those lessons mean to me. When I can, I'll reference my own examples to illustrate what I am learning. I won't be covering every example Tom presents, you can read the book for that. My hope is that these posts will encourage you to focus on each chapter and hear the message God wants you to take away from the book. Feel free to comment if something in the post speaks to you as you read along.

EDITORS NOTE: If you are looking closely at the dates on these posts, you will notice they don't correspond to the actual dates of writing. It has taken me a bit longer to set up the site the way I wanted it, and therefore I'm a bit behind on the publishing of the posts. But, I have been writing the posts daily and saving them for publishing. I will be catching up over the next few days.

Day 1: Nothing is More Important Than Relationships

Photos: Tom Holladay, Chaundel and Tom Holladay (C)2009 Chris Earle Photography

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