Tag Archives: friendship

Shared life…

Today I played golf for the first time in 1 1/2 years.   I was invited by someone in my church who loves golf and lives on the 6th fairway at Beau Rivage.  My Dad was home, so the three of us hit the links.  It was the most awesome weather; great temperature with a nice breeze.  Now I’m not going to give Tiger Woods a run for his money, so I don’t take things too serious.  But, I ain’t too bad; though I will admit being last today.  A bad day on the course is still a good day.  I think I lost 6 balls and my golf shoes obviously sat too many years in my garage, because on the 5th hole the soles of my shoes literally began to come apart.  By the 8th hole I was playing with one sole.  By the 9th I felt like I was walking in mockasins with no soles.  My back was killing me by the 10th green.  What an awesome day!

Why?  We may not always think about it, but everything that is worth anything is better when shared with people we love.  Think about it.  Just about everything in life is enhanced by the presence of others we can share the experience with.  A funny movie is funnier when you can laugh with someone.  Your favorite restaurant is better when sharing it with a friend.  Golf is even better when you can play with people you care about.  Even if you play badly.

All said, this journey with Jesus is enhanced by the community of intimate friend that I get to walk with.  Love if fuller if we can share it.  I am glad that God has me on the path I find myself.  Church has taken on new meaning and new life for me.  I am breaking free from lifeless religion and institutional spirituality into the beauty of organic church, oneness with Jesus and share community.  Life and life more abundantly. 

Does something in your spirit long for something more, something different that what you are experiencing?  Is there a longing for something deeper in Jesus and others?  Ask yourself, what is keeping you from experiencing it?

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Risky Buisness…

risky-businessWe have been teaching a series called “Going Deep” over the last few weeks and it has been an awesome experience for me because it has been shaping me as I teach it. 

The thing I have been pondering is how we mostly present Christianity as a belief system instead of a way of life.  Our faith was intended to be a way of life.  God models this for us.  We know 1 John 4:8 says “God is love.”  This is our belief.  But, in Romans 5:8 God Gives us His way of life, “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   We know the bible says God is kind and we believe it but Romans 2:4 says “the kindness of God leads you to repentance.”  Our belief system has to always be fleshed out.  It has to become for us a way of life.

In our series about “Going Deep”,we looked at Acts 2:42-47 where the believer (system) devoted themselves (way of life).  They devoted themselvesto fellowship and breaking of bread which requires a great deal of humility and vulnerability.  Let’s just say this is RISKY BUSINESS.  I shared in our series how we will have fellowship to the degree that we are known.  This means the risk of exposing ourselves, being real.  It questions “If I let people know this about me, what will they think, what will they do?”

That said, I was privileged this week to be invited to lunch by a new friend.  When we settled down to eat he said the reason he wanted to have lunch with me was to expose himself.  He said he wanted to tell me about his life so we could know each other deeper.  WOW!!!  The courage it takes to let it all hang out.  My experience has been, you never know how people will react when you open up to be known.  I am so blessed, both as this persons friend and as a pastor.  I am blessed to go deeper as a friend and like most pastors, we are blessed when people “get it.”  It takes a great deal of faith to live the kind of life, but is is our reward, our inheritance in the saints.

Hang in there with me, I need to catch up the last two weeks of this series here on the blog. (Breaking Bread & Prayer)

Here are the links for the first 3 parts of this series “GOING DEEP.”

Pt. 1 GOING DEEP

Pt. 2 GOING DEEP

Pt.3 GOING DEEP

Love on my mind…

loveMy heart is weighing heavy on me this morning as I pray for some friend.  My meditation today was on two passages of scripture.

“…whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 (ESV)

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails…”  1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (ESV)

I am concerned about the church and her love walk.  Much of our church activity is based on (if we get honest with ourselves) self-love.  It has more to do with what “I” want and what is in it for “me”.  People love, but with conditions.  They serve, til it’s something they don’t want to do or as long as they have control of what they are doing or others do what they want.  People love as long as they are getting something they want in return.

Before you get bothered about me expecting too much from young or new believers, please understand.  The concerns I have are about those who call themselves mature disciples.  These are leaders and people who have walked with Jesus a long time.  Remember, Jesus had problems with religious people.

Now, in John 15 there are several things Paul said we should be abiding in and one of those was love.  I John 4:8 tell us that “God is love.”  So if we are abiding in Him and in love we should be bearing fruit – the fruit of love.  This is not the kind of love that we see even on the world’s best day.  It’s a love on a much higher level.  God is our standard for love.  This love is so hard that we cannot do it without God’s help.  If we don’t abide in Him, we cannot love.  If we don’t love, we are not abiding in Him.

We have all been abandoned by what we thought was love with people.  This is why love was meant to be first received from God and then given away.  If we look for the love of people to satisfy us before finding our security in God’s love first, we will be left wanting and hurting or become unstable and abusive in our relationships.

How should we love? 

Love bears all things.  The Greek translation for “bear” means to roof over or cover in silence, to endure patiently.  I doesn’t mean you can maul people to death or act like a bear. It also doesn’t mean developing a callous heart but rather a covering of grace.  No matter what comes against you love still remains.  It covers over any situation with love and does so with no expectation for self without saying anything or justifying yourself. 

Love believes all things.  This does not mean that we believe everything we hear about people or situations.  But, it means believing the best about people and situations.  Our love is not dependant on what we know about people or thing but rather on God himself.  Because He is love, we believe all things about Him and therefore respond in love to all things.  If we truly know God we have no choice but to always respond in love to people.  See what I mean by this being impossible without Him.  It’s a higher love.

Love hopes all things.  Hope here means to expect and trust with confidence and pleasure.  This is not an expectation from people but from God as it relates to people and things.  It means we love with an expectation and trust in God that all things are going to be according to His will and purpose.  The hope is in Him so we are to freely give all our love to people even when they are not doing what we think they ought to do.  Dependency on Jesus frees us to fully love.

Love endures all things.  This means love is behind and under all things.  It suffers all things.  God’s love can handle anything.  It has no limits.

Love never fails.  Every where our love fails, it was not God’s love.  We fail to love when we are not abiding in Him.  We fail to love when we seek something for ourselves.

“God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”  John Piper

If we are satisfied in God, if He is all I need in every situation then He will be glorified in and through me and my life.  If I seek satisfaction in any other thing than Him alone, then I will glorify myself. 

So, How’s your love walk?

So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore… Pt.1.5

Along with this current series “So you don’t want to go to church anymore”, I will be inserting some others thoughts on the subject so we can see how God is moving on the hearts of people in other places.  When we talk about the church, we need to begin to see how God is speaking to the church universal, not just our local congregation.  God is moving in His body and it’s encouraging to see it’s not just me.  That’s humbling to know.

With that said, here is a post by Jeromy Johnson in Folsom,California (The home of that prison  famous by Johnny Cash.)  What is God doing in His church on the other side of the continent?  CLICK HERE or the above banner which is Jeromy’s Blog “A Mending Shift” and read his thoughts entitled “Going to church to avoid being the church”.

You can also read another good post by Jeromy entitled “What if the Church was invisible? HERE.

Yoda on Small Groups…

This is like a commercial between my series post on “So you don’t want to go to church anymore.”  I love this video about the value of small groups and it reminds me of my brother Scott, who is, yes, a Star Wars Freak!  Much love Scott.

So enjoy!

So You Don’t Want TO Go To Church Anymore…

Jake Colsen
A must read, by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman.  If you are struggling with church and/or experiencing a longing to know the Father better, this is a must read.  After going through some difficult church times, this has been a breath of fresh air into my relationship with Jesus.  It has also been challenging all my views of church and leadership.

I will be writing about my conclusions over the next few days/weeks.  You can CLICK HERE to order a copy or you can find it at your local christian bookstore.

If you’ve read it or at some point do, please leave your comments.

I’ll say this, the Father is so loving and He wants that to be a living reality.  We will have to rethink and unlearn some religious stuff to live in this reality.

Friends…

You may remember the old Michael W. Smith song “Friends are friends forever.”

It would be nice if the title were true.  But maybe it is.  Real friends are friends forever.  And maybe those that are not forever are not friends.

My wife’s 20th High School Reunion began last night.  We had an awesome time out on the beach with old classmates til 2 am.  She was 1 of 15 in a small graduating class at a christian school.  Only half showed up and they all live within 1.5 hours of each other.  Most have not really seen each other in 20 years.  My wife has kept in contact with some over the years; with others its been difficult.

For those who showed up, we had a blast, picking up where we left off 20 years ago. 

Listening to what has been going on over the years in their lives and what our family has been walking through, I am reminded of how important our friends are and how we need friends.  Our journey is not one meant to be traveled alone.  Its more fun with company.  Most things are better when shared.  Try laughing alone – not he same.

Its easy to drift away.  Friendships have to be intentional.  They take effort -work.

We have some friend right now that we could not do without.  Crisis has a way of revealing who your close and genuine friends are.  The song goes on “if the Lord’s the Lord of them.”  When the dust settles those are the ones that are still around.

How intentional are you at building friendships?

What do your friendships center around?

Are you the kind of friend who sticks around when things get tough?

Is the Lord the Lord of your friendships?

I thank God for my true friends.  You know who you are!