Monday, December 04, 2006

Kingdom Friends: That’s How The Light Gets In

Week three: Choose Your Travelling Companions Wisely

The company you keep; transformational friendships. We can never truly live until we recognize we are inseparable from others.

Experiencing Jesus Through Others.

Make a space for God on the journey

Hebrews 11:32-40
I could go on and on, but I've run out of time. There are so many more— Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets....Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn't deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

The journey can be very hard at times. Recently a very good friend of mine lost his grandfather then father in one week! My step dad got the call last week about the beast called cancer. Anola & I are in a season where our school may close, sending tremors through our family and community. Many of you are facing bankruptcies, job loss, relational breakdowns, you name it.

Is there anyone who really cares about me? This is a relational question.

“What must occur for me to be happy?” This question usually ends up in the relational realm.

Friendship is the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful, friendly hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of comfort, blow the rest away. George Eliot

“When we open the New Testament, we often read it in light of our individualism, reading a “me theology” into what is written. We would do well to look at the perspective of our Catholic brothers and sisters who have historically read the Bible from a community perspective often called a “we theology.” We are, after all, created with a connection requirement.” Desmond Tutu

Kingdom friends are a soul craving.

In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints. Frederick Beuchner

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

Could also be called, ‘who’s in your triangle?

Operate with trust and respect. Trust is the willingness to turn your back and know you won't be hurt, and respect as the ability to be face-to-face with the others, knowing they are hearing you and finding what you say valuable. When we're in the midst of change is when we feel most alone.

Does the triangle have ‘complaining’? Or guy girl and sex? How about sports? Or __?

The musical “Rent” opens with the question of how we are to measure the quality of our lives … in minutes, seconds, cups of coffee consumed, in sunrises witnessed? The song resolves with the conclusion, “How about love, How about love, Measure in Love.”

Love can never be simply between you and God. It can never be limited to that relationship. Jesus makes that clear. Love is more than the relationship between a man and a woman, no matter how extraordinary it may be. Love is ever expanding. Love always grows, not just deeper, but wider. Love always loves people more and always loves more people. Love cals us to community; love calls us to humanity; love calls us to each other. Erwin McManus

Has there ever been a time when you have felt insignificant?

A time when you wondered if your life had any value, any real importance to anyone?

For most people, nothing awakens feelings of deep terror like the experience of absolute disconnection from others. But in the same way, nothing vitalizes the human spirit like the experience of a loving connection—something that assures us that we are not alone and that we count for something to someone. David Benner

Whatever you choose to become, is what you begin to call others to.

Abandon yourself to holiness. If you will do that, you will become a kingdom friend to someone. You will also have kingdom friends sent to you.

1 Peter 1:13-17
So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy."

You call out to God for help and he helps—he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.

Only love can soften a hard heart. Only love can renew trust after it has been shattered. Only love can inspire acts of genuine self-sacrifice. Only love can free us from the tyrannizing effects of fear.

"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."


Blogger Bob Stenhouse said...

stew, I'm reminded of your question to Kevin Avram and Wes Boldt about their friendship. The reply was that they were not afraid to get naked ( authentic and real ) with one another.
It seems to me that vulnerability and humility are two of the attributes required for Kingdom Friendships to grow. It takes courage for us to trust enough to be vulnerable and real, and I pray that we can come to this place of authenticity and courage as a community. Thanks for hearing from God as he prompts you to bring us to a place of desiring Kingdom living and life.

11:40 AM  

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