LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Entry 1 -- Reflections of a beloved friend

As a Christian, do you have a "beloved friend"? By that I mean, do you have someone that you can turn to in times of dire need and, in that person, find a receptive ear and caring heart? I feel that the Church of today is full of acquaintances but very few friends. We have an abundance of names written on "membership rolls" but too few that are written on our hearts. We see familiar faces each Sunday morning but a very small minority of the people behind those faces are, or ever will become, beloved friends. I have such a friend. His name is Mark and we have been meeting together once a week for about two months. How do I know that he is a beloved friend? Well let me share some observations. First, he is not reluctant to make time for me nor do I have any reservations in making time for him. We meet at a time close to the stroke of midnight when most folks are in bed. I know he is tired but still time is set aside for two fellow pilgrims to get together and share. You see a beloved friend is not afraid to put the desires of "self" behind the needs of a friend. Furthermore, I know he is a dear friend because he openly shares what is most pressing and painful in his life with me and I with him. There is no hiding behind a sterile facade. Failures, sins, weaknesses and vulnerabilities are shared in complete confidence. We both know that the confession of such personal issues will not invoke judgement and scorn but heartfelt counsel and care. It is just good to be able to unload on one who is a true and beloved friend. And I suppose another reason why we have such a relationship is because time just seems to whisk by when we are enjoying fellowship together. Midnight quickly becomes three in the morning and it is time to say good night. I am afraid that the Church is full of people who have numerous acquaintances but few if any friends. Do you have such a friend? I think that you will find that he, like your Saviour, will both now and forever stick closer to you than a brother.

22 Comments:

Blogger Gojira said...

Welcome aboard, John. Excellent post. One Biblically established friendship is far more valuable than a ton of wordly acquaintances. Excellent post indeed.

June 26, 2007 5:38 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Who's this Mark dude?

Yes, Susan, this is that same John who expounded the Greek that you enjoyed.

June 26, 2007 7:07 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

"A friend loves at all times..." (Proverbs 17:17a)

Thanks, John, for allowing us to get to know you and Mark a little better. That was beautiful. You and Mark are much blessed of God Who brought you two together.

June 26, 2007 8:46 AM

 
Blogger only1way said...

hello susan. thx for the kind words. actually we met in a smelly gym pumping iron. u can see by our pictures that Markbeat me. :-)

June 26, 2007 9:26 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

John,
Welcome to the Bluecollar Blog...
You and Mark obviously have a great relationship and I wish I had one like that.
Wayne

June 26, 2007 9:54 AM

 
Blogger only1way said...

I wish I had one like that.
Wayne

Thx Wayne. I fear that that is one of the great weaknesses of the Church today. I have been a Christian for 30+ years and i can not remember a time when the Body of Christ felt so little like a family. It is a telling and depressing truth that we are, for the greater part, unknown by those that we will one day spend eternity with.

June 26, 2007 10:09 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

It is a telling and depressing truth that we are, for the greater part, unknown by those that we will one day spend eternity with.


That's an insightful observation.

John, I wonder, do you think this is at least in part due to the shallowness of the Christians in church today - the lack of desire to dig into and understand God's Word and what He desires of/from us?

A song I used to sing in camp as a youth comes to mind: "They'll know we are Christians by our love." Aren't we told in Scripture to love the brethren?

I fear our love is tainted by culture. We more readily buy into the message to love ourselves first and don't lay ourselves down for one another.

June 26, 2007 10:48 AM

 
Blogger only1way said...

John, I wonder, do you think this is at least in part due to the shallowness of the Christians in church today - the lack of desire to dig into and understand God's Word and what He desires of/from us?


Hi Susan-- that indeed has much to do with it. We are fed cotton candy from the pulpit instead of solid, substantial doctrine. The end result produces Chrsitians who have a sweet tooth and only want that which is satisfying to it. You don't have to dig to get cotton candy. All you need to do is go to the candy store (the church) and the clerk (the pastor) will give you bags full.

another problem surrounds the self infatuation of our times which has gained entrance into the culture and has infected the Church. We ae takers not givers and the sad consequences ae more than obvious.

June 26, 2007 11:56 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Welcome John,
It is so good to have you here sharing. You and Mark are truly blessed to have such a closeness as brothers and friends. I have been praying for just that, a sister in Christ that I can get that close to. I am still waiting on the Lord. My husband had such a friend that died almost 10 years ago. They were very, very close and he misses him very much. One day they will unite. I look forward to reading more john.

Cristina

June 26, 2007 11:56 AM

 
Blogger only1way said...

I have been praying for just that, a sister in Christ that I can get that close to

I do hope that you will find such a one, But, a quick word of warning. Don't trust the first that comes along. All that glitters here is not gold. There are many pretenders out there who will pat you on the back with one hand and stab you in the back with the other. This kind of friend will prove herself over time.

June 26, 2007 12:31 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Cristina,
Is that a new avatar? I'm curious how you chose it or the story behind it.

June 26, 2007 1:16 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

John,
I went into a Family Christian Bookstore yesterday for the first time in a long while and I was taken aback by the "Christian culture" (an oxymoron to be sure).
When I asked if they had a book titled "Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation" by Kenneth Gentry, and the lady who worked there thought it was a book about 'dating,' I knew I wasn't going to find any of the books on my list in that store.
Everything there was Christian candy. Bibles in the back of the store, and the quantity and selection of Bible appeared to equal that of the Bibles.
I think the "WWJD, etc Christian culture" has fed self at the expense of the Spirit.

June 26, 2007 1:19 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

and the quantity and selection of Bible appeared to equal that of the Bibles.

Oops. In my editing, I deleted the word "covers". Should read:

and the quantity and selection of Bible covers appeared to equal that of the Bibles.

June 26, 2007 1:20 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Welcome, John.

What you're describing is true accountability. My husband has been in this kind of relationship with about 4 other men for the last 12 years. I observe men doing this much more than women, and I'm still trying to figure out why that is.

I think your observations, along with Susan's are spot on. Adding to that is the fact that we are so accustomed to living behind the mask, the facade, that we have a very difficult time being real. Being the sinful people that we are, we don't really like to expose ourselves and our depravity to others.

It's a shame, really. Where there is confession there is healing.

*~*~*~*~*~*
Been wanting that myself, Cristina.

June 26, 2007 1:29 PM

 
Blogger only1way said...

I think your observations, along with Susan's are spot on. Adding to that is the fact that we are so accustomed to living behind the mask, the facade, that we have a very difficult time being real. Being the sinful people that we are, we don't really like to expose ourselves and our depravity to others.


I have often joked that for a Church that doesn’t support Halloween we practice it 52 Sundays out of the year. Everyone comes in with their costumes on pretending to be something/someone they are not. How sad.

June 26, 2007 2:54 PM

 
Blogger only1way said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 26, 2007 2:54 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Hi John,
Thank you and guess that is why it is taking so long is because I want it to be true.

Hi Wayne and Gayla,
I will be praying the Lord brings you both a friendship like these two dear friends have.


Hi Susan,
I did a blog last year about submitting and had that picture posted with the blog. I feel submission to God, to my husband and to all I should submit is important to me. I remember that picture and I thought it shows submission so I chose it.

http://baptist-girl.blogspot.com/2006/08/wife-is-to-submit-to-her-husband.html

Cristina

June 26, 2007 7:15 PM

 
Blogger only1way said...

I observe men doing this much more than women, and I'm still trying to figure out why that is.


Hello Gayla. Thx for the comment. I am rather confident in saying that men exhibit a more accepting demeanor of other men’s faults than women do of women. Now don’t get mad at me but --- you know --- women can be catty and often prove that their claws are sharp and painful when they are riled up. Women have more of a propensity to take information given to them from another person and use it as weapon against that person when they want to gun him/her down. You know what they say about a woman scorned , Ouch !! Men just seem to be a bit more trustworthy in this regard.

June 27, 2007 8:59 AM

 
Blogger Craver Vii said...

My friendship pool is wide, with varying depths. But this kind of profound friendship is something I wish for my wife. She is more cautious than I am, and has a very good memory.

June 27, 2007 9:06 AM

 
Blogger only1way said...

She is more cautious than I am, and has a very good memory.


Iknow. Kind of goes back to my previous post. There are a lot of "cat women" in the world and many still in the Church.

June 27, 2007 9:13 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Oh John, you're EXACTLY correct. (sad to say)

We do tend to hold grudges. We 'remember' things. We're sensitive also, and we get our feelings hurt too easily.

We also don't tend to 'stick with' the commitment. As mothers, something always seems to come up, and we cancel or postpone meeting.

I can report, though, that I have been in accountability over the years, in two different groups. I can attest to the fact that it IS necessary, and I miss having that in my life right now.

June 27, 2007 10:23 AM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

John, welcome to the blogosphere. I think it is a blessing that you have Mark as your friend. He's a great guy.

June 30, 2007 3:40 AM

 

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