Share this sermon


Please Note: Text is automatically produced. Errors may be present.

Hey friends, how’re you doing… splendid. So we begin a new series in his serious Sunday. I always love New serious Sunday. It’s like gets me excited, I’m like, There’s a new thing happening, and this serious, while it may not be the most… And I’m gonna use the word carefully, the most spiritual a series that we will do this year, I actually think that for south, it might be actually the most beneficial series that you might actually learn more and this might impact your life more than any other series, we do this year in a few weeks, we’ll be in talent will be going verse by verse through the Book of Ruth for those that you love, that you’ll enjoy that series, but this, we’re gonna get a little more topic or we’re gonna talk about building strong friendships, so let me start here, have you ever used a word or had somebody else use a word rather, and after a while, you become convinced that they’re using it in a way that you wouldn’t use it or in an incorrect manner, which may be the same thing for a lot of us like we tend to think, you know, how we use it is always the correct way.

You might imagine that for me coming over here from the mothership a few years ago, that it happens fairly after, so I remember the first time being here visiting my wife when we were still dating, she took me to Panera Bread every day experience for you guys knew for me, and I remember standing in the queue on line and waiting for the lady to serve me, and she said to me, What do you want with your sandwich? And I said, Well, what are the options? Just enlighten me. What can I have? And she said, Well, you could have an Apple or you could have a piece of bread, or you could have some chips, and my face lit up, I was delighted because I was picturing something like this, I was like, suddenly, we’re not talking about a sandwich anymore, talking about a banquet where like expanding our whole expectation of the meal, this has gone from good to great, escalated quickly, and then imagine my disappointment or even you might say outrage in what I was presented with was this baggage just potato crisps, as I would correctly call them, more chips, as you would call them, there’s that experience, right? You like, Oh, this is…

Thrown me off completely. Something is wrong here. I wonder whether the way that we use the word friend is suffering from a similar sort of experience, I wonder whether there’s a whole group of us maybe that using the word to mean something that had never really meant… I took a look before this seminar in my Facebook profile and found that I have 1289 friends, now, that number’s higher than it probably should be, it’s also lower than it could be, because I don’t really use Facebook, I consider myself beyond it to… Cool for it. All those different things. And so I just accept everybody that asks me to be their friend, much to my wife’s annoyance, he regularly says, you should be more discerning in your friendship, but if I see a thing that says someone had to do as a friend, I click confirm and I’m done I never add anyone myself ’cause I’m really on there to add anybody. Now, I’m deeply afraid that one of you might have valuable Facebook and have said Yes, and you like what’s wrong with me, but this is in friendship. Right, the things that we put on Facebook, you might put something about a meal you wait wood, you 20 years ago have called all of your friends and told them what you’d eat and for dinner…

Absolutely, no, you wouldn’t. You look ridiculous. And Italy, so there’s been this change in what we term friendship, and it’s largely driven by social media sites like Facebook, were in this tension point between what is really a friend and How do we fulfill what I would suggest… And I’ll show you this in a second, is a longing for friendship, so… Let’s go here for a second. Picture in your mind, what is the most iconic TV show about friendship, this is gonna date you, particularly like this will put you in a certain generation or tell us where you belong, because I had a couple of different things shouted out. So for some of you, maybe it’s this… I Love Lucy. Two couples living in the same house, they got this great friendship going on, all these different things, so you’ve got the eye of Lucy crowd, I’m not gonna give you an age that wouldn’t be fair, but then we’ve got this group, the cheers group. Everybody knows your name. It’s the police. You get to go and hang out. You always feel welcome, you find belonging and all those different things, and then of course, we’ve got the friends, New York City, this group of impossibly good-looking people, even the ones that aren’t supposed to be good looking or good looking, they always hang out.

They always have a couch available in a coffee shop, and we all know that’s just not reality. Every time I go to the coffee shop, the CO1 is really available for them, always seeming you reserved, and then maybe we’ve got some people that would say, Maybe this show is what you would think about his friendship, this is new girl, a girl moves to an apartment with three guys, they become best friends. They do everything together. What do every one of these seasons connect over? What do they have in common? Yes. Friendship, obviously, that’s in the sermon series title. Good job, guys. If you said friendship, it’s like your friendship, but something more right here, this deep friendship that you might say, replaces, family… These guys live away from their families, most of them live in situations maybe like lots of us, how many of you guys would describe yourself as a Denver native, like you grew up here in the first service, we were like 50% in this vice, I’d say maybe 10%, we are a transplant community, so we get where these guys are at, these are all people that have moved into an area and now they’re looking for that deep sense of friendship, they’re looking for belonging.

They are looking for family. This shows reflect, they reflect a longing for friendship. We desire it. We crave it. Actually, characters like Mr. Ron Swanson here from Parks and Rec, as say things like friends, one to three is sufficient. It’s us because we don’t believe it’s true, something tells us that we need more back up then, that we need more people around us than that we are looking for a bigger group of people to core friends, and we live in this community that needs it. This is a little poem called transient, it reflects some of our culture today, look at the last verse, rivers and black top overshadow, streams and footpaths, the only cultures that revere their elders have no freeways, this guy reflects a longing for a culture that the Bible would understand very well, and that’s some of our tension as we learn about friendship, because most of the Bible was written in an era where people didn’t move away, it just wasn’t practical, you stayed in the town or area you lived for almost all of your life, Jesus never traveled more than 200 miles away from the town that he was born in, and so you see that there’s this tension like how can the Bible help us to reflect on friendship in a time when we actually need something different than they need it now.

Here’s the fortunate thing, what I believe about the Bible, and many of you would join me, and if you’re not there yet, that’s fine, that is the God breathed on this book that he provided it for us to learn from, and so it’s wise even beyond its culture even beyond its age, it gives us stuff even when it’s from a different era altogether, so I expect we’ll find a chunk of stuff in there, despite all of that longing, that deep desire for friendship and those TV shows, I would suggest they don’t reflect society, they reflect our longings for society, we are maybe in a friendship crisis in America, little digging, little research it, the average American has only two close friends. Your run ansons, 20% of millennials say they have no friends. One out of three expressed regular feelings of loneliness, 87% said that they made most of their friends in high school, put that in your back Barnett. Come up again a little bit later. The lone list group of men over 60 who had lost their spouse, suddenly experienced that most of their friends were made by their wife and maybe it really their friends at A…

And then the study said social media was the main corporate, they found that the less time you spend on social media, not only the happier you were, but the more connected to your actual friends you fell after that season. We long to find deep friendship, it’s reflective in all those TV shows, and yet we find friendship deeply difficult. Does this tension… Now, if you’ve got it all figured out, you can pause this week, and if you find it easy to make friends, if you’ve got this covered, that’s great, but if you’re in that group that says, Well, I find it awkward to make new friends, but I also find it awkward to take those groups of friends and make them those deep, long relationships that I long for. Then hopefully, this will move us along, and to do that, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna give us some struggles and I’m gonna throw some potential solutions at us as well, but first, what does the Bible say about friendship, if it talks about it at all. Fortunately, lots, this is all gonna come from a section of the Bible that is called wisdom literature, it’s ran most of it about 3000 years ago, most of it by a guy called Solomon, who was known as the wisest man alive at his time.

And this is the first one, Ecclesiastes Chapter 42. A better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up, but Pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Proverb 1717, a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity, and then Proverbs 18-24, this is in a version called The Message, friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family… Doesn’t that hit the tension point we’re talking about, we long for those things that go beyond just friendship, but move into the realm of family, we long for those friendships that are deep. When we were talking as a staff, just a few days ago, we started to talk through South values, for those of you that are new, you can see our values out on the war, the six of them… They’re very important to us, but the question I asked was this, which of them would you say landed more in the aspirational value, then something will practically see… And the one that I felt came up time and time again was the word family…

Family is a great value to have. And some of you have found family at South, some of you have been here for 20 years and you’re in the same small group you were when you started, and that’s a wonderful thing, but others of you are new and you… You feel like you’re in on the fringes, but the question becomes, Well, how do I build deep relationships here? How do I get further in? How do I feel like I really belong? When we talked about our encounter, as many of us that have been here for a mixture of four months, in my case, through to 20 years in DANS, got this different range of people, what we found is that when we expressed how South was family to us, we talked in the realm of extended family, you know, there’s great people you see every now and again, you get to hang out with them, it’s awesome. And then you say, pray, we’ll see even so and so’s birthday in a few months, but you don’t maybe talk much in between them, that’s what we kind of felt our relationship with sales, but then we talked about how we interacted with our biological family, I talked about living back in England, and I would hang out at my parents house with my brothers and sisters, and then I would say What, I’m going home now, but I’ll probably call you, but when I get home to let you know that I got home safely and then I’ll probably see you at some point during the week ’cause we’re going walking and then we’re having a barbecue on, and it’s just that repeated pattern of regular interaction in people’s lives, and we said That’s what we feel like we want, but it’s something at the moment that we don’t have… When the Bible talks about real friendship, I would suggest it doesn’t agree with the Facebook definition of friendship, but it’s talking more about that deep, long lasting friendship that changes lives as you live lives together, we long to find deep friendship. Refine, friendship, deeply difficult. I’m sure all of you can think of reasons that you don’t have those friends, longings that you did have those friends, all the things that come up that stop that happening, and hopefully as we stay surface level for this week, we will be able to sort of cover a few of those. So here we go, struggle number one. Our priorities change. How many of you in the room are over the age of 28… That’s a lot of us, right? So something happens when you get to this age. Somewhere in your mid to late 20s, think for a second about how you made friends at school… I remember the first friend I made at school, I slid down the slide first, he slipped down the slide second, and then we were friends, it just was that simple, we were then inseparable for the next however many years, most of the friendships you make through college, a water-called accidental friendships.

You happen to be in the same time and place as these people, and they’re all beautiful and hilarious and wonderful, and they have endless energy to spend time with you as well, and so you get thrown together and these wonderful friendships develop. And then something happens. Suddenly you start to change. And so there’s all these wonderful sort of stories that reflect some aspects of friendship, once you get over 28, nobody talks about Jesus miracle of having 12 close friends in his third is… There’s something about the lab, you don’t see people that have those kind of things. I remember when I used to sneak out of the house to go to parties, now I sneak out of parties to go to my house, times have changed this, there’s this movement when maybe I can’t put a finger on it, but something in us is changing, and it’s this A priorities and now give towards security rather than variety were making life happens. We’re doing well in our profession, we’re looking for promotion, we’re trying to earn more money so we can maybe buy a house… Were raising kids and doing all the things that come with that.

We just find ourselves more and more occupied and something has to give, and so often that thing is friendship, everyone seemed so busy. Someone, in response to this question of this, it’s right at that point, he, I’m most competent, that we seem to find the fewest people who actually care about just how amazing we’ve become… It’s true, right? That’s what makes it funny. Some of the tension is the amount that we feel like we have to work… This is an A criticism, this is just an observation. At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of a work week, the US doesn’t… Americans work 137 more hours per… Than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per… And British workers and 499 more house than French workers. There’s a choice that we make for our affluent lifestyle for having more money, for being the richest economy in the world, it’s not to say it’s good or bad, but it’s to observe that we make a decision when something has to give the thing that often has to give his friendship. This is a list of how many statutory days paid vacation each western nation and the world gets theirs us over there on the right with zero, there’s Japan with Tam, Canada with 90.

And every other nation in the Western world has at least 20 days where they said, Go away, do something fun, and know that you’re getting paid to do it. There’s a cost to the way that we choose to do life, and often it’s friendship now, that’s actually okay. Times change, seasons change, this is from our wisdom literature from Ecclesiastes chapter three, verse one, there was a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. It’s okay to change, there’s times for different things in your life, but if you want to keep friendship as a significant part, what that tells us is you’re going to have to be intentional to do it, if you’re no longer five and can’t just jump on a slide and know that you have a friend. Because you did that, we did have a slide put in into the kid’s ministry wing, but I asked Amy and she said, None of you guys are allowed to use it. I’m allowed to use it. So here we go, a potential solution number one, what do we do about the struggle of a changing priorities? It does mean you have to be intentional.

And not accidental, you might have to plan out time to make new friends, it sounds horribly station Boring, doesn’t it have to think about planning something that should feel so organic, and yet the reality is with everything else being so busy and less, you put down times that you’re going to do that unless you think about practical ways that you’re going to do that, you will not do it, and 20 years from now you’ll be about how you could have made friends that didn’t… It takes a practical choice, it might mean joining a meet-up group and interacting with some new people, it might mean saying no to some people that you spend lots of time with, to spend time with someone differently might mean by passing someone on the way to your car and choosing to have a conversation with someone new, but it seems like with all of the things going on with our changing priorities, intentional practice is the thing that is needed to make new friendships. Struggle number two, and we’re gonna get a little more psychological here, we are in certain of our value, we wonder if we lack something, we’re gonna root into an old story for a few minutes, it’s gonna cover the next two struggles that I think we face.

We’re gonna route into this old story in Genesis chapter three, you might know it as the fall of man, it’s the moment where Adam and Eve have this encounter with a famous apple, which really just says fruit could have been an apple, but it could have been something else as well, and look at some of the sort of psychology in play here now. The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals, the Lord got he made. He said to the woman, did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden? The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God did say you must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will be. You will not certainly die, the servant said to the woman, for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The message for woman is, you are not enough, you lack something, you are missing something, there’s something about you that doesn’t meet the standard, you are not really valuable, and the thing he tells her that she can do that will make it valuable is to eat this apple and then she says in that moment, you’ll be like, God, here’s the problem with this whole story, and you may be outside of the Jesus story, you may not be sure about committing to this, you may think of, this is a myth.

And what I would say to you is this, well, a myth isn’t something that’s not true, a myth is something that sometimes actually historically true, but he’s always spiritually true. I would suggest this story, wherever you stand on its reality is very revealing of some of our personality traits and some of our struggles, this woman is told that if you eat this apple, you’ll be like God, but if you go back further in the story already is we’re told in these early parts of Genesis that you and I as human beings, we are made in God’s image, that is what makes life so spectacular from the moment of conception all the way through it, is this wonderful thing that has incredible value and dignity to it, and she’s told you, don’t add up, you’re not enough, you’re not valuable as a person already was… The great lie is that we don’t have and not what we already have, and already you are made in God’s image with all of your quirks, with all of your weirdness, with all of your oddities, with all of my quirks and weariness and oddities. I made in God’s image. I am inherently valuable, and so are you, but so often we believe the life that we don’t have and are not…

What we already have and already are. Are you broken? In some ways, yes. Do you have struggles? In some ways, yes, absolutely. Does Jesus story means something? Does it, is it necessary for him to come and do this redemption thing and fix is… Absolutely, that is part of a story, and yet still even in your broken state, God says, I made you in my image, you… You are valuable, you are valuable. Potential solution to Number Two, remind yourself that you’re made by God in his image for good things, you may have to tell yourself that time after time after time, before you come to believe it, that you are valued, you are valuable. Struggle number three, and this is connected, we have terrified of rejection. Laura and I regularly look at each other and say, What would you do if you had to start dating again? And the truth is, we both acknowledge would be kind of like deer in the headlights, it’s just been so long since we’re very comfortable with the fact that we found each other and we are together, and that’s a wonderful thing. And so for those of you are still in the dating world, you have my support, sympathy or those different things…

It must be so difficult. The same element though, that tells us we don’t wanna be rejected when we ask someone out on a date, I still is in play when we ask people to be friends, when we approach someone with the idea of friendship, we, I think are a group of people that are often terrified of rejection, and that connects to the Genesis story as well, because while you’ve believed this lie and Adam believes the slide that they are not valuable, that they are not enough, they also come to realize that they have to hide parts of who they are because they may be rejected for not what they are not, but what they actually are, when people see under the surface, maybe they’ll see something so broken, so twisted and ugly that nobody will want to encounter them. Look at this, this is a little snippet of the story before the whole Apple incident, Adam and his wife were both needed, and he felt no shame, nothing to hide. Everything is okay, I can show myself to the world. Now, I’m not advocating for group nudity or anything like that, just to be aware of that kind of thing, we had a bathing suit thing come up the other week and just we’re not going there, but look what happens after the whole Apple thing, then the man and is why I’ve heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the GAR in the cool of the day.

And he heard from the Lord God among the trees of the garden, but the Lord God called to the man, Where are you? He answered, I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid. And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to? You from for the first time, this seems like this practice that God has of walking in the garden in this ancient story with this man who is his friend for the first time the man hides… For the first time, he has something about him that he doesn’t like, that he questions, and so he pulls himself away, he covers himself up and it doesn’t just affect how they interact, we’ve got it, and it affects how they interact with everybody. So God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Suddenly, there’s this tendency to hide, and I think so much of our fear of rejection comes from the idea of what will happen when people really know me, what will happen when I have to show who I really am? They might like me on the surface, they might like me at first encounter, but if they knew the brokenness, if they knew the heart, if they knew the struggle within me, after a while, there’s no one, no one that will stick with me through that.

We experienced this deep fear of rejection, solution number three, maybe you have to learn to not assume worst case scenarios. Have you ever done that sort of story-building in your head, you start to imagine what’s gonna happen as the relationship develops, you start to imagine the next step, often with so many multiple scenarios, and none of them can all be true at the same time, and yet we build this cataclysmic story for ourselves about what our future will look like, and it’s very rarely reality, most of the time when we picture the future and it’s awful, it’s because we don’t imagine God in our future with us, but often we don’t even imagine good things in our future, full stop, we can be people that are terrified about what will happen eventually, doses case scenarios, but also maybe you need to know the friendship, it does make us vulnerable, if we wanna pursue true and real deep friendships, people will have to see the inside of you, there are ways that you have to be transparent that maybe you don’t… On the surface, friendship will cost you something. Struggle number four we expect too much or you expect it too soon.

I found this picture of a group of friends and there’s something wrong with the picture, take a second and see if you can spot it, they’re all wonderfully good looking people, they all look very happy, The sky is blue, the trees are green, everything’s going right, they’re all dressed nicely in a sort of like their white… Whatever trend that is going on. But there’s something wrong, there’s no sweat stains, there’s no perspiration, there’s nothing… Everyone’s dry as you like, everyone looks fresh and clean, and all those different things, our assumptions about what friendship looked like often colored by the idea of everyone should look perfect or be perfect, even when we know that we’re not… Somewhere, going into this whole friendship thing, we have to go with the expectation that the people we met will not always meet all of our ideas, they will be broken in some ways, they will sweat at times, and that’s okay because you and I do as well. I love how Jesus approach his friendship, he has this fascinating way of talking about friendship that is both serve, he welcomes people in, but he also keeps someone harms length. It’s fascinating, this is what he says to his 12 disciples, right at the end of his time, and he…

Just before the crucifixion in John 50, He says, I no longer call you servants. Because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I’ve called you friends for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. Jesus has been with them for three years at this point, and this is the first time he says that their friends… He’s very discerning in terms of how he chooses to bring people into that tight… In a circle, he is friendly. Yes, people encountered him and loved him, It seems instantly there was something about him that was magnetic and charismatic and all those different things, and yet three years is what it took for these disciples, these followers have his to move from servants or disciples or any of those things to this deep level of friendship, he takes his time and he chooses wisely, but then something else for a fine magical about Jesus. Once you’re in, it seems he’s very good at forgiveness and maybe we should expect… Right, but that’s why we’re trying to learn from him because he’s the master of all this stuff. This is his interaction with his treacherous disciple Judas right before he’s arrested.

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the 12 arrived with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs. Sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now, the betray had arranged to signal with them the one I kisses the man, arrest him. Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, Greetings, Rabbi and kissed him. Jesus replied, Do what you came for. Friend, do what you came for. Friend, I can think of a ton of other words that I would have used in Jesus place and none of them a friend, many of them are words that I cannot use on stage and keep my job there, just the words that… This doesn’t afraid. You’re my friend, still in amongst all of this betrayal, He looks at Judas and causing his friend Jesus, He’s both discerning as to how he invites people into this level of friendship, and he seems careful with the turn, and yet once you’re in, he’s so forgiving and gracious it’s inspiring due to story ends badly, but maybe simply because Judas can’t accept forgiveness, not because Jesus can’t offer it, Jesus looks at this disciple who is betraying him, who was offering him a kiss, and he calls him friend, potential solution number four to this idea that we expect too much and we expect it too soon, maybe you need to invest for relationships for the long term, but know that it will require patience and it will require forgiveness, think back to those TV shows, almost every episode that we watched, they involve some kind of scenario where someone falls out with someone, the magic, the thing that keeps us coming back as they always find ways to put the friendship back together, the journey continues on and in real life, that’s true as well, friendship requires this constant practice of forgiveness and grace.

Struggle number five. This is our last one. We have made poor friendship choices, maybe it’s in the past, maybe it’s in the present. I can remember choosing my first group of like, you know that first moment, you choose your school friends, and there were two groups that were… That were interested in my friendship, one was the really cool kid group, they were all the people that you would call the beautiful people, the funny people, they were the guys that ever I wanted to hang out with, and I was easily the least cool of this group I was like the bottom of the pile guy, and then there was this other group that were actually really smart and made really good choices, really kind, really generous, and I was pretty popular in that group, I was like, you know, somewhere in the… When people wanted to hang out with, and I chose the first one. What did that mean for the next few years in my life, it meant that I hung out with a group of people that constantly influenced me instead of me influencing them, a man, that they could get me to do almost anything that they wanted me to do, and often things that I actually didn’t want to do for a while.

My life took this path that I tell you stories of at different points, but he was a path of brokenness and struggling, it was messy, it was ugly, it was risky as dangerous, all of those different things, and it began with this moment where I made friendship choices that were… That were poor. Maybe you are making some of those choices right now, you have a group of friends that you’re like, Okay, I can see ways that they are not good for me, and I love it when of everyday science matches up with what will read in the Bible. Check out these couple of quotes, this is depraved McClelland, your friends determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life, Jim, Ron, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. That means that when you take the sort of like the spirituality of those five people, most of the time you’ll find yourself in the middle, take the fitness of those five people, most of the time, you’ll find yourself somewhere in the middle… Riches to Paris, you won’t be the richest or hours, you probably somewhere in the middle.

Statistically, those are just the ADs, that’s what happens. So think about who your friends are and think about how they influence you, and all of that sounds very sort of sciencey, but watch how it matches up with what this wisdom literature we looked at… Well, tell us, walk with the wise and become wise. For a companion of fools, suffers harm. For a while, I was 100% the person that was choosing to walk with the falls and I suffer at her, and then this change happened in my life when I started to follow Jesus has started hanging around with a group of guys that was so good for me, they led me in such incredible ways, I experienced what it was to Walk with the wise and to become wise. How about this one? Proverbs 22, Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man. Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourselves in snare. Some of you’re thinking, I at tempera, what do I do now? And it’s a real… Offer struggle is real. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man. Do not easily associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

And then this is New Testament, this is poor. The guy who we just spent the last four weeks with, Do not be misled, Bad company corrupts good character. There’s a practical decision on how you make friends, practical ways that that will impact your life in ways that you may never have imagined when you began the friendship, one more, one who was an unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. So he’s a potential solution for you, maybe you need to do a friendship inventory, we need to look at the people that you spend time with, maybe I need to look at the people I spend time with, and maybe I need to promote those friendships that are healthy and enjoyable, you are supposed to love being with your friends, but if you want to be successful, you need to pick the right friends because you’re statistically be the average of the five of them. Friend-making is risk-taking. Any time you choose to enter into a new relationship of any kind, you take a risk, you make yourself vulnerable, there’s a chance that it may not work, and all of this advice is designed to give you some practical things if you do these things statistically, the use your life will be better.

But what I would suggest to you is this under guarding, all of this is that relationship with Jesus just by nature will make friendship in your life more successful than without him. That’s what I found in my life. Anyway, I found that the moment I started following Jesus, I changed from the inside out. There were suddenly practices that I was habitually doing that suddenly seemed to stop… I suddenly remembered what I remember walking down the street one day. I used to just curse a ton because the people I hung out with did, and I remember thinking after a few months of following Jesus career, the last time I did that something has changed, but the desire to hang out with people that share the same interest changed as well, that group of friends that I hang out with, I stopped hanging out with them. Now, they still all spend all their time together, and in some ways that’s a wonderful thing for them, but I found another group of friends that I’m still friends with today, and they helped move my life in a far healthier direction, all the good relationships in my life seeing time and time again to come out of my relationship with Jesus, we’ll talk a bit more about friendship with Jesus next week, and then we’re gonna talk about spiritual friendship and taking relationships deeper.

But on the surface, what we wanted to start with was this, We would love self to become a place that takes friendship and makes it family, we would love South as a community to be a place where you can come in from the outside and find belonging, and you can find clear pathways to making that happen, so we’re starting a little French of challenge, you may have one of these in front of you, you can check out some of the challenges that are there. We have a couple of events that are coming up to help you connect with people you may not have connected with before, one is on the 7th of February, we have a newcomers lunch, if you knew a TA, can connect… Can get to know people. And then on the 14th, we’ve got a big community thing with food trucks and food is always good… Right, and it’s a great way to meet new people, and then there’s a board outside where you can answer some of the questions and your challenges and talk about who you met and who you have encountered, but we need more and better friendships, God made us for friendships we need to learn how to nurture them, maintain them.

Well, let’s pray. Jesus, thank you for the way that you define friend in the Bible, it’s not just someone that we share pictures with or someone that we… Like status is half, it’s a deep relationship. In some ways, it’s far more reflective of family, for my friends here in this community, help us to find good and healthy relationships, help us to begin where we haven’t started, and when we help us to pursue those good relationships, to build those relationships or family, there’s long deep relationships help us to use them to grow in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus, amen.