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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Picnic Anyone?

First of all, just a note to keep praying for Buck and Adie. Got and email from them and they are safe and sound...well, as sound as Buck's ever the nation of Kenya. Adie says that we can stop worrying. Yeah, right! Anyhow, Adie says that they were heading for the slums, the people are amazing, and the weather was perfect.

I wanted to share something that happened to me. Today, I had the opportunity to visit with some friends...some of whom I haven't seen in several years. We used to be pretty close and tried to take every opportunity to encourage and build each other up. Because of certain circumstances, that tie was broken. Some have kept in touch a little better than others and I have been in contact with a few, but I know that we are not as close (literally and spiritually) as we used to be.

What was so cool to me was that we picked up like we just saw each other yesterday. Of course there were questions about how everyone and their family was doing, but we just jumped in and started acting like the family that we once were. This got me thinking about many things, but I'll only share a couple of them with you here.

1. Think about all of the people that Buck and Adie (along with all of the other missionaries and Gospel carriers around the world) are ministering to in Kenya. Buck and Adie may only meet a few of them and build a relationship with even less. However, when the day comes when we're all reunited in Heaven, they will be able to pick up and carry on with the joys that they are sharing now.

I began to think of some wonderful people that have gone on to dad is first in my mind right now. When I get there, I'll be able to just pick up like I talked to him yesterday. After all, what is time when you're in heaven? If you figure that a thousand years is like a day to God, then we'll only be separated for minutes. I'm ready to sit down to a big meal with dad. He and I used to sit down and split a half gallon of ice cream...I'm ready for that now.

2. I'm also reminded of God's call to community. Michael Card says in a song "The call is to community. The impoverished power that sets the soul free. In humility we take the bow, when day after day we take up the basin and the towel."

I think it was a Barna research poll that said that when a person visits a church, they must make at least 3 connections or they won't come back. I believe that God draws people to certain churches or fellowships for a reason. I also know that there are some people in churches that belong in another church. Do people stay in our church because we make them feel welcome? Do people leave because we don't?

I know people from a whole hosts of churches and denominations. I have been blessed by having people put into my path. I may not talk to them every day or even every month, but the connection is still there. Why?

I believe it is because God has made us people that need to feel connected. Every person needs to feel that they are need, loved, and someone. It's bred into our very being by our Creator. That's why, after He created Adam, He said, "It is not good for man to be alone." While some interpret this as a man needing a wife, I look at it from a much broader perspective. Adam needed a helpmate, but more importantly, he needed a friend. The word for helpmate is similar (not exact) to the word that Christ says when He was ready to leave this world. Jesus says that He wouldn't leave us helpless, but He would send another...a helper. The Greek word is paracletos which means "one called alongside who is similar to the first."

If you look back to a previous blog a mine about "Servants and Friends", Jesus said that He now called them friends. When He left, He didn't want to leave them without a friend, so He sent Holy Spirit.

My challenge to you is two-fold. First, are you a friend to the friendless? It's nothing to be friendly to those you like, but how about those you don't like? Second, do you need a friend? Even if you feel friendless, allow Holy Spirit to come to your side. Let Him be your friend and allow Him to lead you to others that you can connect with on a personal basis. Believe me, it's essential to your sanity to have friends.

In closing, make a point to go for a picnic this week. Take time to have lunch with a friend. Treat your best friend to an ice cream cone. Just make the connection. And leave a post when you do. I want to hear everyone who reads this to post something this week about how they connected with someone.
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