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From the Pastor's Desk



Almost everyone wants a friend - but few people actually have real "friends."  Sure, you will hear someone say, "I have 238 Facebook friends."  For many, these e-friends have replaced our hug-friends.  Fewer people than ever actually have life-long intimate friends anymore.

Most people are lucky if they have one "close friend" in their lifetime.  People are more mobile, making it harder to make and keep such a friend.

In worship, we have been looking at the life of shepherd/giant-killer/king David.  David and Jonathan (Saul’s son) were true friends.  It is a friendship that most of us only hope to have.

Read these scriptures as background:  1Samuel 18:1-4 and 1Samuel 19:1-10.

One of Webster’s definitions of a friend is:  "a person on the same side in a struggle; one who is not an enemy or foe but an ally."

Some non-dictionary definitions are:  "One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is trustworthy." - "One who understands our silence." - "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."

David had a friend who came in when the world had gone out.  David was working in Saul’s Court, and his success made Saul jealous to the point he tried to kill him.  David had to go on the run.  This was probably the worst thing he had ever faced.

It was during this period of David’s life that God showed his faithfulness and his love for David by providing Jonathan to be a true friend.  God used Jonathan to meet the needs of David as he journeyed through this dark valley.

Saul hated David.  The Israelites loved David - so did Saul’s son and daughter.

It’s a fact:  the closer you get to becoming the man or woman God wants you to be - the more enemies you’ll create.  It’s also true that the closer you get to becoming the man or woman God wants you to be, the more attractive you become to others.

There was a reason why Jonathan and his sister both were drawn to David -- David was a person of exemplary character whose integrity and honor showed in the way he lived.  A person like that is attractive on the inside, and they make excellent friends.

When you and I grow in the image of Jesus Christ, there will be something attractive about us that has nothing to do with our external appearances.

To have a friend, you’ve got to be a friend.  We’ve got to be the kind of person with whom others want to be friends.

If you want a close friend, think about the story of David and Jonathan.

First:  a true friend is willing to sacrifice.  Jonathan gave David his robe, his armor, his sword, his bow, and his belt.  He literally gave David his place as King.

True friendship means an ability to put another’s needs, desires, and wishes above those of your own.  Ultimately it’s what Jesus showed when he laid down his life for us, reminding us of his words in John 15:13 that "No one has greater love than this:  to lay down one’s life for a friend."  Sacrifice is the ultimate example of intimate friendship.

Second, a friend is loyal in defending you to others.

Jonathan went to his father - his King - and said, "Dad, you’re wrong about David."  He said, "Why are you going to kill him when he’s innocent?"  Saul agreed and David was brought back into the palace.

The third characteristic of intimate friendship is that intimate friends give each other complete freedom to be themselves.

There’s something very comforting about being around someone who accepts you for who you are.  You don’t have to explain why you do what you do.  You can just do it.

When your heart is broken, you can weep all over a friend, and he/she will understand.  He/she won’t tell you to straighten up and be a "man."  Intimate friends let each other hurt.  They weep together.  A friend lets you complain, and he/she listens.  Intimate friends stay with you.  Intimate friends allow you to be yourself no matter what your self looks like.

The final characteristic is that an intimate friend is a steady source of encouragement.  When Saul went out to kill David, Jonathan went to David and encouraged him in God.  That’s the kind of friend to have.  He saw David at the lowest moment of his life, frightened and stumbling through the wilderness, and he brought him encouragement.  "There’ll be a brighter day some day, but right now I’m here with you, no matter what."

How many of us can actually say that we have a friend like Jonathan was to David?

You know, it doesn’t hurt to ask God for a Jonathan.  We have a tendency to underemphasize the power of prayer.  Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find."  God wants us to have these kind of relationships.

God will help you find a Jonathan, if you’ll only ask.

Bro. Lee


June - a Sign of Good Things

June is a month when Christians should be joyful.  June has the longest days and the shortest nights of the year - more light - less dark - at least in the northern hemisphere.  In the southern hemisphere, they are six months off of our schedule.  [What do you think is more symbolic - having Christmas close to the darkest day of the year (northern hemisphere) or the lightest day (southern hemisphere)?]

Summer solstice for us this year is at 6:07 a.m. on June 21.  That is the day the sun is above the horizon for the longest amount of time (northern hemisphere).  You would think this would be the day with the earliest sunrise.  But God doesn’t work like we think He should.  Actually our earliest sunrise comes about a week before summer solstice.  There is a faith lesson here.

Seeing the light earlier doesn’t mean you get more of it or that is is brighter for you.  Those of us who grew up in the Christian faith and were going to church every week - those of us who had an early Son-rise - will not be rewarded in heaven any more than someone who comes to faith later in life.  Read Luke 23:32-43 and you will find a "last-minute-conversion" that saved a criminal as he was being crucified next to Jesus.  Jesus didn’t tell him he had to live in Heaven’s Basement because he came to believe at the last minute.  He was told he would be in Paradise.  He was fortunate Jesus was next to him at this horrible time because one of the risks a person takes when he/she puts off accepting Jesus as his/her savior is that death may come too suddenly to ask for salvation.

Why put it off?  Some people feel that living the good-life on earth is exclusive of living a Christian life.  Imagined rewards here on Earth might be a little difficult to judge.  It seems like some of the bad things people do bring rewards to them in the form of money or fame and make their lives better.  I am confident that living a Christian life is living a good life.  Yes, we may not enjoy some of the sinful activities that look so inviting, and we may end up with less money and fame.  But, it won’t be a guilty conscience that keeps us awake at night.  There are other benefits - how many of these self-centered people will ever know the feeling of helping someone who cannot do anything for them in return?  I’m not sure that is such a good life.

Happy June.  May God’s light be with you.
Bro. Lee