Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoughts on the Need of Relationships-

I have been reading the best seller ‘The Shack.’ I have been struck by a number of comments in the book. Here is one: ‘Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationships.’

Jim Darnell made a similar comment: “I am very much aware that much of life is relationships and if your relationships are good your life is good.”

Do you have good relationships? You do need them; a relationship with God, your spouse, and with others. I have some great relationships here at the church and around the world.

One such relationship is Pastor Rob and Brooke. They have been with me for close to 17 years now. They have won my respect and appreciation. They have stood the test of time, struggles, disappointments, and sorrow yet remained faithful, loyal, proven, and as refined gold increases in value they have increased in value to me, the Kingdom of God and The Vine Fellowship. I have few friends that have preserved and have my loyalty and trust as do Pastor Rob and Brooke.

Pr 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
Pr 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Pr 27:9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.

True friends don’t tear each other down, reveal secrets, disrespect one another even when disagreeing, separate and divide from others, are not jealous and always remain loyal. I consider Pastor Rob and Brooke as true friends.

My prayer is that you too can experience that true friendship and relationships that we all desire and need. In order to have friends, one must show himself friendly!

I have had friends leave me, betray me, speak evil of me, turn others against me, given up on me - but I have never quit loving them and consider them friends to this day! I would always receive them back! That quality of never giving up on anyone regardless what they have done to me amazes my wife!

On another note for pastors, I think you can relate to this. I may be gone for a Sunday ministering elsewhere or on vacation. I generally don't announce my absence. I have been asked why I don’t announce when I am leaving town or having guest speakers. My answer is a difficult one to say and causes me great pain and frustration. But here it is — it is because attendance is generally down when I am gone. For some reason people feel that if I am gone they can be gone too. They may stay home, go to the lake or park, or visit another church. Who knows why this happens but it does grieve me. Do they only have relationship with me and not other members of the Vine? But, enough of that as that is my cross to bear alone.

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