The price of friendship - Jesus Army Life

Tomorrow I am the nominated leader for an evening gathering of several esteemed saints.

We've been focusing a lot on friendship lately so it seems right to follow suit. The trouble is I'm not sure what friendship is any more?

Call it ridiculous if you like, but has it ever struck you how many forms of friendship there are?

A friend sat with me the other day and quietly listened to me as I expressed my fears and troubles. They were being a real friend; yet at other times the same friend has been distant and difficult to connect with and I've despaired of finding a way to come along side them.

Friendship is a complex thing.

I am convinced of one truth in all this: our grasp of true friendship is directly related to our ability to be vulnerable. And not everyone wants to go there...

Laughter makes us vulnerable in a good way, but tears bring vulnerability too. We are fascinated by new experiences, but we long to be comfortable. Our self protective instinct can stop us truly experiencing what it is that makes us most human - the company of loving friendship.

Someone wise once said, 'I like being happy so I want to make other people happy too.' I think they'd realised in a simple way that vulnerability is the price of friendship, and that without it we will always wonder what true friendship really looks like.


Me and Jesus - Jesus Army Life

So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

I've been thinking about these words and how much I want to be a disciple of Jesus.

I don't know about other people, but normally Jesus becomes all consuming to me after I've heard a inspiring sermon or read an encouraging spiritual book or when I feel the fire of sharing the gospel message with someone new.

At those points nothing could be more important than Jesus...

But other times? I guess It's possible for my sight of Jesus to dim. Not entirely, but it's definitely not as fiery as it can be.

Maybe that's one of the reasons I joined a Christian communal movement - because I wanted to be all out, all the time, for the one who'd captured my soul with his love.

It was something I could 'do' 24-7. I'd live my life in service of him just as he'd given his life for me... The words of Jesus (quoted at the start) would take on a new reality. I'd give everything I had, nothing would get in the way of me and Jesus.

Except now, maybe, community life (and all its joys) has become something I've owned too? Perhaps, like a possession, I've held onto the ideal too tightly and it has also become something that stops me seeing Jesus entirely?

In many ways sharing my life with others has drawn me closer to God. Undoubtedly. But I wonder if it has obscured my view of him too? I want to keep seeing all these people in my life and, somehow, keep seeing Jesus too...


Letting go - Jesus Army Life

My experience of community life has changed drastically in the last few months.

Where before there was brotherhood now there is solace. Where before I knew a richness within, now there is only yearning. Before I lived in the centre of love, now I feel rationed.

I still belong to the community where I've lived for 10 years, we still share our money and time together, but now, mainly due to ill health, my wife and I live 10 minutes walk down the road. And I miss the life.

Perhaps it is good for me, for us. I'm sure I am learning lessons about resting more,  finding grace to let things go, standing more on my own, and giving myself solely to my wife. However, it feels like nothing compared to being joined heart and soul in word and deed to other Christians.

Nonetheless, 3 times I've felt the Lord say, 'let go'. I must obey, even if it is for a short time. For how can I move into His future if I do not let go of my past?