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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wagon train at Frey's greenhouse, Lebanon County, PA 9/17/19 (Click to enlarge)
Early yesterday morning we passed this decorative "wagon train" at the Frey's Greenhouse near Lebanon, PA.
(Click to enlarge)

"The Blessing Of 'Unlikely' Friendships"

Message summary: Today we urge you to value your friendships, particularly those with other members of the family of faith. Consider "unlikely friends" and the commonality you have within your relationship.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (Amos 3:3). "A friend loves at all times" (Proverbs 17:17).

Mike is a long-time friend who has a birthday today. I don't remember very many of my friend's birthdays but this also happens to be the date we had the very first service at the church we planted in northern Pennsylvania as a very young couple right out of Bible College in 1977. I had met Mike the day before since he came with questions about the new church. He and his wife Kathy attended our first service and shortly thereafter became a vital part of that young congregation. We have been friends ever since, although we have both moved on from where we met.

Many friendships are likely such as the one with my first grade friend, Dave. We met after his family moved across the street from ours. We were best friends in grade school and Junior High together and we remain good friends some sixty years later. Likely, friends are our neighbors, people we work with, school mates or fellow church attendees.

Often we develop a friendship based upon people who've experienced life similar to the way we have. C. S. Lewis wrote, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'"

But today let us consider unlikely friendships. We thought of this the other day considering our friendship with Jesse and Anna Ruth Lapp, who are Amish and some 25 years younger than us. Although we have an age and cultural divide we became fast friends ever since we met them as newlyweds back in 2003 and this close friendship has turned into more of a family type relationship.

On Sunday afternoon, as we walked together in the neighborhood and ran into neighbors along the way, our visits that day included five family groups from different cultural and theological backgrounds, yet we all had the commonality of knowing that Jesus died for our sins and that we must be born again to enter into His kingdom.

When we lived in New England we saw an example of what would seem to be an unlikely friendship. An older white lady and a young black man walked together on our street each morning conversing with one another. There didn't appear to be anything romantic about their relationship and when we greeted them they just seemed to be good friends. Perhaps they lived in the same apartment complex. With all the divisions in our world we are inspired by that kind of unlikely friendship!

A lot of friendships in the body of Christ are that way. People, who in the natural would have very little in common, but due to their mutual love for Christ have so much in common. Mostly we have in common that which matters most.
Our mutual walk with the Lord supersedes (or at least it should) whatever may divide us.

Today we urge you to value your friendships, particularly those with other members of the family of faith.
Consider your "unlikely friends" and the commonality you have within your relationship.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, this world would be quite bland and much would be lacking in our lives if we didn't have good friends. Friends who spur us on, who love us when we need it most, who lend a hand even before we ask, who encourage us by their words and deeds, who believe in us when others doubt our worth. Friends are among the greatest blessings You give us to walk with on this journey of life and we thank you for them. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Friends Are Friends Forever"  Video  Michael W. Smith

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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