Pastor’s Blog 5/20/2020

I continue to be amazed how often the truths of God’s Word become a reality in my life. I know the truths in my head, and in my heart, but when a truth from God just shows up in my life unexpectedly, it is really exciting.

That happened to me two weeks ago, when I was reminded again, of the importance of good friends. I received an e-mail from my good friend Karl Storman asking Judy and I to be part of a Zoom meeting to recognize friends of ours on their 50th wedding anniversary. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it was to reconnect with friends that we do not often get to see. They were people as close as Schroon Lake, NY and as far away as Australia.

Stu and Betty Page were there. Stu was the executive dean at the Word of Life Bible Institute and hired me even though I was neither qualified nor experienced for the position. Yet Stu gave me the freedom to use my gifts and abilities in the various ministries that I oversaw and during that time we watched God do some pretty neat things. If it were not for Stu Page taking a chance on me, there is no way that I would be able to do what I am doing today.

Jason & Kristin Perkins were there as well. Jason helped raised money to put up the “Gower Gazebo” at the Word of Life Campgrounds in recognition for our ministry there. Although everyone knows that he really did it for Judy!!

Jane and Keith Campbell showed up to celebrate as well. Keith came to the family camp while Judy and I served there. One evening after I spoke, Keith came down front and asked if he could speak to me. That evening I had the privilege of leading Keith to Christ. Now life does not get much more exciting than that!

Other friends showed up as well, friends like Mike Bush, Pat Darling Winkler, Dan & Kathy Darling, Ray & Marlene Pritchard and of course the couple we were honoring, Wayne & Ruthie Lewis. Not only have Wayne and Ruthie become friends over these many years, they were our first tenants in our log cabin when we left Word of Life to go to another ministry.

It was just so much fun to meet up again and just talk about experiences we shared, funny stories, as well as ministry we did together. And it all was made possible because each one of us at one time in our life, accepted Christ as our Savior.

As I was thinking about our meeting, I thought, this is just a glimpse of what it will be like when we get together in heaven. But to have friends in heaven, you need to be investing in friends here on earth. Not the fake kind of friendship that so many are involved in, but real friendship.

Today friendships often refer to a casual conversation, going to someone’s home for a cookout, or playing together on a church softball team. Yet a life-changing friendship requires much more than that.

Friendship (Godly friendship) requires commitment, and sadly to say most people are not willing to make the commitment. I am not talking about the surface or superficial friendship many of us experience at church, but a friendship where you can feel secure, where you can be honest, share your struggles, a friendship where you can just be yourself.

To have a long and healthy friendship, it must be based on our relationship with God…

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:7

Throughout scripture God shows us the results of having good friends: David and Jonathan, Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha, Naomi and Ruth, Paul and Timothy, Jesus, Peter, James & John, and even God called Abraham and Moses His friends.

So who are you investing your life in? Who in your life would think of YOU when they think of the people that made an eternal investment in their lives? It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that we neglect the people that God brings into our life.

There is a story of two friends that were fighting together in a war. The combat was ferocious, and many lives were being taken. When one of the two young soldiers was injured and could not get back to the trenches, the other went out to get him against his officers orders. He returned mortally wounded, and his friend, who he had carried back, was dead.

The officer looked at the dying solider, shook his head, and said, “It wasn’t worth it.” The young boy, overhearing the comment, smiled and said, “But it was worth it, sir, because when I got to him, he said, ‘Jim, I knew you would come.’”

I want to be “Jim!” I want to be that friend that can be counted on. I want to be a friend that does not disappoint, but a friend that is making a difference not only for today, but a difference that will last for eternity. Besides, it will create great memories when we get together in heaven to talk!

That Zoom meeting, even though we have not been together for quite some time, it was as if we never left. In the busyness of life, keep on investing in friends. Besides who wants to get to heaven with no meaningful stories to share with your friends!!

Just remember, Christian friends last forever…

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