Sunday morning my husband preached on making friends. That makes it sound like he's one of those water-down-the-gospel-and-preach-whatever-makes-people-feel-good preachers. Nope... he's not one of those. But, because God did indeed kind of create us for relationships, first with Him and then with others, James is preaching a sermon series on how to do this relationship thing God's way.
And so he began with the relationships we believers need to be building with lost folks so that we can show them how they too can have a relationship with God. And you'd be proud to know that James didn't once make it sound like you're supposed to make the lost gal at work or across the street from you your "project." People are note projects; people are precious, especially to God. Thus we need to build solid, trusting relationships with them so we can introduce them to this God who calls them precious.
James made some great points about making friends with lost folks and I wrote them all down:
I have some real hangups with some of these points. In fact, I usually get stuck on number.... um.. let's see....one. Being proactive.
- Be proactive - take the initiative with people; don't wait for them to strike up the conversation.
- Be authentic - be real, for pete's sake! People don't like phonies.
- Identify common ground - ask them questions about themselves and listen, listen, listen.
- Demonstrate God's love - show them acceptance, give affirmation, and offer assistance.
- Be patient - friendships take a while to build.
- Expect God to use you - anticipate an opportunity to share the gospel and then "just do it!"
That's why this whole blog thing is really a pretty big step for me. Even under the cloak of cyberspace, it's a little hard for me to step out and introduce myself and be the first one to say, even in not so many words, "Hi! Could we be friends?" In my estimation, putting yourself out there to make a friend, be a friend, and build a relationship, is a pretty risky venture.
So when I mentioned my 100th blog post last week and invited you to give me 5 facts about yourself instead of me offering up 100 of my own, it may have seemed like I was taking the easy way out. In fact, I was scared to death that I wouldn't get a single comment - except from my best friend and a few faithfuls who already accepted my invitation to be cyber friends in recent months.
Lo, and behold. I got close to 100 comments on that post and many others on the last two as well. Now I'm not oblivious to the power of potential prizes. I realize many of you may never comment again and the only reason you came back today was to see if the winners were posted. And that's ok. But I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making my day and leaving your comments.
No, I'm not so fragile and needy as I'm making myself out to be. But I just wanted you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed learning five things about each of you. I'm amazed at the diversity, the interesting facts, the self-disclosures (made easier by that cloak of cyberspace, no doubt) and the funniness of it all! Making friends is indeed a lot of fun.
All week, from Tuesday on, I felt like my blog was one big party scene. And I had so much fun mingling with you all. Thank you for attending, for extending the hand of friendship, and for promising to come back occasionally. I hope you read through some of the comments and found a new friend or two in the list as well.
The contest ends tonight at 12:00 pm Pacific time, because that's what I'm on. I'll post the winners tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13th along with 100 facts about me. I figure it's time for me to follow my husband's second piece of advice and "be authentic." So I'll try to come up with 100 things about myself that
top come close to being as interesting as yours. And by that time, the Random Integer Generator will have given me the numbers of two lucky comment posters who will win the gift prizes. So you can suffer through my 100 facts and then find out who won, or do like I would do and rush to the bottom of the post and find out if you won first. (Shhh! Don't tell. I'll never know!)
But in all honesty, I'm the winner here.
Labels: friendship, give-away, relationships