Thursday, February 24, 2011

To lay down your Life

I am sorry it is taking me so long to keep bringing these posts, but I haven been with other fun things and actually living my friendships that I have not find the proper time to sit down and share PART THREE of Melina's interview.
Nonetheless the last part of this interview is awesome and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

Nerdy Bowling October 2010 - she doesn't like that photo, but I think it is awesome!

What kind of a friend do you want to be?
I learned that being a follower of Christ also meant being a friend like him. Loving my friends without condition or self-interest. It means identifying with them and laying down my life for them, whether they "deserve" it or not. The God of the universe identifies with us, and we certainly do not deserve it in any way. We carry His Name and He chose us to represent Him in this earth. Moved and driven by this grace, how can I do anything but try my best and love my friends the same way.

Laying down my life for my friends plainly means to put their interest and their best before my own. It means that I seek to do them good. That I believe in them and in their dreams. It means to be honest with them and open for correction. It means that I am quick to forgive. It means that my heart desires to see their lives expand and flourish. It means to pray for them. To listen to them without thinking about what I want to say. To give without wanting to receive. To be their biggest "fan" and celebrate the "awesomeness" of God's character in them. It means to always believe the best and to believe they can do and be anything God has designed them to.

Understanding and living true friendships has been and still is a journey. It is a learning process, a matter of trust and doing life together with your friends. At this point I must add that the kind of friendship as described can only be experienced with people that share the same spirit and the same heart as you. It is only possible to be full of love, if THE LOVE - Jesus - is the center of it. I am ever grateful for the amazing friends God has blessed me with. Together we can grow and learn about friendship that is grounded in Christ's never ending and unfailing love. We're not where we want to be yet - but we are learning, moving forwarded - and it is so much fun! I wouldn't want to go one day without them.

This is what John, a very close friend of Jesus wrote about Him…I believe John's understanding of friendship was forever changed after experiencing the friendship of God incarnate.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1 John 3, 16
Late night fun on the Mac sometime in 2010

I hope you enjoyed this interview and Melina's thoughts as much as I did. There are more post coming concerning the subject Friendship, one more interview and something special I have reserved for the end.
Hope you are enjoying a wonderful week, having great friends.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friendship: A Covenant

Finally I am back with Part TWO of my interview with Melina. I am so super excited about this whole series about friendship and about having the priviledge of not only sharing my own thoughts but having some of my best friends share their heart on the subject. For me this makes it more personal and more special.
So... no more words from my side and more words from Melina's side. Go enjoy!

At my 60s themed birthday party 2009

How and why has your view on friendship changed over the last years?
What is your perception of it now? What do you expect from your friendships?

A couple of months ago, after listening to Kenneth Copeland's teaching on the blood covenant for some time, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes regarding the kind of friend I had been up until that point. And I am telling you, I got convicted and humbled by a good God who's friendship to us is indescribably pure, authentic and genuine. I learned that "friendship" was a "covenant word" and that its dimension surpassed all human understanding or intellectual approach. I learned that the word "friend" had a much stronger, deeper meaning than what I had thought. I heard about "a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18,24), I saw Jesus' friendship to me…His truthfulness and faithfulness even in my failure and sin.

A biblical example of a true friendship that can be found in 1 Samuel 18 - David and Jonathan - helped me understand better what it meant to be a friend. I remember my pastor teaching about the pure, brotherly and "unfailing love" (hesed, agape love) those two men had for each other. That kind of love that originates in God's heart - it in fact is God's nature. It's the kind of love that says, "I love you as I love myself". It is a love that caused their "souls to be knit together". Already in chapter 19 of 1 Samuel this kind of love was being tested - in a time of great pressure for David (he was persecuted by Jonathan's father Saul) Jonathan cut a covenant with David promising him to always show unfailing kindness and love (hesed, agape love) to him and his family. From this story I understand that friendship is far more than just walking through life together, sharing moments and thoughts, laughter and tears. It is far stronger than the picture the world is trying to show us in tv shows, music videos and movies. It is the very expression of the Savior's heart as He said, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15, 13) It is the unconditional love and faithfulness, the unwavering standing by one's side, lifting up one's head and soul. Barnes' Bible Commentary says it this way: "No higher expression of love could be given. Life is the most valuable object we possess; and when a man is willing to lay that down for his friends or his country, it shows the utmost extent of love. Even this love for friends has been rarely witnessed. (…) It also shows us the extent of his (Christ's) love that he gave himself up, not to common sufferings, but to the most bitter, painful, and protracted sorrows, not for himself, not for friends, but for a thoughtless and unbelieving world. "O Lamb of God, was ever pain was ever love like thine!"

Isn't this just beautiful! I believe we all have to get a new revelation of what friendship really means.
You can already look forward to Part THREE: To lay down your life

Friday, February 11, 2011

To learn and grow in Friendships

The day has arrived and I am finally able to post the next interview I held with my best friend and housemate Melina. I have decided to make this a three part interview because I do not want you to miss any of her words.
Compared to my best friends Melina and I have been friends for the shortest amount of time (since 2005) but we have grown into such a deep "covenant" (you'll understand what I mean reading her words) friendship it feels like we've known eacht other forever. 
We have grown with each other and deeper in our friendship and I am blessed to count her one of my best friends.
Enough said, here you are with her words Part ONE
Melina's High School graduation in 2007

"I know you have had quite an interesting story about how you perceived friendships. Could you tell us a little what you thought about this whole subject also coming from a family who used to move to different places a lot?"

Being a passionate and devoted person friendship has always had a high priority in my life. As long as I can remember there has not been a time in my life when I didn't have friends around me. Having moved to different places a lot however has not been the easiest thing for me when it comes to sustaining friendships. Moving to a completely different city meant going to a new school, living in a new neighborhood…finding new friends. Although I've always considered myself an open and outgoing person opening up my heart and sharing things that were happening in my life was getting more difficult every time after I had had to say good-bye to my friends. With the consciousness of a possible change around the corner I would never allow friendships to go real deep over a longer period. Even after having lived in Lörrach for quite some time, something on the inside of me, an itch to move and find new friends, wouldn't allow me to open myself up completely to my new friends. But this time we were not going to move…no, we were going to stay and I had to overcome that "itch", that uneasiness. Thank God I had amazing friends…and thank God he taught me how to deal with it. During that time, I learned so much about friendship…about true friends. Through my friends I was able to learn how God sees friendship and what He desires for everyone in terms of friendship. Today, 5 years later I am still learning and growing in this area. But I can honestly say that God blessed me with the best friends!

on our leadership retreat 2010

coming up next: Friendship: A covenant - interview mit Melina

Until then



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Friendship is an Investment

Santa Cruz 2007

This morning we had what we call "Leadership Summit" at my church where all the leaders come together and we have a message, workshops and learn how to be a better leader.
Anyways, the topic today was how to have Win-win relationships. Now I know this is totally a business term but in actual fact the topic was about friendships and partnerships and I thought it was so great that I want to throw a couple of thoughts out there for you.
There were four different principles of which I will try to enlighten two here:

1. The Boomerang Principle
What happens when you trow a bommerang? At one point it will come back to you. Therefore when you invest in a friendship you get so much more back. I personally have experienced that so many times where I invested and gave and the response was incredible.
So I guess the question is what have we inveested, what have I given into the friendship? We honestly should have the attitue of giving first and then receiving. It's a very simple principle... sowing and reaping.
Therefore I would like to encourage you to concentrate always on what you can give into the relationship.

2. The Friendship Principle
I believe people want to be together and spend time with people who are true friends. The question therefore is, what a real friend describes. John Maxwell says the following that a true friend...
- knows your worst parts yet does not forget your best.
- thinks you are a little bit more wonderful than you actually are
- can talk with you for hours and be completely quiet
- celebrates your success with you
- always tells you the truth
- stands by you even if others are against you

Santa Cruz 2007

I love this!!! That is exactly the kind of friend I wish to be and the kind of friends I wish to have... gladly I do have friends like this.
This subject just really excites me because when true friends join in together there is so much empowerment and people start living out their potential and it triggers such an energy. When my best friends and I go somewhere you can really actually feel that and I don't mean to say that to brag about it. It is just simply a fact.
Also... I feel with them... because they are true friends the more I invest the more I get back. Just seeing them, spending an hour even with them is so encouraging and brings out the best in me. It energizes me and helps me keep on going.
I wish and hope you have those kind of friends - friends who are willing to give their life for them and I wish and hope that you are and become such a friend.
Honestly I don't believe I have achieved it yet completely. We can always keep on growing and going when it comes to our friendships.
The most important thing though is to just love them like Jesus and let His love guide you in your friendships.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Who is your Company?

Thinking about this series about friendship I have read quite a lot of quotes about friendship lately. Some of them are really sad and make me wonder if people have really understood how wonderful friendships can be. One quote that stood out to me and that I had already heard of is by Miguel de Cervantes:

"Tell me what company thou keepst, and I'll tell thee what thou art."

When I think about the people in my life, the people I call closest to my heart I must say I am just blessed. I am surrounded by wonderful strong women of God who help me become a better person. I have deliberately chosen to surround myself with friends who bring out the best in me. But not only that, I wish and hope that I can be the same for them.

Yet I look at some of the youth at you(th) and my heart breaks when I see the people they keep in their company. It makes me very sad because they become what there company is. Sadly this is often soemthing that negatively influences them and holds them back from the potential they have and who they could be in Christ.

I guess today I just simply want to raise these questions: Who are your friends? Who is your company and how do they influence you?

Stay tuned for another wonderful interview coming up soon.




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