We finished the session of the DVD last week on “Friends”. I don’t know if you all know how very much I value your friendship and your support.
When Pastor Tom asked me, nearly four years ago now, if I would do a weekly email, I thought I would probably do it for the 6 weeks and by that time, you would all be ready to toss me out by the ear. And yet, here we are.
Our small group, the On and On’rs, keeps going on and on. We have created such a bond and a deep, abiding friendship. For me, that extends throughout this online group too. I love each and every one of you and even if I don’t get to see some of you often, you are my rocks, my inspiration and motivation in this journey, second only to Jesus Christ.
On that note, since we are talking about friends, I am taking a walk down memory lane. This is the very first article in my very first email that I saved. God bless you all!
In His light,
I am thankful for the support of my friends and family who have visited this past month. Despite eating out much more than normal and cooking more, I am down 9 pounds and feel great!
Thank you, Lord!
By By Rick Warren
But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:7-8 NCV)
In Christian fellowship people should experience authenticity.
Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing.
It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. They share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.
Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in many churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, there is pretending, role-playing, politicking and superficial politeness, but shallow conversation.
People wear masks, keep their guards up, and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship.
It’s only as we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship. The Bible says, “If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other.… If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves” (1 John 1:7–8, NCV).
The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. We tend to use darkness to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures and flaws. But in the light, we bring them all out into the open and admit who we really are.
Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection and being hurt again.
Why would anyone take such a risk?
Because it’s the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” ( James 5:16a, Msg).