So Much Has Happened – Part II: Friends

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the reasons that I broke up with Erica is that the relationship was having a detrimental affect on my relationship with God. I finally realized the truth through the prayer with and counsel of some people whom I now consider to be some of my best friends.

Last month, the KVFC coffee house, affectionately known as "The House", opened. The NFocus group spends most of our time together at the house. NFocus is the college-age and twenty-something young adult ministry at my church - Kalamazoo Valley Family Church. The core group consist of about 10-15 of us, and we have really grown closer together, and closer to God, in the past couple of months. We meet at the house Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights - to hang out, chat, drink coffee - and most nights, we are in the parking lot after the house closes, just praying.

For a few of us, one event in particular really got things kick-started. Five of us went to see Eli perform at the Ground Floor in Grandville (Grand Rapids). Afterward, we all felt like praying together. That was just about the time that God was beginning to convict me with respect to my relationship with Erica, and that night, I told them about it. Among other things, we prayed that God would direct me in the relationship. The next night, a bigger group of us were praying in the parking lot, and we all prayed about it again. The same thing happened the next night, and after praying, I was talking with a couple of the guys, and one of them - Scott - told me that I knew what I needed to do. I knew what I needed to do, but also knew that doing so would be very difficult. Interestingly, the pastor who is basically in charge of the NFocus group, Kurt, had just recently spoken about how "God meets us at the point of our obedience." I spent a lot of time on my own in prayer, too, and talked to my parents about it. I knew I would have to rely on God's strength to carry me.

A week later, I broke up with Erica.

Also, at the Eli concert, I had the first opportunity to get to know a guy who has become one of my good friends also - Brian. He is now a confidant, as well as my tennis/workout partner. We also are going through the "Get a Grip" class together at church. He, Scott, Brett, and Andi are now some of my closest male friends - not to mention Cosmas, Jason, Andy, Tavis, and Carl. It is really nice to have guys to talk to, to counsel, and to be counseled by, and to hold me accountable.

It is also really nice to develop friendships with Godly women, whom I can serve unconditionally, from whom I can learn what it is to know, to serve, and to love a woman after God's own heart, and hopefully, one day, with whom I can develop a Godly relationship that will lead to a family. I am very happy and fortunate to be able to see two such relationships developing, with other members of our group. One couple is dating; another is engaged.

But, while I am single, I am taking the opportunity to continue to grow closer to, and to serve and to please, God. Often, I have been able to do that through serving my friends. A few weeks ago (actually, two days after I broke up with Erica), five of the girls got together for a sleepover on a Saturday night, and five of us guys made them breakfast the next morning, before we all went to church. Now, since I love to cook, I especially enjoyed that opportunity. That afternoon, I helped one of the girls paint her apartment - I really enjoyed not only serving her, but also getting the chance to talk to, and really get to know, her. This weekend, I helped another one of the girls move out of her apartment - of course, there is much more to that story, but I will save that one for another day.

All in all, these past few weeks have been really good for me. Once I realized, and admitted to myself, that I had been putting aside my relationship with God, and put forth the effort to turn things around, I have felt so much better.

I have always felt that God has called me to be a "Prayer Warrior" - someone whose first answer to anything is to pray; someone who prays by conviction, whether or not I know exactly *why* I am being convicted to pray. And, for the first time in years, I can feel that my prayers once again have power behind them.

Also, even though, through Christ, all sin is forgiven, sin still has consequences. For me, that has meant that, for years, I had been struggling in my thought life. Now, for the first time in years, I am claiming authority over my thought life. I will not dwell upon any sinful - especially lustful - thought; rather, I pray Psalm 19:14 - "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

I have a lot more to write about, but I will save that for later entries.