Friendship Redefined

I’m a huge advocate of social media (as you know) and how it has impacted the way brands market.  I love the connections that I’ve made from using Facebook and Twitter.  This blog has given me a platform to share my thoughts on faith, fatherhood and marketing.  Social has expanded our reach to across the country and in some cases around the globe.  I’m sure you’ve also seen the ability to reconnect with people you once thought you may have never been able to again.

However, with all of the positives I just mentioned, social has redefined the word “friend” hasn’t it?  Think about this…I have 1,177 friends on Facebook.  I don’t tell you that to brag, but as I look at that number, what real relationship do I have with all of those people?  Yes, there are a select few that I can say I have a deep friendship with but most of the others are people that I’ve come to know professionally, people I’ve come to know through Kensington, others are childhood friends and others are those from Michigan State.  Regardless, each group of people was significant for a certain period of my life but I can’t honestly say the friendship is nothing more than a casual friendship.

What I’ve learned and was reinforced this past weekend at Kensington Orion was that social media does a great job of expanding our friendships horizontally but often times causes the vertical depth of friendships to suffer.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to establish deep and meaningful friendships with some…Gini Dietrich and Justin Brackett are 2 great examples but those were able to grow because of the personal investment we made to get to know each other not only through our online interactions but also through in person visits and conversations.

As I’ve continued to think about this over the last few days I began to look at the friendships I have with other guys around me…or lack thereof.  I hope I’m not in the minority on this, but in conversations I’ve had with other guys in my circles (not a Google+ reference), many of us can only name maybe 1 guy that we feel comfortable enough sharing more than the surface level stuff with.  It must be a guy thing because I know this comes much easier for women.

Why is this important?
I mention all of this because of the message from Kensington Orion this week.  This past Sunday we talked about the 3 men in David’s life that…

…were committed
…were Christ like
…carried burdens

This group of men battled for each other and supported each other.  I want that in my life.  I also want that for the life of my sons.  I want other men, other than me, to pour into my boys and teach them what having strong male figures in their lives will do for them as they grow up to become men.  For me, I want a select few guys to be able to hold me accountable to my faith, to my marriage and be able to help me when I’m struggling.  This verse from Proverbs states it perfectly:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17

Having these close relationships sharpens us, makes us better men, better husbands and better fathers.

What is my action step?  To invest in the relationships around me and pray that God reveals to me the open doors of friendships that will sharpen me and to make the vertical investment.

What about you?

The New Has Come…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

People change.  When someone says “that’s just the way that I am” or “I can’t change who I am” it frustrates me because you can change who you are and often for the better.  A while back, I shared with you an e-mail I sent to my friends and my family talking about my how my faith in God was growing.  There was a point in my e-mail that I said, “What I don’t want is for all of you to think I’m going to completely change who I am and who you all have come to know me to be.”  Well, I’m COMPLETELY different from the person I was 5 years ago.  My priorities are different.  My outlook on my wife, my kids and my job is different.  The reason I’m different is because of a faith in Someone that has the transformative power to heal the sick, mend the broken and raise from the dead.

The same Someone impacted the life of Travis Gluckler.  A guy that lived the east coast lifestyle and moved that lifestyle to Las Vegas.  See how his life was transformed.  Who knows, maybe it will get you to think about your own life and the changes you need to make.

Peace On Earth

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

I just saw the Christmas service from Kensington Church tonight.  A few thoughts.  The 12 Days of Christmas will never be the same again for me.  I never thought Eminem would make his way into a church service.  I had 80’s flashbacks with Devo.  The arts team at KC is simply amazing.

More than anything, the message was one of significance for me particularly as I continue to reflect on Christmas and what it means to me.  This year, the Kensington team went to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ and brought back a story of hope.  A story of people divided politically and literally by a wall separating Palestine and Israel.  We learned about peace on earth.  We learned about people putting aside their labels and bringing forward their humanity.  A humanity that thinks more about the person rather than trying to change a mind or opinion.

It was a great reminder to me to really focus on the people that I come into contact with on a daily basis and honor them.  Respect them.  Love them.  These are the things that come to mind especially when I hear the words “Peace be with you.”  Jesus Christ was and is the Prince of Peace.  When that offering of peace is made, I feel relief, love, hope, and joy.

Peace is often the forgotten message but it can be the unifying message in any discussion or debate.

This week, I invite you to join my Kensington family and experience the hope and peace that was talked about today.  There are a few of you I’m already thinking about that I believe would really get something out of the message and I’m praying for the right opportunity to invite you.  There is also the opportunity to watch from the comfort of your own home as Kensington will be streaming LIVE all 15 Christmas services from its Troy campus at kensingtonchurch.tv.  Whatever you decide, I invite you to join me and renew your sense of peace with a faith and hope that has given me strength over the last few years.

Merry Christmas.  Peace be with you.

If you’re on Twitter, follow #kensingtonchristmas to see what people are saying!

The Christmas Revolution

The Christmas Revolution

Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.  Both of these conjure up images of people doing anything and everything possible to get the best deal and the newest stuff for Christmas.  I don’t have any issue with this.  We all want nice things but does this become the most important thing about Christmas?  Does it become so focused on self indulgence that we lose the meaning of what these holidays really should be about?  Family.  Community.

One thing that I’ve appreciated the most about Kensington Church is its ability to deliver impactful messages that make you think about your life and your purpose.  This holds true each year when they talk about The Christmas Revolution.  As we head into this Christmas season, I invite all of you to participate in something my family will be doing again.  Do something radical with the money you were planning on spending for gifts…spend it on someone in need.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program that has raised over $2 million for people in need, go to www.kensingtonchurch.org/christmas.

This has changed the way my family and I view Christmas each year.  We appreciate everything God has given us.  More importantly, we value the people in this world God has given us the ability to bless financially.  Who knows…if enough people participate, we can make this something to look forward to after Thanksgiving instead of something peppery.

When Tragedy Strikes, Who Do You Turn To?

I’m continually amazed at the stories that come out from my Sunday home, Kensington Church.  This past weekend, was no exception as we watched and listened to Danny Rossi share his story.  What I found to be the most encouraging is how scripture found its way into every challenge he faced.  Take a moment and watch this.  Not only will you be blessed by his words, but also encouraged by his song “There’s Still Hope.”

Fan the Flames

As a parent, I often think about the stories I’ll pass on to my kids.  Pouring into the next generation has become more important to me especially as my kids get older.  Am I helping pass along the Filipino heritage of my mom and dad?  Am I instilling into my kids the work ethic of my parents and Julianne?  More importantly, am I sharing my faith with my kids so that they are able to decide for themselves what their faith means to them?

I recently heard at Kensington Orion that we are only one generation away from either losing the knowledge of God or from making life changing impact through the stories we tell the next generation of how Christ impacted our lives.  Through how we are living our own lives, are we creating stories of impact that can be an influence to future generations to carry on our legacy as parents as well as the message of Jesus Christ?

Think about it terms of the history of the United States.  Have we really done a good job at passing down the spirit of those that founded this great country through the stories that made this country so great?  Simple things like the history of U.S. Presidents, capitals of the states or even more recent events like 9/11 have lost some of  their meaning to those that never experienced them.  These stories remain important and shouldn’t be minimized.

If you are in any position of leadership, I believe it’s vitally important for us to constantly think about what it is we want to pass along to those that come after us.  Are we providing every opportunity for those that we lead to learn and grow?  I think about my own faith and how that has come to shape my life over the last 5 years.  I get so excited when I think about how God has blessed my life and my family.  I am now thinking about the stories I want my kids to tell my grandkids so that they will able to feel the influence Jesus Christ had on my life even after I’m gone.  I’m reminded of Paul’s message to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice.  And I know that same faith continues strong in you.  This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:5-8 NLT)

What stories are you preparing for future generations?  I hope they are good and memorable, otherwise you might be left with this…