A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
Dt 32:11like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.
Dt 32:12The LORD alone led him;
no foreign god was with him.
Dt 32:13He made him ride on the heights of the land
and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
He nourished him with honey from the rock,
and with oil from the flinty crag,
Dt 32:14with curds and milk from herd and flock
and with fattened lambs and goats,
with choice rams of Bashan
and the finest kernels of wheat.
You drank the foaming blood of the grape.
And that friend is God.
1. Introduction What are friends for
The song “That’s what friends are for” makes us smile because it reminds us of the apparant friendships that Mowgli made in the film
-The Jungle book
Friends prepared to protect him challenge him and show him the truth even when this was painful.
It also showed a number of characters who claimed to be friends who were not his friends.
Who remembers Kaa the snake and King Loui
even Baloo did not see what was best for him until his friend Bagheera the panther showed him that Mowgli would be safer with his own people rather than in the jungle.
2. Relationship or Friendship
We can return to Mowgli’s friends later.
What I am keen to establish is our real understanding that a friendship with God is not just possible but His genuine hope and intention.
Many if not all of us here might say I have a friendship with God. The challenge He wants me to bring you is that, He knows that with many if not all of us, we are afraid of the intimate commitment that is friendship with Him.
Christians often speak of having a ‘relationship’ with God.
I had a relationship with my dog Tessa; she would usually do what I asked of her and I would sometimes grasp what she asked of me. Which seemed to a largely revolve around her basic needs.
What is clear was that when in the many hours I shared my most urgent concerns with her as I walked the streets or fields, was that she had no way of connecting with me as a real friend, my relationship was limited by the fact that we were not of the same species. She a dog, I a man.
I've heard it said that many people will walk in and out of our lives, but only true friends will leave footprints in our hearts.
With some of the people we would like to have called friends we find ourselves lacking the means to grasp how each other thinks- the relationship exists but it never goes beyond just that. A relationship. It might as well be that we are from different species.
You will not be surprised if we now turn to Genesis 1:26
Ge 1:26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Ge 1:27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Ge 1:28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Ge 1:29Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
Ge 1:30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Ge 1:31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
In the image of God. We were created in His likeness with the express purpose of friendship with Him. All of history subsequent to the moment of the fall has been all creation straining to see the people of God restored to that quality of friendship with Him that existed prior to the fall.
Do not be in any doubt that God’s one desire is to be in love with you.
"The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack." (Oswald Chambers)
"True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know Him?"
What was it that that Jesus prayed for us? (John 17 vv 20-26)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
That we might be one with each other as He is one with Father.
That the love God has for Jesus may be in us too.
Here is a testimony that I found that speaks so deeply of how this is not a Sunday preach but a word to you for life.
It was during a personal crisis that I discovered Charlotte was the kind of friend that "sticks closer than a brother". We had only been casual acquaintances when I was admitted to the hospital to receive treatment for a blood clot in my leg. While there, I was also tested for what I believed was a minor "female" problem.
Shortly thereafter, I received the shocking news that I had an early-stage cancer in my uterus. Childless and in my early thirties, I faced a decision that would forever shape my husband's and my future. The emotional pain was indescribable. It was the prayers and support of my husband, family and friends that carried me through this traumatic season.
Charlotte's display of true friendship is one of the most important factors that helped me on my road to recovery. She never failed to have a word of encouragement just when I needed it most. Sometimes her comfort was wordless - she was simply there for me, not saying anything but strengthening me through her quiet presence. I knew I could count on her to walk with me through this dark valley, and her constant acts of kindness will be fondly cherished in my memories.
Still, Charlotte's greatest expression of love was to point me to my real source of strength and assurance - my best friend, Jesus Christ.
I began to draw comfort from Jesus' words of life and hope written in the Bible. The more I read the scriptures, the greater peace I experienced. As time when on and the recovery process took place, He proved to me that I could count on Him for anything. For Jesus is not a friend who drops in and out of my life for a season. Like my friend Charlotte, He has proven time and again the constancy of His love and faithfulness.
The true friends in one's life will be there for you no matter what season you may be going through. They are friends for all seasons. And that's the kind of friend I've been so blessed to have in Jesus Christ.
3. Our Jungle Book
I said I would come back to ‘The Jungle Book.’
Mowgli’s journey in the Jungle Book is our journey.
We want to know who we are supposed to be or what we are supposed to do.
We are drawn to be a part of the jungle. Attracted by those who would seem to be our friends.
We try to be like them.
The laid back let it all happen like the bear necessities.
The lets get it done now crashing through the jungle of the elephants.
But the jungle’s not where we are supposed to be there are things out to devour us.- The Shere Khans.
Drawing us to trust them or flattering us with a desire to copy us. – King Louis
We need to be what we were born to be Children of God. His friends.
4. How can I be a better friend with God.
Notice I don’t say what must I do to be a better friend.
1. Good friends spend time together.
There is no substitute for time together- all types of time
Time with him on your own,
happy time when you want to let him know you think everything is great, time when you’re saying help,
time when you are shouting in your anger and tears.
Just time when you focus on Him.
Intimate time of passion and devotion.
Practical intercessory time of business and planning
2. Good friends learn to listen to each other.
I know that after 25 years that what someone I love might say to me and what I might hear from them are not necessarily the same.
Ben prayed wonderfully yesterday morning about God’s word to us all in the last months even years. His prayer was a friends prayer- What do you mean Lord What is
The boat that we must leave to walk upon the water.
The Hill we must climb
The corner we must approach without applying the brake
The steps we must take without counting the cost
The cliff we must leap from.
God’s constant response has also been there
That He is with us
The water becomes solid beneath our feet.- when we step
The view from the top of the Hill will be worth the climb.
He knows what is around the corner.
We were born to step across the Jordan.
His wings will bear us up when we leap.
God is not silent and neither is He indifferent we are shaped and changed by this walk with Him- A constant Jordan to cross
3. Good friends trust each other
Trust that is downright uncomfortable as Pete Garratt said takes us out of our comfort zones.
Trust that changes our priorities.
Trust that waits for an answer.
Trust that hands over our time our money our most precious possessions to Him.
4. Good Friendship has no strings
Not in order that I can be a better person- although this will happen.
Not in order that I will prosper
Not in order that I will go to heaven
Greater love has no man than this that he lay down His life for His friend.
If you have never really said to Jesus that you wanted to be His friend. Or if you would like to tell Him again that His friendship means everything to you,
Pray this prayer.
Father God I am sorry that I have not been the friend to you that you want me to be. Please forgive me. I gladly welcome you to be closer than a brother.
I look forward to time spent together; listening to you trusting you and sharing all I am with you.
If that is the first time you have asked Jesus to be your friend or you would like further prayer for healing or to be a better friend – Please contact the church email- Tim@ LWCC-Basildon.org or telephone 01268 450030
What a friend I’ve found closer than a brother
It would break my heart to ever lose each other
Jesus Jesus Jesus –Friend forever.
Quotes from 'My Utmost for His Highest' -Oswald Chambers.(Author: Tim Blake)
Getting The Big Picture
Ben paints the picture of his journey and that of the Church in recent days as we have looked to God again to understand how we might best communicate His good news to the world around us. (Author: Ben Benest)
Alan brings a powerful encouragement to us from the life of Moses In the desert- Moses spoke his heart to the people. Where they have come from. Where they were at. What they must give themselves to and a prophecy about their future. (Author: Alan Scotland)
Standing Firm in Your Faith
Christine encourages us to stand firm on the rock of our faith. (Author: Christine Foster)
Shining a torch on 2011
The problem we have with looking back, even on the most recent past, is that it can seem like shining a torch into a now darkened room. We see just parts of the whole, that which our minds rest on. The glow of the light also changes the reality sometimes. (Author: Tim Blake)
Shining a light on 2012
This week I want to change my light and shine a spotlight forwards into the rest of 2012. (Author: Tim Blake)
The King is coming!
Tim Blake prepares the Church for the King's coming! (Author: Tim Blake)
Keith brings the message of tolerance and peace right to our font door as we remember the tragedy of 9/11 and learn the lessons from it. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
Our Identity in Christ
Adrian Clarke brings a challenging and thought provoking word to us on the nature and implications of our identity in Christ. (Author: Adrian Clarke)
Something to Ponder while you Eat your easter egg...
Do we take the Easter story for granted? Dave encourages us to spend time considering our response to Jesus' single-mindedness entering Jerusalem. (Author: Dave Donoghue)
A sneak Peak through the open door
Keith's purpose was to encourage and mobilise us to move forward on the next phase of our journey together. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
Go make disciples- but no pressure!
SamDonoghue brings refreshing new insight to a familiar passage. Don't be fooled by what you have heard before, Matthew 28 demonstrates Jesus' heart to communicate Love and Grace even within what is so often called the 'Great Commission' (Author: Sam Donoghue)
The Big Picture
Peter brings to us a vision of the heavenly, eternal, universal Church that is God's chosen way of administering his kingdom in this world. (Author: Peter Douglas)
Watch and Pray
No-one can have observed the events of early 2011, without a sense of feeling- What does this mean? As nations seemed to rise and fall, Brian Foster brought a word to us that called us to watch and to pray. (Author: Brian Foster)
Don't wear Saul's Armour
William's uncompromising and challenging message will leave you keen to know more about this Jesus who saves and heals (Author: William Lee)
A look at discipleship, what it means, who it's for and how it can be applied to our lives together. (Author: Brian Foster)
A Community that grows
Peter amazed us by taking us back and bringing new insight to the passage God had shown us in Genesis 26 concerning unblocking the wells in our lives. (Author: Peter Kaunda)
A Community Resourced to Grow
Brian encourages us to dig deep in seeing the provision for all God has for us (Author: Brian Foster)
A Community that Loves
Christine Foster looks and the foundational role that Love plays in the Comuunity of God's people (Author: Christine Foster)
An Empowered community
In this the second of five sessions on the future priorities of the Church, Tim calls on God to reveal to us what it means to be a community empowered by his Holy Spirit. To be the aroma of Christ and a living letter communicationg the Gospel to all. (Author: Tim Blake)
Keith Brockbank continues our look again at the direction God has given to the Church. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
Sue encourages us to reach for a deeper life of corporate worship. (Author: Sue Blake)
Keith continues on his mission OPERATION HOPE Drawing us to regain, and ground ourselves in, the truth of the Hope we have. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
Fruitfulness- Can God Furnish a Table in the wilderness?
Dave brings a message of fruitfulness to the Church Challenging us to have faith in our God who is able (Author: Dave Latham)
These notes draw together the material Keith will have shared over three sessions including at our Church weekend at Oak Hall (Author: Keith Brockbank)
The Treasure within
Tim Calls us to look at the treasure God has placed in each one of us (Author: Tim Blake)
Is Anyone Thirsty?
The harvest of souls needs water and the water comes from within us. Jesus stood up at the Feast of the Harvest and promised the Holy Spirit would flow from our very being (Author: Tim Blake)
The Gospel: Faith
This is more teaching from Ben in the Gospel teaching series, this time about the importance of Faith. (Author: Ben Benest)
The Gospel 4: A Power to believe in
June Silber reminds us of the influence we have and Don takes us to Pauls letter to the Romans to focus our examination of the Gospel on the power of God for Salvation. (Author: Don and June Silber)
Getting Closer to God
Brian challenges both our conscience as Christians and the prevailing secular fundamentalism. with a rallying call to return to the clarity of God's Word (Author: Brian Foster)
What are we aiming for?
What is it that is foundational to our launch pad to love- Faith, a good conscience and a sincere heart. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
God is Mindful of us.
What this Psalm shows us is that God Almighty chooses YES chooses to connect His glory to the success or otherwise of the redemption of mankind. (Author: Tim Blake)
Offer your body as a Living Sacrifice
Helen Watts speaks to us clearly about the need to turn our spiritual understanding into practical sacrificial love. (Author: Helen Watts)
New Wine Skins
Sue challenges us to look at our attitudes and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit (Author: Sue Blake)
Getting it Right with God
David shows us that we can still learn a lot from the sermon on the mount. (Author: David Donoghue)
The Good Soil
Sue developed the theme of this Parable concentrating on the Good soil rather than the inadequate soil (Author: Sue Blake)
Sam Donoghue speaks to us about the reality of the challenges we face in our walk with God. He shows how the apostle Paul was no less challenged and wrote the Christians in Colossae with clear guidance. (Author: Sam Donoghue)
The Grace of God
Dave Evans from Kings Community Church Basildon, provokes us to remember that the all powerful grace of God is poured on us, to encourage us into a godly life. (Author: Dave Evans)
Fruit of the Spirit: Self Control Pts 1 and 2
Sue Blake takes a radical approach focusing on our need to understand our old self is truly dead in order to know true self control. (Author: Sue Blake)
Telling the tales of God
Testimony has a Kingdom purpose. It impacts our own faith and that of others. It strengthens the weary and the strong as well as challenging the lies of our age. (Author: Tim Blake)
The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness
Ben looks at the amazing quality of Gentleness as demonstrated by Jesus and hopefully in us as we see the 'harvest' of the Spirit in us (Author: Ben Benest)
The Fruit of the spirit: Kindness
Against the backdrop of early Church controversy David paints an up to date and relavent picture of a life walking in the Spirit. (Author: David Donoghue)
The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness
Sue Blake continues our series on the fruit of the Holy Spirit looking at goodness, defining goodness as moral actions that spring from a life filled with God's Holy spirit. (Author: Sue Blake)
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience
Keith Brockbank shares the amazing connection between all the fruit of the Spirit. His clear and helpful message encourages us to allow the Holy Spirit to continue that work of Grace within us that will lead us to be the people God calls us to be. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
The Purpose of temptation
Steve Watts challenges us to look at how God can bring maturity and strength as we stand up to the temptation in our lives and that we can see areas of potential growth in those areas that Satan attcks us with most. (Author: Steve Watts)
Five Smooth Stones
Brian brings us timely wisdom from life of David (Author: Brian Foster)
The Fruit of the Spirit- Peace
Peace for Our Time. In 1938 Chamberlain promised Peace and failed to achieve this. Jesus promises us Peace but not as the world gives. (Author: Tim Blake)
The Fruit of The Spirit- Joy
Pete and Pat share from the word and from their life on the sustaining Joy of God (Author: Pete and Pat Garratt)
A New Season
An encouragement for the Church as the eldership is enlarged. (Author: Alan Scotland)
The Fruit of the Spirit- Love
Christine Foster begins our series on the fruit of the spirit from Galations 5, looking at Love. Christine looks at the life of Jesus as our model for love (Author: Christine Foster)
Daniel Man of God
Sue Blake reminds us of the character of the prophet Daniel a man of prayer and the word. A man prepared to stand for what he believed. (Author: Sue Blake)
For the Joy Set Before Him...
We are so tempted to believe the lie of rejection and isolation. When we look at the death of Jesus, we see someone who faced it all for us. (Author: Tim Blake)
The Word of God is a mirror into which we can look and see the image that God has of us and of the world. Hudson Luwi, of Fountain of Life Church in Lusaka. Visited Living Word Community Church and spoke to us about how God reveals Himself to us (Author: Hudson Luwi)
Barbara talks about how a vision of our Church as a pencil can lead us to a new focus in God (Author: Barbara Brockbank)
Receiving an empowering vision
This is the second part of Keith Brockbanks encouragement for us to live with an empowering vision. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
Keith Brockbank shares the amazing power and authority that God enables us to move in when we pursue His vision for the Kingdom. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
Clash of kingdoms
The Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is the backdrop for a clash of kingdoms- The kingdom of god and the ambition of men (Author: Tim Blake)
A Spade is a Spade
We continue our look at Mark's Gospel by looking at a bad week for the disciples (Author: Tim Blake)
Who am I?
The seriees on Mark's Gospel continues with a look at Mark Chapter 8 and Peter's confession of Christ. (Author: Tim Blake)
A ministry of power and authority
The next part of the series on Mark's gospel moves to examine the power ministry of Jesus Christ. (Author: Tim Blake)
Personal Effectivenessa way to personal revival
Listen as God calls us to make a Divine exchange, to leave the sin, sickness, sorrow at his feet and to walk in His forgiveness, health, and joy. (Author: Keith Brockbank)
People God Uses- Jonah
What kind of person will God use for His purposes. Ben explores this question looking at the life of Jonah. (Author: Ben Benest)
Out Of The Wilderness (Part 2)
This examination of the testing of Jesus provokes us to look at the testing in our own lives with new perspective. (Author: Sue Blake)
Out of the wilderness part 1
The first of five studies in Mark's Gospel. The message we carry is the same as John the Baptist- A voice crying in the wilderness. (Author: Tim Blake)
God's Word Living and Active
The Bible brings clear help to us in a world without clarity. (Author: Tim Blake)
Getting our Bearings
Finding our way in an increasingly hostile secular nation needs us to go back to the word to get our bearings (Author: Tim Blake)
Making a Breakthrough
David Donoghue brings a provocative short word followed by Brian Foster with a word on breakthrough. (Author: Brian Foster)
The Romans Series
The teaching to date on Paul's Letter to the Romans (Ch's 1-5) (Author: Tim Blake)
Peace with God
The wonderful promises that result from being justified by Jesus. (Author: Tim Blake)
Romans Chapter 1:20 - No Excuses
Life without Jesus can be like a doughnut- a God shaped hole we stuff with every possible rottenness to supress the truth of God. (Author: Tim Blake)
“Be strong and courageous…the Lord Himself goes before you'
Strength and courage Weakness and fear run like parallel tracks through my life. Yet my God says Be strong and courageous. (Author: Christina Wood)
The Fellowship of the holy Spirit
I so want to see the constant working of the Holy Spirit in my life. (Author: Tim Blake)
a Heart to Give
Look again at how you give and see if you have a heart to excel in the grace of giving. (2 Cor 8) (Author: Tim Blake)
The topic of spritual warfare can be a mine field. So I avoid the mines by staying in the safe zone of the word of God (Author: Tim Blake)
What do you See?
A look at how we bring the vision to bear on our lives (Author: Tim Blake)
A look at God's plan to bless us abundantly (Author: Brian Foster)
Make Way 4 - "Make Way"
The final look at the story of Joseph looking at the work of the Holy Spirit and our need to allow Him to have complete authority. (Author: Tim Blake)
Make Way 3- Two Robes
God changes us as he changed Joseph- from a people who demand undeserved status, to a people who live out the image of Christ wearing His royal robes (Author: Tim Blake)
Make way Part 2
God is impressing His character into us as a seal into soft clay and in turn we see His kingdom grow as we press God's Character into the world around us (Author: Tim Blake)
Make Way - Joseph Restored
The first in a series on the restoration of Jopeph, that teaches us to be confident that God speaks and is building His Kingdom using us as we co-operate with Him. (Author: Tim Blake)
Vision and Values
An examination of the Vision and values of LWCC (Author: Tim Blake)
Faith Series January 2004
Tim took us through a study in Hebrews on the principles of faith. (Author: Tim Blake)