[Warning: This post is rather lengthy, but it’s regarding something I’m passionate about] Tonight I experienced “The Porch” for the first time. If you are not familiar, The Porch is a Tuesday night event at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. At this event, there is approximately 30-40 minutes of worship music, almost always played by Shane & Shane (and if you have never heard of Shane & Shane, look them up because they are the knees that are on the bees), and then a message delivered by one of the designated pastors. And this church auditorium is not small. There are probably thousands of 20- and 30-year-olds packed into this place praisin’ the good Lord Himself. And you can feel the worship here. You can feel it deep in your soul, mostly because of the insane acoustics and musicians, but also more importantly because of the message in the lyrics. But, for me, tonight was highlighted not because of the majestic melodies ricocheting off of the rafters, but because of the fantastic message delivered by David Marvin.
Marvin’s message was the final sermon of the current series. I obviously was unable to catch the first several, but good God almighty am I glad I caught the last. The message tonight was about friendships and surrounding yourself with the core group of people that will encourage and strengthen your relationship with God. It was a fantastic message and he made so many great points, including 1) friends are stronger than convictions (meaning the motivation behind our behaviors), 2) friends determine our future, and 3) choose your friends carefully. If you would like to watch the entire message, you can always Google “The Porch Dallas” and watch the recordings on their site that I believe become available 24 hours after taping (which I STRONGLY recommend). Marvin also used some verses out of Proverbs, written by Solomon, pointing out the importance of choosing friends wisely (“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” –Proverbs 12:26; “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” –Proverbs 13:20). These verses and his message were extremely impactful for me, and made me reflect on the amazing friends I have in my life, from my lifelong friends who served an extremely important role for me back in Indiana to other friends around the world to the old and new friends in Dallas. I am beyond blessed with encouraging, faithful, God-fearing friends who will support me in my own walk and who will speak truth to me. That’s not to say that people who are not Christians or who do not share the same beliefs as me have not had a major impact on my life, as well. Don’t get it twisted. I have had many great discussions and also am beyond blessed to call many non-believers friends. I would not be where I am today without some of them. But the point made tonight that I believe, is that in order to live the life I want to live and the life that I feel called to live, I must surround my core with the people who’s influence will help guide my walk with God.
I also realize that I could catch flack for this post, or for these beliefs, or for my faith in general. But I think that’s the point. It was even written that we would be persecuted for our faith in many verses, including 2 Timothy 3:12 (“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”) and John 15:18 (“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you”). This post expresses my beliefs, and I choose to have faith in them. If you disagree, if you think I’m a fool, if this makes you think lesser of me, those are your beliefs and you certainly are entitled to them, and I respect them. I respect your beliefs. I respect your opinions. I will still love you because ultimately I believe that is the core and the foundation of my faith. I am called to love God before anyone else and to love others as myself (Mark 12:30-31), and that is not a conditional love. No matter who you are nor your beliefs, I am called to show that love to you, and although I fail many times, I do my best to abide by that calling. This all could extend into another post, and I’m getting away from the main point of the current post (surprise), so I apologize. But, if you have questions, if you have comments, if you want to have discussions, feel free to contact me (you can use the “Contact” tab on the page). I’m always open to dialogue.
Switching back to sum up the point, though, who are your 5 closest friends? You know they say you will be the average of your 5 closest friends? What will that average look like? Does it bring you closer to God? Does it push you toward success and spiritual health? Or does it pull you down and hinder your growth? If you are a Christian, it might be worth asking yourself those questions. Heck, they might even be worth asking if you’re not. Your friends can change your life. It’s your choice whether that’s a positive or negative change.