Becoming Friends with God

What does it take to make friends? According to Dr. Jeffrey Hall, communications professor at the University of Kansas, the answer is time. He recently published research about the relationship between time spent with a person and their level of friendship. In general, Hall found that it took about 50 hours to form a casual friendship. Moving from casual friend to a regular "friend" required roughly 90 hours, and moving from friend to good/best friend took at least 200 hours. Time spent together was a key predictor of friendship closeness. The same is required to become a friend of God.

Conversations with close friends are timeless. Time seems to stop and stand still when we're having a great talk with a close friend. Prayer can be like that, but it takes time. Sunday I ran out of time to share some more practical ways to keep watch and pray. I want to share a few of those here to help you become a friend of God as you spend more time with him in prayer. If you don't…

Back to Basics: First Things First

A triangle is a collection of three lines, but three lines alone don't make a triangle. A triangle is a collection of three lines, connected together by three angles. The lines are the pieces our eyes are drawn to, but it’s the angles that give them shape. Eugene Peterson likens these angles to the personal faith disciplines required to give shape to a Christian's life. Angles are essentially unseen. Similarly, prayer, scripture reading, and spiritual disciplines are hidden from public view. People may only see the public speech and the public actions, but our personal life gives shape (and hopefully integrity) to our public life. It's a shame that these very important personal disciplines are neglected. We neglect our prayer life because it is unseen and instead give more attention to what others notice about us.

The apostle Paul knew all about this and the struggle it can be for people of faith. He wrote a letter to a church in Galatia because they were paying too much …

What Makes A Classic A Classic

Everyone appreciates a classic - white wall tires and wire wheels turn heads. A crowd gathers around a classic car and even around classic people. You know the type, someone you look at and say, "I hope I'm that cool when I'm their age." Everyone appreciates a classic, but not everyone becomes a classic. But, what is it that makes a classic a classic?

Charles Stanley still preaches at 85. A vintage car still turns heads at 60. The reason both draw people in is because of the value they give to others. People want to look under the hood of a classic car because they want to marvel at muscle car engineering. People attend Stanley's church because they want to learn from this godly sage. You can always tell a classic by the value it gives to others. People are drawn to classics because they learn, they marvel, they enjoy a blessing from being near a classic.

You might be wondering, "Am I a classic? Am I becoming a classic or not?" The answer to is found in…

Stereotypes Are So Cliche

This word stereotype is an interesting word. It comes to us from the Greek through the French and it was used to describe solid type. It literally means “solid type” and refers to the printing system of movable letters that were slid around to make the same print time after time. Eventually it became used of people as they looked at groups of people different from them. They looked on these ethnic groups, socio economic groups, or regional groups and decided, “They’re all the same. These people are all duplicates." It’s also where we get the word “cliche.” “Cliche” is an onomatopoeia from the sound of a printing press running, “cliche-cliche-cliche,” running off the same copy.

The problem grows because as we talk about people, we find others who are sympathetic to our viewpoint. They might have had the same bad experience at a store or perhaps share the same prejudice about an ethnic group. This agreement builds a caricature of the real person. This caricature is much worse than …

The Resurrection Makes Sense

If you look at the Apostle Paul's life from a normal angle he was a failure! He had been run out of almost every town he visited. He had been in too many jails to count (but surprisingly not for the murder he arranged). He had started a string of little churches that had perpetual problems. He had been shipwrecked. He struggled with poor health. His life was a mess...unless you look at it through the resurrection. The resurrection makes sense of Paul's life. He writes about this in his letter to the church in Corinth.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen…