Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who's Got Your Back?

I preached on the topic, You Were Meant for Community from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 last Sunday. One of the key points was "a real friend will fight to protect you or your reputation." Here's a quote from that section of the message: "The words of this verse were written based on the military strategy of the ancient world. Nearly all combat was hand-to-hand. Soldiers went into battle with a partner, someone that could be counted on and trusted implicitly. The soldiers stood back-to-back in battle, always keeping their backs in contact. They fought whatever enemy came from any side."

It's essential that we have friends who have our backs. No matter how badly you mess up or fall short, it's comforting to know that you have someone who will be your friend. A real friend is someone who when you've made a fool of yourself doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.

A long-term friend told me today that he'd really made a mess of his life and was having to deal with a number of painful results. I let him know that I'd be his friend - I'd have his back - no matter what. He needed to know that no matter his failure he wasn't rejected by everyone.

Do you have friends who "have your back" no matter what? We all need them. And we need to be that friend for others. Think it through...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


In the Greek language, the word agony has an interesting history. It was originally a term that was an alternative to another word (agon) for a place of assembly. It was later used to denote the contests or games that took place in those assembly areas. These contests usually involved great struggle. Eventually it was used to denote severe emotional strain and anguish.

Have you ever been at a place of agony? Perhaps you know what I am referring to...those places that we find ourselves in where we experience great strain or stress. We tend to agonize over significant things - the death of a loved one, financial pressure, health concerns, a wayward child, a career choice - you can name many more. Sometimes we agonize over things because of poor decisions we've made. At other times we agonize over things about which we have little or no control.

Question: Do we agonize over the same things that God agonizes about? Personal sin? Lost souls? The hurts of others? And then: Does our agony move us to action?

In the weeks that lead up to Easter, let us not forget the agony that Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. He agonized there for you and for me. That agony led Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Let us embrace Jesus and allow Him to move in our hearts for all the right reasons.