Friday, October 29, 2010

Ten Things I Think I Think - October 2010

1. The time is right for Steve Jobs to announce the new Apple ICar. If Apple were to make the Apple ICar it would look a lot like the latest Acura RL, that car is incredible.

2. It should be against the law for McDonalds to call it a McRib sandwich. You are not fooling us McDonalds…. But I do love the sweet tea!

3. I am so glad the midterm elections are just a few days away, and then we will be done with all of the angry advertisements. The current political climate in our nation leaves a great deal to be desired. I am hopeful that someone will actually address issues and leave the negative commentary regarding the opposing party alone.

4. If Apple announced the Apple Icar and it looked like the old AMC Pacer I would still be tempted to buy it…. As long as it wasn’t the Levis version. That car had denim interior and fake stitching in the exterior paint. It gave a whole new meaning to the word ugly.

5. There is an amazing window of opportunity for the church today to offer real answers.

6. This year we will put colored lights on the Christmas tree at the Garvin house. I don’t like them, but Jodi does. Most years she defers to my preference, this year she wins…. Don’t tell her! :)

7. Fox News uses the “Breaking News” tag way too often. If the news is over 24 hours old it is not “breaking”. I am just saying!

8. Pumpkin bars will be in Heaven. Pumpkiny goodness topped with mouthwatering icing, I can almost here the angels singing.

9. Our Missions Team at First Assembly of God Bloomington-Normal is outstanding. Hulda Buntain speaking in front of a 20 foot tall Taj Mahal, Michael McNamee joining us for a banquet with food from one of the areas top chefs, and Dwain Jones challenging us on Faith Promise Sunday. Very cool.

10. I am challenged to lead our church to a greater commitment to seek God with passion. The impact the Holy Spirit can have on us and we can have on our culture is massive.

By the way, I bet you are still thinking about the whole ICar idea. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Facebook Friendship

I know that facebook isn't “real” life, but i've decided just the same, never to delete a friend because they offend me. (bore me maybe) In the real world I can't just make people disappear. I either avoid them, ignore them or get used to them...hopefully i love them =)

This was a recent status update posted by one of my Facebook friends. The same day another status update stated, “ Friends, I am editing my friends list. there are so many people that I am not even sure who they are. If I delete you in error, please forgive me in advance and just request me to readd you. Thanks!”

These simple, yet profound statements beg the question, how do we define friendship in a Facebook world?

A quick glance at my profile on Facebook informs me that I currently have 1,314 friends. Among those listed are people I have known for years who are very dear to me, friends who have shared in my triumphs and tragedies. Also included are “Facebook Friends,” people I have never met who have requested to be my “friend” because of similar interests or similar friends. There are folks on my list who would rush to my aid in time of need, there are individuals classified as friends according to Facebook who likely would not recognize my name if I were to call. Do I truly have 1,314 friends? Is there a determining factor in friendship?

Friendship was so much easier to define on the schoolyard playground. A friend picked you first for kickball regardless of how good you were. A friend took care of you when your mother thought tuna fish was a good idea for a sack lunch. A friend came to your rescue when others began to call you names. The rare best friend embraced all of these qualities and more. David Lane was such a friend, so a trickle of blood flowed from the pin prick in my finger as I handed the needle taken from my mother’s sewing kit and handed it to the person I was sure to be the best friend in the world. David took the needle, pricked his finger, and as we pressed our fingers together we became “blood brothers,” a designation we knew nothing could separate…. Lifelong friends!

While I am grateful that the concept of “blood brothers” did not join me in the transition from the childhood friendships to adult relationships, there is a great deal we can learn about true friendship by revisiting our childhood connections. Lessons that stand in stark contrast to the Facebook friendship philosophy that has become all too prevalent. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Friends cannot simply remove someone from a friends list -

True friendship does not exist without forgiveness - Friendship requires that we are kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another just as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven us. It is impossible to have genuine relationship without walking through conflict. The strength of the friendship is not determined by the amount of conflict, it is determined by the health of the conflict resolution. It is all too easy to delete people from our friends list that we have no relationship with. Unfortunately, our Facebook culture has diminished our understanding of friendship to the point that we are way too comfortable deleting genuine friends from our life rather than dealing with conflict that will lead to stronger relationship. Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love forgets mistakes.” Loyalty was understood and valued on the grade school playground!

2. Friendship hurts sometimes –

“Dude, that is what you are wearing on picture day… you look so silly!” Billy Kramer made this statement as I arrived at the bus stop. A quick sprint to his house and a borrowed shirt saved me from a yearbook disaster. Faithful are the wounds of a friend!

We have to be open, honest, frank. Proverbs 24:26 rings true, “An honest answer is the sign of a true friendship.” Being candid and being connected go together. We don’t have one without the other. Genuine, healthy, deep, meaningful relationships are built on honesty not on flattery. If you’ve got somebody who’s kissing up to you, always telling you what you want to hear, they don’t really love you. They’re using you. Flattery is a sign of a manipulator, not a sign of somebody who’s genuinely your friend. Genuine friendships, genuine relationships are candid. They’ll tell you when you’ve got spinach in your teeth. They’ll tell you when you’re blowing it. They’ll tell you when you’re wasting your life, making a dumb, bad decision. Why, because healthy relationships are built on honesty. All of us have blind spots. The question that really matters is, do you have anybody in your life that loves you enough to point them out? Who cares enough to say, “You need to work on this.” Thanks again Billy!!!!!

3. Friendship requires that we are mindful of our words –

True friendship demands that we are mindful with our words, understanding the power of the pen and the power of the tongue. It is too easy to write a manipulative status update or critical comment. Friends understand the value of praising in public and correcting in private. A friend will live out Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

4. Friendship is more than words –

When someone speaks to you face-to-face the percentage of the meaning that is actually in the words, as opposed to the body language and tone of voice is 7 percent. The other 93 percent is nonverbal, according to studies. Yes the studies are real and No, I don't know how they arrived at that exact number. But we didn't need it. I mean, come on. Most of our humor is sarcasm, and sarcasm is just mismatching the words with the tone. Like my friend's "No, thank you." You don't wait for a girl to verbally tell you she likes you. It's the sparkle in her eyes, her posture, or the way she looks at you. When we're living in the land of Facebook, all that is stripped away. There's a weird side effect to it, too: absent a sense of the other person's mood, every line we read gets filtered through our own mood instead. The reason I read my friend's chili message as sarcastic was because I was in an irritable mood. In that state of mind, I was eager to be offended. And worse, if I do enough of my communicating this way, my mood never changes. After all, people keep saying nasty things to me! Of course I'm depressed! It's me against the world!

Friends, Much of who we are is a product of our friendships. “As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another.” I am a reflection of the 1,314+ people that I count as friends. I can not delete you from my life without deleting a part of me. I will be your friend even when it is painful. I will do my best to watch my words and make sure that I make the necessary connections with you to communicate what truly needs to be said beyond mere words. I appreciate the honesty of the two status updates I shared at the beginning of this note, but have determined that I want to adopt the first as my own…

I know that facebook isn't “real” life, but i've decided just the same, never to delete a friend because they offend me. (bore me maybe) In the real world I can't just make people disappear. I either avoid them, ignore them or get used to them...hopefully i love them =)

Have a great day friend!