I wrote about friends not too long ago (scroll down to 8/24/10).
Part of being a friend is the willingness to take a bullet for and sometimes from a friend: "There is no greater love than laying down your life for a friend...If any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, he should know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life..."
Friends must be willing to love even when it means being unliked for loving.
If I have to explain that to you, you've probably never had/been a real friend.
Dean Harvey comes to mind.
He was pastor of Rockford, Illinois' Chapelwood Community Church for almost four decades and was the longest serving President of Greater Rockford's Evangelical Ministers Fellowship before retiring to Palm Desert, California just a few years ago.
Anyway, he grew weary of me quoting a really important evangelist's wife, "If God does not bring judgment upon America, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."
I would always quote her before saying America's days are numbered because everything's going to hell quicker than poop through a goose.
Finally, Dean reminded me with a gentle yet stern smile, bringing 1 Peter 3:13-17 to mind, "Bob, don't you remember Abraham's intercession in Genesis 18? Always remember that, unlike Sodom and Gomorrah, there is a very significant remnant remaining in America."
The seasoned corrected the sassy.
Dean is a friend.
Dean spoke to our family of faith on 2/28/07: "The Broken Heart of God."
If you go to the next video and endure the first three minutes of cameos featuring other fellahs, you'll hear a recording of his message from another location.
Stop what you are doing, make some time right now, and listen to it/Him-through-him!
As Dean says whenever he delivers this message: "This is the most important thing that I've learned about God in the last 40 years."
Everyone who heard him at First over three years ago has an expanded/deeper appreciation of our Lord's affection for us and how we break His heart by not returning the favor.
The Broken Heart of God - Dean Harvey Video - WittySparks
Dean's Ransom: The High Cost of Sin has just been published by Xulon Press; and I think you can get it via www.amazon.com (order through www.koppdisclosure.com) or by writing to Dean via Destiny Ministries (1007 Twilight Trail, Suite 2, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601). You can also try DM's number: 502-227-1177.
A friend of my friend captured his/my sentiments in the foreword: "DH has written a very significant book...it provides a solid Biblical basis for understanding the cost of sin and the way to receive forgiveness...it allows us to see into the heart of God..."
Though you've got to ingest the inspirations of the book for His-through-his full grace-filled impact, Dean's summary whets the appetite for more: "...the main cost of sin is to God, in grief and a broken heart over those who sin, because He created us to multiply His love and character throughout the universe. Sin does just the opposite, it violates His character, and spreads selfishness instead of love, and it delays the accomplishment of His purposes..."
One of my former homiletics students called, "Dr. Kopp, this is my second church; and while things are going well, it's the second time that most of the folks on the search committee that brought me here have left because, I guess, I didn't fulfill their expectations."
Trying to be a friend, I said, "Well, _____, search committees betray strange pathologies; and, I confess for myself and other geezer pastors like me, your experience is not that much different from anyone else's in our beruf. Most folks on those committees mean well; or, at least, start out wanting a pastor who will love 'em by loving like Jesus. But, geez, too many folks on those committees are looking for a champion for their agenda or a best friend or even a lover. I even had one chick who kept telling me bad things about everybody in the church because she thought it would make me like her better; but I discovered I liked them better than her. It's kinda Shakespearean. If they can't have you the way they want you, they'll leave if they can't destroy you first. So read Matthew 10 and John 10 and, as Sonny said to Michael in The Godfather, don't take it so personally."
"But," I added in my attempt to be a real friend, "it might not be a bad idea to get a little counseling. You're wounded. And before you keep keepin' on there or think about going somewhere else, turn to somebody whose objective to help you sort it out. I remember a shrink who met with my doctoral study group who insisted, 'Every therapist needs a therapist every now and then.'"
I thought about that because when it comes to hearts breaking...
Anyone who loves Jesus by loving like Jesus will have her/his heart broken sometime somewhere somehow by somebody.
Read what Jesus says about that in Matthew 5.
But with Dean's help, we may find ourselves more washed by His blood than shedding...
Blessings and Love!
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