I read it and personally, I like it :) Actually, I even like this email that you sent as well, it made me smile. I think about the Lord and how He's used you to bless me with encouraging words and a true friendship. Sometimes, I go back and read the words that the Lord has shared with me through friends and complete strangers. When I read the word that you gave me then in this email, I felt God's peace just flow in my heart and it made me smile. Why? Because just last week I was thinking, "I wonder if the Lord still sees me as that gladiator, going over that hill? Am I still God's man for that task, that thing, whatever it is?" And this is one of the words that has helped to sustain me over time. You're right, it's funny how we all meet the Lord; how He meets us where we are in our lives.
Here's what it made me think about:
I think that people need to know that relationships are horizontal and vertical. One of the reasons our friendship was such a blessing was because it also helped me to "hear" the Lord again. Not just because you were sharing His heart, but because I was also missing being in relationship with other Christians...I had become somewhat disconnected from Him. I was praying etc., doing all of the normal things....repenting, fasting, reading the Word...I was wondering why I couldn't hear Him like I had in the past.
One day, I had a conversation with Alan and we discussed hearing the Lord. He shared his own experiences with me about not hearing and the causes of not hearing. One thing that struck me was that he said that in his past experiences, he saw a link between not hearing the Lord (A Vertical Relationship) and not being in relationship with others(Horizontal Relationships) in the body.
He asked me to think about the times when I heard the Lord the most and it was when I was in heavy relationship with other Christians. I needed to work on developing more horizontal relationships at Gateway. So, Alan invited me to that class for two purposes: (1) To help me to develop my gift, and (2) To develop more horizontal relationships at Gateway. So, when I walked into the room and saw that you were there, I felt a certain amount of relief. I think that one of the reasons that people can have such a hard time with Christians and going to church, is that Christians...can be very people like :). I mean, I walked into that room and I only saw three friendly faces in my mind: Alan, a lady named Doris, and You. Then Debra came and said, " Is this the guy that you were praying with that day?" And she smiled. So, that made four friendly faces.
I needed that because sometimes church can feel like a theater with all these actors. We all come, smile fake smiles, applaud, and then go home. I was looking for authenticity...Jesus, right there to meet me where I was at the time. I was searching for understanding, because I had no idea what in the world the Lord wanted me to do next and why in the world He was so quiet about it all. You guys were authentic and it made me feel comfortable. I'm sure if you took a survey and asked people if they thought Gateway was a "friendly" place, they would say 'Yes!" I didn't always feel that way, so I struggled sometimes. you know, that big sanctuary might as well feel like the Grand Canyon sometimes. I use to look across it and scan it for friendly faces. Deep down, we all want to connect. The Lord wanted me to get into relationship with people again, I had become too isolated. That happens to people. So, when I started to connect horizontally again, the vertical did open back up for me. I really think the Lord was intentional in this respect. I had been so busy with work and school and all the other normal life stuff, that I had neglected connecting with people. He wasn't going to allow me to get that guidance by myself, like I wanted to get it.
So, the message that I got out of my experience was that I shouldn't be Solo Christian. Stay connected. I want people to get that out of your message, stay connected. And you know, its really funny....sometimes, it seems like as adults, we have to "learn" friendship all over again. Or, maybe it's just that our definition of friendship becomes more defined and narrow. I'm going to have to read your entries about it all.