February 2011

February 1, 2011

Dear Friends

Throughout our lives we meet people and make new friends. Sometimes it is through a chance encounter, sometimes it is because we join something new, other times it is because a friend introduces us to another friend of theirs. Some friendships last, others fade either because one of us moves or because our interests take us in different directions. For a friendship to last it requires investment, above all else of time but also of money. Not that we buy friendship but cards, gifts, visits, telephone calls all cost money. Over our lives we have had encounters with thousands of people, some have developed into friendships others have not.

Many of us have lots of friends within the church family as well as plenty of friends outside the church family. As Christians it is important that we have both. Friends within the church family can pray for us, encourage us, help us in times of difficulty or stress. They can offer a word of advice or correction when we stray from the truth and challenge us with the words of Jesus when necessary. Friends outside the church family stop us from becoming ‘holier than thou’, they keep our feet on the ground and help us to relate our faith to the reality of everyday life.

Every Christian, every follower of Jesus, is one because of, first encounters with Christians, and then an encounter with Jesus. It is important that we do not just live out our faith in actions but that we talk about our faith to anyone who will listen in order that we can lead others to an encounter with Jesus. The gospels are full of stories of people’s encounters with Jesus and over the next few months we shall be looking at some of the encounters in our morning worship to see what we can learn from them. We begin this month with Nicodemus and The Samaritan Woman At The Well, both in John’s gospel looking at the circumstances of the encounter, the encounter itself and the outcome.

This will encourage to look at our own encounter with Jesus and how we can deepen that relationship as well as how we can introduce others to Jesus. Some of you will remember the song ‘May I Introduce You To A Friend’ in Jimmy & Carol Owens musical ‘Come Together’ that toured Britain in the early 1970’s. This song was written by their daughter Jamie when she was thirteen and the sentiment in that song is what we should all have – a desire to introduce Jesus to others.
May I introduce you to a friend?
                             He’s been waiting patiently to meet you.
                             A friend on whom you can depend.
                             His love will comfort and complete you.
Jamie Owens wrote a song that introduced many people to Jesus. Dwight Moody did it a different way. He prayed daily for a 100 friends, by the time he died 95 had become Christians, the other 5 were converted by his funeral service! Both witnessed to their friends and introduced them to Jesus, both are examples for us to follow.