I've been blessed with some amazing friends. When my father died back in January, several of my friends surprised me by showing up for the funeral unexpectedly. Two of those guys flew all the way from Pennsylvania to Georgia, rented a car and drove to my town simply to support me on that difficult day. When they walked into the church, I burst into tears because I couldn't believe they would sacrifice so much to stand with me.
I've come to learn that good friends are so much more valuable than money, fame or career success. Yet many Christians I know struggle in the area of relationships. Many people I've met—even pastors—admit they have no friends. And many churches are full of lonely people who are starving for friends but don't know how to make any.
The modern church doesn't always place a high value on relationships. While the New Testament commands us to "love one another deeply with a pure heart" (1 Pet. 1:22), we have developed a cold corporate culture that doesn't resemble the book of Acts. We are content to herd people into buildings for services and then herd them out.
Our main concern is that they simply occupied a seat and listened to a sermon. But did they connect with each other? Even in churches that try to nurture relationships, only a fraction of the people get involved in small groups.
I don't believe we will see New Testament revival power until we reclaim fervent New Testament love. read more
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