I recently spoke on a Sunday morning at Crescent Creek Church in Lapine, OR. The pastor, Greg Price, was away that weekend and we had made arrangements for me to fill in for him. Jean and I arrived early to meet with the service leaders and worship team to plan and pray before the service. After some discussion and details, we joined hands at the front of the sanctuary and a few of us voiced prayers for the morning’s service.
After the prayer, worship leader Robin, who was to introduce me before I spoke, handed me a printed copy of the service order. I glanced at it and slipped it into my notebook so I could make sure to be ready to step up at the proper time. After a couple of songs and some announcements, I glanced at the service order again to see where we were in the process and I noticed this line, “Robin introduce Jim and Jean Stephens – friends of Greg.”
I don’t want to make too much of this, but when I read those words they brought tears to my eyes! Greg Price and I have been friends for a long time—our friendship tested through life’s ups and downs—and I value our friendship highly.
Most of the congregation at Crescent Creek Church knows me from past encounters, but for anyone who didn’t know me yet, they were going to suspend disbelief for a few minutes and give me a chance to say something worth hearing. Because I’m a Friend of Greg!
In Acts 9:26-28, Barnabas, a trusted leader in the Jerusalem church used his influence to give young Saul of Tarsus an opportunity to join with the believers in spite of his past reputation. Because of Barnabas’ influence, he was accepted by the apostles.
What an honor it is when someone extends the canopy of relationship over us so that those in their circle make room for us. What a privilege it is when we can open doors of opportunity and acceptance for others by identifying them as our friends!
What blessings and privileges do you enjoy because you’re a “friend of” someone? How can you extend your canopy of relationship and acceptance over others by being a “friend to” someone who’s on the outside looking in?