Love First

Friend of God

By Pastor Tim White

I have been following Jesus Christ since I was 10 years old. And, after all these years, I am closer to him than I ever dreamed possible. I am amazed by his words now more than last year. I love the verse where Jesus speaks from his heart and says, “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me, I chose you.  I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”  John 15:15-17

I have to admit that it seems a bit presumptuous to call myself a “friend of God.”  I am not alone, in that Paul continued to call himself a slave of Jesus Christ.  But I have to admit that Jesus has been a best friend - more than I could ever imagine.  He certainly is a friend to me and I want so much to be counted on to be his friend.  I want to be the kind of friend who rightly preaches the Word of God; who loves His people with integrity and faithfulness; who is a resource of His grace into a world that is so broken; who invests his life in the people He has assigned me to love.  I want to be a friend of God from the bottom of my heart.

This week I am sharing the vision of Washington Cathedral for this year’s campaign "Love First!”  Last week I began to cast the vision of discipleship. Encouraging the good people of our church family to view their family, friends and neighbors as people who they long to pour their life and faith into creating a circle of influence.  If we could all do that, our church would spread the Good News tenfold.  Isn’t that basically what every one of us wants to do whether we are a grandfather or a grandchild.

This week I want to share the new plan for the empowering organization that will help every disciple become a discipler.  That kind of organization only works through fostering two-way friendship.  I have spent 33 years being at the head of a clumsy organization. No organization is perfect.  They become bureaucratic and political by nature. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on this subject. It is called “institutional entropy.”  But friendship cuts through the Gordian knot that prevents the church from being all that Jesus envisioned.  I have entitled this message – “Unlocking Your Giftedness.” Would you please join me and enter into this all-important dialogue that will shake the world with the love of God and rebirth our church by empowering its people to be all they were meant to be?

Your friend for the rest of my life,

By Pastor Tim White