BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
By Helen O’Brien, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
Matthew Perry (second left), who played Chandler Bing in 90s sitcom Friends, died recently.
As I’m sure that most of you are aware, Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing in 90s sitcom Friends, died recently.
There has been much grief expressed on social media.
This got me thinking about friendship. I have been carried by my friends recently and I wasn’t sure I could write about this but here goes.
Friendship is important to all humans. There are many stories in the Bible of friendships. David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3), Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17), Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 2:49), to name but a few.
How can you get good friends?
Have you ever met someone and thought, “oh I like this person, I think we could be friends,” but a few weeks later they say something that makes you look at them in a different way and you pull back. They might be a cat person but you are a dog person. You might vote Green Party and they don’t vote. On the surface it’s relatively trivial but it becomes a barrier to friendship.
The Bible advises caution when choosing friends. Proverbs 12:26 says “The righteous choose their friends carefully…” but is something so minor worth missing out on what might become a deep friendship? Before you pull away, pray. Ask God for wisdom about who to befriend.
2. Be intentional.
There was a bunch of older mums at Kez and Mikey’s primary school. We agreed we would stay friends regardless of whether our kids were friends or not.
3. Invest your time and energy.
Friends are precious things and friendships require tending like gardens. The more we tend a garden the more beautiful it becomes, the same is true of friendships.
4. Don’t require perfection.
Jesus surrounded himself with 12 close friends, but his best friends were two argumentative sisters and their brother. Perfect friends don’t exist
5. Be prepared to be vulnerable.
Great friends look after you when you can’t look after yourself. This last month my friends have held me in prayer, literally held me while I sobbed, fed me meals when cooking was the last thing I could do, fed me chocolate biscuits, taken me out and blessed me, not pried, just prayed. They have prayed when I couldn’t.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend Proverbs 27:17
One friend, when she saw me in McDonald’s car park, gave me the Bible verses 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Other fast food restaurants are available, but you won’t get words of comfort like that from anywhere other than a Godly friend quoting the Bible.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. Job 6:14
I hope that soon, when I am stronger I can pay my friends back, but do you know what, I bet each and every one of them will say I don’t owe them anything, because that’s what friends do.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is a great friend, my best friend. He will never leave us or forsake us
Deuteronomy 31:6; 31:8 (NIV): The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Hebrews 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
But when you need a tissue and a hug, or someone to tell you your hair is a mess and your feet smell, a here-and-now person is a blessing from God.
I thank God for all of my friends and pray that you will be blessed with good Godly friends too.
Helen O’Brien with her husband Mick
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?
Nicki and Dave on how walking the streets and praying for our neighbours can lead to some unexpected opportunities to spread God’s word.