On Friday morning in the early hours I waited with anticipation for my football team (Arsenal) to play in the second-leg of their semi-final again Villareal as a part of the UEFA Europa League.

90 minutes later I am disappointed as my team crashed out, and will not be going on to the final this year.

After the game at a more reasonable hour, Kelly came downstairs to ask how it went, and how she was ‘awoken’ with some yells and screams at various times through the morning.

But it highlighted for me how passionate I was to cheer on my team, and how I rode the highs and lows of the game with them.

It also led me to wonder how often we do this for others – whether they be children, parents, extended family, friends or work colleagues?

I mean, I know each of the players on ‘my team’, I know a little bit about them, where they’ve come from, what recent injuries they might have had, how old they are, and more.

Are we as invested in the people around us?

I am doubtful I will actually form a real friendship with any football player from ‘my team’, but what about you? Are you forming friendships with others, getting to know more about them? Riding the highs and lows of their life with them?

A few weeks ago I was speaking to the new LCA Director for Cross-Cultural Ministry, Craig Heidenrich, and his comments in regards to so many within the church is that we have forgotten how to be a friend to others.

And if we are ever going to share the gospel with them, we need to start by building that relationship first, by learning what it means to be a friend, sharing life, the highs and lows, showing support and encouragement to them at all times.

So let’s start with the basics. Forming friendships and loving others as Jesus has loved us. Let’s not get tripped up with how to share Jesus, and focus first on being His hands and feet to others around us.

Unless we are building relationships, and growing friendships, we are not going to have opportunity in the future to share Jesus with others.

Let’s make friends!

Pastor Ben

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