Archive for the ‘friendship’ Category



We Need More Encouragement Than We Realize

I have days I don’t feel quite right. I’m sure you have those as well. You’re not physically sick, but there’s this feeling down deep in the pit of your stomach that nags at you as if to say, “something is wrong, but I don’t know what.” It’s more of a psychological issue than a physical one. Sometimes fatigue combined with stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. Yesterday was one of those days for me. Interestingly, I found that for me there is a antidote to that depressing ambiguous feeling: encouragement. Just as I was pushing through the day and pressing forward I got a call from someone who during our conversation took time to encourage me. Those were kind words that I didn’t expect to hear but they worked themselves deep into my soul and began to soothe and comfort in a way I had not…

Read More

In Memory of Billy Williams My Great Friend

His name was Billy, not William. He was a great friend. I had hoped we’d grow old together, but he left earth too soon. These are the words I shared at his memorial service yesterday: I met Billy almost 20 years ago in the early days of Bellevue Community Church, now Hope Park. I came in late to the church’s tiny office where Billy was painting. He heard my accent and thought I was the tile man. That’s before he realized I have absolutely zero handy man skills. We became great and unlikely friends. We travelled together, served together, even owned a business together.  Billy and I were opposites in many ways, but our differences made our friendship more interesting and fun. He could design and build just about anything. I was always amazed by his talent and skill. He loved beauty and both my home and office have Billy’s…

Read More

Dealing with Difficult People: The Disrespectful Jerk

There’s nothing more difficult than dealing with a friend or client who is negative, often disrespectful, and yet completely unaware of his behavior.   In my experience, people who are insecure are also not self-aware. So a heart-to-heart about their self-centered ways usually doesn’t work. They will generally deflect that to you and try to play the victim–which is their preferred position. Sometimes they will apologize not because they think they have done something wrong, but because they think you are mad at them and they want to be back in your good graces. It’s not “I’m sorry I have wronged you,” as much as it is “I’m sorry you feel that way.” See the subtle and yet important difference? Here’s my approach: So we need to break the cycle of abuse, and the only way I have been able to do that is to wait until another “infraction” happens.…

Read More

In Memory of David Foster and The Lessons He Taught Me

I was stuck in my career until David Foster offered me a job based on the potential he saw in me. Late into my twenties, I worked on the staff of a small, traditional congregation, but my heart yearned to reach those outside the faith with a non-traditional approach to church. My experience, however, showed a completely different type of ministry. During that time I felt like being in a no-man’s land where my desires and opportunities were not in sync. David’s vote of confidence in my abilities was the catalyst that changed the course of my entire career. Sometime in the early hours of Monday, David woke up in heaven. He was only 58. During my nearly seven years of working for him, I learned a lot from Dave, but a few of these lessons are salient in my mind today. Church should be a safe place for the…

Read More

I Did Not Get Here on My Own: My Turn to Make Deposits

“How did I get here?” I thought to myself yesterday as I was hanging Christmas lights in front of my home. It was not as much an existential question but one of introspection and thinking through my life journey. It didn’t take long to answer it, however. First I thought of how faithful God has been to me over the years. Since the day I decided to leave my parents in Brazil and go to Bible College in America, God has been the only constant, never disappointing force in my life. But then I thought of the people whose lives I have intersected over the years and whom have been such a blessing, encouragement and friends to me. I know I could not have the life I have today without their deposits in me. Early on during my college days, I had families “adopt” and take me in their homes…

Read More

A New Beginning Might Be What You Need

Starting a new chapter in life is one of the most exciting things to me; it presents new professional possibilities, new friendships and a way to a fresh start. Too often some of our past broken relationships and mistakes have a way of following us around like the proverbial dead albatross on our necks. A new beginning allows us to take the lessons we’ve learned with us and leave the dead albatross behind. While most of us are not likely to relocate and start a new life anytime soon, we’ll probably meet and engage someone today for the first time. That can be just the new beginning you and I need. The longer I live the more I’m convinced that the most important assets I have are relationships. As I look in my life, the most rewarding days have been the ones shared with those whom I love. We don’t…

Read More

The 5 Average: What Impact Your Closest Friends Have

Someone said you are the average of the 5 people closest to you in every area of your life. That thought has stayed with me for a long time. Could it be true? Think about the 5 people whom you are the closest at this point in life. Where are you financially, physically, spiritually in relation to them?  We grew up hearing about the dangers of peer pressure and not getting “mixed up with the wrong crowd.” People have a way to affect us negatively as well as positively, and in my experience, no relationship is strictly one way. Not for long, anyway. So we influence those around us as much as they influence us. For the sake of this mental exercise, let’s then assume we ARE the average of the five people closest to us. What are the implications not only for where we are currently in our life…

Read More

A Relationship Reward Worth The Risk

Nothing great happens without risk. That’s true about our relationships as well. I’m not sure it’s a byproduct of maturity, personality, the fact I’m from another culture, or a combination of all of it, but I have found myself taking more risks in my relationships lately. The response has been worth the risk. It’s easier and safer to walk alongside my male friends while keeping the relationship on a shallow, trivial level. We men are great at that. We can talk about sports, work, training, and our troubles with women all day long. As a matter of fact, we can spend time with someone for years and never really know them. The American male relational protocol perpetuates this mindset: keep it interesting, keep it light, and keep surface. Introspection, after all, is the stuff of the other gender; the one we do not understand. I believe we all need to…

Read More

A Relationship Guide to Making Friends

I’m not a relationship expert by any means, but I am surrounded by great relationships with  co-workers, clients, life-long friends and family. I remember, however, a time in my life where I had a difficult time making friends. What changed? I did. I remember being so insecure that I believed I didn’t have much to offer anyone. I couldn’t imagine walking up to the “cool people” of the day and introducing myself. I used to think that I needed to be wealthy, smart, good looking–preferable all three– in order to get attention and popular friends. After all, at least the money and some expensive toys could buy a few people’s affections. Needless to say that never worked. It wasn’t until I began to have a better understanding of who I was as a person, my true identity, that I was able to muster the confidence to get out of my…

Read More

How Strategic Are Your Friendships?

It sounds self serving, but should our friendships be strategic? Somehow the words friendship and strategy should never appear together, right? Before you dismiss the concept altogether, consider that a strategy is an intentional pursuit of a goal. I have key strategic friendships in my life. These are not self-serving, one-way relationships. That’s not a friendship. But relationships that are two-way conversations. They are shared story lines that intercept in time and create a common narratives for two people. I have strategic friendships because I need the perspective, input and companionship of friends who help me grow in the areas I’m most deficient. However, I pray that I can give more to my friend than what I get from them. I have friends who challenge and guide me spiritually. I can always count on them to probe deeper and hold me accountable to my personal spiritual growth. I have friends…

Read More