Posts Tagged ‘friendship’



How I Became a Safe Person

I don’t know when it started, but one day I became a safe person to those around me. Perhaps it’s been part of my own internal make up or perhaps I developed the skills and the temperament it takes to be the kind of a person people around me find “safe.” It’s not unusual for someone I barely know to share something deeply personal and important with me. While I’m honored and humbled, I remember the days where the opposite was true. People would tell me I came across unapproachable and intimidating. So what changed? Obviously I did, and while I might not have enough self awareness to understand the complete metamorphosis process, here’s part of my personal journey that changed me. I embraced grace for myself and for those around me. In my early twenties my life was a series of black and white pictures. Grace helped me soften…

Read More

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

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

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

My New Stranger Strategy

What would it happen if I made a habit of walking up to a complete strangers and introducing myself? In the past few months I have tried to be intentional about doing just that.  I have done it in airports, at the gym, and restaurants. I had no idea of what to expect. Would people be annoyed? Would they look at me with the you-are-creeping-me-out stare? Would they dismiss or ignore me? Not really. People’s reactions have surprised me.  The great majority of people seem genuinely glad to have a brief personal dialogue with a perfect stranger. I believe human beings are created to be part of a shared existence, part of community. It’s easy to be in the middle of a room filled with people and to be alone, go to work everyday and not connect with anyone, walk around a large gym, see the same people for months…

Read More

How Social Media Has Changed the Way I Travel

Social media has changed my life. That’s a bold statement but I really mean it. The latest impact has been on how I travel. It has created an entire new dynamic experiencing that has enhanced the joys of discovering new places, meeting new people and eating well. Recently I was planning a trip to eastern Europe which I’m currently on, and tweeted that I was going to visit Prague. One of my tweeter followers Jennifer Lyn King, saw the post and reached out to me. She’s a Texan living in Prague with her family. Since she has followed me for a while she knows my love of good food and recommended several great local restaurants most tourists would never find, and where reservations a week ahead are a must. She also took time to meet us face-to-face and give us a tour of the city. What a great way to…

Read More

How Gracious Are you Really?

I had to be taught to be gracious. That’s a quality that doesn’t come by naturally to me as I suspect to most guys. After all, our male instinct is to win, get “there” first, hold on tight to what’s ours, fight our way to the top and not to take grief from anyone. Early in life I saw my mother model grace as she gave so much of herself, and of her amazing cooking skills, to family and friends. I have my wife, Gwen, to thank for modeling grace in her relationships and how she deals with people. Interestingly, graciousness has as much to do with giving as it does with receiving. Are you a gracious person? Answer the following questions honestly. Do you have to win every argument? Are you able to receive gifts and compliments well? Do you give expecting something in return? Even gratitude? How often…

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

Say Yes to the Prompting

Yesterday afternoon I was running errands and felt led to call a friend I hadn’t connected with in a few weeks and gave him a call. My message was short: “hey, I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re well.” Not long afterward I get a text message saying he was dealing with a family crisis, which he assumed I had heard about. I had not. I was just following the prompting to reach out to a friend and and say hi.”It must have been the Lord” he texted me later about my overture. My mind went immediate to the times that I had the same prompting but did nothing. I’m probably not alone in this. Throughout the day, we think about people whom we haven’t seen or heard in a while, or even those who are closest to us, and, most of the time, we just keep moving to our…

Read More