Friends Want What's Best

Good friends benefit each other

Linn Winters
Aug 13, 2017    42m
In this part of the series, Friends Want What's Best, Linn is talking about what it means to be good friends who benefit from each other. We learn how to be this kind of friend from Jonathan, the son of Saul. Jonathan is such a good friend to David that he stepped down from being king, so that David could step up. Being a friend who benefits means seeing the hand of God in your friends life and saying in those hard moments, "I want to be a part of this. I'll stick with you. I want to join you and be a part of what God is doing in you. Lastly, we also learn that Jesus is the ultimate friend who benefits. Linn encourages us to ask God who we can be this type of friend to in our lives. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Linn: 00:04 Hey Cornerstone, how you doing man? Hey, today is a great day. We are beginning a brand new series talking about friendship and uh, I believe if you'll hang in here, if you'll do this with us, it's going to change your definitions of friendship. It's going to give you a totally different perception and it might, might, might, might, might just lead you and I to having the most remarkable friendships we've, we've ever had in her life. So I'm just excited that you're here. I'm excited that you're a part of this conversation. I want to shout out to San Tan and our Scottsdale campus, to the venue, the 5:00 PM man, just thanks for being a part of this.

Linn: 00:44 OK. So let's just be honest. Friendship is a little bit hard to define a, you know, you meet people and you go, "Hey, uh, your friends with Carson Palmer?" "Yeah, I'm friends with Carson Palmer." And they go, "How'd that happen?" "Well, I served him at his table once we took a selfie. So were were like, we're friends right?" And in a matter of fact, it even as we talk about we, you have to kind of reexplain and redefine what friends are. So I want to build some categories so that we're all super, super, super clear on what we're talking about today and then through this series.

Linn: 01:18 So, uh, all of us are gonna have friends who really kind of fall into this first category. It's the category of a acquaintance. Acquaintances are, uh, are people we don't know that well. OK, they're acquaintances and, and there are people that we've, we've run through. We like them. They are part of our lives, just not significantly. I got a neighbor, his name is Bobby. Bobby is a fantastic guy. He's 70 years old. He's a Christian. He actually goes to first baptist Chandlers, services at that church and that's about everything I know about Bobby. So, you know, it's an acquaintance. It's somebody that I'm familiar with. I know I may like them a lot, but the truth is they don't necessarily have a significant role in my life other than I'm still waiting for him to bring back my hedge sheers. So. But acquaintance. But then, and here's the part I think that makes it really, really difficult is this next category suddenly becomes massive in our conversations. And this next category is just this huge overwhelming, overarching thing that we call friends. And the reality is we've all got just all sorts of different levels of friendship and it's hard to define or hard to even communicate what level of a friend they are.

Linn: 02:45 Two guys, friends, Dave and Bill, both of them bring it guys. Uh, Bill tended to be more athletic than David. David tended to be a little sharper mentally than Bill. Bill was always working out. David's idea of working out was moving a potato chip from here to here. And uh, but they were friends. And so one day Bill comes to Dave and says, "Hey, look, uh, it would be good for you to do something athletically. And so I go down, I work out all the time. You ought to join me. This will be good for you. It would be good for your heart. It would be good for your body. You ought to join me." And David ended up agreeing to do it. And so they had gone several times to the gym to work out together. Dave was seen a lot of physical benefit out of going to the gym and they were doing a thing called burnouts. And uh, that's where you take a weight on a bench press and you lift that weight until you just cannot lift that weight anymore. Uh, your friend who's with you is spotting you, catches that weight as you're about to lose it and helps you get it back on the rack. You rest for a few minutes and then you put a little more weight on the bar and you do the same thing. You just lift it until you cannot lift it til your arms fail. Your friend helps you lifted onto the ramp. A wait a few minutes to do it again. So they're doing burnouts Dave is down on the bench press. He's doing the burnout. At that precise moment, an absolutely beautiful girl comes walking through the gym, turns and smiles at Bill, who intuitively begins to walk toward the girl as she goes around the corner. As he rounds the corner, he hears, "Help" runs back to his friend Dave.

Linn: 04:21 Now, if you and I in that moment, we're trying to define how good of a friend Bill is today my guess is everyone, we all have different categories. See some of us will say, "Well, you know, Bill is actually a pretty good friend because he was looking out for Dave's health. And he was trying to be helpful and his heart was in it. And then some of us would say, "Yeah, but at the very moment that Dave most needed Bill, Bill's off chasing some girl." And then some of us will say, "Well, you know, but I mean later on, you know, I mean, did, did Bill ever recover? Did he ever come back? Was he ever loyal the next time? And isn't this part of what makes it so hard, is that chances are every one of us would put even that relationship in a different box? We'd score it differently. That makes this conversation tough.

Linn: 05:07 Here's the good news. You and I are not going to talk about this type of friendship. You and I today are going to create a completely separate category. And the focus of the conversation that we're going to have is this new, separate category of friends that we're looking to have in our lives. And we've been calling that category, friends with benefits. Now for all the Baptist in the room who are freaking out right now at that category. So let's, look, look, look. We're not, this is not, and we're not describing this or defining it the way that our culture defines it. We're not. We're talking about friends who bring benefit to the relationship. OK, who aren't just there to have a good time be part of it, but their very presence becomes a substantial benefit to their friend in the moment. And look, I'm not trying to throw rocks are getting getting into something else, but here's what I am going to tell you. The cultures definition, this thing, friends with benefits. If you have two people who use each other for physical gratification, a relationship in which often one of them is hoping to manipulate the other to an end result that the first one didn't really see coming. Or their attitude is, "Hey, we're just simply going to do this for now, but who knows?"

Linn: 06:36 I'm. Does that even qualify as friends? It sounds more like the guy who tried to sell me a used car last week then it does my friend. But we're going to create a whole new category and just to help you out. OK? For all of you that are freaking out, uh, you can, you can just cross this off and say, friends who benefit, if that makes you happy. OK, you can make the rest of the way.

Linn: 07:02 So we're going to create this whole new category and what's going to be interesting as we do this together, we're going to look into the life of a guy by the name of David for the next couple of weeks. And here's why I think his story has so much to say to you and I about friendship. If you know the life of David at all, and even for those of you that don't, this is a guy who has some real remarkable talent and some remarkable abilities. David is the David of David and Goliath. Uh, he's the guy who was a young man who had the courage to run out and to slay Goliath when everybody else was afraid.

Linn: 07:34 If you actually read the rest of his story, he is an unbelievable military tactician. He leads men in battle and the results are almost always positive. So on that side, pretty compelling guy. But here's the interesting thing. As you journey a little further in the story, you find out he's an adulterous. That despite the fact that he actually has several wives, he decides to steal another man's wife. He uses his power as king to manipulate the moment, probably intimidate Bathsheba into sleeping with him. It's a low moment in his life. If that's not bad enough, she ends up being pregnant. Uh, his answer is to kill her husband. So he's a murderer. And if you pause for a minute, you go, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, OK. Slayed Goliath, that was really cool. Pretty good general, that's pretty commendable. But you toss in murderous adulterer and I'm thinking that life at its very best is average. Probably below average if you think about it. And yet, you're ready for this? David is going to end up regarded as one of the most outstanding, remarkable kings that ever leads Israel, which brings you to a moment that says, "What? How does it happen? What? What is it that tilts David's life in his favor?"

Linn: 09:00 And here's what's going to be surprising as we unpack the story. You're going to find, we're going to find that over, and over, and over, and over again at the most critical moments of David's life, he had a friend like this. A friend who brought benefit in moments when he was discouraged and ready to give up. He had a friend who said, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, God still here. Don't you dare." In moments when he was getting ready to make disastrous decisions, that will change the trajectory of his life he had friends who said, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Before you do that, there's another way out. There's another option in your life." And literally this man's life is forever changed because of the quality of friends he has in his life, which then leaves you and me to a moment. I may have lots of acquaintances. I may have more than enough friends. But do I really have friends who benefit, who changed the trajectory of my life because of their presence in my life? And the outcomes of my life ended up significantly different. And maybe here's the better question. Am I a friend who brings benefit to the lives of the people who call me friend? That their lives are forever changed because they knew me and we're gonna study this type of friendship. OK.

Linn: 10:19 So today what we're gonna do is we're going to define it. We're going to simply jump into one of the friendships that David has and define what it means to be a friend who benefits. OK? So grab your Bibles. Go with me to the book of First Samuel. If you're not familiar, you go to the front of your Bible. You begin to work to the right. You're going to find this book of First Samuel, which really for the most part involves the life of David. First Samuel, Chapter Twenty. All right, let me start at this moment. So David, um, after he defeats Goliath, King Saul, the king at the time, brings David to serve in the palace. He's, he's on his staff. As he's serving on Saul 's staff, David runs into Saul's son, a guy by the name of Jonathan. Now, here's what you need to know. Jonathan should not be David's friend. Here's why. Saul has so misbehaved. Saul has made so many decisions in his life that were counter God that God has actually come back to King Saul and said, "You're it. I'm going to take the kingdom away from you and your heirs. Your prodigy will never, never sit on the throne."

Linn: 11:39 And then God goes and taps the shoulder of a guy named David. So David, for all intents and purposes is the usurper. David is the rival of Jonathan, the son of Saul. Jonathan sits in this moment going, "That guy is the guy who's going to take my job." And by all rights, these two men should not like each other, let alone be friends. And yet scripture says that when they met each other immediately, their hearts are knit together and there begins a bond of brotherhood that is huge in their lives. And Jonathan, you ready for this? Jonathan, in the way that he treats the man who ought to be his rival in friendship, is literally going to define for you and me today what it means to be a friend who benefits the lives of people around them.

Linn: 12:36 First Samuel, Chapter 20, when we get to this moment, Saul has become deeply jealous of David. I don't know. We don't know for sure if Saul actually knows that God has tapped David. But what he does know is that David's more popular than him. Post the whole Goliath thing, uh, the women have begun a practice that whenever David walks down the street, they come out to the street side and they begin to sing. Here's the song they sing. Saul has slain his thousands and David has slain his tens of thousands. Which is basically a way of saying David is 10 times better than Saul. And if you're Saul that is not your favorite song. And he's becoming increasingly, increasingly jealous. Saul's one of these guys who if you saw on the outside, he would look composed. He'd looked like he was in control. But inside he is deeply, deeply painfully insecure, and he is ready to move in whatever devious, sneaky way he can to eliminate his rival.

Linn: 13:37 For those of you that are a little bit older in the room, you're ready for this? He's Nixon-esk. For those of us that are younger in the room, he is Real Housewives of Atlanta. That that's OK, that, that, that puts it in context. And so we come to this, uh, we come to this passage, we come to this a moment and here's what's happened. Saul has come up with a scheme. He's going to throw a banquet, invite David to attend, cause it'll be compulsory to come to the king's banquet. And while David's at the banquet, Saul intends to kill David. David gets wind of it, goes to Jonathan says, "What do I do? Your Dad invited me." And Jonathan said, "I'll give you permission not to attend, and then we'll see how Dad responds to you not being there."

Linn: 14:34 OK, so here we go. It's First Samuel, Chapter 20, Verse 30. 'Saul's anger flared up at Jonathan and said to him, "you son of a perverse and rebellious woman." You notice it's always the mother's fault. You get that right? Always your mom's fault. 'Don't I know that you have sided with that son of Jesse, David. To your own shame and to the shame of your mother who bore you as long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will ever be established. Now send someone to bring them to me for that guy must die. To which Jonathan responded, watch this. 'Jonathan responds and says, "Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" Jonathan asked his father. But Saul in his anger hurled a spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew his father truly intended to kill David.' Now here, here's the first mark. Here's the first defining moment of a friend who benefits and it's simply this. It's a friend who decides to be a friend even when it gets expensive.

Linn: 15:42 See, if you're really going to be this new category of friend, you have to go into the friendship saying, "Hey, somewhere, somewhere down the line it's going to cost me to be that type of friend and I get it and I'm, I'm in for it. I'm, I'm willing to pick up the tab when the bill comes on the deal." Now, here's what you need to know in this moment. This is not adolescent rebellion on the part of Jonathan. He's, he's not doing this because he's just trying to stick it to his dad. Matter of fact, if you think about it, he has nothing to win. He knows going in this argument, arguments probably lost, and the easiest thing that Jonathan can do is just go silent. The easiest thing you do is just go, I'm going to let my dad for always crazy little fit, be silly and act like I don't know why David's not here. Instead, Jonathan puts himself in a place that's going to be expensive because he says to his dad, "Dad, why are you going after this guy? Why would you be so unfair?" knowing full well what his father is like. And that there's just as much chance that the same intense hatred that he has for David will immediately be shifted to him, which is exactly what happens in the moment. And Jonathan in that moment says, "Look, if it costs me to stand with my friend, I'm willing to pay the tab."

Linn: 17:13 Here's the irony. You realize in this moment that Jonathan is actually trying to be a friend who was Dad too. He's trying to step into a moment when his dad's going to make a horrible decision and say, "Dad, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You're considering killing an innocent man." Who has you ready for this? The favor of God on his life. "Where is that going to put you in God, Dad? The people love David. He is their hero. You do this you will forever be the guy who killed the people's champion. Dad, Dad, I think, again." Isn't it ironic that Jonathan is actually attempting to be this kind of friend for his father, but his father can't hear it?

Linn: 18:09 See in that moment the story doesn't tell us, but we, you know. Right? His Dad probably had 100 excuses. "Dude, you're too young to understand. You're my son. How dare a son tell a dad what to do. I'm king. I'm king. And I'm sick and tired of people trying to tell me what. I'm king." He can't hear it. Ready? To his loss. Saul does not know how to have this type of friend to his loss.

Linn: 18:47 You ever done that? You ever had that moment when you risked a friendship. When you stepped into a moment and said the hard thing. Or try to encourage somebody when they were describing and you try to be the one who's spoken to them in a critical moment of their life because they were getting ready to do the stupidest thing in their life. Or getting ready to divorce their spouse or getting ready to make a financial decision that just has chaos written all over it. And in that moment you said, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, wait, wait, wait." And in that moment they could not hear you and they filled it with excuses because that's what we do and they would not let you be a friend who benefits.

Linn: 19:30 Maybe a more powerful question, have you ever had a friend who came to you and a critical moment in your life and said something that you didn't want to hear in the moment? Who spoke truth to you in the moment that you needed to hear truth and you dismissed them? You could not receive this type of friendship in your life and you went ahead with the mistake with the old thought decision. Guys, I'm just. I'm telling you, having this type of friend in our lives, being the type person who can receive this type of friend, this changes our lives.

Linn: 20:04 Friends who pay the price, who sacrificed who, who are willing to pay the expense of friendship. It's not just the loss of the friendship or misunderstanding. Sometimes it's just actually physical price. Sometimes it costs money. Sometimes it costs status. It's simply that friends who'd benefit have said, "I get it. Friendships probably going to be expensive before it's said and done and I've already decided I'm going to pay the tab when it comes due."

Linn: 20:29 Years ago and I'm a young guy in ministry. I'm 24 and I got hired at a church to be their youth pastor. I got hired in the middle of the night in the senior pastors living room. I didn't know that, that's not how it's supposed to work. So I showed up a week later to church and said, "Hey. I'm the new youth pastor." Nobody knew. The senior pastor didn't bother telling anybody he hired me in the middle of the night in his living room, which was a great setup for my future by the way. They agreed to pay me $18,000 a year, so I was clearly overpaid and no benefits. So here I am, 24 years old, just silly enough, naïve enough, stupid enough to take a job. Not because I just wanted a chance. I wanted a chance to do ministry.

Linn: 21:19 On that staff was my Jonathan. He wasn't, it's interesting because by all rights, I don't know that we should have ever been friends. He was, he was 25 years my senior. He was a guy by the name of George Bedlion and I think we've got a picture of George. There's George Bedlion right there. Now you don't get to see all the George, but you need to know about five foot four and about five foot four. And uh, if you look real close and just squint your eyes and put a little pointy hat on him, he looks like the gnome in your front yard. That's, that's George. But for some reason a George decided to be the friend of this 24 year old naïve guy coming on staff. And so he went to the elders on my behalf and said, "You've got to give this kid benefits. He's got a brand new wife. Who knows they may have children somewhere here. You got to give them at least health insurance." To which the elders basically said, "Hey, he was dumb enough to come without it."

Linn: 22:12 Unbeknownst to me, my Jonathan, my friend George who said, "Hey, I'm going to be this" and I have no idea why he decided to be my friend had already said, "I know that being friends could get expensive." So he walked into the financial office there at the church and said to them, "You deduct his health insurance premium from my salary because that boy is going to have health insurance." I was so dumb and young at the time. I don't even know that I understood. I think I thought, oh, he's just trying to do what's right and he's trying to make a point to the elders. He was not. He decided to be my friend and he decided to pay the price that it took to be my friend.

Linn: 22:58 First Category, friends understand that friendship's going to be expensive and they gladly pickup the tab. Second OK, so going just a little further in this story. Which Johnson. So, uh, turnover, uh, just a few pages to First Samuel Chapter 23. First Samuel Chapter 23. Here's what's happened since then. Now that the plot by Saul to kill David has become uncovered, David's been on the run. Saul has relentlessly pursued him. So now David, for months and months and months has been out in the desert, eating, lizards, eating, eating, anything he could, finding water where he could. His men and him are living in little caves, in little holes and it has been relentless. And now he's discouraged and he's going, "This is, I'm worn out. I'm tired. It doesn't feel like God is showing up. It feels like my enemy is winning even though the God promised me that he wouldn't." And he is done. And he begins to doubt that he will ever actually be king because his death seems to be more realistic than the idea that he would ever occupy the throne. And in that moment guess who comes to visit with David? It's Jonathan.

Linn: 24:24 Here it is. It's First Samuel Chapter 23, Verse 15. While David was in Horesh in the desert of Ziff, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul's son Jonathan, the least likely guy, the guy who should not be on his side, his rival, his friend who benefits went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 'Don't be afraid. He said, My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be King of Israel and I will be second to you. Even my father knows this. The two of them made a covenant and unbreakable promise before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David stayed in Horesh.' Guys, this is a big. Think about what Jonathan just did. He went to his friend and said, "You're going to be king. I'm, I'm not going to be king. I'm gonna step down. I have the birth right. I, I'm in the right lineage. The whole kingdom expects me to be king. I'm going to step down, David, so you can step up." Guys that. Can I just tell you that that's crazy hard? That you and I would say, "Hey, my friend, my friend, getting the opportunity, my friend getting the blessing is more important than me getting the opportunity and I will step down so that my friend can step up."

Linn: 26:14 Now, here's what you need to get. This is not cause Jonathan's scared. This isn't because Jonathan looks at himself, says, "Wow, you know, I'm really unqualified." Matter of fact, just the opposite. You ready for this? Jonathan is an absolutely courageous individual. Earlier on in the story, the Philistines have come down to do battle in Israel. Saul leading the armies of Israel with his son Jonathan had gone out to fight. The interesting thing is there's only 2 swords in all of Israel. Jonathan has one. His father Saul has one. The Philistines have so ravaged them that there are no implements of war left. So the armies of Israel go out with farm implements, pitchforks to fight the mighty army of the Philistines. Saul is so intimidated that he then begins to cluster under the trees of baba and has a conversation with his generals where they're going, "I don't know. Well I don't know. I don't know. I don't know."

Linn: 27:11 Jonathan in absolute frustration says to his armor-bearer, "These guys are, these guys are a bunch of nursemaids over here. They're not going to do anything. Let's go look." And he goes off to the side and he runs into a Philistine garrison. Easiest thing, it's an outpost, probably has 20 to 30 soldiers. It's set there to kind of watch a section. And Jonathan seeing this fortified outpost garrison says to his armor bearer, "Hey. I'll tell you what. Let's stand up and expose ourselves to the enemy. If they say to us, come up here and we'll show you a thing or two, then that means God's delivered them into our hands, will go attack the garrison, the two of us." Now the story does not fill us in on the IQ of his armor bearer, but his armor bearer says to him, "Good idea, Jonathan. I'm with you." And low and behold, Johnathan and his armor bearer stand up. The guys in the garrison say, "Come on up here, we'll show you." And Jonathan says, "This is so cool. God delivered them in her hands." He attacks, he attacks the garrison with this one sword. And he begins to route the garrison. When the Philistines around them begin to see that the garrison is fleeing and that God is fighting for the armies of Israel, all the Philistines flea. All of Israel jumps in and there's a huge victory that day. Jonathan's not timid. Jonathan's not afraid. And the truth is, in character and morality, he is five times the man of his father and he's in the lane. He by all rights, he would be way better king than Saul. This is not because Jonathan is timid.

Linn: 28:57 You say, "Well then what is it?" It's because he sees David's giftedness. Cause he looks over at David and he says, "As good as I am, you'd be better. And so he steps down so that his friend steps up. I was thinking about this first. I mean, I just can't even begin to explain how hard this is. All David has to do is accept the glory to step up. Jonathan has to relinquish the glory and step down. David had to slay one giant. Jonathan has to slay two. Pride and self interest. John or David has to step up once. Jonathan will have to step down every day for the rest of his life because every time he watches David make a bad decision, every time David gets credit, something will well up in his heart that says it could have been, it should have been, and you'll have to step down. How much, how much honor does that deserve to have a friend who would step down so I could step up?

Linn: 30:27 Men, you realize your wives did this. For some unknown reason she chose you. And although she is absolutely equal with you, she gave you the position of leading your home. She stepped down so that you could step up. And, and, and men you realize there's been one or two times that you've made decisions she didn't agree with. Have you noticed that? In that moment in her heart she had to say, "Hey, I, I'll step down so that he can lead." And I'm just wondering, man, how much honor does she deserve for that?

Linn: 31:30 Years later, I'm serving at a church in southern California. I the church I had started out with George, George had left. And about a year and a half after he left, he called me up on the phone, said, "Hey, we need a youth pastor. Why don't you come over here?" And so we were there. It was an amazing time. The church flourished. We lost the senior pastor. And uh, as they lost the senior pastor, there came a search for a new senior pastor. And in the midst of that, you already for this? George came to me and said, "Linn, you need to be the next senior pastor." Here is a man who is 25 years my senior, which means just out of the gate, he's got 25 years more experienced than me. He is vastly more qualified. He's been my supervisor for the last 17 years. He's now pushing 60, which means if there's ever a moment that he's going to move from the number two chair to finally be in the senior pastor to have that chair, this is probably his last chance and he has earned it. He has led the multiple churches during transition, during hard times and actually help those churches grow. And now in this moment, George decides to step down to give me the opportunity to step up.

Linn: 33:04 Have you ever had a friend like that? Because friends liked that just redefine what friendship is. Have you ever been a friend who would step down that your friend could step up?

Linn: 33:22 Last attribute, last thing that happens with Jonathan and David. It's back in the same passage that we just read. So go right back First Samuel, Chapter 23. It's what, it's what Jonathan says to David in the moment. So starting again in Verse 16 it says, 'And Saul's son, Jonathan, went to David in Horesh and he helped him find strength in God. Don't be afraid, he said. My father, Saul, will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel. I will be second to you.' Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys, in a moment in David's life when he's beginning to struggle and he's beginning to wonder if God is actually going to come through with his promises or if man is going to win. In a moment like that, David, Jonathan says, "David, you don't see the hand of God in this? You're doubting in a moment like this, that God is faithful and that God is gonna deliver. David, God has plans for you." It's so obvious.

Linn: 34:30 Let me ask you a question? As you work friendship, do you ever ask the question, I wonder what God is trying to do with my friend? Do you ever, do you ever see your friend instead of, hey, it's fun to be with him and I enjoy them and camping is great and movies, do you ever see them through the lens of God and say, "I wonder what it is that God is doing with my friend and in my friend's life? Because here's the thing. There's to be a moment in your friend's life when they're going to need to see what you see of the hand of God.

Linn: 35:03 It's going to be a moment when finances all fall out and they're going really, really south and you might just have to say, "Hey, I know this is hard to hear, but I do think it's the hand to God. I don't think it was an accident and I actually made me think it's a spanking. You know, if I'm being honest, you'd been a little reckless and haven't lived the way and I think maybe God is just trying to get your attention right now, but I see the hand of God in your life. This isn't bad. It's him."

Linn: 35:36 There's going to be moments when life is crazy unfair for your friend and if you can't see the hand of God, you're just going to be one of the people crying on the sidelines going, "I or I don't know, and it really stinks and life's just cruddy." But if you see the hand of God, you might just say, "I know it's unfair. I'm pretty sure God's growing you. I'm pretty sure God is preparing you for the thing that is next. So don't lose faith and don't give up right now because I see God working in you and I'll join you. I, I want to be part of this and so I'll walk this moment with you. I'll stick with you right now. I'll do whatever it takes. I want to join you and be part of what God is doing in you."

Linn: 36:34 I didn't end up pastoring that church. I ended up coming to Chandler and starting Cornerstone. And not too long in a stuff was going really, really well and God was just showing up everywhere. And I, I made this really crazy phone call to my friend George, to my Jonathan. I said, "George, look, I have no right to ask this. Would you ever consider coming and working on my staff? Would you ever consider joining what God is doing in me and with me right now? Would you ever think about doing that?" And, and George said, "Linn I just see I see God doing so. I would love to join with my friend and what God is doing." And I'm going to tell you that in the early years of Cornerstone, if you go back and talk to the old timers around here and they will tell you all the fingerprints of Georgia all over this place. From when he had the humility to come serve for the guy who used to work for him. Who he called friend. We have senior leaders. We have all sorts of incredible staff people that George hired and when he hired him I said, "That's a bad hire." And they've turned out to be amazing people because of George.

Linn: 37:59 Do you have a sense, do you have a sense of what God is doing in the lives of your friends and have you been courageous enough to join God and doing that with your friends? I'm just, I'm just throwing this in. It's on the side. You can do with it what you want to. There are some of us, there are some of us in this room and you still haven't figured out Jesus, and that's OK. And we've created this to be a safe place, but you realized who the ultimate friend with benefits is, don't you? You realize Jesus has been this to you on every occasion, and if you haven't figured that out, I just want to encourage you through the series to maybe lean into the best friend you've ever had.

Linn: 38:41 Here's where we land. I hopped on a plane about two months ago. Flew to Polywhop, Washington to a nursing home to visit my friend. I wanted to be sure George heard at least one more time how deeply thankful I am for a friend benefited me. My hope was that maybe for just a few minutes that day I could be Jonathan to him because my life is forever changed because God gave me a friend who benefits. So here's what I'm asking you today. Do you have any friends like that? Because it'll change your life. Your destiny will forever be different. Average becomes amazing when you have a friend who benefits.

Linn: 40:08 Second question. What would it mean today for you and I to leave this place and to just say, "God, would you bring to mind somebody that's in the purview of my life, somebody that you've brought into my sphere that I could just decide to be their Jonathan? They don't have to know. No one has taken. I'm just going to be Jonathan to them. I'm going to be the friend who pays the price. I'm going to be the one who steps down so they can step up. I'm going to be the one who sees what God is doing with them and speaks that into their hearts in the toughest moments of their life. I will be Jonathan to one other person. I will be that friend."

Linn: 40:56 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, we, we simply come to the moment and God, we thank you for this incredible thing called friendship that you've given us. The question we have today is have we ever actually lived in the full extent the full power of friendship? Have we gone past what's just fun and enjoyable and it's great to go to the cabin on vacations together to truly been friends who benefit the lives of our friends? And God my prayer for us is this, that every one of us would have a friend our life who was a friend who benefited. Who said the hard thing in the hard moment, who lifted our heads when we were discouraged to step down in order for us to step up. Who saw what you were doing in our lives even before we saw it?

Linn: 41:58 God, we also pray. Would you make so clear that person you've brought into our life, maybe even a couple of people who you've called us to be their Jonathan. To say, I've just decided to be that friend to you. Even if you didn't expect it, Even if you didn't ask for it, I've just decided to be Jonathan to you. God help us as we redefine friendship in your precious name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286