“It is all about COMMUNITY. Community is about friendship-- true, godly friendship. It is about bearing your soul to the godly people that He has placed around you. It is about being honest about your struggles...and letting others be honest with you, without judgment or quick advice. It is about celebrating others, often and well, and letting others celebrate you. It is ALL about community, because it is true that real friends are hard to find.
They are the ones that stick closer than family, the ones who often know you better than family. They pray bigger things for you than you pray for yourself. They believe with you when your faith is weak. They make space for you when life falls apart, and they rejoice with you when all is well. Most importantly, true friends remind you in every encounter who and what is most important.
The true essence of Christian friendship is companionship founded on two great things. The first is that only Jesus can satisfy the soul, and the second is that His kingdom alone is worth living for. Christian friendship is a treasure because it helps us cling to our greatest Treasure. Jesus is our Bread of Life, our Living Water, our Pearl of Great Price, our Light, our Resurrection, our very Life.
Secondly, true friends expose the sin in us that keeps us from God. 'Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.' (Proverbs 27:6)
Sin deceives us. It darkens our understanding and makes us foolish...so much so that we may be walking in sin and convinced that we are obeying God (like the Pharisees). This is why we desperately need friends.
Third, true friends encourage us to obey God. Hebrews 10:24 says, 'Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.' While it is true we need friends to help us see our disobedience, we also need them to spur us on to obedience. Often, obedience to God takes more courage than we can muster alone. Without the faithful cheerleading of Christian friends, we easily shrink back into stagnant apathy, not wanting to willfully disobey, but also too afraid to step out in faith.
So, who did I rely on throughout the wild ups and downs of high school? My 15 best friends--my class. Whose house did we go to for dinner throughout high school and many years after? My math teacher: Carol Jones. Who did I fall in love with and marry? My high school sweetheart: Robbie May. Who stood beside me as I married Robbie? My high school best friend: Rachel Monahan. Who did we move in with when we first got married? Our Bible teacher: Beth Russell. Who did we share our entire lives with and pour out our all to start a business with? Our guidance counselor: Tammy Gerhard. Who did I run to with questions about adoption? My middle school teacher and cheerleading coach, Wonderwoman Joy Press.
You see, the biggest thing that I was able to take away from my time at Cornerstone, was my community. Because...true friends are hard to find, and when you find them, you have to keep them.”