I’m proud to introduce Living Hope’s upcoming teaching series, Friendzone: The Art of Building Lifelong Relationships.

The friendzone in pop culture is relational purgatory: it’s where guys get stuck on the road romance. When a guy wants a romantic connection with a woman who doesn’t feel the same way about him, she locks him in the friendzone.

In this series I want to turn this friendzone concept on its head. In popular culture, friendship is a stepping stone . . . to a romantic relationship, or to a business connection, or to a sale, or to a hook up of some shape or form. Friendship is seen as a utility, a useful way of getting something more desirable.

What seems to be missing in our culture is an understanding of the value of friendship itself, apart from what it can provide for us. The value of friendship is found in friendship itself!

After walking with his disciples for three years, Jesus did something powerful for them one morning: he called them his friends (John 15:15)! Friendship was the goal of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. He didn’t see friendship as something that provided benefits; he saw friendship as the benefit. And so, after three years of teaching them, correcting them, instructing them, and tolerating their foolishness, Jesus was very happy to say that they had become his friends.

It took three years for Jesus to make friends of his disciples. We tend to meet people and think we are friends in five minutes! I think it’s clear that Jesus’ definition of friendship is much different . . . so much deeper, so much more significant . . . than ours.

In this series, we are going to spend three months trying to get to the heart of the Jesus kind of friendship, not just so that we can understand it better, but so that we might learn to live it and experience it in our most important relationships.

We will launch into this series on September 7th with a message entitled, Friends With Benefits, in which we will see that using friendship for benefits causes us to lose the benefits of friendship itself. We will look at the relationship between David & Jonathan to discover the benefits of a deep, lifelong, God-filled friendship.

We’ll continue on September 14th with a message entitled, Why Can’t We Be Friends? This message will seek to identify and examine the things that hinder friendship . . . both the things that should hinder it, and the things that shouldn’t. We will also discover the power of what Jesus calls peace-making, which is the process of removing things that inappropriately divide us.

On September 21st, I’ll preach a message entitled, The Trending Defriending, in which I’ll examine the growing trend of unfriending people on Facebook and what it says about the way we make and break friendships in our culture today. If you have ever been defriended before (either on Facebook or in real life) or have defriended others, you’ll want to be present for this message!

The first leg of this series will come to a close on September 28th, with a message entitled, BFF. In this message I’ll talk about what it takes to build a life-long, life-giving and God-filled friendship. You don’t want to miss it!

The series will continue through October and November, and the plot will thicken every month!

I want to encourage you not only to come and be present for this very important series, but to bring a friend or two with you. There is almost no series of messages that are more relevant to the needs of our generation than this one!

Be blessed,