You remember that old Michael W Smith song, "Friends are Friends Forever"? I cringe every time I hear it, remembering how many times I put that on a mix-tape -- for those of you under the age of 30, a "tape" was like a non-digital version of a CD that could only hold about 20 songs (10 on each side) and would only fast forward and rewind if you gave yourself carpel tunnel by holding these tiny little buttons on the 'tape player'; for those of you under 20, a CD is... -- for my girlfriend. I still like to sing it, though, whenever I see some overly dramatic departure or when I leave a friends house in grand fashion. In fact, my friends Danny and Kimberly are especially blessed because during a remodel of their house, I wrote the words to the song on the subfloor in front of their pantry. Now when I visit them, I stand there and sing it out loud showing them how I much I truly care. After all, friends are friends for ever if the Lord is the Lord of them, and a friend will not say never.... No offense Michael (I'm sure he's one of my regular readers), and really -- the song has some truth to it. After all, I am so thankful for all the people in my life who help me live a God-pleasing, Overboard kind of life. Of course, these people can encourage me to do so, because they too, are living Overboard. It’s people like my wife Traci, friends Andy, Danny, Kevin, Kevin (two Kevins), Amber, my brother Phil and scores of other people who invest in my life. I am so thankful and so blessed by their friendships.
What about you? Do you have people in your life helping you live Overboard? People who will help you get out of the comfort of the boat and out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom? We cannot have success in the Christian life without a support network of people who help us. It’s absolutely impossible!
Right now I’m working on my second book, Project Nehemiah, and its all about living extraordinary lives for God. Whereas Project Joseph was about healing from your past, Project Nehemiah is about preparing for your future. And as Nehemiah works through obstacles and overcomes great adversity, it’s very apparent God has given him a team of builders to help finish the walls of Jerusalem.
As I was working through the text, I realized that there were over 30 different individual mentioned and 8 distinct groups of people mentioned, as those who helped Nehemiah finish the wall. It’s fascinating, because none of them stepped up to lead the charge but when someone came along and casted a vision, these people came out of the woodwork to help. There was no way Nehemiah could finish the wall by himself; there was almost no way to stop him once he was helped by friends.
You need friends to help you live overboard. Friends who will help you when times are tough and friends, like this, who will keep you accountable:
Don’t try to live Overboard without others. Almost Every man and woman in the Bible who accomplished great things for God, did so, with incredible support from people close to them. Even Jesus surrounded Himself with friends -- whom He called “brothers”! -- to carry out the work the Father had given for Him to do.
There’s no better life than the one lived on the water, and there’s no way to live that life without others who are doing the same. If you have those friends, be thankful and pray often for them. If you don’t have those friends, I think there are two ways to get them. First, pray and ask God to send you people who are eager to live for Him. It’s amazing how often those friends are closer than we think, we just haven’t been looking and haven’t been asking God for help. Secondly, get out of the boat! Like Nehemiah and Gideon and Paul and David and Esther and Barak and Ruth and Peter...when we get out of our comfort zone and into the fullness of our life with God, people flock to be a part of it. If you want Overboard friends, you need to be an Overboard friend, too.
So go ahead and take the plunge, life is better on the water!