Discipleship, Grace

We need friends from other tribes

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend, someone I highly value and am thankful for his friendship. But it has been a long time since we discussed things of theology and the church.

Now we are both Christians, trusting in Jesus for salvation, but my writing, teaching, and church experience lands me within what some would call the Reformed tradition.

To this I found my friend sharing a view of “reformed” theology that was foreign to me. Almost as if it would be a perspective shaped by someone antagonistic rather than inquisitive. But the banter was light-hearted and no one was harmed!

I did conclude the conversation however by encouraging my friend that he needed more “reformed” friends. Given the more you know they less likely you are to have a mistaken view.

This goes for all of us. Certainly outside but especially inside the church. For whatever reason God has allowed us to have a varying set of doctrines and views all within the realm of orthodox. And it is important to know we are all kingdom citizens with faith in Jesus. We don’t need to always agree or give up our biblically-formed beliefs but we probably need more friends outside of our tribe so we at least understand each other better.

There is much to learn from many movements but we will never learn it if we are cloistered with our brand exclusively. So the Reformed guy hangs with some Arminians, Charismatics dine with the Lutherans, Presbyterians drink a beer with Baptists (wait that would never work!). You get the point.

Branch out. Get some friends from another tribe, people you love that think differently. Because Jesus can handle it. And you will be better for it.


Love DC: The End

We have come to the end of April and the end of our “Love DC” posts on what is great and unique about this city. We have missed so much in review and Stacy and I will miss so much when we actually move.

As we come to an end though I can help but highlight the thing we love the most about DC, our friends.

We have to start with the Gonzales’ since they set us up (hoping I would be a rebound relationship for Stacy), they let us complain when we need to, they watch Iona when we need to get something done around the house or need a date. Other couples that are close and will be miss are the Ferrignos, the Mercers, the Powers, and the Shapiros.

The “Nebraskans” have been solid friends for my whole time in DC, the Lugo-Grillos, Jeff and Mel, “aunt” Megan and “uncle” John and the glue of the group, Darin. We have watched 5 years of Husker football together, and we have shared so much in this life…

For me there is also the “Cabal,” Jake, Jayson, Nate, Will, John and Ben. We talk about theology but as of late we have been talking about all the crazy places God is taking us and it is exciting. These men are doing and bound to do great things for the kingdom of God and if I had to suggest a group of minister “to watch” it would be this group.

There is our NCC family, too many to name but those with great influence on me have been people like Dennis Bourne, Heather Zempel, and all those that work so hard to put together and be hospitable at our weekend gatherings.

And while I could go on as the list of those we love in DC is long, I will end with the guys I have failed to disciple well! Ben Todd, this guys is solid in his faith and yearns to know God more. With Ben a mentor relationship has taught the mentor more and it is exciting to see him in a career that he grew up wanting and marrying a woman that loves only Jesus more than she loves Ben. Ben Brophy, this poor guy has to share an office with me at work and he probably wouldn’t mind someone more supportive and less will to treat him like a little brother. Over the last year Ben has grown so much in his faith and he challenges me as he lives out service to others. I can’t wait to see what the rest of his life and walk bring. Then there is Tim Lyons, the old deputy. Tim worked with me at the EPA and his hunger for life and work ethic are inspiring. With Tim, I have wanted so badly for him to share the hope we have in Christ that I have probably been mean and said all the wrong things, but he keeps coming back for more! I don’t know many people more reliable and I feel like the next chapter of Tim’s life is just starting. I am praying that these three continue to pursue God more than anything and that someone would come into my place and keep challenging them… of course they are not getting rid of me…

So I have missed tons of people and for that I apologize, you know who you are, you have poured into our lives and been great friends. You are the “thing” we will miss the most about DC… we love you.


Ben and Adrienne are Engaged!

I am so excited for my friends Ben and Adrienne who after a year plus of dating have moved into the big time and are engaged to be married. Stacy and I spend a lot of time with these two and I could not think of a better set of friends to do life with. They are going to be amazing a an old married couple.

Ben and Adrienne are not hipsters but they are as close as I can get in my friend circle. They love Jesus and have had the ability to learn a ton together as they have studied and prepared for a relationship that is about glorifying God above themselves. While I am the old man, these guys still challenge me to be a better husband and a better leader. They will be an important part of the Shradar family regardless of where we live…

Congrats Ben and Adrienne, in your marriage make much of Jesus.