The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.
– Proverbs 11:30 NLT
Shoes can make all the difference—especially if those shoes are Air Jordans. In the story I’m about to tell you, a pair of Air Jordans led to a new friendship, which led to God changing a life, which will lead to who knows how many more lives in the years to come.
It was a sunny day in the spring at San Jose State University. Vondell and Aaron, two students in the campus ministry there, were walking between classes when Vondell spotted something important: a guy with new Air Jordans. Whether it was out of envy or admiration, Vondell struck up a conversation with the owner of the Jordans, Julien. That one conversation led to BBQs, playing basketball and video games, more conversations, and eventually a deep and close friendship.
Just as the Bible verse above states, a wise person wins friends. Research has found that friendships have a huge impact on our health:
In one study of 736 middle-aged men, having friendships was shown to lower the risk of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease. Among risk factors for cardiovascular health, lacking social support and friends was as bad as smoking.
– “How To Be A Better Friend” by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times
Social isolation is on a par with high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise or smoking as a risk factor for illness and early death.
– “Shaking Off Loneliness,” by Jane Brody, New York Times
Friends Help Friends Believe
We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
– 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NLT
As Julien’s friendship with Vondell and others grew, so did everyone’s faith. Soon, Bible studies were happening along with basketball and BBQs. Through these Bible studies, in addition to his friends sharing their lives and struggles, Julien began to open up more and more about his life. He also grew in his love for his family and friends. Most importantly, Julien learned how to be a friend of God. It was through prayer and the encouragement of friends that Julien was able to have the courageous conversations he needed to change his relationships and life. This led to him being baptized just this last month!
As Vondell, Aaron, and Julien illustrate for us, friendships are where radical change happens in our lives. Sports teams also give us a great visual of this because we see a group of people coming together to do something they couldn’t do alone. Hall of Famer Steve Young said, “Football is choreography. The more times you break the huddle together, especially under pressure, the better you’re going to get.”
It is in this spirit that we want to invite all of our friends to BACC’s Common Ground building in Sunnyvale on October 1 at 5:00 pm for a men’s event entitled “The Huddle.” It will be a great night of inspiring messages, tailgating with a BBQ, and relationship building.
Until next time,