Dear brothers and sisters, you are dearly loved by God and we know that he has chosen you to be his very own. For our gospel came to you not merely in the form of words but in mighty power infused with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. Surely you remember how we lived our lives transparently before you to encourage you.
– 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 TPT
God is passionate about leading people out of darkness into a life-changing relationship with him. His vision for his people is to not only be friends with one another, but also become a life-changing family and church. Over the last two years of the pandemic, Amy and I have grown to understand the power that spiritual friendships and the Scriptures have to defeat darkness and bring about transformative change in the lives of others.
Last Sunday, we saw two inspiring examples of how God moved through the Bible and spiritual friendships to radically change lives and build family.
How Friendships Become Life-Changing
Stella Chen met Mei-Mei (a professional ping-pong player) at a work event. Mei-Mei had built a thriving business as an entrepreneur while being devoted to her family, but was still in search of a greater purpose in her life. She came to church a few months later with Stella, and was so inspired that she began coming every week. Stella shared her own life and story of faith, which inspired Mei-Mei to study the Bible. Outside of work and their weekly Bible studies, Stella and Mei-Mei became close friends, working out at the gym together and hanging out every week along with many other women Stella introduced Mei-Mei to. When the pandemic hit, these women became like a family and continued to stay connected every week, talking and meeting on Zoom for Bible studies for the next two years.
Having had no background in Christianity or belief in God, Mei-Mei developed her faith by reading the Bible, and she began opening up about her life with Stella and other friends in their house church. She dug deeper into the Bible, praying to grow her faith and connection with God, and started changing her relationships.
Learning about Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross compelled Mei-Mei to reconcile her relationships with her family and others. She decided to become a Christian and get baptized last Sunday, and is now passionate about her relationship with God and living for God’s purpose to change lives. She expressed how grateful she is for God’s love and the life-changing friendships he gave her with Stella and the women who rallied around her. Mei-Mei is now determined to help others to experience God’s forgiveness and these life-changing spiritual friendships.
How God’s Purpose Redefines Our Destiny
At the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, Alan Ng had just gotten to know Dreyton at a dinner with mutual friends. Dreyton, an accomplished game designer and talented musician, had always been very driven in life. He was passionate about his vision for his company and utilizing his talents. However, as a single parent balancing a demanding work schedule, Dreyton knew he had struggled to build meaningful close relationships for most of his life, and he was eager to change.
Alan introduced Dreyton to his friends Anthony Beckley and Earvin Tam, as each had been single parents and empathized with Dreyton and his life. They began building a close friendship with Dreyton, and found common ground through vulnerably sharing about the personal struggles that God helped them overcome. Dreyton was inspired by their vulnerability and friendships and began studying the Bible every week to not only build a relationship with God, but to discover God’s purpose and destiny for his life beyond his profession.
As Dreyton came to grips with the impact of his past choices and sins on God and relationships in his life, he was cut to the heart (Acts 2:37). He wrestled with God in prayer to overcome the things that kept him from experiencing deep spiritual relationships.
He had never experienced what it meant to be part of a family, and he didn’t know how to build one.
Dreyton was inspired by how much God sacrificed for him by having Jesus give up his life so that Dreyton could have a new life and be part of God’s family. After resolving past relationships, Dreyton decided to make Jesus Lord and was baptized last Sunday. He shared how he struggled most of his life to trust God over his own plans, yet realized God’s love and purpose for him were far greater and more fulfilling than any of his own plans or ambitions.
Dreyton has since become passionate about sharing his faith and is now helping one of his other friends pursue God.
Through the power of the Scriptures, specific prayer, and transparent spiritual friendships, God can change any life. He brings complete strangers, co-workers, or acquaintances together to transform their lives, bringing them together to become a life-changing family together!
Until next time,
Ray & Amy Kim
Lead Ministers, San Francisco