Who's your buddy?

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  -Proverbs 27:17

Bill Nystrom. Colon Washburn. Paul Dubbell. Jim Durham. Mike Eldredge. Dave Freeman. Kelly Austin. When I think about how I got to Convoy, those are some names that come to mind for me. Bill was my neighbor; he gave me the initial invite to Man Church. I scoffed at the name and I thought he was crazy to get up so early in the morning for men's fellowship, but I committed to try it. Colon was one of the first stories I heard. Not a lesson, or a devo, or a homily, but an actual story of a real guy and real struggle and real scars and real victory. That's what hooked me. Paul was passionate about connecting men and he was the faithful friend Colon had identified as instrumental in making Christianity real for him. Jim was my first foxhole mentor. Always warm and welcoming, no judgment, incredibly patient, and always on point with the scheduling reminders. Mike took an interest in me and went out of his way to encourage me every time he saw me. I knewDave from work as a humble man who graciously and consistently lived out his faith, no matter the circumstances. Kelly was quiet as could be, but just kept showing up in places where help was needed. He and I started a new foxhole together when Jim's needed to multiply.

I've told you about the men in my foxhole now. I've confidently gone into battle with them on numerous occasions. They instruct and encourage me to be a better man. And I like to think I do the same for them. Interestingly, I knew six of the eight other men in my foxhole in a previous setting before coming together in Man Church/Convoy. When I knew them before, we were not the men we are today, but there was a spark of something, a seed that was planted, that helped lay the foundation for what has grown into a special relationship. They're my brothers in arms. I'm proud of them. I'm not ashamed to say I love them. 

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  -Proverbs 17:17

We heard from one of them this week. Bob Mitchell knew who Jesus was, but he was a little too rebellious/headstrong/self-reliant to pay him too much mind. But Jesus knew Bob, and unbeknownst to Bob, gently pursued him through men Bob knew over a span of several years. Bob might have been divorced, incarcerated, or dead at multiple points in his journey, but somehow he wasn't. And when Bob was ready to come home, he found his way with the help of some of those old friends. If you missed Bob's story, catch the podcast at https://www.convoynwa.org/audio/.

I don't believe in coincidences. I am convinced God places people in our lives - some for a moment, some for a season, some for a lifetime - to help us in our spiritual formation into Christ-likeness. Who are some of the players who have been instrumental in advancing your Christian walk? Who keeps you going now? What tangible impact do those people have on your life? Take a moment to thank them.

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  -Proverbs 27:5

Scott Thompson