What Am I Grateful For Today…Friends

He began speaking with confidence in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they received him into their circle of friends and explained to him God’s way more accurately (Acts 18:26, Common English Bible).

Yesterday was such a good day. I spent much of the day at Columbia United Methodist Church’s annual Miracle Market and Bistro. It was the first time I was really a vendor at one of this kind of event.

I spent the day with friends I have known for a while. There is Paul, the pastor of that congregation, who I have been acquainted with for several years. It was the first time I met his wife Cynthia and I am thankful for that opportunity.

There is also the lady who sells crosses. The only time I see her is at these craft shows but we always try to spend a few minutes catching up.

There were others too. There are members of Columbia UMC I have met in a variety of ways over the past year or so. I sing in the Coastalaires with Richard and had met his wife at several of their events. He also has helped me discover the joy of wood carving. Kaci, one of the employees on my staff in Sweeny was there. She is a member at Columbia. There were others I have met when preaching at that church first during a Lenten lunch service in the spring and then again for three weeks after my friend Mike retired.

There were also members of First Methodist Sweeny who came by to support their brothers and sisters in West Columbia. There was Sherri, Gayle, Mike, and Michael. It was great spending a little time with them away from our own church.

Though it is still a bit early, Santa Claus was present. I have him one of the prayer ropes I enjoy tying. I think it is the first time I have ever given Santa a gift. I also enjoyed getting to know the man behind the costume.

There were lots of new friends at the market besides Santa. There was the little girl Cindy gave a ring and a cross. She came back a few minutes later and gave us a jar of preserves. She is one of our new friends.

After the market was over and Cindy and I had a little rest and relaxation time at home, we went out for dinner with our friends Paul and Margie. We went to a restaurant Cindy and I have gone to for years. Over time, we have become friends with the owners and always enjoy seeing a great family at work.

Yes, it was a great day spent with friends. I am reminded of my many other friends, friends I didn’t get to see today. And, friends I only see in my memories because these friends have joined the Church triumphant. I am still blessed by some and blessed to have known others.

Friends are an important part of our lives. Friends have always been important to people. And, sometimes we have the privilege to introduce our friends to others of our friends. There are other times when we meet new people and they become a part of our circle of friends.

Such was the case for Apollos when he met Priscilla and Aquila in our lesson today. Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos speak. They met him and struck up a friendship. That Luke would take the time to tell us about this friendship tells us that having friends and building friendships is something that is pretty important.

God did not intend us to go through this life alone. None of us are islands unto ourselves. God made us communal creatures. We are built for one another, to build each other up, to share in the good times and the times of difficulty. In those times and in others, maintaining friendships can be difficult. But, what we get in return is so important and well worth the effort.

Friends are the thing I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today? Take a few minutes and write it down in your journal and then share it with someone else.

I also hope you will join your friends in the faith today. Go to worship. Be with faithful friends and be with God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

One thought on “What Am I Grateful For Today…Friends

  1. I am very thankful that God has given me a passion for community and to provide space for others. The wife and I had a dude over for lunch today and we got to learn heaps about him which was awesome.

    Thanks for sharing your post Keith

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