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Why Can't We Be Friends

(23)

Sermon shared by Andy Stanley

August 2011
Summary: Your friends will influence and possibly determine the direction and the quality of your life.
Series: Guardrails
Audience: General adults
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of their lives, and I want that
for you.

Now, as I’m giving these to you, some of you are going to push back in this way. You’re
going to say, Andy, that doesn’t sound very compassionate. That doesn’t sound very loving. That
doesn’t even sound very Christian. What would Jesus do? Do you think Jesus would have
guardrails? So I want you to take all of that concern and I want you to set it aside for five
minutes and then I’m going to come back to that. I just want you to know ahead of time, I
understand that concern. I don’t want anything to get in the way of you processing these
suggestions. I don’t expect that you adopt all five of these. I think it’d be a great idea if you did.
These are some of the things that Sandra and I do and we encourage our kids to do, but I just
want you to listen, because my goal for you is not that you do these five things. My goal for you
is that you recognize the danger and the pitfalls of friendship, and that you establish some
guardrails that keep you safely back from some oncoming traffic, because in our world that’s just
unavoidable reality.

Here’s the first one. I think your conscience should just light up. I mean, this is like, bam,
guardrail. Your conscience should light up when it dawns on you that your core group isn’t
moving in the direction you want your life to be moving in. You should just light up when it
dawns on you that your core group isn’t moving in the direction you want your life to be moving.
When it dawns on you, You know what, my value system, what I want for my marriage, for my
kids, for my finances, for my spirituality, for my health is going this way and most of the people
I spend time with are going this way. When that dawns on you, you should be concerned. Here’s
what we normally do. It dawns on us, but we say, but I’m no worse for it. I’m not developing any
of those habits. But when it dawns on you that opposite direction—close proximity—that should
concern you. It should concern you to the point that you do something about it, that you not wait
until there’s a problem. This is one of the reasons we’re so crazy about community groups here,
starting point groups. This is one of the reasons I’m constantly saying, please don’t spend years
and years and years sitting in rows. I want you to get in circles. Community group—our whole
small groups strategy is an attempt to help you jump-start some new relationships with some
people that are moving hopefully in the same direction in which you’re moving, because the
challenge of this whole process and the challenge of this whole principle is, Okay, but Andy,
these are my friends. These are the people I do life with. These are the people I work with. These
are the people I play tennis with. This is my fraternity. This is my sorority. And I’m not arguing
with you, but this is my group. This is all I have. I just want to encourage you to take some
proactive steps, to be intentional about finding yourself an additional or another group of people.
Because as strong as you are and as disciplined as you are, the companion of fools eventually
suffers harm. So, if all of a sudden it dawns on you, you know what, I’m kind of the lone ranger
and I don’
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