Do you remember your first visit to mosaic? I remember mine.
When I first came to a Mosaic Sunday Service almost 7 years ago I was 18 years old and I had just moved from California to go to school and I was looking for a church. The church that I had come from was huge, I think over 3,000 people. So my experience that Sunday at Mosaic with 50 people was extremely different from what I was used to.
At the time Mosaic was meeting in the Queen Anne Community Center Gymnasium.
- My church at home used their basketball gym. To play basketball but Mosaic was using it for a church.
- My church at home had over 300 high schoolers in our youth group. Mosaic had about 3 people under the age of 18.
- The stage at my home church took up more space than the 100 chairs set up that day.
- The worship band at my home church had dozens of team members for multiple services in different age group ministries. I heard that sometimes the same guy that preached led worship because they were short handed.
My my first visit to Mosaic was so different from what I had ever experienced before. But can I tell you the thing that stood out to me the most that day? The thing that was actually the most different from what I was used to?
The people at Mosaic were real friends. That Sunday I remember meeting so many people and walking away with this sense that these people really loved each other. That they were really a community. I hadn’t seen that in church before.
The practical difference between the space and the service were significant. But what was really most shocking was the way these people were real friends. That’s what kept me coming back, it was the people that were committed to each other and I wanted to be part of something like that. No matter how dingy the gym was. No matter if the sermon entertained me or not, no matter if the worship band played the songs I knew. I saw a family and I wanted to be part of it.
Seven years later and I’m still going strong. I love our church. Mosaic is like family to me. I’m so thankful that I get to call this church home.
We are in a really exciting season as a church. Purchasing our building on Aurora, beginning demolition and renovation in a few weeks. We have missionaries all over the world seeing God do incredible things. We are planting churches. People are putting their trust in Jesus across our city. It’s an incredible time to be part of Mosaic.
As our impact in our city grows, which I believe it will with our new building. As we continue to grow as a church and see God move all over the world. You know what would make all those accomplishments so much sweeter?
If we were real friends.
I really want Mosaic to be part of loving our city, bringing heaven to earth in our region and around the world. But you know even more than that, to do all that and gain real friends in the process. Where we get to the end, look back at all that we got to see God do and to look around me and see real friends… Deep friendships.
I think there are churches that are all about the mission. They’re seeing incredible things happen all around the world. I think there are churches that have deep rich friendships, a family feel. I want both. Why not?
Why can’t we be real friends on mission for God?
How do you feel about your friendships at Mosaic? Do you have real friends here? Are there people that you could go to for help, to talk, or to have fun with? Do people come to you for help, to talk, or to have fun with?
Do you have real friends at Mosaic? I imagine this morning if each of us shared our answers to that question we’d have quite the spectrum of answers.
FIRST TIME – Maybe this is your first time to Mosaic and you’re like “I actually haven’t met a single person here. My friendships here are terrible!”
NO FRIENDS – I bet some of you have been coming, you’ve been part of Mosaic for awhile.. Maybe even years and can’t honestly say that you have real friends here. It’s been mostly surface level. There’s no one that you’d call a real friend.
LOTS OF FRIENDS – and I know there’s folks here that have deep, rich friends within Mosaic.
Do you have real friends at Mosaic? What do I mean when I say real friends?
It’s intangible. But when you have them you know.
Did Jesus have friends? Have you ever wondered if Jesus had friends? What were his relationships like? You may know that Jesus had the 12 disciples but do you think he had a best friend?
Jesus was committed to the mission of saving the world but I have to think he was real friends with some of the people in his life.
I love how this is depicted in the film Passion of the Christ. One of my favorite scenes from that is when Jesus was building a table and interacting with his mother, Mary. This scene is not recorded in the Bible and the Director is clearly using a theological imagination. But I love how it depicts what Jesus friendships may have looked like.
Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_6tJ9qk9SY
Not at the cost of the mission. Jesus didn’t have to give up on the mission to have real friends. He actually had real friends because of the mission. Right in the middle of fulfilling what God was calling him to, he made real friends.
Jesus gives us a definition for friendship for us in John 15:12-15. He’s speaking to his disciples at the last supper.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus calls his disciples his friends. Not merely servants to do his work but friends. These people he’d spent the last three years with travelling, teaching, laughing, eating, spending time together. These were his friends.
How does Jesus define friendship for us in this passage? He says, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Real friendship involves sacrifice. It actually costs something to be a real friend. It requires us to give of ourselves for another. Additionally, Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
It’s easy to read this as a conditional friendship. Like follow my rules and we can be friends. But I think Jesus is actually saying something much deeper. I think Jesus is telling his disciples, when you live on mission, when seek first the kingdom of God, you gain marvelous friends in the process. He’s telling the disciples we’re friends because you’re living this mission with me.
Jesus friends’ were the ones he lived the mission with. The mission was to demonstrate the love of God to the whole world. That’s the same mission that he has invited us into.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
What if that’s what people said about us? When they watch us love one another, when people see us being real friends. They’re drawn closer to God. When we love our friends we advance the mission of God: people knowing his love.
We’ve created this false dichotomy where it’s either deep friendships or it’s accomplishing the mission of God. Why not both? Why not us? Why can’t we be the ones that take Jesus at his word, live on his mission to love the world and grow real friendships in the process.
How do you feel about your friendships at Mosaic?
Our answers would vary drastically, I’m sure of it. Friendship can be really hard and life can be really lonely sometimes. I just want to say if you feel that you don’t have any friends here and you’ve never really felt connected here. I’m so sorry. Life can be really lonely and the fact that you don’t have that here. I’m sorry.
Friendships also often happens in seasons. For whatever reason people move, people leave, relationships change. It’s hard.
However you feel this morning about your friendships at Mosaic I am hopeful. That when we look to Jesus, when we follow his lead we can and will develop meaningful and lasting friendships. It can be really hard. But I believe it’ll be worth it.
For the first 18 years of my life I didn’t think this way.
I grew up attending a church. I would go to the events, to the gatherings. But I thought of church more like an organization or an event. I didn’t think church like we think about church. Like a family.
I went to school in a town about 20 minutes away and most of the kids in my youth group went to the school in the town our church was in. So I was like, I’m the outsider here. I’m not really looking to be friends with these people.
Is that how you think about relationships here at Mosaic? Has church been an attendance. Or observational activity for you?
Not like, I have my friends over here and then I have my church over here. But like, my friends, real people that I rely on, who rely on me. Like my church is a family to me. Have you allowed yourself to be in the vulnerable position?
We need it. We need real friendships in our church. Without real friendships we aren’t being the church that Jesus intended. I don’t mean you’re best friends with every person that’s part of Mosaic, that will never happen.
But having real friends
- The friends you can call when you run out of gas and need someone to help you.
- The friends you can ugly cry with when you experience heartbreak.
- The friends who give you money to pay the bills you can’t afford.
- The friends who make you laugh until you cry.
I believe we can do it Mosaic. I believe we can be a church that lives on mission that gets to be part of incredible things all over the world all the well developing real and lasting friendships.
How do we get there? Have you experienced the friend cliff? I bet you have. What’s the friend cliff? The friend cliff happens when you have a life change, you move, you graduate, you start a new job, you get married, you have a kid. And you have to commit again to friendships.
For most people. You don’t really have to work that hard to make friends until after college. Young adult life is the first time you’ve really had to go out and figure out this friendship thing. Elementary school, middle school, high school, college. You have classmates, teammates, floormates, roommates, a lot of times friendships just happen. But then you get to the young adult life and BAM friend cliff!
Every season change requires us to commit again to friendships. To try again to figure it out again how to have real friendships.
WANT A FRIEND? BE A FRIEND Being friends takes work. Finding friends, making friends, keeping friends takes work.
But the answer isn’t waiting for someone else to be your friend. The answer is you going to be someone else’s friend. To commit to being a friend even before it feels good.
You know a familiar passage for us at Mosaic is Acts 2. We get this really clear picture of what the early church looked like Acts 2:42 says that the early church was DEVOTED TO THE FELLOWSHIP. The early church was committed to being real friends. Not friends on convenience but friends because they knew that was God’s plan.
Why do we think of community only happening in small churches? Why not us? Why not when we move into this new building? We can only do this, because Jesus did it for us first.
Jesus is the perfect friend because he sacrificed himself for our sake. He died so that we might live. He invited us to be friends with others around us because he wants them to know his love. He loved us first. So that we could love others.
Being real friends is a great key to accomplishing the mission God has called us on. And as we be the church together in Seattle. We can’t miss God’s invitation to the church to be real friends together.
- How are you being a friend? What are areas you can grow in the friendships God has called you to?
- What would it look like to be friends on a mission? How would that deepen, strengthen and grow your friendships?
- What would our church look like if we were more than just a building, but a community of friends called to carry out the plans and purposes God has for our city?
- Are there any practical steps you can take this week to walk out in biblical friendship?