No time like ... the past?

"Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need.'
"Jesus replied: 'Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don't you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father?"

I love that verse. Can't you just see Jesus slapping himself on the forehead when Phillip asks him if they can see God?

Jesus: "You're kidding, right? Sheesh, when are you going to get it through your thick skull who I AM?"

Of course, that's how I would react. Instead, Jesus just lovingly reminded them all who he was, who he is and who he always will be. He is so patient and loving.

Quickly: If I don't capitalize pronouns as they relate to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, etc., it's not because of a lack of respect for the divinity of our Lord. I simply forget half the time, and I don't want to be inconsistent. No offense, OK? I'm sure He doesn't mind.

The picture today? That's from First Baptist Church in downtown Charleston, W.Va., on Shrewsbury Street.

God is answering prayer. I'd had something of a falling out with my closest friends in the last year or so, mainly because of the way I handled my rededication to Christ. See, there were two things at play here.

First, I found (heck, why am I using past tense?) -- I find -- it hard to witness to others. It's a skill I haven't totally mastered, and often I use my inherent shyness as a crutch. It's doubly hard to witness to these, my three closest friends, because they know me so well. Indeed, they knew the "old" me, the one that valued sin more than a closer relationship with Christ. How, I reason, do I tell them about the change God has made in my life when they've seen me at my worst?

The fear? That I would come off as a fantastic hypocrite. They would be entirely justified in saying to me: "Who do you think you are, telling me about Jesus? I know you. Further, who do you think you're talking to here?"

Second, I withdrew from them partly because I didn't want anything in my life that reminded me of the man I once was. I'm ashamed of that person, and rightfully so. Problem is, I had a wonderful friendship with those guys, and the fact is, we had a blast, and oftentimes that involved things I no longer do. How do I reconcile my past sins with the fact that I had so much fun hanging out with the guys?

I handled it all wrong. Everything about it. These are my friends, my best buddies in the whole world, and I cut off ties with them because I was ashamed of myself. I love each of them, and the only way I can heal our friendships is to show them Christ's love, consequences be damned.

And you know what? There are no consequences in allowing one's life to reflect His. At least, not in the way we perceive the word "consequence." The only consequence can be that God truly reveals himself in our friendship -- and there can be no harm in that.

Pray for me, and for them.

Want to know Jesus in a personal way? Read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible, click on the link above called "How do I become a Christian" or send me an e-mail.