Written by cycleguy on May 7th, 2013

Looks like I started either a firestorm or a good discussion in my last post.  🙂   Comments varied in response-from yeah to nay.   Thanks to everyone who responded and helped carry on a lively discussion.  For those who did not have a chance to join in, it isn’t too late.  If you choose to respond, I will still post your thoughts.


I finished Craveable this morning (Tuesday).  I went back in my journal and saw I started on Feb.18.  It is designed to last 40 days.  I think I shattered that record to pieces.   For the math challenged, that comes to a total of 78 days.  ‘Course I am math-challenged so you may want to check it.  😉  I chose to read and journal only on Monday through Thursday so that’s my excuse.

The last few days/chapters have been dealing with the church (the local body).  Our effect on the culture.  What we are doing to make a difference.  In chapter 36 Artie said, “A craveable church is able to communicate something relevant. What I mean by relevant is something that is useful in everyday life, understandable, and valuable.”  Strange: nothing there about cussing in the pulpit, smoke & lights, and other extras we deem necessary to be “relevant.”  🙂 Communicate the truth of God, connect it to the world, and watch what happens!

But this last chapter is a jewel:  Our influence comes down to our circle of friends. God puts people into our lives; so does Satan.  God puts them there to stand with us, push us, and help us;  the enemy has other designs. While these people are put into our lives, we choose who will be with us.  They become the circle.   It is proven the longer we are a Christ-follower, the less amount of unbelieving friends we will have.  Here is my question:


Strangely, I am not the only one asking this.  Kari addressed the same question in her blog.  Such a fine line we travel.  A great example is Joshua and Caleb.  They were voted down because of the “bad report” people who were able to sway the crowd.  As Artie says, “Keep those ‘bad report’ people out of your circle!”  I couldn’t agree more.  It is way too easy to be influenced defeated by bad seed planted in your garden.  Walk away from them.   “Only the right people will help me accomplish all God has for me to do.” (p.237)

How do you decide your circle?  Are you pretty picky?

The book: Like all books it had its highs and lows.  It is hard to sustain a constant “Good” over the long haul.   Some of it seemed repetitive.  But all in all, I would suggest it as a supplement to your daily (or semi-daily) reading.



37 Comments so far ↓

  1. I can’t really say we have a circle

  2. Daniel says:

    I like your mojo in this post. I definitely have many more Christians in my life than ever before. It makes a difference.

  3. jeff says:

    I probably am pretty picky. I don’t really enjoy people all that much. I’m a loner to some extent. The friends I do have I have had for many, many, years. I think for school age kids it is important to choose what, where, and with whom they congregate and what they consider having a good time.
    I don’t really think of myself as the football in a game between God and Satan. They need to leave me out of their circle and their game.

    • cycleguy says:

      Nothing wrong with being picky. Due to the nature of my position, I am not “blessed” with a bunch of real close friends. I do have some that I really enjoy being around though. Your statement about kids rings true.

  4. Craig says:

    Juli & I are picky about our circle. We host a small group in our home (Juli meets with the girls and I with the guys). I’ve known some of the guys in my group for 2 years – and I’m close to most of them.

    But the inner circle is tight. Juli and I have 2-3 couples we open up with and share life with. Other than that we are picky. Not in a mean way – we just pay attention.

    What does a person talk about? His drama? Other people? Always complaining? I don’t want that in my life. If they are going to talk about others in front of me then I will be talked about when I’m not there. I don’t want that.

    I’m also picky about who influences my boys. We’ve seen what negative influences can do – so we are picky with the boys too. They don’t get to hang out with just anyone.

    thanks Bill!

    • cycleguy says:

      I see nothing wrong with a “picky circle.” Each couple knows what and who they need. I think you are very wise making sure the circle your boys are involved in and influences them is a good one. Thanks Craig.

  5. floyd says:

    Being in the world and not of the world gets easier as we get older. The world my wife and I are in is filled with non believers, but isn’t that the point? Christ didn’t come for the healthy, He came for the sick. When people know how much you truly care for them and you live the life and heart of Christ, they want to be around us. It’s not us, it is Him. It is living out the life He’s called us to that He uses to change the world… One soul at a time.

    • cycleguy says:

      I think it is good that you two have a world filled with non believers Floyd. Mine isn’t since it is pretty much within the church. I did go to the Y but that was early morning and people were barely alive then. 🙂 You are right…one soul at a time.

  6. Kari Scare says:

    Thanks for the mention in this post! We are struggling with this circle idea with our youngest son so much these days. He does stupid things just to be liked and get attention. Well, I guess that’s not just a kid problem, is it? Anyway, who you hang around with is so important. I try to let the Holy Spirit lead the way in who I spend time with because I mess it up too much.

    • cycleguy says:

      Glad to mention it Kari. It is a really good post. I feel for you with your son. I imagine some of my readers would also. Mine are now 37 & 33 so I am sort of out of that at the moment. 🙂 Being involved in your son’s life is so important. Hang in there with him. Thanks for coming by.

      • Kari Scare says:

        Thanks for the encouragement too! I definitely try to stay involved, but figuring out this junior high boy phase has been a tough one for sure. Also, I am caught up so much in the topic of resisting our culture that I just wrote a couple more posts on it. Hmmm… God must be trying to get a point through to me.

        • cycleguy says:

          I just reread my comment. I have two girls not any boys. I know raising them is different for sure! I’d just like to encourage you to stay the course. Keep loving him and guiding him. Even though ours went through that typical stage of “that’s my parents over there” they eventually came “home” after that awkward stage. Sounds likes a point is being hammered home. 🙂

  7. Zee says:

    “God puts people into our lives; so does Satan.” – Believe it or not, but I never thought of that… I usually assumed that if people are in my life, then God wanted them there for a reason. Hmmm. But I guess your point does make sense.

    I can’t say I am picky, but then, being an introvert, I don’t meet a whole lot of new people… and most of the time, I observe a lot before I make a decision. With some people, I feel there’s something in common and I enjoy getting to know them better. With some, even though there’s nothing outright bad about them, there’s *something* that puts me on guard around that person… There were a couple of times when my initial observations were wrong and I later found out either growing to like that person or discovered that I should be careful, but usually first reaction is right.

    Sometimes, however, I do wonder whether I should trust too easily (because I might get hurt later in the process)… I really dislike those situations…

    • cycleguy says:

      Nothing wrong with being picky Zee, especially if you are an introvert. To go outside your comfort zone and put yourself “on the line” can really lead to hurt. Extroverts (like me) tend to expect getting hurt. It is more devastating to introverts. Glad you are an observer.

      • Zee says:

        The hardest thing is not even getting hurt itself, but to trust again after getting hurt. It takes some time to go back…

        Extroverts tend to expect getting hurt? What do you mean?

        • cycleguy says:

          Because I am an extrovert, I sometimes lack the “slow me down” that an introvert has. It has been said about me that “I assume a familiarity that is not there.” I assume people will like me, therefore, I laugh and joke, sometimes at the others’ expense. I don’t mean to but it can hurt people. (I have gotten better with age). Because I lack discernment at times and move fast, it is easy for me to misunderstand a friendship’s depth. Does that make sense? I have one right now that has suddenly decided he doesn’t want to be a friend any more and it is hurting me. But there is nothing I can do about it. Except hurt. I’m not sure I was able to explain myself adequately so ask more if I haven’t. But thanks for asking. Hmmm must be the observer in you. 🙂

          • Zee says:

            I remember the feeling terrified that I might lose my best friend two months ago, so I feel your pain… Well, sort of, since we did restore our relationship and actually now are doing even better. However, another friendship is hanging in balance right now. But I know that I need to make a move… I’ve been ignoring the issue (and the person), but I miss the friendship.

            Why can’t relationships be easier?

            • cycleguy says:

              I have no idea how it will turn out. Hope this other one gets “fixed.” Answer to question: anything worth having is worth working on….I guess.

              • Zee says:

                Update: the friendship is back on track. We have talked (well, I wrote an e-mail because I wanted to make sure I don’t accuse anyone of anything s/he did not do and regret that later) and he wrote back. Yippie 🙂 I missed that friend a lot.

            • Kari Scare says:

              I find it interesting that we grow stronger because of working through conflict. And, if relationships were easier, would we value them as much?

              • Zee says:

                Kari – I think you’re right. Your example reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine regarding being immortal due to all kinds of tech advances. (Immortal as in life here, on Earth, not the eternal life.) I said that then we would not value life. Everything would become mundane. I really cannot imagine living for 600 years like Noah or 903 like Adam… it seems just WAY too long. I’d rather live 60… (Granted, if / when I will reach that age, I’d probably say, “Okay, well, how about 80?”)

                • cycleguy says:

                  I definitely agree with Zee on this Kari. And you. A relationship of any kind grows because of working through conflict. Even my relationship with Jesus is that way. As conflict comes and I lean more on Him, my connection with Him becomes stronger.

          • floyd says:

            Wow. This is like reading my life… You explained that very wel… Maybe too well! Sorry for the loss of a friend. All we can do is be honest and humble about it I think.

            • cycleguy says:

              Glad i was able to explain myself adequately. I feel I can do so much better in person, but that isn’t possible right now. 🙂 Maybe some day when we meet (here or in the air).

          • Kari Scare says:

            I am glad you commented as you did. My youngest is an extrovert and what you said helps me understand him better and why he says and does things so quickly and without thinking. Partly it’s being 12, I know, but partly it’s his personality, of which I am the opposite.

            • cycleguy says:

              As you figured, part of that is his age. What an age!! 😉 but part of it is his personality. My wife is like you I suspect kari. She is reserved and an introvert (what they call a Phlegmatic). She gets irritated with me at times; rolls her eyes at me sometimes; and sometimes throws her hands in the air. I suspect you will be doing a lot of that in the future.

        • Kari Scare says:

          Just studied the topic of friendship in our adult SS class last week, and Proverbs 27:6 came up. It basically tells us that we will get hurt by friends, but it’s worth the pain. Proverbs has a ton of good stuff to say about friendship.

          • cycleguy says:

            If friendship involves pain then I choose friendship. I just can’t see me being alone and friendless. I do what I can to make a friendship last.

  8. David says:

    Like Jeff, I’m kind of a loner, introverted by nature. If it wasn’t for my wife I probably wouldn’t have a social life at all either in or out of the church.

    That having been said, over the years the mix of people in our “circle(s)” have changed with the various seasons. Through those seasons the mix of Christians to non-Christians has generally decreased but we have developed a few solid friendships outside the church.

    I have no problem having non-Christian friends. We’re called to be salt and light, there’s no need to salt the “salty” or be a light to those already “enlightened”. Within the church iron sharpens iron but it is those outside the church we need to influence.

    Where would we be if Christ only “hung” with His disciples? He sharpened those in His inner circle to go out and influence the world.

    • cycleguy says:

      David I hope I didn’t give the impression Christ-followers should not have unbelieving friends. on the contrary, if they can handle the pressure and can be “salt and light” (to borrow your words) then by all means they should. As an extrovert I can meet all sorts of people and (at least initially) be willing to converse. I think it is great you and your wife “hang out” with nonbelievers. Thanks for the comment.

      • David says:

        Sorry Bill, I didn’t think you were saying Christ-followers shouldn’t have non-Christian friends. I had originally written out a couple of examples of how and why our circles had changed and it was too long-winded. I guess when I shortened it up I edited poorly … 🙂

        • cycleguy says:

          No harm David. I was just making sure my thoughts didn’t get jumbled in the writing. they have before. 🙂 Again, I am glad you and your wife have non-believing friends.

  9. Debbie says:

    Well, my hubby and most of my family and his are unbelievers .. .do I have to have unbelieving friends too??? 😀 Really , though, because of that, I think I really need and count on friends that can counsel me and share Christ with me. Thank you and God bless you with some great friends!

    • cycleguy says:

      WOW Deb. Has to be an interesting story how you came to faith in Jesus when all around you have not. You are right though that you definitely need friends who can encourage you.