A person is lucky in life to have a few really good friends. The kind who will stand beside you in good times and bad. Who never waiver in their loyalty. Who know your strengths and your weaknesses and love you and believe in you anyway.

Okay, I usually don’t do what I am about to do, because I don’t like to play favorites and because I believe that everybody is somebody. I like to encourage the whole and not single out the one too much because you can get political in your leadership if you are not careful. But I feel compelled by the Lord to talk about one person today. His name is Roger. He has been standing beside me as a friend for twenty years at Horizon. Each time I have felt the Lord call us to take a bold move as a church, Roger has been there to say, “Let’s go for it pastor. I am with you.” It reminds me of the story in the Bible where Jonathan says to his armor bearer, “Let’s move forward and take new ground.” And the armor bearer, in essence says, “Let’s go dude. I will go back to back with you in this battle.”

1 Samuel 14:6-7

6 “ Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” 7 “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.” (NLT)

They go, they do battle and they kick some pagan booty (in our case, spiritually speaking of course). Roger is like this brother who said, “Let’s do this thing, Chief.”

In the day of the Roman soldier, every soldier would have a partner they called the paraclete. In battle, these partners would stand back to back and link arms. This would ensure that they wouldn’t be caught unaware in an attack from behind. They covered for each other. Roger has been this kind of partner for me.

Now I know that not everything I say as a leader is correct, but leaders must do their best to hear from the Lord, choose the path God is calling them to and move to take ground for God. Our very purpose as warriors for God is to be Kingdom Builders. When you make bold moves for God, you need people who are full of faith, courageous and willing to jump in with you and do the hard work that the Lord calls you to. Pastor Roger is this kind of brother. I love him and I have and will do my best to bless him and be there when he and his family need me as well.

So thanks, Roger, and I really could add a few other names here today as well. I am truly a blessed man.

I thank God for surrounding me with men who are not timid or afraid when it comes to moving forward and doing battle to take new ground for God. The definition for new ground is rescuing the vulnerable, helping the hurting and reaching souls for Christ.

Philippians 1:3-5 says:

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now… (NIV)

And I do thank God for you, Pastor Roger Levasa. I hope for everyone that they will find a friend like you and that all of us can be this kind of friend to another as well.

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan