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Welcome back to Unfiltered Faith podcast with your host, Meredith against us. And today we have two very special guests.

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We have Tracy and all of you guys, and we're so excited. So Tracy is an actor. He's a kingdom activist. Come on. He also has an account called Believer, and you guys have to follow it. It's actually amazing. Come on. Your Daily Dose of encouraging words, edifying things to build people up.

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We do. And that's really what this episode is going to be about friendship and why it is so important in our lives. Yeah, I think all of us have kind of a testimony of how our friends have really impact. You impacted us and helped us grow.

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And I feel like we've had those friendships that we know aren't good. And then we we get those good friendships and we're like, wow, this is what I need. Like, oh, yeah, for sure.

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What I've learned recently about friendship is that it helps awaken you to the life of Christ that's in you. You know, it makes you even more aware of who you already are in Jesus and what you all get to kind of do together because of love and how you get to function. And so that has been a deeper revelation about friendship and my own personal life, because now we all get to live in togetherness because of love, and we get to become more aware of who we are and how to function on Earth together.

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It's like the five closest people around you are the average of yourself. Yeah.

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Wait, reflection is true. Yeah. Reflection on yourself. Yeah. Like my favorite one of my favorite passages of scripture about friendship specifically is that of John 11 and it's after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. And then what he did was so cool he told the people to go by and Lazarus like so he didn't do it himself. But he told people to go to indicate the need for relationship and how God relationship can awaken you to freedom to your own.

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It's such a cool it's such a cool picture of like the purpose of community and how essential community is, because we live in such a society where everything is very individualistic or independent, you know, like even in in the faith community where we we undermine under communicate the importance of friendship. We sort of elevate other topics and subject matters. But if you look at the life of Jesus and even a lot of the statements by Jesus, he communicated more about friendship than you really did about marriage or did anything outside of the realms of kingdom family.

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And so you see, like in his life and in his speech, how necessary it is.

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That's such a great example. There's two I might like this because I kind of want to just talk to you.

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Yeah, there's two characters in the Bible that were I think it was I just listened to a sermon on this, but they were like such great best friends. Well, Jonathan and David.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. They were right on that.

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So it is interesting, too. It says that two are obviously it's not good for man to be alone created. Adam and Eve, he said, is not good for Adam to be alone and created him a helper.

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Yeah. Which is wonderful because it doesn't diminish the beauty of marriage. You know, you look at it's a blessing mean. It absolutely is, because you look at the bride of Christ, which is a reflection of, in one sense, marriage for the Earth, but also the body of Christ, which is a reflection of the community of God on the earth. Both are equal and necessary and inseparable. Their expressions and how they look will just be different, but one is greater than the other.

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So you look like marriage. It's not greater than friendship, for they're equally yoked, they're equal. Their expressions just are different. And so teaching people how to live in Kingdom relationship is really crucial because it allows for you to understand who you are, the Lord, how to live life together in the Lord, how to bring heaven to earth together. Yeah, because it's made up of a massive family, like all of scripture is about a dad really trying to bring his kids back into the family from which they came from if they choose.

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Yeah. Yes, exactly. The sudden story. Yeah. So but Jonathan and David, it's really cool because you see in their relationship where, you know, Jonathan was still somewhat of the son of the king before David became king and David was also a shepherd. So you see just kind of how there is a knitting by the spirit because they both saw Jesus in each other in a way that most people really don't understand or see because Jesus is king and also the great shepherd.

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So they see both of those in one another by the spirit and together in relationship.

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So, yeah, he's like, oh, I actually get to live in a relationship with people when I choose to see people by the spirit of God vs. anything outside the box. Yeah.

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Well, that's so good. My interpretation of friendship.

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Hey, OK, we get to do so like like what you were saying. You are who you're on the average five you surround yourself with you will become. So in high school and college. I was around people that weren't godly, that were partying, that were drinking, that just their morals weren't that well with, you know, men and just different views of who I am now as a godly woman. And so my mom, when she was always praying for me and she's like, look like you're around these people and they're navigating you into a worldly direction.

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Like, you know, I had to come to terms out like those friendships left and new came in. But I saw that change in me like, wow. Like, they really impacted me in a way that wasn't so. Well, Golby, like obviously like I was in the world, I was partying, I was drinking. I didn't care about my relationship with God, with myself. And it really does impact you. That's why having good community and godly relationships to uplift you and to make you a better person is so, so important.

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But that's my. What about you in. No, what. Yeah, 100 percent.

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Especially if like especially even if one of those friends is like, let's say one of them has depression or let's say one of them is very negative all the time. You're going to inherit that like you're going to take that from that person and you're going to end up being more negative because of that person that you surround energy like flows into you.

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Yeah, that's why you want to surround yourself with godly friends, because they're they want to grow closer to God. You want to grow closer God. And you can just do it together. Yeah, I agree with that.

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Another thing I think, though, like even I've noticed that this is what we started doing is if we see each other kind of like complaining or we notice we're kind of like doing something that is not very good. It's like we'll call each other out. Yeah. Yeah, I think it's important. Yeah, that's super important. And check. Yeah. Today she was like, oh I'm so stupid. I was like, words have power. There is life and death and the power in your tongue.

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So. So I stopped and I said take that back like you're not stupid. But that was just maybe a little mistake, because when we place when we speak these things out loud, the identity or those words come and try to like take a part of you, but it's not you at all. Right. So I agree with that.

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One of my friends said this once and I thought I was genius. They got a real friend will stab you in the face, not in the back. Yes. It really conveying loving truth to you and challenge you.

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Tracy, that was so deep, like I told you. But it's someone that loves you will be honest. Yeah. In love. Yeah.

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Because they don't want you to live with a wrong. Yeah, yeah, and just really debilitating not to bring you down and not to be like, you know, rude about it totally, but like there's a scripture, it says in First Corinthians 15, 33 says that bad company corrupts good care.

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It's true. So. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, great. People will obviously enable and develop help develop quality character that's already there and available for you to become. But oftentimes the Lord will help you by using people you know.

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Oh, that's so true. Yeah. I feel like a lot of like blessings that God wants for us is through like relationships and connections, divine friendships. Because the only reason I met Stoss was because I randomly one day this is so God like his hand was over this whole situation. I met this guy named Ben at a spa and through him I met these all these people that showed me relationship with Jesus and not religion. And she's my way of thinking.

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God blessed me by putting these people in my life. Yeah. Like, I just am so in awe of the way he works.

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Yeah. I'm I'm actually very thankful for friendships being in the like the modeling acting industry. Yeah. It's it can be very tough because. Oh yeah. So you're a model. Yeah. Oh yes. So I mean yeah.

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Yes, yeah. Yeah. But it's yeah. Tell us about the modeling industry and how friendships there are so different than like your God, the relationship.

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Well I mean even just like I don't want to say like real people, but people who don't understand the industry, it's so hard to talk about my work with them. And when I have friends, I understand it. It's just like like friends, friends. I've got friends who understand. It's just like it's so fluid. And when I'm like, say, I for example, I meet someone new and I told them I do this.

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Well, first off, I probably won't tell them I do it because of the reaction that they'll give me. And it's like, OK, I'm not going I'm not going to talk to you guys about it. But once ever, whenever I talk about Tracy or Kadin or Titus or other actors, they just they yeah, they understand it and they're able to help me grow closer to God in that sense.

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I have a question for you. How has friendship impacted your life? Like where where was friendship for you before you became aware of what it actually is to you now?

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My the main thing of my testimony was that I like throughout high school and just growing up, I felt very alone. I felt like no one understood me. And there's a like I just I realized that I was craving, like, friendship, but in a deep, intimate way. I didn't have, like, a close group of friends that I could confide in and tell, like, what I was going through, because there were things I was going through.

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I mean, I had suicidal thoughts in high school and I I wanted to die in high school and I didn't have anyone that I could tell that to. And so it was really just me isolated in my home doing YouTube. No friends, everyone just watching me online. And to the average, I you think, oh, this girl has like the perfect life. Like, she seems so happy, but little do they know I'm like, miserable and not thriving at all.

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And so what happened was, is I kind of I found this group of girls that did the same thing. I did the two stuff. And I kind of put myself in this friend group because they well, they kind of invited me in. But I conform to everything they were doing because I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to feel known. I wanted to have that sense of community. And it was because I did it myself and I didn't, like, wait on the Lord for those friendships.

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I had to learn these hard lessons. But ultimately, all of that added to who I am as a person today. And I don't like look at it as a bad thing. I look at all those all the pain and all the struggle and all the hurt is like God molding me and shaping me into who I am today. But once those friendships, like, left my life, I went through a season of solitude with God. I really did.

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I had to have like kind of alone time. And yeah. And I and I waited and I trusted and I prayed to God and asked him to bring people into my life. And actually I don't even know if I prayed for that. But God bless this girl. I like what she's going to do. Right. Yeah, but then I really did see, like, how important it is to have those people in your life and oh, my gosh, I think I also at one point I remember when I went to Sacramento and everyone wanted me to like, come stay at the house and be a part of what they were doing.

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I went and I got a room at the Motel six because I wanted to isolate myself and be alone. And it was the thing that I couldn't figure out why I so badly wanted connection. But then also I was afraid of letting people know the inner parts of me. I didn't want to tell them. What I was going through was when I was struggling with an eating disorder and I felt like shame and guilt over that. So I didn't want to be around people.

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Oh, wow.

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I just never thought of that camera. All right, so this is about I think and I think that's a tactic of the enemy, is to shame you and guilt you into feeling like you can't open up to anyone because you're going to be a judge or whatever. And if you have the right people in your life, they will. I mean, there's no condemnation for those crimes. So, like you aren't you should not feel any shame or guilt is not from God.

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So you never feel like embarrassed to. I think we should be like confessing to our friends, like we're going through. Yeah, totally. And they just need to remind you of who you already are. Yeah.

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Making life into you if you're feeling sad like I was I remember on my birthday, I was like the day before I was depressed when she flew in a sock and I picked her up, I was like, is she OK?

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She was really sad. And like, I was like trying to uplift atmosphere. That's why it's so important. When someone is weak, you can make them strong, like through friendship, through like God, like especially when you're going with your eating disorder. I feel like over time, like you I don't know, like you opened up and it got you more stronger with the right the right people that came in your life. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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I'm OK. Oh, have a good question. Do you guys think you're good friends.

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That's a great question. Holy cow. I think I am a great friend. Come on. I'm very confident in it. Yeah.

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No, no, she's an amazing friend like you.

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You're like she bought me flowers, I got snoring. So I think I'm. They were talking and she was like, it's like we're friendship dating and we're like preparing for what we do day. Like, it's kind of like a we all done. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's like learning how to if we if she leaves dishes, we have to communicate like you learn how to do that. Yeah. Yeah. OK, I feel like friendship does prepare you to be a good spouse.

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You know what I'm learning too is like we had like these seasons of friendship, like we're not as close and we're not that open. But now I feel like we even talked before I came here and we were like, we're growing so much in our friendship that like we're more confident with each other, like open up more with each other. So we're getting more to the place. We're like we're really just being, like, really open. Yeah, honesty's someone come because sometimes we can be a little closed off and then we get mad at each other.

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So I like it's not even the worst thing, but guys, guys, guys.

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Well, it's I mean, the pros is that person, like I would say, a lot of my friends now we have like a lot of my close friends, we have such a cool, like brotherly relationship to where we learned how to communicate, be consistent, be open, be constant just because we see the value and like the necessity of having a transparent relationship because it just. You you allow for someone to see all of you and then to speak to the places where you think that you're not enough, you might believe that you are lacking here and they're able to actually call forth all that's already in you to make you aware that, hey, you're not actually lacking in this area.

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You're filled, you're full. And I'm here to remind you of that because I love you. You know, like even like building. I mean, because communication is the bridge to building each other up. Yes. Yeah. So like being able to communicate honestly and lovingly and even dealing with conflict, like that's been cool.

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I mean, I'm not I'm not confrontational, but I can handle confrontation. We were talking about this. We do not like confrontation. No, we want our fire for our firefighters fight like we're like I said, I'm like, fuck you. We're like in the season, we're like, OK, we need to address this head on and she's really good with, like, grace and like understanding and like I'm struggling like that. Yeah. She, like, knows and she like doesn't get upset with things with me or like I don't know, like she like uplifts me if I'm struggling and.

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Right.

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It's just so I'm kind of I don't know I, I've gotten so like one of my kaiden for instance, him and I are both very similar in the sense of we're not confrontational persay, but we can handle confrontation. And so having to kind of communicate things to one another, we've learned how to approach each other with such a loving grace and also to articulate like what you're actually feeling and thinking, what might have been done just so the other person has a better understanding, because I used to be the kind of individual where I was either.

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If someone bothered me, I was just going to. Cut them off, say. I mean, I was like I was going to, like, run away. I used to do that. That was such a I used to think, I thought, but now I'm like, I've learned, hey, it's actually necessary for me to, like, really get to know a person to have healthy conflict and discourse with you.

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Like my roommates, Carter, my roommate Carter, also one of my best friends is he's such an incredible communicator. So he does a great job at communicating his point of view, why he might feel that way and why it's necessary for us to have this conversation to move forward. So that way nothing is hidden or like, you know, you just avoid it.

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But that's what you don't grow with your friendships, like I noticed. Yeah, we avoid things. I don't we don't it doesn't grow. And then there's no honesty and there's there's miscommunication. There's a lot of. Yes, Slack's.

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That's why sometimes it's good to have it's very like approaching it with love is the biggest thing is not to put you down. And it's like, OK, like I you're going to make me cry right now. I used to kind of come and hang out with people like with guns blazing, like the moment I knew, oh, I can, I can confront something at my approach.

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But sometimes the approach is like that because it's just kind of in the moment you're like, oh yeah. But then like OK, sorry my bad. Yeah. Let me tell you, let me just speak to you not and then you could just apologize. I didn't mean it that way and then it's fine and then you're like OK. Yeah totally.

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But you would say, you would say that you're a good friend for sure. Yeah.

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Yeah I think I would say you guys seem like great friends. Yeah. Oh yeah. Right. Yes. I would say that you guys seem like great friends. Yeah. Yeah. You know she's a great friend.

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Maybe I should buy you flowers.

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No, I have a friendship bracelet. So this is probably a good question for audience members. What makes a good friend? Like, what would you say? Like characteristics. Yeah. What is it? What are quality care? That's a great question.

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They have to be for me understanding. They have to be compassionate, honest. They always can be a backstabber, not a fake friend. Like obviously like I'm going to go because I've had friends like that. Like I would talk to me about other, like girls in our friend group.

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And it's kind of like that's yeah. Gossip. They read God hates them. That's what I've said. But God. Yeah, I just think someone that's, you know, just understanding and loving and now wants the best for you that, you know, those friends that like seem that want the best for you, that you are like jealous.

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Yeah. That like want to put you down. That's why I'm like God give me discernment for all my friends. But yeah I would say those qualities, I would say someone is faithful and it's as if for First Corinthians thirteen four it's it's about love. Like this is the definition of love. Yeah. This is love is patient. Love is kind. It does not end. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others.

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It is not self-seeking. It is not easily agreed. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes and always person.

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So to me that makes up a friend like. Oh yeah, one hundred percent.

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I mean, yeah it's, it's like that's just, that's Jesus because it's Jesus. That's his, that's his love. Yeah. And so we get to give that to. Yeah. And we get to reflect.

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Yeah. What about you guys. Listen Meredith just hit it right on back.

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I'm going and just take her answer like I mean we when you are, when you have intimacy with Jesus you reflect on, you know so and you reflect in all areas of life, including your friendships. So you can kind of tell when someone is having when someone has an intimate relationship with Jesus face and how they treat people, especially when they're friends, family. Yeah, because I've met like so many people who are incredible when it comes to biblical knowledge and theology.

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But yeah, their character, not mine. It's like, oh, I just know about Jesus. You don't I don't think you can. Oh yeah. Oh jeez. You know, there's no intimacy there quite yet, but it's great. At least, you know, stuff. Now when you have intimacy, you translate that together. Oh yeah. But until doing it's like you go back into the secret place where it is like. Needs a lot more time to know that you've received a love of God.

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I would say Meredith's answer is for you to feel like you're a good friend.

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Yeah, I'd say I'm a good friend. I believe that I'm a pretty good friend. I can agree with that. And I'm growing and learning, too. Yeah, I think we're all. Yeah. Yeah.

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Well you mr. I mean, you could answer more. And my good friend, I think you're great.

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I think I'm a good friend so I just do for a good friend. What makes a good friend to you.

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Hmm. That's a tough question. No, it's actually not that tough. What makes a good friend is being there for the person 100 percent of the time, whenever they need anything, whenever they like, whenever they even if they want something. Yeah. Fully just present in their life when they need something. Come on with that.

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Well, how do you guys feel when you have a friend that only asks you for stuff? Yeah. Oh, makes me feel not good.

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Well, yes, I think we all need to provide each other value in the sense of relationship. And if you need anything like I'm I'm a helping hand. Right.

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So it's hard because you want to you want to share Jesus like you want to share your love, share Jesus love to them and be kind and be open and be helpful. But at the same time, it's like you only talk to me when you need something. And it's it's like a double edged sword, kind of.

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You think about how people treat Jesus to be the same. Yeah, true. Like, well, sometimes people kind of put them on the shelf and then they pick them up and they need them and they come back, you know. Yeah. You know, but he's always so willingly available at any given moment. Like one of my when I was in Bible College, one of my leaders taught me to live life with an open hand. And it's so helped me with friendship and relationships because like the hand of God is there, but people can come and go as they please.

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And so even in my life, I will live with my hand open and you can come and go as you please. But I'm still going to remain the same in the Lord, giving you the love that I received, because the only that I always love, regardless of how they treat. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm like, regardless of if you treat me properly or mistreat me, that doesn't change. Nor does it. It doesn't change my perspective of you.

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If I see you through the lens of love, I see you the way that Jesus sees you, regardless of how you treat me or don't treat me, I only owe you. Yeah. Which means I can respond and look to you because in essence, we're becoming love as we continue in our relationship with God. And the more time you spend in the secret place, the more you can pour into us. Yes, I've noticed how important that is.

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Like if you're not if you're constantly like Martha and you're always busy and you're never seeing a true Jesus, like you need to be able to spend that time with him so that you can come out into other.

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That's good. From an empty cup. I feel like he's there. That everyone is just go, go, go, go, go. See stridently. There's no striving.

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Come on. You better tell me, do you? OK, let me ask, do you guys have any close friends that are not Christians or that maybe they're like lukewarm.

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Yeah. Or maybe you believe in God really go to them when they need them type of thing.

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I mean I do. I have like acquaintances from like high school and college obviously that I used to be friends with that I've straight away from that need. Jesus. All right. And then I have some I think with my friends now, we're all still growing with the Lord. And so trying to, you know, become our better versions of ourselves and grow that intimacy with God. And like, we're on the same path that, like, have now.

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It's like we're trying to grow with we're all like seeking the Lord your right versus just like we're not being content. Yeah. We're not Christian or we don't want to go to church or like we don't want to read the Bible or have interviews with God.

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So it's like, yeah, I would say my close circle. They're all believers. Yeah. Believers. But there are people that I'm friends with who aren't believers and not that I'm like a missionary friend, but I'm in a relationship with them to give them Jesus because everyone on the face of the planet needs to.

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Do you make one hundred percent? Do you make that the focal point of the relationship, though, or do you just love them? That's good. You know, I just love just sharing the love with Jesus, live life with them. I'm not going to compromise with them in any way, shape or form. And they know that like they know where I stand on my belief system and how important it is to me. You know, I'm never shoving that down their throats.

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Yeah, well, that's making it like a a an overbearing conversation. Oh, yeah. I'm just available. You're there to love and be like.

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Yeah. It's so interesting, though, because I was talking to my mom and she was saying since I would be maybe down here like you have Meredith and just don't get involved in the wrong people to get sucked back into the world. And she was giving me an example of how she had. A group of girls that she met and she tried to be the light and be someone to represent Jesus in their life, but over time she noticed that she started to conform to that type of friendships and she was trying so hard to be like, you know, not shove it down their throat and be like, come to Jesus, but like be the light and the and the person that vessel in their lives.

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But she knew that fine distinction of like, OK, this group is tearing me down more than I'm bringing them up. Yeah.

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That's why I I'm a big believer of my close friends in my close circle. They need to be people that have a real love for him to have a real genuine relationship where we challenge and encourage and we call each other higher and awaken each other and then other friends that they don't have that kind of relationship just yet. You still have the responsibility of giving them the love of Jesus. You can understand what it means to live in wholeness and to live for and to live complete, because you understand that you've received that in him, you know?

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And so I've kind of it's been a lot easier because of my because of my relationship with Jesus. It's been way easier to give that to people who don't really have that relationship just yet. Yeah, because you now know, like what the need is and you can just give it accordingly. And just enjoy life as you continue. Yeah, what about you, honey? Are you close with. Yeah, actually one of my best friends from college I've talked to, he isn't he's he'll talk with God whenever he needs something.

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And like I've explained the gospel to him to talk to him about it. And he shares share like Stephen Vertigo's stuff on this page because it's good motivation or whatever. And it's like hopefully down the road he'll understand. Yeah. But at the same time, I know that those people are in my life for a reason and I'm there to be a light and I can just continue to love them and just be their friend. The best of my ability, like they're my best friend for a reason.

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So it's like they're yeah, they're in my life for reasons I mean, I'm just going to continue to as well as much as I can. So good.

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One thing I've been kind of learning with God is how his timing like we can't understand his timing. You know, sometimes I feel like, oh, I need to, like, be the one that like like helps them get to that place in God's anointed time because he has set a time for some something to happen. And all you can do is like, you know, plant the seed and just it's going to be watered somehow. And yeah, you just have to trust that God has like, his timing is so much better than anything like his weisburd are higher than our ways.

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His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. So I just think that like with certain friendships that you have where they're not on the same level spiritually or they're not there yet, like you can just trust and like kind of hand that over and those trust those prayers that you pray for your friends. Yeah. That that that plant will grow like over time.

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But it won't it won't reap now because maybe it's not God's timing, but over time those prayers will, you know, come to life. Prayer is so powerful is like pray for your friends. Like literally. I know. Well, we have like face time prayer dates. We like probably. Yeah, right. I really like we're like, yes, spirits are like any demonic like my mom. My mom was praying for me for so long to get out of that friend group and now like she sees the fruit of fruit a bit like she was like, thank God you have great friend.

[00:30:29]

I'm like, I know because your parents work, that's all.

[00:30:31]

Guys, one thing that my friend actually just brought to me, because sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the people that want to pray for that. He does. Monday, Tuesday, every day of the week, he writes in a journal like The Friends that he's going to pray for each day. So like Monday will be his close friends. Tuesday will be his probably Wednesday will be like coworkers or whatever. Yeah, yeah. But it was super interesting.

[00:30:53]

It's cool.

[00:30:53]

Oh, I pray for people. That's a good note to end on.

[00:30:59]

This is our longest episode. I'm forty one minutes. I hope up pretty well guys. This is fire though so listen through all of it. You love it. Listen to it in the car when you're in the shower, stop being in the shower.

[00:31:14]

Well, yeah, sometimes I guess I do really well. I put like yeah yeah yeah I, I can I do it everywhere. I mean I listen to Justin Bieber, I listen to stuff and focus on driving. You know, it's just good to see you in a Prius out. OK. OK, come on now.

[00:31:37]

Oh dear Lord I thank you for this time that we had together in this great conversations this these wonderful people that are with us tracing in. And we thank you for this wonderful time that we have together. And I pray for everybody listening to be able to grow the relationship with you and grow healthy godly relationships in their lives. And we pray for blessings and love a man I know I love.

[00:32:03]

What do I.