If you are in youth ministry or ministry in general you will appreciate my pain. I remember being in a small group of youth pastors that met once a month in my early days of youth ministry. This group was the place I dumped. A place where I poured my heart out. A place where I got to gripe about church life. A place I got to dump about parents, kids, leaders, pastors. The group was a place of safety. A place where I was prayed for, I cried, and I literally asked God to teach me how to cope with the daily grind of loving the church and those within the church without wanting to strangle those I served. Those guys were my friends. There is another friend I’ve had over the last ten years that I’ve done just as much sharing with and dumping as those guys I sat with monthly. She was given to me by a church I love dearly with all of my heart, a church where I met the Lord, where I married my best friend and wife, where I heard the call of the Lord to go into full-time ministry. I lost this friend today. This friend has seen my cry. This friend has helped me lead eight different churches into the throne room of our King. I’ve spent numerous hours with this friend. If she could talk she’d tell you lots. She’d tell you about the youth who strummed her. She’d tell you about my own children trying learn how to play her. She’d tell you about the mission trips she had been on to Mexico and the beach trips. She’d tell you about the times she saw the spirit of God move upon the people of God in worship. She would tell you about the songs I led and the numerous times I played King Jesus is all with a smile…she evens knows how many guitar strings I broke. She’d tell you about the times I played my guitar to help my kids go to sleep. The songs I sung to myself that I’d try to write for my kids and my wife that were still works in my heart and in progress. She’d even tell you how I love to worship, how I love leading others into worship, and how she even put up with my mediocre voice…last night around 3:00am, alarms a blazing, in my office at church…my guitar walked away with someone who obviously needed it. I loved my friend dearly. I will miss her and I pray that the Lord will use her whatever pawn shop she lands in. So long buddy!