Weekly Blog

What is True Friendship?

Cyndi and I often kid around that it’s only the two of us, no one else, whether we’re in Pennsylvania where we live, or Arizona and Nevada, places we like to travel. Like her parents and mine, we do everything together, having very few close friends otherwise. I’m blessed and gratified that my wife is truly my best friend. 

Cyndi often says that I know the world. It’s interesting…many, many places we go, I end up knowing someone or knowing someone who knows someone. I learned a long time ago though, that acquaintances aren’t the same as friendships. I have a ton of acquaintances, but very few close friends. Very few. 

For me, there’s a high bar to the word “friend”. I think of those who meet that criteria as being in my inner circle…those people who invest in me and me in them. It includes those who are heading in the same direction as me, who teach and pray with me, laugh and cry with me, and hold me accountable. They’re there when things are great, as well as when big challenges surface. 

Maybe it’s that high bar that results in me having so few friends. Or maybe I’m just wrong (feel free to respond to this and comment). Maybe the definition should be much broader. One of the problems here is mine. I’m not very good at small talk. If a conversation isn’t substantive, I check out quickly. And for whatever reason (maybe I’m doing it wrong), most conversations don’t get to a place of substance.


I’m part of a Discipleship Quad, a faith-based peer group, where 4 brothers in Christ are sharing life. Having been in men’s groups for years, this is my 3rd Quad. I joke around that during my last Quad, those were my 3 best friends and during this Quad, I have a new set of best friends. They’re investing in me and me in them, all of us heading in the same direction (striving to be Disciples of Christ). We laugh and cry, teach and listen, invest, are accountable, and love one another. 

I went to a funeral this past week…the Mother of a high school friend passed away. Playing football together and graduating in 1981, with the exception of maybe 1-2 times, I haven’t seen Nick in 42 years. Yet it was like we didn’t miss a beat…we just picked up where we left off. There are some others who fall into that category for me, including my 3 brothers. 

Life’s crazy busy…and I think getting busier. And as I get older, I’m way more interested in the peace than the pace. I truly don’t have this all figured out. What I have is this yearning, probably not unlike you, for authentic friendship, relationship, and community. I think we’re made for these things. 

I know my most important relationship is with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And my close 2nd is Cyndi, who I thank God for. As I close here, I’m reminded of the Great Commandments and Great Commission, where in short Jesus told us to “love God, love our neighbors, and share the Gospel message”. Maybe if I just do more of that, I’ll have more friends, good friends, real friends. How about you? 

As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

Who Are Your True Friends?

Who are your friends? Are they always there for you? Do they always have your best interests at heart? Are they truly your friends?

I believe that “friend” is one of the most overused words in the English language, especially in this day of social media. If you’re like me, you literally have 100s of acquaintances, but very few true friends.

What is a Friend?

  • Someone who you engage with on a regular basis
  • Who you are invested in and them in you

Have you surrounded yourself with people who meet this definition? Many people don’t. Instead they surround themselves with negative people, those who only pull them down and don’t lift them up. 

Only Surround Yourself with the Best

I’ve made a conscious decision in my life to only surround myself with those who truly care for me, those who love me and want to help me be a better me. There are only a few, including my wife. I refer to this as my “inner circle” and it has the following characteristics:

  1. Based on demonstrated behavior
  2. They are regularly there for me and me for them
  3. They support me in my endeavors
  4. They don’t beat me down, but love me

#4 doesn’t mean they agree with everything I do, but they tell me in a loving way, coaching and guiding me, without the negativity or sarcasm (subject for a future blog).

Everyone Else is in Your Outer Circle

Everyone else but those few are in my “outer circle”. Now you may think that doesn’t sound very Christian. Or you’re not sure how those in your immediate family or longtime friends could be in your outer circle. I’m here to tell you that they can. I’m not suggesting that you completely turn your back on them, but instead think of them as opportunities for ministry.

Everyone wants to be loved and everyone needs the love of Christ (whether they know it or not). You/we need to love everyone, but that doesn’t mean that you should count on everyone to love you and support you….

  • Some are incapable because of what they’re dealing with
  • Some won’t take the time
  • And there are some in this world who are just bad people. 

Love Makes for True Friendship

Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic, one of my favorite authors and speakers, defines love as helping others become better versions of themselves. That’s the measure I suggest we all use. Are those in your life helping you be better, be your best? If so, they should be in your inner circle (by the way…you need to reciprocate their friendship). If not, it’s the outer circle where they should go, as a great opportunity for ministry. 

Be intentional with who you call “friend”. Pick wisely. Make sure they are worthy of your inner circle. Work and grow to be better together, loving one another the way Christ loves you.

Please share with me your comments and what you think about “inner circle” and “outer circle” at [email protected].

May God Bless you with Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

Are you Ignoring Your Best Friend, Your Greatest Advocate?

What if you had someone in your life, a family member or a friend, who knew you inside and out? I’m talking about someone who knows you so intimately, that they know all of your specific gifts and talents, even your faults and failings. They know what you’re passionate about, what you’re really good at and what you struggle with. They know you so well and the world so well, given their vast experience, that they know exactly what you ought to be doing with your life….what your purpose is, where your greatness lies.

In addition to the above, what if they loved you so much, cared for your well-being so much, that they could care less whether you succeed or fail. They just want to help you get better. And given their unconditional love, they invest in you endlessly, relentlessly, daily, always helping you to be the very best person you could be.

There’s Not a Human Being that Meets that Criteria

I don’t know about you, but there’s not a human being in my life that meets the above criteria. I’m saying that because I don’t have anyone in my life who can do all of that. In fact, I don’t have anyone who fulfills even parts of it. If there were, I’d want to spend as much time with that person as humanly possible.

Guess what…that someone exists for all of us in the Person of Jesus Christ, as given to us by God our Father, Who lives in each and every one of us in the Holy Spirit. Our God, three in one, loves us that much, knows us that well, and is willing to invest in us as much as we’d like Him to.

It is Truer than True

The above is truer than true. Is it true for you? Do you understand Jesus Christ in the above light? Do you know that the Holy Spirit, as your Advocate, lives inside of you, there to help you every day in being the very best you can be?

If you’re like most, you’ve not thought of God in these terms. That’s ok. Assuming that you’re looking for that person in your life (BTW, that person doesn’t exist here on earth…just sayin’), now can be your time. Just like with those on this earth, i.e. spouses, kids, other family, friends, you can’t be in relationship without conversation, without sharing your true thoughts and feelings. With God, that’s called PRAYER.

In other blogs, I’ve talked about the different ways we can pray. I can answer any questions you have if you want to reach out (BTW, I can help, but I certainly don’t have all the answers). The real intent here is to suggest that the ONE PERSON who can be THAT PERSON for all of us, we have in GOD. Begin treating Him as that person, be in relationship with Him, and you’ll be amazed at what your life becomes.

As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with comments, questions, or concerns in your life.

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph