Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friendlationships - Part 1

This is the first of our small group study about relationships. 

Big Idea:
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life. The success or failure of our friendships will be greatly determined by the most important relationship in our lives – our relationship with God.

From the beginning of time, man has longed for friendship. Even in the Garden of Eden when Adam walked and talked with God in perfect relationship, the longing for human companionship still existed. Adam’s life was incomplete without the companionship and fellowship of another human being. He craved it. And every human being since then has struggled with the innate craving for human companionship. God created man in His image, knowing that for man to be spiritually, emotionally, and even physically healthy, man needed more than just his relationship with God, he needed relationships with other image bearers. This shows us that our craving for relationship with others doesn’t necessarily diminish our passion for God because God created us this way. We were designed to live in relationship with other people, and when we are deprived of those relationships, we feel empty and incomplete. However, these relationships can only be as healthy as your relationship with God. In fact, relationships become contaminated without God. God created you with a capacity, a craving and the power of choice, but it takes His involvement to keep you from contamination.

There are three primary choices that everybody makes in life which determine the quality, the productivity, and the ultimate destiny of their lives. The first choice is the god that you’re going to worship; the second choice is the person you’re going to marry; and the third choice is the friendships you’re going to keep. Choose wisely - choose friends who model the values you appreciate; choose friends whose influence you welcome in your life; choose friends who welcome your influence in their life; choose friends who are considerate, confidential and candid. Ultimately, our horizontal relationships with others should strengthen and build-up our vertical relationship with God.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
How have you benefited from friendships? Describe how your relationship with others has made you more effective and useful to God. What role does God play in your close relationships? How does this help the relationship?

Proverbs 12:26 & 1 Corinthians 15:33
How do our relationships affect us? Share how relationships have helped you and how they have hurt you. What do you look for in a friend? Why?

John 15:13-17 & Proverbs 18:24
How did Jesus model true friendship? Have you experienced this type of friendship with others? How can we practically lay our lives down for our friends? How does Jesus say we can show him friendship? How does your vertical relationship with God affect your horizontal relationship with others?

Taking Action: Analyze your current relationships. Are they healthy or are they contaminated? Do they bring life and glory to God? Intentionally bring Christ into your relationships with others. 

Ministry Time

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