friendship, as Jesus would have it

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, June 3. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon from John 15.12-17 (Friendship, As Jesus Would Have It). You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title “LIFE group guides.”

Aim

To consider afresh the meaning of being friends of, and in, Christ.

Word

This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. I give you these commandments so that you can love each other. (John 15.12-17 CEB)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. On scale of 1-10, rank how slow (1) or fast (10) you are to strike up friendship with someone new.

2. Is it easier or more difficult to make true friends today than it was in years gone by? Why?

3. If you’re on Facebook, what percentage of your “friends” would you say are truly friends?

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.” (vs. 13) In what ways was Jesus “daily dying” for his friends, the disciples, long before he died on the cross?

2. Why is our being friends with Christ contingent upon our keeping his commands to us (vs. 14) and how can any of us be his friend, seeing as how no one can perfectly keep his commands?

3. Why does Jesus call his disciples “friends” (vs. 15)?

4. How is bearing the fruit of Christ related to being a friend of Christ (vs. 16a)?

5. “… whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” (vs. 16b). How does the context in which this statement appears shape its meaning?

6. What is the purpose of Jesus’ commandments (vs. 17)?

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. What do you perceive as the difference(s) between a close acquaintance and a good friend?

2. What quality do you most look for and appreciate in a friend? Why?

3. Complete this sentence: a true friend will not consistently ____________________.

4. For the sake of the health of the church, how critical is it that all Christians treat each and every Christian as a friend of Christ? For the sake of those yet to believe? For the sake of Christ’s name?

5. Friendship is risky because friends can wound each other deeply. When friendship is ruptured or wounded, what are some healthy steps to take toward reconciliation and healing?

6. A newcomer to MoSt Church asks you, “How can I make some real friends here?” What do you say?

7. As a group, pray for the friendships of all who are friends of Christ in our church family.

this went thru my mind

 

Change: * How to Change an Organization by Dan Rockwell; * How to See and Cure Sick Organizational Cultures by Dan Rockwell

* “[Brook] Manville said ‘The king and subject model doesn’t change cultures.’ Great leaders don’t change people; they create environments where people change themselves.'”

“Sick organizational cultures focus on themselves rather than customers.”

Evangelism: Be Where the People Are by James Wood

“You won’t make non-Christian friends by going to church more.”

Happiness: Happiness, Harvard Business Review, and the Church by Thom Rainer

“It is time for our churches to get back to being churches. Then, and only then, will people discover true gospel-centered joy.”

Homosexuality: * The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitmentsby Kevin DeYoung; * Talking About Homosexuality by Timothy Keller

* “Even for those Christians who agree that homosexuality is contrary to the will of God there is little agreement on how we ought to speak about homosexuality being contrary to the will of God. … So how ought we to speak about homosexuality?”

* “Homosexuality is not God’s original design for sexuality – sex is designed for marriage between a man and a woman. But that belief should have no impact on a church’s or a Christian’s desire to love and serve the needs and interests of all their neighbors, including gay people, people of other faiths, and so on.”

Hospitality: Where Saying “Thank You” is an Insult by Dan Bouchelle

“‘We don’t thank the Venda people for feeding us. It is an insult to them,’ said our South African friend who was traveling with us.”

Manners: Mind Your Mobile Manners: Top 10 On-the-Go Blunders by Christina DesMarais

“If you do anything on this list, you need to stop it right now.”

Music: An Open Letter to Praise Bands by James K.A. Smith

“… let me offer just a few brief axioms with the hope of encouraging new reflection on the practice of ‘leading worship’ …”

Parenting: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Dad by Daniel Darling

“Before I became a dad, I thought I would be a pretty good dad. … Then, a funny thing happened. I actually became a dad for the first time. I’m now a father of four and I know much less about parenting than I did before I became a parent. I’ve realized that there are certain things about fatherhood you can only learn until you actually become a dad.”

Perseverance: 3 Suggestions to Help You Persevere by Jim Martin

“The truth is that God in Christ is greater than whatever obstacle might stand in our way.”

Philemon: Onesimus and Philemon: Peter Head on the People Who Delivered Paul’s Letters by John Byron

“The most likely candidate for the job of ‘first interpreter’ of Paul’s letters is probably the person who delivered it. … In a recent paper delivered at the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge University Peter Head examined Paul’s letter to Philemon and wondered who carried the letter. Here is some of what Peter had to say as reported by Peter Malik …”

Scholarship: Scholarship as a Way of Life by James K.A. Smith

“Let me highlight three joys of scholarship as a way of life.”

Violence: “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” by Sam Alexander

“I’m wondering in what way this can be considered living out American values.”

Worship: Is God Vain for Expecting Me to Worship Him? by Ron Cox

“… to the extent that God commands us to worship him it is not born out of any need that God has.”