(Message 2) We all need friends. True friends, not just Facebook buddies. A true friend encourages us, strengthens us, and tells us the truth about ourselves They sharpen us. One of the best ways to find a true friend, is to put other Christians around us by joining a small group and investing in deep friendships. #GCIron
Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.
Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.
Do you prefer to spend time with people or time by yourself? Which do you find most energizing?
With what group of people do you feel most “at home” and connected?
Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.
Read Acts 19:18-20. In what ways did Paul’s sharpening skills affect those who he had connected within this passage?
Has a connection with another person ever changed your life? In what ways has this connection sharpened you?
Read Acts 20:35-38. Paul and the Ephesians had only known each other for a short time, yet Paul’s departure brought tears of sadness. What caused them to have such a strong connection?
In what ways can you be like Paul and pour into the lives of others?
Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.
Read Ephesians 2:19-22. What does it say about God that He desires to give us a place to belong?
What does the phrase “Circles are better than rows” mean? Read Hebrews 10: 24-25. How does this scripture tie into this statement?
One of Troy’s points in the message was “Sometimes you need the group and sometimes the group needs you”. What does this mean? Discuss the responsibilities involved in both scenarios.
Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
Honestly evaluate the friendships in your life. Do you feel like you are always pouring out and not getting poured back into? Or do you feel like you are holding people at arm’s length? Step in where God is showing that you are needed.
Listen to those who are pouring into your life. Identify any change God prompts you to make based on their input and make it.
Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.
Father, thank You for valuing connection. Thank You for reaching out to establish a relationship with us, and thank You for encouraging us in our relationships with others. Help us value these relationships as You do. In Jesus’ name, amen.