Week 4 of the JPC Project
(ICYMI: You can learn more about and join us in the JPC Project HERE).
John 15:12-17, John 13:35, Proverbs 27:5-6, 9, 17, Proverbs 28:23, Proverbs 29:5, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 18:24 (You can listen to Tyler's Sunday Sermon HERE)
Go Deeper Passages:
John 17:20-23, Proverbs 25:17, 20, Proverbs 26:18-19, Proverbs 27:14
Friendship is incredibly difficult in our moment. Our lives are moving so fast, we are distracted, and pressure to succeed is more powerful than it is to connect with others. We are inextricably linked by social networks that are as ubiquitous as the air we breath, yet we are more lonely, depressed, and isolated than ever. We change our idea of friendships to being a luxury that we can enjoy only when everything else is taken care of. To be known deeply is a longing for closeness that is lost in the fight for necessities like making ends meet, staying above water, and the ever-present pull of busyness. Is this God's vision for us? Does Christ desire for us to have greater commitment in friendship with him and others? How do we move from "let's get together sometime" to being bonded in friendship with our neighbors. What does friendship look like in our moment? How do we experience the closeness Christ offered to the disciples when He said: "I no longer call you servants, but not I call you friends." How do we be Christ's friends by "doing what He said" and living for "no greater love than laying down our lives for our friends." The scriptures are filled with examples of friendships that are not merely circumstantial ("church friends", "work friends", "friends for a season"). They show us through the bonds of Elijah and Elisha, Paul and Timothy, and Johnathan and David that their is a connection that can truly be "closer than a brother". God desires for us to covenant to one another in ways that express the Swahili idea of "Ubuntu", that "as you go, I go" and "I am, as you are." That Christ says that as we live in to these friendships, our world will know His loving friendship. Our love for one another is the apex sign that Christ came to save us for. He called us to befriend the friendless as He did to us.
What is the state of your friendships in Christ? Do you long for deeper connection? How is Christ calling you to deeper friendship with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Who is God calling you to step towards in pursuit of friendship? Are you passionate about others having friendship with Christ through your shared life together? Do you care about other people having close bonds like those you have?
How can you befriend a neighbor? What person comes to mind when you think of people coming to know God's love through sharing in your Jesus-centered friendships? How could you let your friendships' light shine that other's may know Christ and His friendship.
Jesus: Abide in Christ as His friend by saying Yes to Him, or what he is specifically commanding you to do. Be obedient to Jesus in way you've been putting off, stubbornly holding on to, or refusing to trust Christ with. Do that today.
People: Pursue real friendship with one person at A Seattle Church, this week. Love wastefully by caring without the expectation of it working out. Befriend because Christ first befriended you.
City: Reject a habit that is leading to you objectifying others vs befriending them. Pursue connection with someone you don't think you'd usually bond with. Ask them more about their story and what they care about.
Please share what you experienced going through this/how God moved in your life by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org