Who are the friends in your life? What kind of friend are you?
This Summer at Covenant UMC, we’ll look at some friendships in the Bible and think about what they can teach us. This sermon series is drawn from the book, 11 Indispensable Relationships by Leonard Sweet, who believes we need certain types of friendships in our lives.
We’ll consider the qualities of honesty, loyalty, wisdom, gratitude, generosity, and faithfulness as important attributes of friends as well as attributes of God. We’ll try to be more grateful for the gift of friendship and think about ways we can each be better at being a friend. Each week, we’ll post questions to help you think more deeply about the topic.
Come join us Sunday mornings at 9 or 11:15 am.To listen to past sermons, go to the “About us” section of this site.
Week 1: Who’s your Jethro?
Scriptures: Exodus 3:1; Luke 9:51-62
Do you see a hunger in the world today for stronger and deeper friendships?
Why is it hard for us to develop friendships?
In Exodus 18, Jethro scolds Moses for taking on too much responsibility and advises him to delegate. When was the last time a friend got through to you that you need to take time for yourself and your family?
Paul wrote about one group of believers and said, “…for this reason, God gave them up.” (Romans 1:26) God didn’t hurl thunderbolts at them or strike them down; God merely left them to their own devices. What is the greater danger, that God will punish us, or that God may leave us alone with our choices and just let things take their course? Why?
Who are people who are good blessers? Who are some people who help you bless others?
Week 2: Who’s your Nathan?
Scriptures: 2 Samuel 12:1-13; Matthew 18:15-20
In the book, 11 Indispensable Relationships, Leonard Sweet refers to Nathan types as “editors” rather than people who hold you accountable because he believes that like a good editor, some friends can help you present your best self. What do you think of this analogy?
Who are people in your life who are good editors? How can you be better at this?
Do you think there are times when a Nathan needs to “knock you out” like an anesthesiologist? A surgeon can’t save a life until the anesthesiologist knocks the person out. Do we need to be hit hard before we see the truth?
Brene Brown’s bestseller Daring Greatly addresses the issue of vulnerability. In what ways does vulnerability connect with receiving the truth from a friend? How would allowing ourselves to be vulnerable make us stronger Christians? How can we keep ourselves protected while still being open to constructive criticism?
Is it helpful to think of criticism as the voice of God? Why or why not? How do you handle self-criticsm?
Do Nathans need to just point out what is wrong in the world, or do they have a responsibility to provide solutions?
Week 3: Who’s your Jonathan?
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 18:1-5; John 14:1-4
It is said, “Never assume people are interested in your problems.” Is this a good rule of thumb? Is that what makes a Jonathan so special rare – because they genuinely care about your problems?
Who is your Jonathan?
In some cultures, a spouse is most often one’s Jonathan. In other cultures, a spouse is most often not one’s Jonathan. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a spouse as your Jonathan?
In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus says,
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Does this ring true to you about religious leaders today? Are we today lone rangers to the core? Is it difficult for people in today’s culture to truly open themselves to deep relationships?