A PLACE TO BELONG
LOVING RELATIONSHIPS ARE WHAT MATTER MOST IN LIFE
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
TAKING YOUR FRIENDSHIPS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
LEVEL 1: CONNECTING WITH POTENTIAL NEW FRIENDS
“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…”” Luke 19:1-9 NKJV
“And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him…” Luke 19:5a NKJV
“I showed what you are like to those you gave me from the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me…” John 17:6a NCV
· REACH OUT
““Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”” Luke 19:5b NLT
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly…” Proverbs 18:24a NKJV
· TAKE A RISK
“Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…”” Luke 19:8-9a NKJV
“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.” Mark 3:13 NKJV
LEVEL 2: CULTIVATING DEEPER FRIENDSHIPS
“He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”” Mark 14:33-34 NLT
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 NKJV
“An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:5-6 NLT
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NKJV
““I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12 NKJV
LEVEL 3: CHERISHED FRIENDSHIPS
“He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:17 NKJV
CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK…
1. It can be easy to keep friends at a distance and not take our relationships to the next level. Why are deeper friendships important for our lives?
2. Has anyone ever reached out to you unexpectedly in a time in your life when you needed relationship? How did it affect you?
3. How does your experience with needing meaningful friendships in your own life motivate you to recognize, reach out, and take a risk in connecting with potential new friends?
4. Take a moment and think about your friendships within this small group. How can you start to apply encouragement, confrontation, trust, and time to those friendships to take them to the next level?
5. How can your group help hold you accountable in taking your friendships to a deeper level?