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Celebrating Friendship

(Paperback - Nov 1998)
$6.99 - Online Price
Not currently available online.
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Overview

The Women of Faith Study Series Helps you turn the laughter and lessons of Women of Faith conferences into a journey of growth shared by special friends. Whether or not you've attended a conference, you will appreciate the bonds that form as you join with other women linked together in friendship, prayer, joy, and faith. Each study will also lead you to a deeper love of the Bible and a greater appreciation of the power of God's Word. Each session includes six sections: A Moment for Quiet Reflection . . . Just for Fun - Knowing God's Heart . . . Praying Together - Friendship Boosters . . . Making It Real in Your Own Life -- The leader's guide that's included makes it easy to facilitate weekly Bible studies that will nurture your knowledge of Scripture and your sense of God's presence in your life. Six Sessions Include -- Wanted: A Few Good Women - Nobody's Just Like You, Thank God! - Hugs and a Good, Swift Kick - Putting Your Feet to the Fire - Friendship Flops and Fizzles - Come On, Get Happy!

Details

  • SKU: 9780310213383
  • UPC: 025986213381
  • SKU10: 031021338X
  • Title: Celebrating Friendship
  • Series: Women of Faith Bible Study
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Date Published: Nov 1998
  • Pages: 80
  • Weight lbs: 0.26
  • Dimensions: 9.16" L x 6.34" W x 0.18" H
  • Features: Price on Product
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical; Sex & Gender | Feminine;
  • Awards: 1999 Gold Medallion Book Awards (Nominee - Bible (Devotional/Study))
  • Category: STUDY GUIDE
  • Subject: Biblical Studies - General

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

LESSON ONE

Wanted: A Few Good Women

Wanted: A few good women to form a circle of friends. Must be smart, fun-loving, always there when I need them. The type who'll love my kids, drop dinner by when I'm stressed, always see the best in me, and never complain about their lives or anything I do. Gift-givers and surprise-party throwers a plus. Required: A commitment to never change, move away, or like anybody else better than me.

Wouldn't it be great if you could write a want ad for the perfect group of friends, and they'd show up at your door (with the exact characteristics you requested) to whisk you away for a Saturday adventure? It's a nice, lingering thought, but in the real world friendships don't develop that way. Yes, there are times you hit it off with someone immediately and the relationship easily flourishes. But most good friendships develop over the years, fluctuate up and down, and challenge you to grow. And, of course, there are friendships that blow up or fizzle out, leaving you to wonder, What did I do wrong?

However you gather up friendships, you have expectations about them. (Even if you consider yourself the easygoing type, when you dig inside, you'll find a friendship code lurking about-and what it says may surprise you!) The irony is, friends seldom express these desires (or demands) to each other. We make lists and ponder how to find Mr. Right, buy a new car, or assess a job offer. But friendship? We tend to enter that blindfolded. We don't know what we want or what the other person expects. We miss each other's signals and when the relationship falters, we're perplexed and disappointed.

But wait. Don't give up hope. Fabulous friendships are possible. They're fun, heartwarming, cherishable, and not-to-be-missed. And guess what? They thrive on respecting each other's expectations, even if they can't all be fulfilled.

So for this session, you get to dream a little. You'll answer the question, "What is a good friend like?" You have a chance to be honest about what matters and hoot about your way-out-there ideas. Then you'll see what the Bible says about friendship qualities, helping you define what good relationships can be. Because along with you, God wants the best for your friendships.

A friend is a gift you give yourself. Robert Louis Stevenson

A Moment for Quiet Reflection

1. Squeeze out a few minutes alone, grab a pen and pad (or the computer), and make three off-the-top-of-your-head lists. To create the first list, answer the question, "Why do I need friendships?" For the second list, answer, "What is a good friend like?" In the third list, "What do I want from my friendships?" Don't censor yourself. Write as little or as much as comes to mind. Be honest, idealistic, even silly, to spill out your ideas.

2. Review your lists and ask, "Are my friendships living up to these expectations?" Circle the answer that applies: Yes Some are, some aren't No You've got to be kidding!

3. Give God a state-of-the-friendships report. Thank him for the great friends in your life. Ask him to heal the hurting relationships and remove any barriers you have to making new friends. Invite him to teach you how to nurture loving, lasting friendships.

Knowing God's Heart

The Bible brims with stories about friendship. Abraham and Jehovah. David and Jonathan. Naomi and Ruth. Daniel and his furnace friends. Mary and Elizabeth. Jesus and the disciples. Paul and Timothy. God's Word also offers advice on making friends and managing relationships.

In fact, most of the Book speaks to relationships. Companionship is God's intent for us, but he knows we're only human. Sometimes we need help sorting out our "stuff" and "behaving ourselves" in even the best of friendships. He wants us to throw out the junk and jump into the joy.

To get to the hugs and hilarity, though, we begin with understanding our expectations and how they affect friendships.

1. Get ready for some surprising insights and a few laughs. Referring to your own list, "What is a good friend like?" create a list as a group. Write the responses on a chalkboard, easel pad, or any place everyone can see it. Include the ridiculous ("a good friend doesn't hiss at my cat") to the sublime ("she never lies to me"), and don't pass judgment on anyone's ideas.

2. Now review the list, which by now probably staggers and describes Superwoman. Why do you think we have so many expectations about friends?

3. This will take grit, but as a group choose from the list the five to ten most important qualities of a friend. What does this short list reveal about the friendship needs you share in common?

4. Though the Bible's how-to advice mostly addresses relationships in general, it does make some direct statements about friends and friendship. Divide the following Scriptures among the group members and take turns reading them aloud. For each Scripture ask, "What is the friendship quality expressed here?" and write it on the chalkboard or easel pad under the title, God's List. Then consider, "Why is this quality important?"

Proverbs 17:17

Proverbs 18:24

Proverbs 24:26

Proverbs 27:6

Proverbs 27:9

Proverbs 27:10

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

John 15:13

5. God has created his own lists of qualities that he considers important in relationships. Together, read these passages. Which traits would affect friendship? Add them to God's List on the board or pad. Matthew 5:3-10

Romans 12:9-18

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Galatians 5:22-23

Ephesians 4:2-3, 32

6. Compare the group's list of friendship qualities to God's list. How are they similar? Different?

7. How might you need to adjust your expectations to be more like God's? What unrealistic expectations will you need to let go of?

8. Share with the group a time when a friend expressed one of the qualities on God's list to you, and how it affected you and your friendship.

9. "The only way to have a friend is to be one," said Ralph Waldo Emerson. You've identified your expectations for friends, but to be a faithful friend in turn, you'll need to develop these qualities yourself. Of all the qualities discussed, what is the one that you need to specifically work on? Why?

10. Romans 12:10 says to "Honor one another above yourselves." Describe a time when you practiced this principle. When you honored your friend, were you still able to meet your needs? Why, or why not?

11. Suppose that this week, you need to lovingly express an expectation to a friend: You think you should spend more time together. Devise a step-by-step plan for managing the conversation.

12. Now create an addendum to the plan. If your friend balks at giving you more time, what is your method for working through your difference in needs and opinions?

Friendship Boosters

1. You've talked about a lot of "serious" qualities about friendship, so now let loose. Describe the funniest or most embarrassing incident that happened while you were with a friend.

2. On a small piece of paper, write your name and the one friendship quality you want to work on developing in yourself. Drop the papers into a bowl, mix them up, and ask each woman to pick a piece of paper. This week, pray for the woman you received in the drawing.

The more I experience human intimacy, the more I become aware of its limitations. More and more I realize its inability to satisfy totally the infinite capacity of my heart. Therefore, experiencing the limitations of human intimacy, I long more and more for intimacy with God, whether or not I realize I am longing for him. Paul Hinnebusch

(Continues.)

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