Living in the crazy world that we currently live in, I feel like now more than ever, we need community. We need friends. We need friends that will stick with us through the ups and downs, thick and thin, no matter what.
We need friends who will challenge us, love us even when they disagree with us and encourage us to be all that we can be. We need friends who are willing to stick, and yes, we need friends who are willing to carry us to Jesus, when we are too weak or fractured to kneel before Him ourselves.
Our world needs friends! Unselfish people who are willing to lay aside their own agendas to serve, give and pray. We need people who care. People who care more about sharing, serving and helping than about being right.
So how can we be a friend in a world that is hurting? How can we be a friend when the need for community is so great? I think it starts by being available right where we are. Do you know your neighbors? I admit, I don’t know all of my neighbors, but I do know some. We try to watch our for each other, especially when someone is out of town. We also help each other in other ways too. I don’t see a lot of my neighbors, yet I do stop to talk when we see each other outside, Talk about a small world, one of my neighbors is from the Ukraine. I am praying with her right now for her friends and family members who are still living in Russia and the Ukraine.
What about my family? They are friends too. I have a very diverse family. I have a nephew that was originally from Mexico and I have another nephew and his family living in Uganda. It seems like our world is a small place right now which should be even more reason to strive for community rather than disunity. Yet too often we let our feelings, our preferences and our viewpoints divide us. I do think it’s important to stand up for my values, but at the same time, I also think it’s important to continue loving my friends and neighbors even if they don’t share my values. I can still be kind.
I like the four friends in the story below who were so persistent in getting their friend to Jesus. They didn’t give up. They didn’t let anything stop them. I admit, it’s easy to let life get in the way of reaching out to a friend. After all, we are busy people! Would I have had time to carry my friend all the way to Jesus? I have a family. I have students and responsibilities and right now – well right now I don’t even have a car, but that’s another story.
The point is the four friends, simply didn’t let the obstacles in their way stop them. It was important to them that their friend would be whole, able to walk and be all God created him to be. They knew Jesus had what their friend needed. They simply had to get him to Jesus. And with that kind of determination, they did.
I wonder, what am I allowing to stop me when it comes to bringing my friends to Jesus? Is it fear? Busyness? Responsibilities? My prejudices? My selfishness? What are you allowing to stop you? Let’s take all these things to Jesus and ask Him to help us to be true friends. Ask for boldness to bring your friends to Jesus.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I know you are able to do what I cannot do. You can bring healing and hope to my friends and to our hurting world. How I want to let you shine through me. I want to be a friend and yet, I realize how often I allow “stuff” to get in the way. Lord guide me everyday to love more, to serve more and to give more. Show me ways I can be a better friend, neighbor and family member. I look to you and to your grace and strength. Teach me Lord, to love without giving up, to love even when I don’t agree with someone. Show us how to teach our kids to love and persevere too. Too often we love only those who love us back. I realize that we do need to have boundaries, we can’t put ourselves in harms way of someone who may want to bully or batter us, I also know that often we give up too easily on someone who may simply need a helping hand. Remind me to welcome my kids friends and encourage them to be friendly to others. God, we so desperately need you and your healing touch. Thank you for not giving up on us. You are an amazing God! Amen.
TIPS ON BEING FRIENDLY
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times …”
- Smile! Greet others with a smile, high five or even an old fashioned hand shake.
- Teach your child how to introduce himself.
- Invite another child to play.
- Help someone else.
- Share and show you care.
- When talking to someone, make eye contact.
- Use good manners. Saying please and thank you, can help build friendships.
SHARE A STORY: Luke 5:17-26
One day some friends heard (Hand by ear.) that Jesus was in town. They were excited to see Jesus, (Say, “Yeah!”) but they had a friend who couldn’t walk (Walk, walk, walk.) who wanted to see (Hands by eyes.) Jesus too. How could they get their friend to Jesus? Whatever could they do? (Throw hands out to sides.)
Well they thought and thought and thought ‘til they came up with a plan, to carry their lame friend all the way, all the way to the house where Jesus was that day. It must have been tiring carrying their friend through the crowded streets of town. Whew! (Sit down.) “How could they get him inside?” they wondered as they began to look around. (Hands by eyes.) A BIG crowd of people gathered to see (Hands by eyes.) Jesus too. The friends squeezed and squished, but they simply couldn’t push their way through. They had come so far. They couldn’t quit now! They had to get their friend to Jesus, but they wondered, “How?”
The friends thought and thought and thought (Put hands on sides of head as though thinking.) ‘til they could think no more. “I know!” they thought, “We’ll climb up on the roof, instead of going through the door.” And that’s just what they did. They climbed (Climb, climb, climb!) up on that roof, carrying their friend too. Then they made a hole in that roof to lower their friend down through.
When Jesus saw (Hands by eyes.) the man, He said, “Son, your sins are forgiven. Get up, roll up your mat and walk.” Just like that, the man became strong. He was able to walk away. (Walk walk, walk.) Jesus showed the man love and forgiveness by making him well that day. The man’s friends showed God’s amazing love too. They showed God’s love by carrying their friend to Jesus because they knew, there’s nothing that Jesus can’t do. Jesus loves you and your friends. You can be a good friend and help your friends too. One of the best things we can do for our friends is pray for them and let them know that Jesus loves them.
Who made you? God made me. What can you do? I can help my friends.
MEMORIZE: Psalm 139:14 NIrV – (Hold hands as though holding a book.)
How you – Point upwards.)
Made me – (Point to self)
Is amazing – (Hold up closed fists then open hands wide.)
And wonderful – (Jump up and down with hands in the air.)
KNOW: Jesus can do anything.
TALK ABOUT: Friends – Loving and helping my friends.
ASK: Who made you?God made me.
AND DO: I can be a friend and help a friend.
You showed your love by healing the man in our story today. Thank you for showing me your love too. Thank you for friends who love and help each other. Thank you for making us so that we can love and share with our friends. Help me love and help my friends this week. Amen
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Have a friend play date and invite your friend to church with you.
* Encourage your child to help at home and with friends. What can you do together to help a friend? Could you share a cookie, give your friend a hug or share a toy?