"We exist to share life with students in a way that helps students develop a lifelong relationship with Jesus."

Habits of a Godly Friend

Grace Students had a blast last night! Along with some intense games of Human Tic-Tac-Toe, we worshipped together and dug into God's Word. 

We're in week 4 of our series "Better Than One". We discussed some habits of a godly friend that we should all strive for. Below are the habits we talked about.

1) Be Available

2) Be ready to sacrifice

3) Be sensitive

4) Speak and listen to truth

5) Seek THE Savior

Being a good friend starts with what’s inside, not outside. We need a heart transformation that can only come through the gospel. Jesus is the ultimate friend and the only way we can become a good friend. Stay connected to Christ, and watch your friendships transform.

Choose Wisely

Last night, we continued on in our series "Better Than One". Our truth for the night was: We need to choose our friends wisely.

As a teenager, you may not have a whole lot of choices in your life. Think about it. You didn’t pick your parents. You didn’t pick your siblings. You can’t really pick your school. Sometimes you can’t even pick your own seat in class. However, you do have the power and the ability to pick your best friends.

Don’t assume that just because they are accessible that they need to be your best friends. That’s a lie. You have the responsibility to pick who you are going to be best friends with.

Look at Proverbs 13:20. It says, “He who walks with the wise becomes wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.” In this verse we get a promise and a warning about our friendships.

The Promise: Spend time with the wise, you become wise.

I know this promise is true because I have seen the results in my own life. In my life, God has graciously blessed me with some very wise friends. Simply by being around them, I have grown wiser. My relationship with God has continued to deepen the more time I spend with them. Wisdom is contagious.

The Warning: Spend your time with fools, you experience painful consequences.

Foolishness is also contagious. You may not be the one who is doing the foolishness, but when you make fools your close friends, the effects of their foolishness will be felt by you. Hanging around with fools does not mean that you will become a fool. It’s worse than that. Something bad will eventually happen to you. When you associate with foolish friends, you unintentionally put yourself in harm’s way. You make yourself a target. This verse does not say that one might suffer harm. It says that one will suffer harm. You might say, “But I don’t do the things that they do. I am just there. I do not drink. I just go to the parties.” It is not always what you do that causes you harm. It is whom you are with. It is the companion of fools – not necessarily the fools – who suffer harm.

This Proverb shows us that we do not live in a bubble. Friends will always influence each other, for good or for bad. Therefore, we need to choose our friends wisely. Don’t assume that just because they are accessible that they need to be your best friends. That’s a lie. You have the responsibility to pick who you are going to be best friends with. There are usually two types of friends that we tend to surround ourselves with:

1. Counterfeit Friends
These are the people in your life who claim to accept you for who you are, but do not have your best interest at heart. They can be tough to spot because they look like the real thing. They never challenge you. They never try to lovingly correct you or call you out of your foolishness. Counterfeit Friends look like real friends on the surface, but they are not genuine. A good way to help identify a Counterfeit Friend is by looking at the direction of the relationship. Relationships are always moving somewhere. Counterfeit Friends will lead you to a place you do not want to be. These people may mean you no harm, but they are in fact harmful. You can’t be friends with everyone. This is a tough truth to swallow, but it is true nonetheless.

2. Real Friends
Real friends should make up your most intimate friendships and they should have the most influence over you. These are the people who should know you inside and out. They know your strengths and your weaknesses. They also have the relational equity to speak truth into your life without you feeling attacked. They love you enough to call you out of your foolishness and you trust them enough to listen. You can ask them tough questions and trust their answers. Real friends sacrificially love one another.

Here’s what I mean by that. Jesus said in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” That is true friendship! You may never be required to take a bullet for your friend, but you will be called to lay down your selfish desires for your friend. You will have to choose between your personal preferences or the betterment of your friend. You will have to choose between the relationship or the person.

Our friendships determine so much in our life. God even gave us a promise and a warning regarding our friendships. But, you have to the power and the responsibility to choose your friends. Therefore, we need to choose our friends wisely. So, I want us all to ask ourselves, “Who have I surrounded myself with? Am I surrounded by counterfeit friends or real friends?” Identify your real friends, lock arms, and run together.

Wednesday Night Recap

Last week we talked about the problem we all can struggle with – loneliness. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all are prone to struggle with loneliness. 

Along with a relationship with Christ, we all also need godly friendships. And it’s not just that having friends are a good idea. It’s that godly friends are necessary to our life. Living life without godly friendships, is living life outside of the way God designed it. There are real, genuine benefits to having godly friendships.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

First, think about that phase, “Two are better than one.” If you say that and you believe it, you are admitting that you need other people. That’s a humble phrase to say and believe. Godly friendships require a humble spirit. 

In our text, Solomon outlines 4 benefits of godly friendships.

Verse 9 – Friendship brings a greater reward.

Verse 10 – Friendship provides support in times of difficulty.

Verse 11 – Friendship provides comfort in times of loneliness.

Verse 12 – Friendship provides protection in times of danger.

Quality friends provide support, strength, and comfort in our lives. Think back to one of the hardest times of your life. If you had godly friends during that time, how grateful are you for them? If you didn’t have anyone during that time, how badly to wish you did have someone?

The benefits of a godly friendship are real. And more than that, they are something we all desperately need.

Wednesday Night Recap

We had a great night in Grace Students! Along with playing musical plates and singing worship songs together, we kicked off our first night in the new series "Better Than One". During this series we're taking a deeper look at friendship through the lens of the Bible. To start off, we talked about how we all need friends in our life. But even though we all want and need friends, we are all prone to believe 3 lies about friendship.

Here are 3 Lies We Tell Ourselves:

Distrust – “I can’t trust anyone”
This lie leads to be drawn away from people because you feel like you can’t be vulnerable with them. You believe and say that you can’t trust anyone. This lie puts up a wall between you and everyone else around you. God will place all these people around you in your life, but you keep telling yourself this lie so this wall goes up around you. You never let anyone in. You desperately want and desire true friends, but this lie pushes you further and further into loneliness.

Division – “There’s no one I can relate to"
This lie is probably the one we all struggle with the most. Nd this one is tricky because at first this seems like a true statement. And there might be some truth to it, but it’s not completely true. It masks itself in statements like “no one really gets me” or “no one understands me”.

And because we believe that one understands us or can relate to us, we separate ourselves out from everyone else. Satan will use this lie against you all the time to separate Christians from one another. One of the ultimate schemes of the devil to isolate you from any sort of healthy relationship. Therefore, making you weaker in your faith. As soon as Adam and Eve got together in Genesis, Satan immediately tries to separate them. This is something that has been issue since Genesis. This lie of division pushes you further and further into loneliness.

Denial – “I don’t need friends"
What happens is we have this idea of the perfect friend in our mind. But then we fail to find that person, because they do not exist. And because we don’t ever find someone who fits into all the specific categories that we have for people, we begin to tell ourselves the lie that we don’t really need friends. And this lie leads to the same places the other lies led to…isolation. More and more loneliness.

Here’s the truth: We Need Friends. God wired us and rigged us up in such a way that we need to be with one another in order to live life to the fullest. Our joys are more joyful with other people. Our hard times are made easier with other people. Our faith is sharpened by others.

Solomon, the wisest man to eve live, according to the Bible, wrote numerous times about the importance of friendship. In the book of Ecclesiastes, which is where we’ll spend most of our time, Solomon speaks very bluntly about the necessity of friendship.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-8
Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

It’s a miserable business to go through life without friendship. It’s a miserable business trying to pursue things in this world all alone. Adam was the only man to ever truly be alone and God said it was “not good”. We Need Friends.

Like anything else that is good in this world, we take friendship and idolize it so much that it becomes unhealthy for us. Our friends were never meant to satisfy everything in our hearts, only Jesus can do that. But they are meant to help us grow in our faith.

God did not create you and I to be alone. He created us to live life in meaningful relationships with Him and other people.
Lock screen wallpaper for this week!

New Series: Better Than One

Growing up, friendships were so easy. We started friendships with a game of tag or hide-and-go-seek. But as we get older, friendships become complicated. Snapchat, twitter, and Instagram rule the hallways. Our social approval and popularity depend on the amount of “likes” our latest picture earned, the number of retweets we get, or how many people viewed our Snapchat story.

It’s ironic how people crowd around us online and at school, but many of us still feel lonelier than ever. Some of us feel so excluded that we don't see the need for friends at all. But that’s a lie.

We need other people and other people need us. We need friends. Not just seasonal, hang-out friends, but good, genuine friends who love, encourage, and challenge us. 

This Wednesday night, we start our 5 week series “Better Than One”. In this study, we’ll examine how God created us to need people and challenge ourselves to seek out and choose godly friends. Our aim in this study is to show how to be a good Christian friend and to encourage students to build solid biblical friendships.

Come join us Wednesday night! Middle School meets from 6:00-7:15 and High School meets from 7:30-8:30! Bring your Bible and friends!