Deliberate Relationships

Session One     Session Two    

Session One

Discussion

Who have been some of your best friends in life?

Engage with Scripture

There are people that God wants to bring into your world (and maybe they are already there) who will impact you in ways that really help you do life. They are people who know you and care for you enough to notice how you are doing, and take the opportunity to make a difference, even if it’s just something small.

There was an early church leader, Gregory of Nyssa, used a metaphor from normal life to talk about these incredibly important people:
“At horse races, the spectators intent on victory shout to their favourites in the contest. From the balcony they incite the rider to keener effort, urging the horses on while leaning forward and flailing the air with their outstretched hand instead of a whip.”

God wants there to be people in your life who are “balcony people”. People who cheer you on, point you towards God, challenge, inspire and encourage you. In fact, “encouragement”, if you understand what it really means, is the word used the New Testament. The word occurs over 100 times.

One of the great characters of the Bible, who is like the patron saint of balcony people, was a man named Joseph. But he was mostly known by his nickname Barnabas – the “son of encouragement”. He impacted so many people’s lives over so many years. But probably the person’s life he changed forever was the Apostle Paul.

We’re going to take time to look at some of his story from the book of Acts. We first meet him in Acts 4. We’re told he’s a Levite, but because he was born in Cyprus he wouldn’t have been allowed to serve as a priest. That was the religious law at the time. You might have thought he’d have a chip on his shoulder about that. But that wasn’t the case at all.

Read Acts 4:32-37 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.

Read Acts 9:26-31 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.

Further Study (Optional)

Read Acts 11:19-26 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.

Read Acts 14:1-7 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.

Read Acts 15:36-41 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.


Session Two

Discussion

How can deliberate relationships help you progress in your faith and life?

How has your current state of life been affected by the people you’ve spent time with?

Identify some of the key skills for developing life-giving relationships that help you.


Project

Learning, growth and change always happen through action. We grow as we step into relationship with people. So here is a small project to help you take some next steps.

  1. Based on what you’ve been talking about, we’re going to take time to take our understanding of the importance of life-giving relationships even further. There is real scope here to make a significant change in your life and in the lives of other people around you.
  2. So take some time to get together with a mentor or leader and create a plan for developing your key relationships in some of the different areas of your life.
  3. Use a significant amount of your resources (that can be time, money or effort) to celebrate a significant milestone (a birthday, anniversary, graduation or something like that) for an important friend.