Read an Excerpt
My Best Friend Jesus!
How to Meditate on God's Truth about Friendship
By Dannah Gresh
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One How did Jesus pick friends for keeps?
Oh, you just hate it when this happens! Your gym teacher has asked Trisha-the-All-Star and Julianne-the-Sure-to-Be-Soccer-Hero to pick teams for an all-girls game of kick ball. Code pink alert! This is not going to go well. You've been here Before. Sure enough, Trisha starts By picking her BFF who's great at every sport. Julienne picks her total frenemy, a teammate who is sure to score. The slow, painful process of being the last one picked begins.
Relax! This is only a code pink drill. It's not the real thing! But does it sound familiar?
If it does, rest easy. You're not alone, and this Bible study is going to help you sort out stuff like that. There's an easy, highly tested, scientifically valid test to take to find out if you are going to have friendship problems in your life. I'd like you to take it now.
So, it's not realty highly scientific. I was just joking about that. But it is fairly accurate. Let's check your results!
If you circled "yes" (and I hope you did since you're a Secret Keeper Girl), you are going to face challenges in friendship. Mean-girl moments, getting left out, the silent treatment, and a whole list of friendship challenges are just a given if you have girlish chemicals popping around in your body. Since those chemicals might have just gotten swirled around by the story about being left out, let's take a brain break and do an SKG Puzzle.
SKG Puzzle Craze
Look at this drawing of four great friends from the Secret Keeper Girl fiction series. Using the descriptions, try to figure out which girl is which. I did the first one for you.
Even these fictional girls-who love each other like crazy-run into friendship problems. You can't really avoid it, my Secret Keeper Girl.
So, what's a girl to do?
Well, let's look at the Best Friend a girl could ever have: Jesus. He is the ultimate friend and we can learn a lot about friendship by being His friend and becoming like Him. In this meditation session, we're going to try to meditate on the question: "How did Jesus pick friends for keeps?"
Dig in By Studying
In John 15, Jesus is talking to His closest friends-the twelve disciples-about how to be a good friend. And He says He has a way to measure true friendship. Using your red marker, underline the verse that tells us how to do that. (Hint: look for the word "measure")
9 "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow' 12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. 14 You are my friends if you obey me. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn't confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn't choose me. I chose you, I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 I command you to love each other."
Jesus said that the measure of true friendship is "people lay[ing] down their lives for their friends." No doubt, He was trying to tell them that He was about to die for them. Why?
The answer is in the most used word in the passage above. I don't think you'll have any trouble figuring out which word that is. Just look closely. Using your red pen, put a big red heart around it each time it appears.
Fill in the blank.
Jesus laid His life down for His friends because He ______________________ them.
SKG Puzzle Craze
Five things Jesus' disciples did to lay down their lives
OK, so Jesus loved His friends enough to die for them. That's something you probably already knew. You didn't have to dig too hard to find that. But did you know that they did the same thing for Him? Jesus' closest friends laid down their lives in many different ways. In this word search, you'll find five things they endured. Find these words:
PRIS?N LE?T ?A?ILIES D??T? J?B? B??TI??S
Each of the twelve disciples-Jesus' closest friends-left families and jobs. During Christ's life and after it, several of them left friends behind to travel to distant countries. They were often lonely. After Jesus died and came back to life, they were beaten and imprisoned, and many were killed in terrible ways.
If anyone has ever had friends who were keepers, He did. And I think one way you can have faithful friends is to begin friendships the same way that Jesus did.
Look again at John 15 on page 20. Using your yellow pen, circle the two words in verse 16 that demonstrate how these friendships started.
Now, fill in the blank.
Jesus' friends didn't ________________ Him. He _______________ them.
OK, hold that thought, while we look inside you!
Look Inside Yourself
(1) Have you ever had any of the following happen to you? Write yes or no beside each one.
____ You were the last one picked for a team.
____ You felt left out because you weren't invited to a sleepover.
____ No one sat by you at lunch. You sat alone.
____ No one picked you to hang with after church.
When Jesus said, "I chose you" to His friends, He actually wasn't speaking English but Aramaic. He would have said "I eklegomia you." (Or something like that. It meant "I picked you.") Jesus' twelve friends on earth aren't His only friends. He meant these words for you and me, too. So, get this ... Jesus picks you. Every time. Every day. He picks you, kid!
(2) How does that make you feel? Using your colored markers, draw a picture of your emotion in the box on the next page. Select colors that help you express your emotion.
Under the box, name your picture descriptively.
When I think of Jesus picking me as a friend, it makes me feel like I have butterflies in my tummy and confetti popping out of my ears! Whew! OK, come down from the high. (Boy, this lesson has been a roller-coaster ride for my heart!)
Time out! Our friendship with Jesus is nothing like our friendships with other girls. After all, He is GOD! We're not equal. He deserves and commands our respect, honor, and awe! But it's truly amazing to think that He ... our Savior, our Lord, our God ... desires for us to also to have a friendship with Him.
And, I really think that there is something for you and me to learn about our friendships with girls when we look at how Jesus started His friendship with the twelve disciples (and you and me). Let me see if I can get you there ...
(3) Circle one of the following to finish the sentence. When I am just getting started on a friendship, I tend to:
A. Worry a lot about if the other girl likes me. I wait for her to approach me.
B. I don't get too stressed, but I do put out feelers to see if I can gauge how she feels about me. I want her to like me as much as I think I like her. If she acts like she likes me, I might try to get something started.
C. I look around to see who needs a friend. Then I choose to pursue her.
Did you select a totally, completely 100 percent honest answer? OK, now underline the one that looks most like Jesus example.
I really think that most girls would have to honestly circle a or b when they describe how they pick friends. But clearly, Jesus' example is c. I really think that most of our friendships don't have much of a chance because rather than picking friends and focusing on their needs, we're all too focused on worrying about if someone is going to pick us! It's all wrong! It's completely backward from Jesus' example. Our friendships are hound to have problems until we fix this.
(4) What do you think you need to do based on what you've just studied while "digging in"? (We'll pray about it in just a moment!)
_______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________
Reach up To Talk to God
Dear Jesus my Best Friend!
I really can't believe that You want to he my friend. Thanks for picking me! It makes me feel ____________________________when I think about it.
I need to ask You to forgive me. I've just realized that when I start a friendship I tend to _________________________ I know You want me to he more focused on the needs of others and not my own feelings. Help me to reorganize my mind and look for girls who need me to pick them.
Lord, right now, could You help me to think of someone who needs me to pick her?
(Pause and wait for God to talk to you. Just he still and patient!)
Wow, God! I thought of _____________________________ I really think she needs a friend because ______________________________________________________________ __________________ Could You help me to approach her?
In Jesus' Name,
Chapter Two How did Jesus "do" friendship?
You are so not in the mood for excuses and lame apologies. It's the fifth time this afternoon that your little brother barged through your bedroom door. This time, he stepped on your school project and wrinkled the poster board when he jumped in wearing nothing but his Elmo boxers, a swim mask, and a Superman cape!
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" you holler. "I ... you ... I can't believe ... If you ...!"
You search for words to describe your anger, but they don't come out. Suddenly, your BFF swoops in to save the day.
"Little Dude," she says, stepping between the two of you. "What she's trying to say is that she loves you a lot and likes to be near you, but right now we have to get this totally not-fun social science poster finished. In fact, we could get it done faster if you would cut out these pictures for us! Take them into your room and use your special scissors."
Little brother pushes his swim mask onto his head, grabs them with wide eyes, and marches off with his important assignment.
"When we're done, we should totally make brownies with him," says your Superhero BFF. You know she's just poured cool water on your steaming hot temper and rescued you from saying something you'd regret.
Suddenly you feel so much better!
Maybe your BFF has been taking a look at Jesus' friendships. It sure sounds like it. After Jesus picked His friends for keeps, He knew exactly how to "do" the friendship. He knew what came next. Today we're going to meditate on the question: "How did Jesus 'do' friendship?"
Dig In By Studying
Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1, 3, 5-8, 14, 17, 20-23, 28-29, 32-36, 39-44a
Roll up your sleeves. Today you have a lot of Bible reading to do. (Remember this is a Bible study, after all!)
Jesus had more than just the twelve disciples for friends. Three of His other friends were especially close. They were Martha, Mary, and Lazarus-two sisters and a brother.
You've probably grown up reading their stories, but today we are going to look past the obvious parts of the story to really be friendship detectives. We're going to logic for six things that Jesus did in this friendship that you can also do in your friendships. I've underlined the sentences that you need to analyze. In the balloon connected to it, I want you to write a contemporary version of what Jesus is doing by fillings in the blanks.
Luke 10:38 ... Jesus and the disciples ... came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."
41 But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! 42 There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it-and I won't take it away from her."
John 11:1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, "Lord, the one you love is very sick." 5 Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them. 7 Finally after two days, he said to his disciples. "Let's go to Judea again." 8 But his disciples objected. Teacher," they said, "only a few days ago the Jewish leaders in Judea were trying to kill you. Are you going there again?"
14 Then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead." 17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask." 23 Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again." 28 Then she left him and returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, "The Teacher is here and wants to see you." 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. 34 "Where have you put him?" he asked them. They told him, "Lord, come and see."
35 Then Jesus wept, 36 The people who were standing nearby said, "See how much he loved him." 39 "Roll the stone aside," Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man's sister, said, "Lord, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days." 40 Jesus responded, "Didn't I tell you that you will see God's glory if you believe?" 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me." 43 Then Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" 44 And Lazarus came out.
What are the six things you and I can do? The list might look like this. See if you can fill in the blanks.
1. Spend a lot of ____________________________with friends.
2. __________________________ them what you know about life and God.
3. Help my friends ____________________ with each other.
4. Take time to ___________________________ them.
5. ____________________________ with and for them.
6. __________________________ for them.
SKG Puzzle Craze
Why did Jesus "do" friendship the way He did?
SJUES VLODE ATHRMA, YMRA, DAN ZARSULA!
______________ _________________ ________________, _______________,
______________________________________! John 11:5
That takes us back to our first meditation when we looked at why Jesus picked friends for keeps. He loved them. He picked His friends (including you) because of love. And, He does friendship the way He does out of love!
He is not only our greatest friend, but since He is perfect, He models great friendship for us. Speaking of which, let's take a look inside you!
Excerpted from My Best Friend Jesus! by Dannah Gresh Copyright © 2008 by Dannah Gresh. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.