CHRISTIAN FRIENDS – BEING ONE AND HAVING ONE (or more than one!)
Have box with papers in it with various scenarios written on them. Tell kids we are going to talk about one of God’s best gifts to us – Christian friends. Also have 3-strand cord for final illustration.
Prepare three postcards with the following good thing or hard thing that could happen to you or me. Tell the clubbers, when we pull one out, let’s talk together about the story. Invite a child to pick out the postcard and you read. Here are the three scenarios.
Sylvie’s stomach felt sick. She walked slowly into her math class, knowing she wasn’t ready for her test. Why did math have to be so hard this year? And she didn’t like her teacher, Mr. Smith, so it was hard that way too. She missed Mrs. Miller who was out because she was having a baby. She walked into the class and sat next to her friend from church, Ruth. They both gave one another a look that meant – I’d rather be anyplace than here. “Okay class,” said Mr. Smith. Only a pencil on your desk. Here’s the test.
- · Why does Sylvie feel sick?
- · Is it important to God for Sylvie to get an A?
- · How could Ruth be a Christian friend to Sylvie that morning? How could Sylvie be a Christian friend to Ruth?
Stephen was a good student and loved school. But yesterday, something happened that still made him uncomfortable. There had been some problems with bullying at his school, and all the teachers decided to help the kids be more respectful to one another. That day, the teachers took time to read the story of the Six Blind Men and the Elephant. Stephen believed nobody should be bullied, but he didn’t like the idea that it didn’t matter what you believe about God, that all religions are the same. At lunch, Stephen walked into the cafeteria to see who he could sit with. The only kid sitting alone was Otto who everybody thought was a loser. Otto happened to go to Stephen’s church and was in his AWANA club, although they had never talked. It took him a minute to decide, but Stephen took his tray and sat next to Otto.
- · Why was Stephen slow to sit next to Otto?
- · How might Otto understand Stephen’s problem better than most other kids at the school?
- · How could they have helped one another?
When they were little, Nick and Melissa had been best friends, but now that they were in 5th grade, Melissa had more friends who were girls, and Nick had more friends who were boys. One day, Nick wasn’t at school and the next day and the next. On Monday, Melissa’s teacher told the class Nick was in the hospital. His family was in a bad car accident, and Nick was pretty badly hurt. The teacher said – please think good thoughts for Nick. Melissa thought about Nick all day. She wanted to do something, but it was complicated. If Nick weren’t a boy it would be easier. Girls and boys are SO weird in 5th Grade.
- · Why was Melissa nervous about doing anything for Nick?
- · Can boys and girls be friends?
- · Melissa’s just a kid. What could she do as a Christian friend for Nick?
I want you to look around at each clubber here. We’re all different, aren’t we? We come from different towns, go to different schools, there are boys and there are girls. Some are in 3rd grade, some in 4th, some in 5th, and some in 6th.
I remember my son John saying he would never have friends who weren’t in the same grade as he was – somehow he thought that wasn’t right to have friends older or younger. There’s so many ways we could think about one another, and believe – none of these kids could be a friend for me. We’re just too different.
But we have something very BIG in common - what is it? Right! We are Christians. And we are part of God's family, so we're like brothers and sisters to one another. That's pretty great. One of God’s best gifts to you and me are Christian friends, but so many of us don’t have any. And so many of us don’t know how to be a Christian friend to one other. What make a Christian friend different from other types of friends?
Here’s some ways the Bible talks about friends:
- A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (long-time friend) Prov. 18:24
- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Prov. 27:17 (help one another love God more and obey more)
- Eccl. 4:12 - Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (stick with one another in hard times)
A cord of 3 strands. (Take out 3 ropes). Each of these ropes is pretty strong, isn’t it? If I put 2 together, it’s even stronger. That’s like you with a good friend who loves Jesus. But I think this verse says there’s a third friend we sometimes don’t even think of – God himself is the best friend. He never lies to you, he’s always there, he loves you, he died for you!
And with Christian friends, God can be the 3rd friend, and makes friendships so much better!
So look around and think – could there a Christian friend here for me? Could I be a friend to someone here? Does it have to be a boy or have to be a girl? Does it have to be someone your age?
Christian friends have made a huge difference in my life. They have helped me when I’ve been discouraged. They have understood me when I’m sad. They have prayed with me in tough times. And I want to be a good Christian friend to others.
So let me pray for just that for all of you.