For years, (in)courage has been known as a place to “find yourself among friends.” We’ve spent a good amount of time focusing on friendship. You’ve shared your stories and we’ve shared ours. We’ve mostly laughed together but also shed a few tears. You’ve told us about your friendship successes and your friendship break-ups. We’ve tackled this hard, messy, wonderful topic of friendship through the lens of Jesus.
No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (CSB)
Without a doubt, the ultimate example of friendship is Jesus Christ. He gave His life to save His friends. He cared for His friends, challenged His friends, encouraged His friends, and enjoyed His friends. While Christ is the ultimate example of friendship, Scripture is full of many other beautiful examples of purposeful friendship that encourage, build up, care for, and give life to others.
Starting on Monday, March 4th, you’re invited to join us as we kick-off the second reading plan (Friendship on Purpose) of our Online Bible Study of the (in)courage Devotional Bible! Through reflection questions, weekly videos, and just diving into God’s word together, we will spend the next four weeks exploring the theme of friendship through the lens of the most faithful friend who ever lived — Jesus.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Each person will need a copy of the (in)courage Devotional Bible.
2. You’ll need to sign up to officially join the study — just click here to register. (If you’ve already been studying with us during the month of February, there is no need to sign up again.)
2. The next section of the study starts on March 4.
3. From February to April, we are going through three of the Bible’s reading plans together — Better Together (this is just finished up now), Friendship on Purpose (begins March 4), and Imperfect Hospitality (begins April 1).
4. The study will take place through email and in a Facebook group and will consist of discussion, weekly videos, women of courage deep dives, and fun surprises along the way. When you sign up, you’ll receive a link to the Facebook group in your welcome email.
5. There will also be a weekly email recap sent out, so if someone does not have Facebook, they will still be able to access the videos. Share this page with your Facebook-less friends so they can join the study with you!
To give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s a preview from one of the devotions in the Friendship on Purpose reading plan written by (in)courage Contributor, Anna Rendell:
Encouraging one another doesn’t sound so hard. A fist bump here; an “atta girl” there; a quick text to say, “Hang in there, you can do this!”; a hug when you see a friend in person.
Encouraging one another sounds pretty easy, until you realize it’s not.
What happens when she gets the opportunity that passed you by? What about when your co-worker gets the credit for a job well done that couldn’t have happened without you? When that mom in your moms’ group already has everything figured out? When it’s your spouse, and if he’d followed your suggestions in the first place, things wouldn’t be so messy? When it’s a weary-looking shopper in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, and you may embarrass yourself — or them?
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (CSB)
Encouragement sounds simple, but if our own emotions get in the way, it can be difficult to “encourage one another and build each other up.” Thoughts barge in and interfere with our actions, such as: She doesn’t need me to tell her she’s doing a good job; she must know already, or I don’t even know that lady — she’ll think I’m a weirdo! Don’t we want to be encouraged ourselves? Don’t we deserve to be built up too?
We do. You do. But the Lord doesn’t give us a free pass to withhold encouragement because of jealousy or fear. He does ask us to speak life into the hearts of others no matter what because that’s what He does for us. I know it can be hard. I know that for many reasons you may not always feel like building someone else up. Encouraging words don’t always come naturally, and there can be a fear of those words — of our hearts — being rejected.
Anytime we put our hearts on the line, we take a leap of faith. But in the leaping, we allow the Lord to hold our hand.
Go ahead, offer the encouraging word nearly spilling from your lips, held back only by fear. Grab the hand of God and let Him guide you. Following His lead will never let you down. “Encourage one another and build each other up.” It’s as simple — and sometimes as difficult — as that.
We love those words by Anna! If you sign up for the online Bible study, you’ll also receive a video next week featuring a conversation between Anna and Becky Keife!
To celebrate the kick-off of the Friendship on Purpose Reading plan, we are giving away a five copies of the (in)courage Devotional Bible! To be entered into the giveaway, leave a comment telling us how you can boldly encourage and build up someone in your life this week.
And don’t forget to sign up for the Online Bible Study by clicking here. We hope you’ll join us!
To celebrate the kick-off of the Friendship on Purpose reading plan, @incourage is giving away a five copies of the (in)courage Devotional Bible! Get details and enter here: Click To Tweet