In the Beginning…Part 2

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Family Devotional Adult 01-14-18Family Devotional Kids 01-14-18

 

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God owns it all – the earth, and everything in it. He blesses us with many good things, and as His managers, He expects us to handle His resources His way. The first and the best of what we receive belongs to God; when we fail to do that, we open ourselves to unnecessary hardships and temptations.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 4:3-5 [NIV] “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.”

Q. Why did God receive Abel’s sacrifice with favor, but not Cain’s?

Q. Abel gave the first and the best of what he had to God. What would the first and the best look like in your life?

3. Discussion

Genesis 4:6-7 [NIV] “Then the Lord said to Cain… ‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’”

Cain’s refusal to give God his first and best lessened his view of God as leader and Lord, and that weakened state left him vulnerable to temptation. Instead, he should have refocused on giving God what was right. When we learn to put God first in any area of life, it helps us to put Him first in all other areas.

Q. How are you honoring God with your possessions? 

Q. Do your giving habits make it easier or harder to fully put God first in other areas of your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for blessing you with life, and for meeting your needs. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put Him first in your finances.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Matthew 5:16 “Let your shine before men…”

LIGHTNING BUGS“I’ll Shine My Light In This Dark World!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn how to work together as partners who belong to God!

2. Bible Reading

Read: Exodus 34

The New Stone Tablets

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut out two stone tablets that are just like the first ones. I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning. Then come up on Mount Sinai. Meet with me there on top of the mountain. No one must come with you. No one must be seen anywhere on the mountain. Not even the flocks and herds must be allowed to eat grass in front of the mountain.”

So Moses carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Early in the morning he went up Mount Sinai. He carried the two stone tablets in his hands. He did as the Lord had commanded him to do. Then the Lord came down in the cloud. He stood there with Moses and announced his name, the Lord. As he passed in front of Moses, he called out. He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord. I am the God who is tender and kind. I am gracious. I am slow to get angry. I am faithful and full of love. I continue to show my love to thousands of people. I forgive those who do evil. I forgive those who refuse to obey me. And I forgive those who sin. But I do not let guilty people go without punishing them. I cause the sins of the parents to affect their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if you are pleased with me, then go with us. Even though these people are stubborn, forgive the evil things we have done. Forgive our sin. And accept us as your people.”

10 Then the Lord said, “I am making a covenant with you. I will do wonderful things in front of all your people. I will do amazing things that have never been done before in any nation in the whole world. The people you live among will see the things that I, the Lord, will do for you. And they will see how wonderful those things really are. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites to make room for you. 12 Be careful. Do not make a peace treaty with those who live in the land where you are going. They will be a trap to you. 13 Break down their altars. Smash their sacred stones. Cut down the poles they use to worship the female god named Asherah. 14 Do not worship any other god. The Lord is a jealous God. In fact, his name is Jealous.

15 “Be careful not to make a peace treaty with the people living in the land. They commit sin by offering sacrifices to their gods. They will invite you to eat their sacrifices, and you will do it. 16 You will choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons. And those daughters will commit sin by worshiping their gods. Then they will lead your sons to do the same thing.

17 “Do not make any statues of gods.

18 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Do it at the appointed time in the month of Aviv. You came out of Egypt in that month.

19 “Every male animal born first to its mother belongs to me. That includes your livestock. It includes herds and flocks alike. 20 Sacrifice a lamb to buy back every male donkey born first to its mother. But if you do not buy the donkey back, break its neck. Buy back all your oldest sons.

“You must not come to worship me with your hands empty.

21 “Do your work in six days. But you must rest on the seventh day. Even when you are plowing your land or gathering your crops, you must rest on the seventh day.

22 “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Bring the first share of your wheat crop. Celebrate the Feast of Booths. Hold it in the fall. 23 Three times a year all your men must come to worship me. I am your Lord and King, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations ahead of you. I will increase your territory. Go up three times a year to worship me. While you are doing that, I will keep others from wanting to take any of your land for themselves. I am the Lord your God.

25 “Do not include anything made with yeast when you offer me the blood of a sacrifice. You must not keep any of the meat from the sacrifice of the Passover Feast until morning.

26 “Bring the best of the first share of your crops to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down the words I have spoken. I have made a covenant with you and with Israel in keeping with those words.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights. He didn’t eat any food or drink any water. The Lord wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant law. Those words are the Ten Commandments.

The Face of Moses Shines

29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. He had the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. His face was shining because he had spoken with the Lord. But he didn’t realize it. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses. His face was shining. So they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called out to them. So Aaron and all the leaders of the community came to him. And Moses spoke to them. 32 After that, all the Israelites came near him. And he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 Moses finished speaking to them. Then he covered his face with a veil. 34 But when he would go to speak with the Lord, he would remove the veil. He would keep it off until he came out. Then he would tell the people what the Lord had commanded. 35 They would see that his face was shining. So Moses would cover his face with the veil again. He would keep it on until he went in again to speak with the Lord.

3. Discussion

Jesus told us that we should be like a city on a hill with a light that can’t be hidden.  We are to SHINE the light of Jesus all over the darkness. Even the smallest light can cut through the thick layers of darkness that sin brings into the world. 

Q.  What does it mean to shine your light?  

Q. How can you shine your light?

Q. Do you think it is easy to shine your light?  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will shine their light in their school and in their neighborhood so that all people will see Jesus in us.

In the Beginning…

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 01-07-18Family Devotional Kids 01-07-18

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When Satan brings temptation, it’s not obvious – it’s sneaky. He uses things that seem good, things which have a ring of truth to them, to get us off of God’s game plan.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 3:1 [ESV] “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

 

Satan didn’t use a full-on attack – that would have been easy to spot. He didn’t even start by contradicting God. Instead, he created doubt in Eve’s mind. Those same tactics he used in the garden are just as effective today. Your crafty enemy will tempt you by creating doubt.

Q. Have you ever wrestled with doubts about who God is or what He wants? If so, how did you resolve them?

Q. When Eve had doubts, she trusted the serpent’s interpretation. What should she have done instead? How does that relate to topics which are debated in today’s culture?

3. Discussion

Genesis 3:8-10 [ESV] “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

God put two things into place to help keep Adam and Eve from falling – His Word, and His fellowship. The best way to resist temptation is to lean into those supports. Stay connected to God through prayer and worship. Study the Bible and incorporate it into your life.

Q. Where do you need growth the most right now – Prayer, Worship or Bible Study?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for making a way for you to come near Him again, and for giving you access to His Word. Ask Him to strengthen you so you won’t fall for the sneaky temptations that Satan brings.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Corinthians 3:9 “We work together as partners who belong to God.”

 ANTS:  “You & Me, We Agree, We Will Work In Unity!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn how to work together as partners who belong to God!

2. Bible Reading

Water Out of the Rock

17 The whole community of Israel started out from the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place, just as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there wasn’t any water for the people to drink. So they argued with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”

But the people were thirsty for water there. So they told Moses they weren’t happy with him. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Did you want us, our children and our livestock to die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord. He said, “What am I going to do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me by throwing stones at me.”

The Lord answered Moses. “Go out in front of the people. Take some of the elders of Israel along with you. Take in your hand the walking stick you used when you struck the Nile River. Go. I will stand there in front of you by the rock at Mount Horeb. Hit the rock. Then water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses hit the rock while the elders of Israel watched. Moses called the place Massah and Meribah. That’s because the people of Israel argued with him there. They also tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Joshua Wins the Battle Over the Amalekites

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men. Then go out and fight against the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill. I’ll stand there holding the walking stick God gave me.”

10 So Joshua fought against the Amalekites, just as Moses had ordered. Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hand, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win. 12 When Moses’ arms got tired, Aaron and Hur got a stone and put it under him. Then he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands. Aaron was on one side, and Hur was on the other. Moses’ hands remained steady until sunset. 13 So Joshua destroyed the Amalekite army with swords.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is something to be remembered. So write it on a scroll. Make sure Joshua knows you have done it. I will completely erase the memory of the Amalekites from the earth.”

15 Then Moses built an altar. He called it The Lord Is My Banner. 16 He said, “The Amalekites opposed the authority of the Lord. So the Lord will fight against the Amalekites for all time to come.”

 

3. Discussion

Q. Who was Moses praying for?

Q. What happened when Moses would lower his arms?  Q. When Moses was tired, who helped him to keep his hands up?

Throughout the church’s history, Christians have struggled to work together in unity.  Individuals have strong feelings on how we should go about accomplishing God’s work.  Many times, those feelings and ideas differ from one another.

Too often, Christians begin to fight against one another rather than work together in unity.  Nothing causes more damage to the Kingdom of God than when the people of God begin to hurt and destroy each other.

God wants His people to work together in unity.  We won’t always agree, but when we disagree we should do so in love, trying to compromise with one another.  Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone at church?  How can we be better at working together with other Christians? 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will stay away from fighting other Christians and work together.  Pray that God would help you to work together as a family to accomplish the BIG task of reaching the world for Jesus.

God Can Use Broken Things

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 12-31-17Family Devotional Kids 12-31-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God uses people to accomplish His mission – not perfect, flawless people, but real humans with real issues. It doesn’t take perfection to be useful to God, but it does take the right effort and attitude.

2. Bible Verse

God called Noah, and entrusted him with the survival of the entire human race.

Genesis 6:13-14 [NLT] “So God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!  Build a large boat from cypress wood…’”

But Noah had his own issues.

Genesis 9:20-21 [NLT] “After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.”

Q. Why do you think the story from Genesis 9 was included in the Bible? What can we learn from it?

Q. How do you think Noah felt after the whole incident?

3. Discussion

Even after his drunken experience, Noah had a huge role in God’s mission. He lived for another 349 years, teaching the new generations about God (he even lived alongside Abram for 58 years!). God doesn’t expect perfection, but He does expect humility, submission, and resiliency. If Noah had given up on serving God after his embarrassing moral failure, the entire human race would have been missing a huge wealth of knowledge about God and the times before the flood. The key is to repent, put it in the past and keep following God’s direction. When you fall, don’t give up – get up!

Q. Have you ever felt like you were disqualified to serve God because of mistakes / sins?

Q. If God called Noah (a drunk), David (an adulterer and murderer), and Peter (who denied he even knew Jesus), do you think He would disqualify you for your issues?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to serve Him. Ask Him to keep you from sin, and to help you get back up and keep going when you fall.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Keep on praying.

 Watts Up: “P-R-A-Y, Lift Your Eyes Up To The Sky & Pray!

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Bugs.”  In this series, we will learn some big lessons from different bugs.  In this lesson, we are encouraged to talk to God daily.  He is our best friend.  God wants the best for all of us.  We can share with Him all the things on our minds and hearts.

2. Bible Reading

Luke 18:9-14 Jesus told a story to some people who were sure they were right with God. They looked down on everyone else. 10 He said to them, “Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee. The other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people,’ he said. ‘I am not like robbers or those who do other evil things. I am not like those who commit adultery. I am not even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. And I give a tenth of all I get.’13 “But the tax collector stood farther away than the Pharisee. He would not even look up to heaven. He brought his hand to his heart and prayed. He said, ‘God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner.’14 “I tell you, the tax collector went home accepted by God. But not the Pharisee. All those who lift themselves up will be made humble. And those who make themselves humble will be lifted up.”

Q. What kind of prayer did the Pharisee pray?  What about the tax collector?

Q. Which prayer do you think was most pleasing to God?

3. Discussion

Life is full of choices.  It’s so easy to rely on our own minds and power to make those hard decisions. God has provided a way for each of us to plug into His power and wisdom through prayer.  

Too often, we choose the advice of friends, family, internet, books, television, etc., before we ever go to the source of all wisdom – God.  

Prayer changes things. We must remember that prayer should be our first option, not our last.

Q. Where do you usually go to for advice when facing a tough situation?

Q. How do you think we can make prayer a priority?

 

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your child in the “PRAY” method of prayer.  Walk them through Praise, Repentance, Asking For Others, and then Yourself.  Remind them that prayer is an essential part of our lives.  It is how we stay close to God.  Remind them, “When you see a praying mantis, let it remind you of the importance of prayer.”

Mission: Christmas, You

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 12-24-17Family Devotional Kids 12-24-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Of all the reasons to celebrate Christmas, this may be the most profound. After thousands of years of being at odds with the Creator because of sin, Jesus’ birth announced wonderful news – goodwill toward humankind!

2. Bible Verse

Without Jesus, we would all be destined for God’s wrath.

John 3:36 [VOICE] “Those who believe in the Son (Jesus) will bask in eternal life, but those who disobey the Son will never experience life. They will know only God’s lingering wrath.”

Revelation 20:12-15 [ESV] “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done… 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Q. Take a minute to consider what your fate would be like if Jesus had never come to earth. What feelings does that thought stir up? – Fear, Gratitude, Wonder? 

Q. Consider how very real and intense God’s wrath is toward sin.  How does that change your outlook on the unsaved people in your life? 

3. Discussion

Jesus’ sacrifice paid the price for our sin, and made a way for us to reconnect with a loving God the way He intended from the beginning.

1 John 2:2 [NLT] “He himself (Jesus) is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

Hebrews 10:22 [NLT]  “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean…”

Q. Think about the price Jesus paid so you could have access to God’s presence.  Do you sometimes take that access for granted? What are some examples?

Q. What are some ways you could treat that access as more of a privilege and less of an entitlement?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for paying the price so you could be saved. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop gratitude and devotion in your heart, and to help you cherish the access you’ve been given to God the Father.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” 

 Watts Up:  “God’s Gifts are the Best Gifts!”

2. Activity

Q. If you had all the money in the world, what would be the gift that you would give your best friend?  (A new car, an ipad, video game.)

Q. Now, if you had all the money in the world, what would be the best gift you would give someone that absolutely hates you? (Maybe some rotten meat?  A bucket full of slimy worms?)

Well, that might be what someone would give their enemy, but GOD gave the PERFECT gift to all of us—even before we loved Him. 

We were enemies of God before we accepted Him in our hearts. Yet, God gave His one and only Son, Jesus. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, (while we still not living for God,) Christ came for us to save us and to take away our sin! 

Now, THAT’S one perfect, undeserved gift! 

Q. What are some of the best gifts you have ever received?  Are you still as excited about them today?

God’s gifts make our whole life better, and help us to be a blessing to others!

3. Review

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Let’s review the AWESOME gifts from God we have been studying the past 4 weeks:  

GRACE: God gives us His grace, His mercy and His forgiveness through giving us His Son, Jesus. 

JOY: Be quick to smile, laugh a lot and no matter what happens, remember that GOD GIVES JOY TO EVERYONE! 

PEACE: Ask God for His peace! He’ll give you all the peace you need to help you through whatever comes your way!

WISDOM:  Wisdom comes from God.  We can use it to make good decisions, and find God’s perfect plan for our lives!

Think about God’s gifts.  Are you excited to have them everyday?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together and thank God for His many gifts.  Not only did God send His Son, Jesus but He sent the Holy Spirit that brings us Grace, Joy, Peace, Wisdom, and so much more.

Mission: Christmas, Redemption

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 12-17-17Family Devotional Kids 12-17-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God is on a mission – a long-range operation to take humanity from our fallen, sin-infected state back to the glory he created us to reflect. The mission didn’t start in that stable in Bethlehem – it started from the very beginning, and we haven’t yet reached its fulfillment.

2. Bible Verse

In the beginning, humans reflected God’s glory.

As the pinnacle of His creation, Adam was given dominion over every living thing. He not only reflected God’s character on earth, but he was in communion with God, seemingly on a regular basis.

Genesis 1:26 [NLT] “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.’”

Q. What are some of God’s qualities we were created to reflect?

3. Discussion

 

At the completion of the mission, those who are saved will recapture that glory.  The end result of God’s mission isn’t just to make this life better – it’s to deal with the sin problem so we can once again be near God and reflect His glory. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God remained just, and punished our Savior for our sins… and yet He remained loving, restoring our souls and guaranteeing us a future with Him forever.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 [NLT] “He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Q. God is both loving and just. Which aspect do you tend to focus on more? Which aspect does today’s global church focus on? 

Q. What are the dangers of focusing solely on God’s love? What are the dangers of focusing solely on His justice?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for putting such a costly plan into effect to save you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to better reflect His character in this life, and to help you share the good news, so more can experience salvation in this life, and a glorious future with God.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God…and it will be given to him.” 

 Watts Up: “Ask God For Wisdom And He’ll Give It To You!”

2. Activity

Q. If you needed a cup of water, where would you go to get one?

Q. If you needed a new oven, where could you buy one?

Q.  If you needed braces on your teeth, where would you get them?

Q.  If you needed a computer, where could you buy one?

Q. If you needed help with your homework, who would you ask to help you?

Q.  If you were really sick, where would you go for help?

Q. If you needed money for school, who would you ask for it?

Q.  Would it make sense to ask your doctor for a new pair of shoes? Why not?

Q.  Would it make sense to ask a person who had failed math for help with your math homework? Why not?

Q.  Would it make sense to ask someone who is always in trouble to help you make an important decision? Why not?

3. Discussion

Explain to your kids that when they have some sort of need, the best way to get that need met is to find a person or a place that is a source for what they need. For example, if they need shoes, they should go to a shoe store. If they need help mastering a particular skill, they should go to someone who has already mastered that skill. And if they need wisdom, they should go to God, because he is the source of all wisdom.

Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” 

Wisdom has two parts: 

1: Knowing what God wants them to do.

2. Then doing it. Emphasize that the first thing they should do when making a decision is to ask God what He wants them to do.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together about any areas in your family where you need wisdom. Let your kids hear you ask God both for wisdom in a specific situation and for the courage to act on the wisdom He provides. Thank Him for being so willing to provide you with the wisdom you need.

Mission: Christmas, God’s Role for Israel

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 12-10-17Family Devotional Kids 12-10-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Did you have a favorite aunt/uncle, or grandparent when you were a kid? Maybe you were the favorite, and got special treatment… or maybe your sibling was! We know God loves all humans, but it’s clear in the Bible record that He had a special, chosen people – the nation of Israel. Why? How was that part of the mission of Christmas?

2. Bible Verse

Israel as God’s chosen people illustrates how He accomplishes His mission.

Occasionally, God accomplishes things all on His own, but most of the time, He works through people.

 

 

Judges 6:12-16 [NLT]“The angel of the Lord appeared to (Gideon) and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you… Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’

‘But Lord,” Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’ The Lord said to him, ‘I will be with you…’”

 

Q. What’s one problem you’ve noticed in your community / society / workplace / family that needs God’s help to fix?

Q. When you  remember the “problem-fixes” that God brought through David, Moses, Gideon and others, what do you think your role might be in making a difference?

3. Discussion

The nation of Israel also illustrates how God produces change through people by first producing it in people. 

Genesis 32:28 [NLT] “‘Your name will no longer be Jacob,’ the man told him. ‘From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.’”

Q. In what area(s) of life do you find yourself wrestling with God the most?

Q. Thinking back to the problem you’ve noticed in your world, what type of change do you think God may require in you before He works change through you?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for including people in His work. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce the needed changes in you so that He can produce change through you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “May the Lord…always give you his peace no matter what happens.” 

 Watts Up: “God Will Give You Peace Within, He’ll Be With You ‘Till The End!”

2. Activity

For this week’s devotion, you will need a heavy rock, a plastic cup, and a handful of pebbles. Place the cup in the kitchen sink or bathtub or by a water hose outside. 

Ask your kids to try to move the cup by doing the following:

  • blowing as hard as they can
  • throwing pebbles at it
  • pouring water on it

Replace the cup with the rock and ask them to do the same things. Then discuss these questions:

Q. If you were a grasshopper and you were out in a windstorm or a thunderstorm, do you think it would be safer to be on the cup or on the rock?

Q. Which is stronger, the cup or the rock?

3. Discussion

Read Isaiah 26:3-4 to your kids:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.”

When we are stressed or in the middle of a storm, we can always find peace by trusting in God, who is our rock. He will not be moved by the storm, and as long as we stay connected to him, we won’t be, either.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together, thanking God for providing us peace as we trust in Him. Ask Him to help you fix your thoughts on Him, especially in times of stress.

Mission: Christmas, God’s Plan for Humanity

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Family Devotional Adult 12-3-17Family Devotional Kids 12-3-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people – a time to reconnect with family, a time to bond around nostalgia, a time to practice generosity – but for Christians, it’s a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. In order to fully appreciate the importance of Jesus’ arrival, we need to understand why He came, beginning with the crown jewel of God’s creation – humanity.

2. Bible Verse

Humanity was created to give praise and bring glory to God.

Everything in creation brings God glory, just like a trophy case brings glory to an athlete, or an art gallery brings glory to an artist. Humanity is different, though. We weren’t made to passively point to God – we have the capacity and design to actively praise Him.

Psalm 100:1-3 [ESV] “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

Q. What are some examples of creation bringing glory to God? 

Q. What are some ways you can actively praise God?

3. Discussion

Humanity was designed for community.

From the beginning, this worship we were designed for was intended to happen together; side by side in community, with God as the uniting principle among us.

Psalm 95:6-7 [GNT] “Come, let us bow down and worship him; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! He is our God; we are the people he cares for, the flock for which he provides.”

Psalm 133:1 [ESV] Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”

Q. Can you worship God all by yourself?

Q. When you worship God in community with others, how is it different?

Q. What are some ways you can worship God in community?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for including you as part of His amazing creation. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep your focus on bringing praise to Him with all areas of your life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Philippians 3:1 “Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy.”

Watts Up: “God Gives Joy To Every Girl And Boy!”

**PARENTS:  Sometimes joy gets buried under a pile of busyness during the Christmas season—joy seems to be inversely related to stress! This week’s devotion is to set aside some time to rediscover and experience joy as a family. You’ll need to clear everyone’s calendar for a couple of hours one night (that may mean canceling some of your own plans).

2. Activity

Think of an activity everyone in your family enjoys, and plan on spending the night doing it. Ask your teens to put away their cell phones (and put your own away) so you can enjoy just being with each other. If you can’t think of anything to do, here are some suggestions:

  • Play a favorite board or card game.
  • Gather all the pillows and blankets in your house and lay together in the floor, watching your favorite funny movie.
  • Drive around looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music.
  • Play charades.
  • Cook something together.
  • Go bowling.
  • Go to the mall and tell everyone they have $500 pretend dollars to spend.
  • Stay together and see how each person spends their money. Don’t buy anything!

3. Discussion

After you’ve finished, take some time to talk about the following questions:

Q. What are some of the best or funniest memories you have of things we’ve done in the past?

Q. Did all of these memories seem good while they were happening, or were some of them not so great at the time, but ended up being special?

Q. What are some of the things you look forward to in the future that you think will bring you joy?

Q. What are some things that keep you from experiencing joy? Where does true joy come from?

4. Prayer Focus

Finally, pray together, praising God for the joy he has brought to your family. Thank him for all of the good memories you have made over the years and for the ones that you’ll make in the future.