Bible

Hard Question: Divorce & Remarriage

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Family Devotional 6-18-17 AdultFamily Devotional 6-18-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When you look across our culture, commitment seems to be at an all-time low, and the poster child for the problem is marriage.  God designed marriage to bless us, and even if it ends, His desire for us is peace and healing.  

God’s plan for families has always been committed relationships for life.  Look for those dynamics in the following verses:

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 19:5-6 [ESV] “and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

1 Corinthians 7:15 [NIV] “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”

Q. God refers to marriage as a covenant – in what ways is marriage similar to His covenant with us?

3. Application

It takes 2 people to stay in a relationship, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things come to an end. Even then, we’re called to live in peace and to forgive, so everyone can heal and move forward in life.

Q. God permits divorce in some cases, but is that ever His preference? 

Q. Have you ever been hurt by a divorce? If so, how hard was it for you to offer forgiveness? Is there someone you still need to forgive?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for blessing humanity with marriage. Ask Him to help you to be faithful and support marriage – not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I will tell my friends about Jesus!”

Tell your children to imagine that they’re sick—so sick, in fact, that without help, they’ll die.  Ask them the following questions:  How do you think you’d feel emotionally if you were this sick?  What do you think you’d do to try to get better?

2. Bible Verse

Mark 16:15 & Romans 10:13  “Go into all the world and preach the good news…”

Tell your children that someone told them about a new cure for their illness. Have them imagine that they’ve undergone treatment and now they’re perfectly healthy.  

Ask them the following questions:

Q. How would you feel emotionally once you were healed?

Q. How would you feel toward the person who told you about the cure?

Q. How would you feel toward the person who actually found the cure?

Q. How would you feel if you found out there was a cure and a friend had known about it but didn’t tell you?

 

3. Application 

Next, have your children imagine that a friend has come to them describing some symptoms that are very similar to the ones they had.  After listening to this friend for awhile, they realize that he has the same disease that they did.  

Talk about the following questions:

Q. Would you tell your friend about the cure? Why?  What might happen to your friend if you don’t tell him about the cure?

Q. Can you force the person to undergo the treatment and take the medicine that will cure him?

Tell your children that all people have a disease that will eventually kill them: sin.  Sin is a disease that everyone is born with, and unless we seek the “cure”—Jesus—we will die an eternal death and be separated from God and everything that’s good.

4. Prayer Focus

Tell your children that thinking about sin as a fatal disease will help them see the importance of telling others about Jesus.  Our job is to tell them about Jesus and show them Christ’s love, so they’ll know about the cure. Pray with your family, asking God to open your eyes to the people around you who need to know about Him.

Waiting for God

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 6-11-17 Adult

Family Devotional 6-11-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Sometimes it’s hard to wait. In a culture of microwave dinners, Keurig coffee brewers, and on-demand video content, it can seem downright criminal when God doesn’t answer prayers quickly. When the answer doesn’t come in the time we expect it to, though, the problem is not God’s timing… it’s ours.

2. Bible Verse 

2 Peter 3:9 [ESV] “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God’s timing works differently than ours, with many factors we may not take into account. Remember, He’s patient, and He’s working for your good.

Q. What’s a prayer you’ve prayed that didn’t get answered as quickly as you wanted?

Q. What’s an example of a time when God was patient with you?

Q. Would you rather have God’s answers – and judgment – happen on your timetable, or on His?

3. Application

Matthew 7:11 [NLT] “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

God will give good things to you, but He’s the one who determines what is truly good. If you find yourself not getting what you want, that thing you’re asking for might not be as good for you as it seems.

Q. What’s something that humans used to think was good or healthy, which we now understand is bad or unhealthy?

Q.  Is it possible that something that seems good for you could actually be bad for others? If God loves all humanity, could His delay in answering be for the greater good?

Q. Sometimes a good thing can become bad if it comes at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. Can you think of a few examples?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for caring enough about what’s good for you to answer prayers in His timing. Ask Him to give you patience to wait for His answers and to help you trust in His character while you’re waiting.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I Will Worship God With All My Heart!”

Give everyone a pen and piece of paper and have them write down the name of their favorite celebrity—an athlete, a singer, an actor, a public figure, or whomever.   Once everyone is finished, tell them to imagine that they’ve been invited to spend an hour alone with this person.

2. Bible Verse

Psalm 100:2 “Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”   

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. What is the first thing you would do when you saw this famous person?

Q. How would you feel while you were in this person’s presence?

Q. How do you think you would feel once you left this person’s presence?

Q. What are some of the things you might say to that person?

When you’re discussing some of the things you might say, suggest to your children that they may say something like:

“You’re the best quarterback ever.  The way you run the ball is awesome.”

“You’re so funny in all of your movies.  I love the way you can make me laugh.”

“The way you dress is so cool, I would love to look just like you.”

3. Application 

Tell your children that while they may never get the chance to be in the presence of their favorite celebrity, they always have the opportunity to be in the presence of God. 

Sometimes our biggest problem in worship is we can’t really think of anything to say other than, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over.  Maybe it’s because we aren’t paying enough attention to what God is doing in our lives every day.  As a family, make a commitment to praising God every day over the next week for something He’s done in your life that day.  It may be something simple like giving you the strength to resist temptation or giving you a sense of peace during a stressful situation. Whatever it is, make sure you spend some time praising God for it.

4. Prayer Focus

To end your devotion, have each person name one thing that God has done for them recently.  Then worship God together as a family, either silently or out loud, praising Him for all of the good things He does.

Free Will & Choices

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 6-4-17 Adult

Family Devotional 6-4-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Of all the things God blessed humanity with, one of the most beautiful, powerful, and potentially dangerous gifts He gave is the ability to choose. From choosing which shirt to wear, to choosing which career to pursue, to choosing how to respond to God’s Word, every decision in our lives comes with consequences. There is great power in the human will!

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 8:5-13 [NLT] “When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, ‘Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.’ Jesus said, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the officer said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed…’ Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, ‘Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.’ And the young servant was healed that same hour.”

Q. The officer’s decision to believe Jesus affected his household. Who is affected by your decisions in life?

Q. The decision to trust Jesus to heal, sight unseen, is a risk. What are things it’s risky to believe God for? What factors make it easier or harder to decide to trust Him in risky situations?

3. Application

Proverbs 14:12 [ESV] “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Ephesians 5:15 [NLT] “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.”

James 1:5 [ESV] “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Q. The right decision isn’t always obvious – we need God’s wisdom. What are some ways God brings wisdom into your life?

Q. When you consider the consequences of every decision – good or bad – does it make you feel more empowered or intimidated? Which do you think God wants you to feel?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the blessing of free will. Ask Him to give you wisdom to make the right decisions for yourself and for others.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

The B-I-B-L-E, Yes That’s The Book For Me!”

Take a sheet of paper and write “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) on it using the largest letters you can.  Show it to your children and have them read it aloud or repeat it after you. Now take the sheet of paper and cut it into a puzzle where each word is its own puzzle piece.  Lay the pieces out in front of your children, and have them put the puzzle back together.  Repeat the verse aloud several times.  Leave the verse in front of them and take out the piece that says “word” and see if they can still recite the verse.  Leaving that piece out, take out the word “heart” and ask them to recite the verse.  Continue removing pieces until they can repeat the verse by heart.

2. Bible Verse

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true…” 

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. What does it mean to hide something in your heart? (It means to memorize it.)

Q. Why are we supposed to memorize God’s word? (It helps us choose not to sin when we’re faced with temptation.)

Q. What are some tricks you use when you need to memorize something for school, like math facts or definitions?  How could you use those tricks to help you memorize Bible verses?

3. Application 

Tell your children that the Bible is like a road map for our lives, and the more familiar we are with it, the easier it is to understand which way to go.  Make it a family habit to memorize verses together and rehearse them with each other—working on them as a family helps keep everyone accountable.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together, thanking God for giving us His word to help us live our lives.  Ask Him to help your family as you begin to hide His word in your hearts.

Love Your Neighbor

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-28-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-28-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Loving people who love us is easy. Loving those who are different, who dislike us, or who intentionally hurt us, that’s a different story. To love these, though, is to prove that God’s love and grace are at work inside of us.

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 5:43-45a [NLT] “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”

Q. Looking back over your life, who would be some “enemies” on a personal level? Without God’s help, how difficult would it be to love them?

Q. What are a few groups, nationalities, or cultures which seem like enemies to you? (i.e. urban gangs, terrorist organizations, foreign dictators)

Q. What pressures are there from your own group, nationality, and culture to treat these people with hostility?

3. Application

Matthew 5:45b-48 [NLT] “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Jesus called us to share the good news with everyone, even our enemies. When we remember our own need for God’s grace and forgiveness (things we don’t deserve), we can more easily extend grace and forgiveness to those who are hard to love.

Q. Who is more loved by God: you or the people from the list you made earlier? Who is more in need of God’s grace? Who is more deserving of it?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for extending grace to you. Ask Him to help you love those like the people on your list, and to share the good news with them.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

For this devotion, you will need a flashlight or lamp, and a TV or radio. Have your entire family go into the darkest room of your house and then ask them what they see.  Depending on how dark it is, they may or may not be able to see anything.  Hand the flashlight to one of your children (or have someone turn on a lamp or overhead light) and ask them again what they can see.

2. Bible Verse

“The Holy Spirit Will Give Me Power!”

Acts 1:8 “And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. Why couldn’t we see much at first?

Q. Why did turning on the flashlight or lamp help us see better?

Q. What caused the flashlight or lamp to be able to light up? (electricity)

Q. Could you see the electricity? (No, but you could see what the electricity did.)

3. Application & Talking Point

Have your family move into the room where the TV or radio is.  Tell one of your children to turn on the TV or radio.  Listen for a few moments, and then have someone turn it off.

Ask the following questions:

Q. How does the TV or radio work? (Most children and adults won’t be able to answer this question very well, and that’s the point: we don’t really know how they work, we just know that they do.)

Q. What does the TV or radio need in order to work? (electricity)

Explain to your children that the Holy Spirit is kind of like electricity. When we become Christians, it’s like having a power plant in our hearts!  Although we may not fully understand how He does it, the Holy Spirit guides, convicts, comforts, and teaches us.  He also gives us the power we need to do what God asks us to.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together, thanking God for giving each member of your family the Holy Spirit as a power source in your lives.

How to Keep Work from Sucking the Life Out of You

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-21-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-21-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Work is a blessing from God that can become a boat anchor around your neck if it grows out of balance. Your body and mind were designed for regular intervals of rest – without that, work can suck the life out of you and steal your joy.

2. Bible Verse 

Exodus 20:9-10 [NLT] “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work.”

Q. When you have a “day off,” how much rest do you actually get?

Q. Running your life without rest isn’t just stupid – it’s a sin. Do you agree or disagree?

Q. Do you think God is pleased with the way you observe His command to take a break? If not, how can you change your routine?

Ecclesiastes 4:6 [NLT] “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

3. Application

Luke 12:15 [ESV] “And he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’”

Q. God warns us to fight against the pursuit of “more.” In which area is “more” most tempting for you? (work, money, success, hobbies, etc.)

Q. What is the thing/activity in your life that is most out-of-balance? What would happen if you did it less or took more frequent breaks from it?

Q. Sometimes we feel like we can’t take a break, because we’re on our own and things depend on us. Who could you call that would be willing to help you from time to time so you could get some rest?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the good things He’s put in your life. Ask Him to help you keep things in balance and make time to rest.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Prep: Gather some small candies / cereal pieces / marbles / etc. and put them in a bowl. Also get a coloring book and crayons (or notepad and pencil). 

Instructions: Ask your child to grab a handful of items from the bowl and hold them in one hand while coloring/sketching something simple with the other. Then, have them repeat the process, only with two handfuls of items. When they’re finished, compare the quality of the 2 colorings / sketches.

2. Bible Verse

Ecclesiastes 4:6 [NLT] “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

God warns us in the Bible about having too much of anything – even something good. Just like it’s hard to color when both of your hands are full, it’s hard to live a healthy life when you’re trying to do too much of everything. Things like schoolwork, sports, cartoons and video games are all great… but we also need to take time to rest. God told adults to take a break from work once a week, and kids need rest, too.

3. Application & Talking Point

 

Q. What’s your favorite thing to spend time doing? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Q. If you spent literally (parents, define this word if needed) all your time doing it, what would happen to you? (example: no bathroom break, no food, no sleep).

Q. Even good things can become unhealthy when we do them too much. What’s one thing you need a parent to remind you to take a break from this week?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the good things He’s put in your life. Ask Him to help you keep things in balance and make time to rest.

Mother’s Influence

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-14-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-14-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Of all the sources of God’s wisdom and guidance we have, one of the greatest is the influence of our parents. Much of your character today was shaped by the way your parents lived in front of you. How important it is then, to make sure that we’re providing a good example for the next generation.

2. Bible Verse 

Athaliah had a bad influence… which produced bad consequences.

(2 Chronicles 22:3–4, NLT) “Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother (Athaliah) encouraged him in doing wrong. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.” 

Eunice had a good influence… which produced a great legacy.

(2 Timothy 1:3–5, NLT)“Timothy, I thank God for you… I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” 

3. Application

The success Timothy had in ministry was in many ways attributable to the character his mother and grandmother built in him. Even if children don’t seem to be listening to your instruction, be sure that they are greatly influenced by your presence in their life.

Q. What influences the next generation more, what you teach, or how you live?

Q. What are some ways that you’re actively building Godly character in the next generation?

Q. What are some areas where your life choices may be sending the wrong message to someone who’s watching you? What can you do this week to change that?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for those who raised you. Then ask Him to help you live and teach in a way that builds the right kind of character for future generations.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Gather some small candies / cereal pieces / crackers and give them to your child. Take 2 pieces of paper – on one, right “school,” and on another write “mom (or dad/grandma/etc).” Ask your child the following questions, and have them answer by placing food items on either paper. At the end, see whose stack/pile is the largest.

Q: Where did you learn to count? Where did you learn how to hug? Who taught you to spell? Who taught you to share? Where did you learn about planets? Where did you learn about table manners? 

(Add your own questions, if you’d like to.)

2. Bible Verse

Luke 19:10 (ERV) “Follow my example, just as I follow the example of Christ.”

Proverbs 1:8-9 (ERV) “My son (or daughter), listen to your father when he corrects you, and don’t ignore what your mother teaches you. What you learn from your parents will bring you honor and respect, like a crown or a gold medal.”

3. Application & Talking Point

You can learn a lot of things from a lot of different places and people, but the ones who have the biggest impact on who you are as a person are your parents (or grandparents/etc, based on your situation).  God put parents in your life so that you can learn about how to treat other people, how to make wise choices, and how to make God happy with your life. Listen to your parents! Let them help you become the best “you” you can be.

Q. What are some of the people and places you learn things from?

Q. What’s the best thing your parents ever taught you?

Q. What’s something you want to teach if you have kids of your own someday?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for those who raised you. Then ask Him to help you live and teach in a way that builds the right kind of character for future generations.

Tell the Whole World

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-7-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-7-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

40% of the people in our world have never been reached with the gospel. Nearly 20% don’t have the access or ability to read the Bible in a language they understand. While we’re blessed with an abundance of knowledge in America, the need around the world is still great. That’s why missions giving is so important!

2. Bible Verse 

Luke 19:1–10 (ESV) “He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’”

 

3. Application

Q. Which is a more important group to reach – the lost in unreached countries, or the lost across the street? Can we do both effectively?

Q. How difficult would it be to grow in your faith if all English-translation Bibles suddenly disappeared?

Q. Is there an item, activity, or subscription in your everyday life that you could give up for a season to support missions? How much of a difference would it make in the life of someone in an unreached people group? How much of a difference would it make in you?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending someone into your lives to tell you the good news. Then ask Him to help you share that news with the lost by telling them and sending missionaries to them.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Gather 20 M&M’s, Skittle candies, or pennies. Have the kids help you separate out 8 of them (that is 40%) and set aside. Explain to your kid(s) that 40% of the world’s population has never even heard of Jesus. Take the 40% group and divide in half (to make 4 candies). 

Explain that nearly 20% of the world’s population doesn’t have the access or education to be able to read the Bible in a language they understand. 

Throw the 40% group of 8 candies/ pennies in the trash. Without the good news about Jesus, those people are lost.

2. Bible Verse

Luke 19:10 (ERV) “The Son of Man (that’s Jesus!) came to find lost people and save them.”

Romans 10:14 (ERV) “But before people can pray to the Lord for help, they must believe in him. And before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about him. And for anyone to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. How did it make you feel when we threw away the candy (or pennies)? How do you think God feels when a person He loves dies without ever hearing about Him?

Did you know that there are over 7.5 billion people in the world?

That’s enough M&M’s to fill 175 swimming pools (100 pools with pennies)! The reason adults give to missionaries and kids work so hard to raise money for BGMC is so we can help send people to tell that lost 40% that God loves them and Jesus died for their sins. Telling people the good news about God’s love was Jesus’ most important mission, and it should be our most important one, too!

Q. What’s something you can do (maybe with a parent’s help) to help raise money for BGMC (Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge) this week? 

 

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending someone into your lives to tell you the good news. Then ask Him to help you share that news with the lost by telling them and sending missionaries to them.

Family Devotional 5-7-17 pdf download