Faith

Holy Spirit Empowered

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Sharing your faith with friends and family can be intimidating. “What if they don’t believe me? What if they think I’m crazy? What if I totally mess up the message?” On our own, it would be impossible to fulfill God’s vision to reach people who need Him. The good news is, we’re not on our own – the Holy Spirit is with us!

1. The Holy Spirit will give us boldness to share the message.

Acts 1:8 [ESV]  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Being filled with the Spirit is not just about speaking in unknown languages – He works in us to give us courage to speak up, and the right words to say. Even if you’re naturally timid and soft-spoken, He will help you to share with the people in your life who need to hear it.

Q. What’s something in life you’d love to do, but are too scared/nervous to try?

Q. Trusting the Holy Spirit to give you courage in the moment you need it, what possibly-intimidating interactions with friends and family could you initiate this week?

2. The Holy Spirit will give weight to our words.

John 6:44 [NLT] “For no one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…”

The Holy Spirit not only gives you the confidence to share, but when you do, it’s His influence that causes your words to ring true in the hearts of the people who hear. 

Q. Can you remember a time when you heard something at church or from another believer, and you felt like it was speaking “directly to you?” How did that change the way you responded to what was said?

Q. Trusting the Holy Spirit to cause the words to resonate with those who hear, what would you say to your friends & family who don’t know God?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to help you accomplish His mission. Ask Him for boldness to share your faith this week with the people in your life who need Him.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  

Watts Up: “God Is The Judge, And I AM NOT!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Ouch!” This week, we learn not to be a “rock thrower” judging others, but to be a “grace giver” instead.

2. Bible Reading

John 8:1-11 “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives… All the people gathered around him there. He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman… They said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught sleeping with a man who was not her husband. In the Law, Moses commanded us to kill such women by throwing stones at them. Now what do you say?’ They were trying to trap Jesus with that question…. So he stood up and said to them, ‘Has any one of you not sinned? Then you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ He bent down again and wrote on the ground. Those who heard what he had said began to go away. They left one at a time, the older ones first. Soon only Jesus was left. The woman was still standing there. Jesus stood up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Hasn’t anyone found you guilty?’  ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then I don’t find you guilty either,’ Jesus said. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

3. Discussion

Q. Who brought the woman to Jesus & why?

Q.  What was Jesus’ response? Were the Pharisees innocent?

Have you ever known someone that was SO BAD that you thought, “They could NEVER become a Christian!” OR have you ever known someone who had done so many sinful things that you thought, “That person sure does deserve some punishment!”  Well, that’s exactly what the Pharisees thought when they brought the woman to Jesus in today’s Bible Story. This woman had been caught sinning. She had a bad reputation and everyone seemed to know that she was guilty of sin. The Pharisees brought her before Jesus, and they planned to “stone” her.

Q. Have you ever been a “rock thrower” instead of a “grace giver”?

Q. What do you think you could do instead of judging others?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children if they have been guilty of judging others and “throwing rocks” at others. Pray that they will remember that they are sinners too. Pray they will receive forgiveness for their sins (including for judging others) and choose to be a “Grace Giver” like Jesus.

Motivation

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Sharing your faith with friends and family members who don’t know God takes effort – it takes prayer and patience and strategy. Why do we do it, then? We do it because someone’s future and present depend on it.

1. Bible Knowledge

Revelation 20:15 [ESV] “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

If someone stands before God’s judgment throne and their name isn’t recorded in the Book of Life, they’ll be thrown into hell. It’s harsh and scary, but true. The first thing that should motivate us to share faith is the reality that someone’s eternal destination depends on it.

Q. Did you consider the reality of hell when you decided to make Jesus Lord?

Q. When you think about the possibility of a friend or family member ending up there, how does that make you feel? Scared? Angry? Sad? Motivated?

2. Challenge

John 10:10 [ESV]  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” 

Accepting Jesus as Lord will save someone from hell, but it’s not just about eternity. A relationship with God brings peace, purpose, comfort, direction, and many other wonderful things in this life. When you share your faith with someone, you’re inviting them to experience this mortal life to the fullest – making life better.

Q. What are some of the benefits of a relationship with God that you’ve experienced in this life?

Q. Which of those benefits would you most like your unsaved family and friends to experience?

Q. How can you weave those benefits into your testimony as you share your faith with people?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for saving you from eternal destruction and for benefiting your mortal life in so many ways. Ask the Holy Spirit to motivate you like never before to share the good news of salvation with the people around you who need it.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:22 “Stay away from every kind of evil.” 

Watts Up:  “I’ll Do Whatever It Takes To STAY AWAY From Sin!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Ouch!” In this series, we learn about powerful truths Jesus taught when he preached the Sermon on the Mount. In this lesson, we learn about Jesus’ teaching of “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off!” Of course, Jesus didn’t mean this literally, but He was serious about each of us being willing to “cut off” and “cut out” of our lives every attitude, action, and habit that is sinful!

2. Bible Reading

2 Kings 21:1-16 “Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years…3 Manasseh also set up altars to the god named Baal. Manasseh even bowed down to all the stars. And he worshiped them…10 The Lord spoke through his servants the prophets. He said, 11 ‘Manasseh, the king of Judah, has committed terrible sins. I hate them.’ 16 And he [King Manasseh] caused Judah to commit sin. So they also did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

2 Kings 22:1-2, 23:24-25 “Josiah was eight years old when he became king… Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He lived the way King David had lived. He didn’t turn away from it to the right or the left. 24He got rid of the statues of family gods and the statues of other gods. He got rid of everything else the Lord hates that was in Judah and Jerusalem. 25 He obeyed the Lord with all his heart and all his soul.”

3. Discussion

Q. Who became king in the story?

Q. Who did King Josiah think the people should worship?

Q. Have you ever wanted something SO BAD that you were willing to do ANYTHING to get it? 

Q. Have you had the attitude of “whatever it takes” – nothing was going to stop you?

Well, that is exactly the attitude that Jesus says we are supposed to have when it comes to staying away from sin. We are supposed to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep sin out of our lives.

Q. Do you have that kind of attitude about keeping sin out of your life?

Q. Do you have things that you need to “cut out” of your life? 

Q. What are some of those things?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your child about things in their life that they need to “cut off.” Pray for them for forgiveness of sin and God’s help to stay away from sin. Pray that they will not try to see how close they can get to sin, but rather how FAR AWAY they can stay from sin!

We are Better Together

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Family Devotional Adult 9-24-17

Family Devotional Kids 9-24-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

We live in a culture where people are becoming more and more isolated. From online shopping to text messages, technology is slowly chipping away at the social interactions in our lives, and leaving us vulnerable to the strategies of our spiritual enemy. The life God has planned for us is one that’s lived together in community.

2. Bible Verse

Isolation leaves you weak.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 [NLT] “Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.” 

Q. Have you ever felt alone, even around people? 

Q. Think of the time(s) in your life when you felt the most isolated. How close to God did you feel in that time? How fulfilled or unsatisfied did you feel?

3. Discussion

Strength and purpose is found in sharing life with each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 [NLT] “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

When we work together, we’ve got each others’ backs. We can be an encouragement when someone else is down, a word of caution when someone else is straying off God’s path – and they can be that for us. When we pour into someone else’s life, we can find the purpose and value in our own. 

Q. How connected do you feel to others today? How about in the church?

Q. If you’re more isolated than you want / should be, what steps can you take this week to help change the situation?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the people that He’s put in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to start and invest in relationships that will help you and others live stronger, God-pleasing lives.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

John 16:33  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

“No Matter What Happens – Jesus Gives Me Peace!”

In our brand new series, “Soul Food”, we will find out the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  This week, we learn that suffering is one of those ingredients.  Too many people have the idea that once you become a Christian, everything is going to go smoothly and you will never have a tough time in life.  But that is not what Jesus taught us.  Suffering isn’t only a “possibility” – Jesus said it is a guarantee.  Bad things will happen to us even as we follow Him.  Suffering is part of the deal.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Acts 6:8-7:54

Stephen was full of God’s grace and power. He did great wonders and signs among the people. But members of the group called the Synagogue of the Freedmen began to oppose him. Some of them were Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria. Others were Jews from Cilicia and Asia Minor. They all began to argue with Stephen. 10 But he was too wise for them. That’s because the Holy Spirit gave Stephen wisdom whenever he spoke.

11 Then in secret they talked some men into lying about Stephen. They said, “We heard Stephen speak evil things against Moses and against God.”

12 So the people were stirred up. The elders and the teachers of the law were stirred up too. They arrested Stephen and brought him to the Sanhedrin. 13 They found witnesses who were willing to tell lies. These liars said, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place. He also speaks against the law. 14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place. He says Jesus will change the practices that Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked right at Stephen. They saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Stephen Speaks to the Sanhedrin

Then the high priest questioned Stephen. “Is what these people are saying true?” he asked.

“Brothers and fathers, listen to me!” Stephen replied. “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham. At that time Abraham was still in Mesopotamia. He had not yet begun living in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said. ‘Go to the land I will show you.’ (Genesis 12:1)

“So Abraham left the land of Babylonia. He settled in Harran. After his father died, God sent Abraham to this land where you are now living. God didn’t give him any property here. He didn’t even give him enough land to set his foot on. But God made a promise to him and to all his family after him. He said they would possess the land. The promise was made even though at that time Abraham had no child. Here is what God said to him. ‘For 400 years your family after you will be strangers in a country not their own. They will be slaves and will be treated badly. But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves,’ God said. ‘After that, they will leave that country and worship me here.’ (Genesis 15:13,14) Then God made a covenant with Abraham. God told him that circumcision would show who the members of the covenant were. Abraham became Isaac’s father. He circumcised Isaac eight days after he was born. Later, Isaac became Jacob’s father. Jacob had 12 sons. They became the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.

“Jacob’s sons were jealous of their brother Joseph. So they sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt. But God was with him. 10 He saved Joseph from all his troubles. God made Joseph wise. He helped him to become the friend of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and his whole palace.

11 “There was not enough food for all Egypt and Canaan. This brought great suffering. Jacob and his sons couldn’t find food. 12 But Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt. So he sent his sons on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was. Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family. The total number of people was 75. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt. There he and his family died. 16 Some of their bodies were brought back to Shechem. They were placed in a tomb Abraham had bought. He had purchased it from Hamor’s sons at Shechem. He had purchased it for a certain amount of money.

17 “In Egypt the number of our people grew and grew. It was nearly time for God to make his promise to Abraham come true. 18 Then ‘a new king came to power in Egypt. Joseph didn’t mean anything to him.’ (Exodus 1:8) 19 The king was very evil and dishonest with our people. He treated them badly. He forced them to throw out their newborn babies to die.

20 “At that time Moses was born. He was not an ordinary child. For three months he was taken care of by his family. 21 Then he was placed outside. But Pharaoh’s daughter took him home. She brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was taught all the knowledge of the people of Egypt. He became a powerful speaker and a man of action.

23 “When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit the people of Israel. They were his own people. 24 He saw one of them being treated badly by an Egyptian. So he went to help him. He got even by killing the man. 25 Moses thought his own people would realize that God was using him to save them. But they didn’t. 26 The next day Moses saw two Israelites fighting. He tried to make peace between them. ‘Men, you are both Israelites,’ he said. ‘Why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was treating the other one badly pushed Moses to one side. He said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ (Exodus 2:14) 29 When Moses heard this, he escaped to Midian. He lived there as an outsider. He became the father of two sons there.

30 “Forty years passed. Then an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush. This happened in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When Moses saw the bush, he was amazed. He went over for a closer look. There he heard the Lord say, 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ (Exodus 3:6) Moses shook with fear. He didn’t dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals. You must do this because the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have seen my people beaten down in Egypt. I have heard their groans. I have come down to set them free. Now come. I will send you back to Egypt.’ (Exodus 3:5,7,8,10)

35 “This is the same Moses the two men of Israel would not accept. They had said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ But God himself sent Moses to rule the people of Israel and set them free. He spoke to Moses through an angel. The angel had appeared to him in the bush. 36 So Moses led them out of Egypt. He did wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for 40 years in the desert.

37 “This is the same Moses who spoke to the Israelites. ‘God will send you a prophet,’ he said. ‘He will be like me. He will come from your own people.’ (Deuteronomy 18:15) 38 Moses was with the Israelites in the desert. He was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. Moses was with our people of long ago. He received living words to pass on to us.

39 “But our people refused to obey Moses. They would not accept him. In their hearts, they wished they were back in Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us a god who will lead us. This fellow Moses brought us up out of Egypt. But we don’t know what has happened to him!’ (Exodus 32:1) 41 That was the time they made a statue to be their god. It was shaped like a calf. They brought sacrifices to it. They even enjoyed what they had made with their own hands. 42 But God turned away from them. He let them go on worshiping the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets. There it says,

“ ‘People of Israel, did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    for 40 years in the desert?
43 You have taken with you the shrine of your false god Molek.
    You have taken with you the star of your false god Rephan.
    You made statues of those gods to worship.
So I will send you away from your country.’ (Amos 5:25–27)
    God sent them to Babylon and even farther.

44 “Long ago our people were in the desert. They had with them the holy tent. The tent was where the tablets of the covenant law were kept. Moses had made the holy tent as God had commanded him. Moses made it like the pattern he had seen. 45 Our people received the tent from God. Then they brought it with them when they took the land of Canaan. God drove out the nations that were in their way. At that time Joshua was Israel’s leader. The tent remained in the land until David’s time. 46 David was blessed by God. So David asked if he could build a house for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the temple for God.

48 “But the Most High God does not live in houses made by human hands. As God says through the prophet,

49 “ ‘Heaven is my throne.
    The earth is under my control.
What kind of house will you build for me?
    says the Lord.
    Where will my resting place be?
50 Didn’t my hand make all these things?’ (Isaiah 66:1,2)

51 “You stubborn people! You won’t obey! You won’t listen! You are just like your people of long ago! You always oppose the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your people didn’t try to hurt? They even killed those who told about the coming of the Blameless One. And now you have handed him over to his enemies. You have murdered him. 53 The law you received was given by angels. But you haven’t obeyed it.”

Stephen Is Killed

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they became very angry. They were so angry they ground their teeth at Stephen.

Q. What did Stephen do that didn’t sit well with the other religious leaders?

Q. What were they afraid would happen if Stephen continued?

Q. What did the religious leaders do to ruin Stephen’s reputation?  What did they do when that didn’t stop Stephen from sharing about Jesus?

Q. What did Stephen look to Heaven and say right before he died?

3. Discussion

Life is full of troubles and difficulties.  Each day, we will be in a fight against our enemy, the devil.  But Jesus has already defeated the devil, so we do not have to be afraid or worried.  Although life is full of “many trials and sorrows,” we can have peace in our hearts and minds because Jesus has “overcome the world.”  If we trust Him and never give up, we will win the victory!

Q. What are some ways that you might suffer for your faith today?

Q. How should you prepare yourself for the suffering you know will eventually happen as a follower of Jesus?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will not be afraid or discouraged when suffering comes their way.  Pray that they will stand firm in their faith in Jesus.  Pray that they will take heart, knowing that He has overcome the world!

Making Life Better

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Family Devotional Adult 9-17-17

Family Devotional Kids 9-17-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Everybody’s looking for ways to make life better. From smart phones that translate languages, to cars that help you stay in your lane, to updated nutrition levels, everyone’s trying to improve the quality of their lives. As great as man-made advancements are though, there’s only one way to change life from the inside out – allowing the Holy Spirit to rebuild your character in God’s image. 

2. Bible Verse

John 10:10 [ESV] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

The “thief” is Satan, and his aim is to destroy you.

If you take an inventory of the world around you, it’s easy to see the effect of sin and the pain it brings. Satan is a real being, who is working to prevent people from experiencing peace with God by providing unfulfilling substitutes. These pursuits may seem good or fun in the moment, but ultimately, they lead people further and further from God.

Q. List a few sources of pain or hardship in your life. Do you believe these sources fit with God’s original design for humanity? 

Q. If not, what influence does Satan – and sin – have on them?

3. Discussion

John 10:10 [ESV] “… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Jesus came to bring the full, vibrant life God always intended for you.  At the core, the one thing every human longs for is peace with God. Satan offers external “fixes,” but they never fill the void. Life with God at the center doesn’t change the outward circumstances – those are part of a sin infected world. Instead, it changes you, and enables you to live in joy and victory regardless of what’s happening around you. 

Q. How do you think a relationship with God might better equip you to handle the sources of pain & hardship you listed above? 

Q. How differently would you view these situations if you didn’t have God’s help?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the joy, peace, and fulfillment that He has planned for your life. Ask Him to help you share that good news with others, so more people can experience life the way God intended it.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Proverbs 13:10  “Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.”

“I Will Listen and Learn To Take Godly Advice!”

The last few weeks we have been learning about how we are “Never Too Young” to do amazing things for God.  This week we learned a very important lesson on how to “Listen to Godly Advice.”

2. Discussion

Q. What is Godly advice?

Q. Who are some people who can give you Godly advice?

Q. Why do you think it’s sometimes hard to do what other people tell you to do?

It’s easy to want to do things on your own or to think you know what is best for yourself.  However, God places people in your life to help you and guide you in your walk with Him.

Q. Have you ever tried to do something or get somewhere with no directions?

Q. Was it easy or hard to do?

Q. Why do we need directions when we are going somewhere or putting something together?

3. Activity 

We need directions because we can’t always do it on our own!  That is how it is with living our lives for Him.  God doesn’t want us to do it on our own!  He sends parents, teachers, pastors, and friends to help us!  Isn’t that cool that God gives us people to help us in our journey with Him?

Take time with your kids to discuss who these special people are in their lives.  Help or allow your children to write a letter to one of these people thanking them for guiding them and helping them in their walk with Christ.

 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your child will listen and follow the leaders that God has placed in their lives!

Spiritual Maturity

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Family Devotional Adult 9-10-17Family Devotional Kids 9-10-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Life is a journey. From birth, to childhood, to adolescence, all the way to our twilight years, we’re never really static – we’re always growing. In the same way, Christianity is a lifelong progression, as we grow to become more like God, and know Him better. Growth is God’s expectation for all of us, and it happens best in the context of relationships.

2. Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 3:1-2 [NLT] Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.”

Paul is addressing the spiritual maturity of the Corinthian church. Regardless of our age, we’re all spiritual infants when we join God’s family – but He doesn’t expect us to stay that way.

Romans 12:2 [ESV] “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

3. Discussion

How do we renew our minds? By being discipled – learning and applying God’s ways of thinking. This is a lifelong process that happens best in relationships with other Christians. 

Q: Which individuals in your life have had the biggest impact on your spiritual growth? Is your relationship with them close, or distant? 

Q: Outside of pastors, authors, and public speakers, who are the spiritually mature people you look to for inspiration and guidance? If you don’t have anyone like that, how might you go about building a relationship with someone?

Q: Who are the people in your life that are less experienced in their relationship with God than you are? Are you actively building them up in their faith? If not, how might you start helping them to grow?

4. Prayer Focus

God’s will for us all is to be part of this process. Never stop learning from others. Never stop teaching and helping others.  Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the growth-inspiring relationships in your life. Ask Him to help you strengthen those connections, so more and more people can become more like Him.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

John 15:13  “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” 

“I Will Stand Up For Others – No Matter What The Cost!”

This week we continued our series, “Never Too Young.”  In this week’s lesson, the children learned a powerful message from the life of Esther about how to stand up for those who are in need!

2. Discussion

Read Esther 4:7-8, 15-16 “Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him. He told him about the exact amount of money Haman had promised to add to the royal treasures. He said Haman wanted it to be used to pay some men to destroy the Jews… It commanded people to wipe out the Jews…

Mordecai told Hathak to show the order to Esther. He wanted Hathak to explain it to her. Mordecai told him to tell her to go and beg the king for mercy. Mordecai wanted her to make an appeal to the king for her people.  15 Then Esther sent a reply to Mordecai. ‘…Then I’ll go to the king. I’ll do it even though it’s against the law. And if I have to die, I’ll die.”’

Q. Do you remember who this week’s Bible story was about?

Q. What did Esther do for her people?

Q. Why was this so important?

3. Activity 

Discuss with your children why what Esther did was so important and how difficult it must have been to stand up for others.  Share a time in your life where you had to stand up for someone or something.  This can help your children identify with this story.

Q. What do you think it means to “stand up for others?”

Q. How does this make God feel when we “stand up for others?”

It’s important that we stand up for others and what is right.  There may be people at your school who are being bullying, and you could be the person to stop them.  There may be a person who needs new friends, and you could be that new friend for them.  Or, maybe God wants you to help those less fortunate than you like the homeless or poor.  It’s important that when you see other people in need, you respond and help them.

4. Prayer Focus

Discuss with your children ways they can “Stand up for others.”  As a family, make a plan to give back to those in need.  Pray together that God will use your family to make a difference in this world!

Hearing God’s Voice

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Family Devotional Adult 9-3-17Family Devotional Kids 9-3-17

 

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Before Jesus came, God only spoke to a few select people, and only in special ways and on special occasions. Many Christians live like God still operates this way, but Jesus promised that when He sent the Holy Spirit, we would be able to hear from God anytime, anywhere.

2. Bible Verse

Elijah only heard from God in certain instances.

1 Kings 18:1 [ESV] “After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah…”

1 Kings 19:9 [ESV] “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” 

1 Kings 21:28 [ESV]  “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah…”

 

God spoke to others in that era – people like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even John the Baptist. They were known as “prophets” – people who spoke on God’s behalf.

3. Discussion

Jesus told us His Word would not only be available to us – it would live in us.

John 15:7 [ESV]  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” 

John 14:16–17 [ESV] “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Q: If you can hear directly from God, does that make it less or more important to know what He said in the Bible? Why?

Q: In what ways has the Holy Spirit spoken into your life? Do you think He wants to say more?

Q: If the Holy Spirit is speaking all the time, should we expect the gifts of the Spirit to operate only on special occasions, or more day-to-day?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for speaking to you through the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to work in your life to impact others as He reaches out to them through you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Romans 8:31  …If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

“If I Take A Risk, God Will Bring The Victory!”

This week we continued our series, “Never Too Young.”  In this week’s lesson, the children learned about the importance of “Taking A Risk” in their lives.  It is important that our kids know that they can tackle any “giant” that may stand before them with God’s help!

2. Discussion

Q. What giant did you learn about this week?  (Goliath)

Q. Who defeated the giant?  (David)

Q. How did David defeat the giant?  Do you think David was scared or worried when he stood before the giant?

It’s natural to be scared when we stand before a “giant” in our own lives.  David may have been scared too!  But, David didn’t worry because he knew God was with Him and God would help him defeat the giant.

Q. What “giant” can you think of that you are facing now in your own life?  (Help your child identify problems that seem bigger than they are.)

Q. What are some things you can do to help defeat your giant?

Q. What would God want to tell you about your giant?

3. Activity 

God wants us to know that with His help we can defeat our giants and do great things for Him!  We have been talking the last few weeks about how you are “Never Too Young” to do things for God.  With God’s help, you can do anything!  

Be willing to take a risk for God!

Read This Scripture:

Romans 8:31 “…If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  

Spend some time helping your child memorize this scripture for the next time they face a giant in their lives.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your child will be strong and with God’s help can stand up against their giant!  Pray that they will be willing to take a risk in order to do BIG things for God!

Faith-Filled Life

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Family Devotional 8-27-17 AdultsFamily Devotional 8-27-17 Kids

 

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

As Christians we believe very strongly in God: His goodness, His power, His offer of salvation to the world – but our belief doesn’t become faith until we act on it. If you want to live a faith-filled life, you’ve got to allow what you believe to shape how you behave.

2. Bible Verse

Hebrews 11:17-30 (ESV) “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him… It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff… It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born… It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger… It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.”

 

3. Discussion

God uses 2 main ways to instruct us on what sorts of actions we should take – the Bible, and the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives. By spending time getting to know God through His Word and developing a sensitivity to His personal direction in our lives, we can put our faith in Him into practice and continually experience what a God-changed life looks and feels like.

Q: Take a look at the passage in Hebrews again. Circle or highlight the verbs describing how people acted out their faith.

Q: Of the actions you circled, which ones probably seemed logical at the time? Which ones seemed crazy at the time? Does the same faith in God  that drives the big things drive the little things? What does that mean for the “little” things in your life?

Q: What are some modern-day examples of actions that a belief in God should produce in someone’s life? Of your own list, which things are you doing the best? Which could you stand to change or improve?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for speaking to you through the Bible and directly through the work of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to show you any areas in your life where your beliefs and actions don’t match up so you can keep growing in faith.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Deuteronomy 16:17  “All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God. “ 

“If I Give God A Little, He Will Make It Much!”

This week, we continued our series “Never Too Young.”  The children are learning that they are “Never Too Young” to do amazing things for God.

2. Discussion

Read Aloud:  John 6:1-22

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone.

Q. Do you think it was hard for that little boy to give up his lunch?

Q. Do you think he thought Jesus was going to perform such a miracle with just 5 loaves and 2 fish?

Q. What do you think would have happened if he hadn’t shared his lunch with Jesus?

The amazing thing about the story is that God didn’t need a lot, he just needed a little.  God can take a little bit and turn it into something big and great! 

Q. Have you ever given something- money, toys, etc. to someone who needed them?  Or have you ever given money to a missionary and maybe it didn’t seem like much?

Q. Do you think God was able to use that?  How?

Q. Have you ever felt like God was asking you to give something and you chose not to?  How did that make you feel?

Parents: share a time with your kids when you or your family gave something that was able to help someone else.  (It may be in a missions offering, clothes, your tithe, etc.)

3. Activity 

As a family, discuss some ideas to help others or something God may be asking you to sacrifice to give to missions, etc.  Write them down and share them with each other, or let your small children draw a picture to illustrate what they could do.  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God will help you to sacrifice and “Give What you Have” to help others!