Sharing Your Faith

The Security of Humility

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Nobody likes to be humiliated. From childhood on, we all learn to avoid embarrassing situations and improve our standing with others. In God’s leadership system, though, the noblest thing we can do is to voluntarily lower ourselves, not in shame, but in service to others.

1. Discussion 

Philippians 2:3–4 [ESV] “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Q . Which is easier – serving your own interests, or those of others? Which requires more strength?

Q . What’s a scenario in your life where it’s easy to serve others? What makes it easy?

Q . What’s a scenario where it’s hard to serve others? What makes it hard?

Q . Godly humility doesn’t mean belittling yourself or being a doormat for others to abuse. Describe an example of “humility” that’s belittling and abused. Contrast that with an example of humility with dignity and strength.

2. Challenge

Matthew 23:12 [ESV] “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

One way or another, everyone will be humbled or, “made low.” If you do it voluntarily, God will bless you. If not… well, it’s not a pleasant experience, to say the least!

Q . Think of a time in your life when you were proud, and someone / something brought you down a few notches. How did that feel? Was the end result positive or negative for you?

Q . Think of a time when you voluntarily lowered yourself to put someone else first. How did that feel at the time? How do you feel about it now, looking back? Was the end result positive or negative for you?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank Jesus for modeling true leadership by serving humanity. Ask the Holy Spirit to point out places in your life where you tend to “exalt” yourself, and to give you the strength of character to choose humility and service.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Don’t Keep It To Yourself

1. Power Verse

Mark 16:15 “…Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”

What’s Up: “I Will Share God’s Love With The World!”

In our Bible Story, we learn from Elisha and four lepers the importance of sharing and not holding good news to ourselves. Especially, since we have the greatest news – the Good News of Jesus dying on the cross and raising to life for our salvation and eternal life in Heaven. The world is starving for the truth, and we must deliver the Good News to the world!

2. Read

2 Kings 7 (NIRV)  

Elisha replied, “Listen to a message from the Lord. He says, ‘About this time tomorrow, flour won’t cost very much.’ The king was leaning on an officer’s arm. The officer spoke to the man of God. The officer said, “Suppose the Lord opens the sky and pours down food on us. Even if he does, could what you are saying really happen?” “You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha.

The Attack on Samaria Ends

There were four men who had a skin disease. They were at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. They said to one another, “Why should we stay here until we die? So let’s go over to Aram’s army camp. Let’s give ourselves up. If they spare us, we’ll live. If they kill us, we’ll die.” They arrived at the edge of it. But no one was there. The Lord had caused the soldiers of Aram to hear a noise like a huge army. So the soldiers of Aram had run away at sunset. They had left the camp just as it was. And they had run for their lives. The men who had a skin disease arrived at the edge of the camp. They entered one of the tents. They ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes. They went off and hid them. But then they said to one another, “What we’re doing isn’t right. This is a day of good news. And we’re keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until sunrise, we’ll be punished. Let’s report this to the royal palace.” Then the people went out of the city. So 12 pounds of the finest flour sold for less than half of an ounce of silver. And 20 pounds of barley sold for the same price. That’s exactly what the Lord had said would happen. What Elisha, the man of God, had told the king came true. 

3. Discussion

Q. Who doubted Elisha when he said there would be plenty of food the next day?

Q. Who was at the gate of the city? Where did they decide to go?

Q. What did the lepers find in the Aramean’s camp? What did they decide to do when they stopped eating?

Q. What happened when they shared the good news with the whole city?

The world is full of bad news. There are lots of bad things going on in the world. People are constantly dealing with tough stuff. The world is longing for the truth that someone loves them and has the power to help them! As Christians, we have that truth, and we have to share with the world that God loves everyone and has the power to help us with whatever we face in life.

4. Prayer Focus

What Good News do we have, as Christians, that the world needs to know? What can you do to share that Good News of Jesus with others? Pray for your children to have the courage to share the Good News about Jesus and let everyone they know see the truth of God’s love every day.

Into All the World

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

You know as a Christian, you’re supposed to make disciples – but what’s the best way? And who should be doing the heavy lifting? As it turns out, “evangelism” is a lot bigger – and subtler – than you often think, and the right person to carry it out is you!

1. Discussion 

1 Peter 2:9 [NLT]  “…You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

The calling – and blessing – to serve as a representative of God is on every believer, including you! As you show people what it looks like to be brought from darkness into light, God will draw them to repentance and life change.

Q . Do you feel like God has a “call on your life?” If so, how would you describe it to someone?

Q . When you consider God’s plans for you, do you think of them more as things He wants you to do, or ways He wants you to be? Which should take priority?

2. Challenge

Matthew 5:16 [GNT] “In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

When it comes to fulfilling God’s call to make disciples, we’re always “on the clock.” His influence on your attitudes, your perspectives, and your actions, should touch every aspect of life. 

In that way, you’ll be showing people what God has done inside you and pointing them to Him.

Q . What’s an activity or scenario in your life where it’s easy to spot God’s influence? What’s one where it’s difficult?

Q . How could you go about increasing God’s influence in that area?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for calling you to be part of such an important assignment. Ask the Holy Spirit to increase His influence in parts of your life that you’ve never considered before, so you can be more effective at making disciples.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Unstoppable

1. Power Verse

Job 42:2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.”

What’s Up: “Nothing Can Stop The Work Of God!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Prison Break.” In this week’s lesson, we learn that NOTHING can stop God’s plan. Through the apostles’ Prison Break, we learn that God is more powerful than anything and everything in this world!

2. Discussion

 

Acts 5:12-42 

The Apostles Heal Many People

12 The apostles did many signs and wonders among the people. All the believers used to meet together at Solomon’s Porch. 13 No outsider dared to join them. But the people thought highly of them. 14 More and more men and women believed in the Lord. They joined the other believers. 15 So people brought those who were sick into the streets. They placed them on beds and mats. They hoped that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he walked by. 16 Crowds even gathered from the towns around Jerusalem. They brought their sick people. They also brought those who were suffering because of evil spirits. All of them were healed.

The Apostles Are Treated Badly

17 The high priest and all his companions were Sadducees. They were very jealous of the apostles. 18 So they arrested them and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord came. He opened the doors of the jail and brought the apostles out. 20 “Go! Stand in the temple courtyard,” the angel said. “Tell the people all about this new life.”

21 Early the next day they did as they had been told. They entered the temple courtyard. There they began to teach the people.

The high priest and his companions arrived. They called the Sanhedrin together. The Sanhedrin was a gathering of all the elders of Israel. They sent for the apostles who were in jail. 22 The officers arrived at the jail. But they didn’t find the apostles there. So they went back and reported it. 23 “We found the jail locked up tight,” they said. “The guards were standing at the doors. But when we opened the doors, we didn’t find anyone inside.” 24 When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, they were bewildered. They wondered what would happen next.

25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courtyard. They are teaching the people.” 26 So the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles back. But they didn’t use force. They were afraid the people would kill them by throwing stones at them.

27 They brought the apostles to the Sanhedrin. The high priest questioned them. 28 “We gave you clear orders not to teach in Jesus’ name,” he said. “But you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching. You want to make us guilty of this man’s death.”

29 Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God instead of people! 30 You had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. But the God of our people raised Jesus from the dead. 31 Now Jesus is Prince and Savior. God has proved this by giving Jesus a place of honor with him. He did it to turn Israel away from their sins and forgive them. 32 We are telling people about these things. And so is the Holy Spirit. God has given the Spirit to those who obey him.”

33 When the leaders heard this, they became very angry. They wanted to put the apostles to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up in the Sanhedrin. He was a teacher of the law. He was honored by all the people. He ordered the apostles to be taken outside for a little while. 35 Then Gamaliel spoke to the Sanhedrin. “Men of Israel,” he said, “think carefully about what you plan to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared. He claimed he was really somebody. About 400 people followed him. But he was killed. All his followers were scattered. So they accomplished nothing. 37 After this, Judas from Galilee came along. This was in the days when the Romans made a list of all the people. Judas led a gang of men against the Romans. He too was killed. All his followers were scattered. 38 So let me give you some advice. Leave these men alone! Let them go! If their plans and actions only come from people, they will fail. 39 But if their plans come from God, you won’t be able to stop these men. You will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

40 His speech won the leaders over. They called the apostles in and had them whipped. The leaders ordered them not to speak in Jesus’ name. Then they let the apostles go.

41 The apostles were full of joy as they left the Sanhedrin. They considered it an honor to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. 42 Every day they taught in the temple courtyards and from house to house. They never stopped telling people the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

3. Challenge

Q. Was everyone happy about what the disciples  were doing? What happened to the apostles? Did they stay there? Were the apostle able to keep preaching & teaching?

Q. What can we do when it seems like the enemy is trying to stop God’s plan?

As Christians, we have a very real enemy – the devil. The Bible says that the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy. The devil will try anything and everything in order to try to stop God’s plan.The early Church learned this the hard way. The apostles found themselves thrown in prison simply for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your children in a prayer of thanksgiving that God is unstoppable! His plan is unstoppable! Pray that God will help them be bold!

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!

Cornerstone- Lifestyle

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Family Devotional Adults 4-9-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-9-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

A life built on the Cornerstone of Christ looks different than those built on the world’s standards. Every one of us has a responsibility to live a visibly-changed life, and the empowerment of God to accomplish it.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

You have a responsibility to live differently.

Matthew 5:16 (ESV) 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (ESV)

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Q. In which area in life is it the hardest to live differently than the world? 

 Q. What happens to our message when we preach one thing, but live another?

3. Application

The Holy Spirit gives you the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to right-living.

Romans 8:11-13 (NLT) 

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.”

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. What’s something you know you should do that seems impossible?

On your own, it’s impossible to choose a God-honoring life, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, you have more than enough strength to reject sin and practice what you preach.

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you choose the right things through His power in you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Find something around the house that is too heavy for your child to lift on their own, but not too heavy for you. Ask them to try lifting it. After establishing that it’s impossible (or really difficult, if you underestimated their strength), ask them to lift it again, but this time, help them do it.

2. Bible Verse

Romans 8:11-12 (NLT)

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation (parents, define “obligation”) to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. Do you ever find yourself in a spot where you know the right thing to do, but you feel like you just can’t? (parents, you may need to suggest a few examples)

Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to make the right choice – and by yourself, it is; just like picking up something really heavy. But when God lives inside of you, He helps you. No matter what the situation is, you can do the right thing with God’s help!

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. What’s something that you know you should do, but it seems too hard? You can do it with God’s help!

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you choose the right things through His power in you.

Family Devotional 4-9-17 pdf download

Spiritual Battle

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We’ve all grown up believing that fighting is wrong – and in a physical sense, that’s generally true. In a spiritual sense, though, we too often shy away from fights we’re equipped to win.

If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-1-22-17 pdf download.


We want to invite you to join this home discipleship program designed to facilitate Bible reading, discussion, and prayer.

There are two pages in the Family Discipleship Guide.  One page is for teen & adult discussion and the other is for kids.

  1. Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
  2. Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
  3. Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
  4. Text DISCIPLE to 24587 after each prayer and discussion time or comment below so that we can celebrate with you, who are deepening your knowledge.

As always, please feel free to ask questions.

A New Creation

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When we give our lives to God, He not only gives us a fresh start, but through His work in us, He brings things to life in us that have never been seen before.

If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-1-8-17 pdf download.


We want to invite you to join this home discipleship program designed to facilitate Bible reading, discussion, and prayer.

There are two pages in the Family Discipleship Guide.  One page is for teen & adult discussion and the other is for kids.

  1. Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
  2. Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
  3. Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
  4. Text DISCIPLE to 24587 after each prayer and discussion time or comment below so that we can celebrate with you, who are deepening your knowledge.

As always, please feel free to ask questions.