Family Discipleship

Spiritual Leadership

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

The God-life is a journey, and we’re all traveling it together. Everyone needs spiritual leadership along the way. Are you seasoned in your relationship with God? Be a spiritual father for those following behind you.

1. Discussion 

1 John 3:1 [NIV] “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

It’s God’s love as a Father that sets the example for us, and as the Holy Spirit changes us more and more into His image, we should live out that love as an example to those following us in this God-journey.

Q . Who in your life best exemplifies God’s love put into practice?

Q . What are some actions – visible in your life – that reflect God’s love to others? 

2. Challenge

2 Timothy 2:1-2 [NLT] “Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”

Spiritual fathers are responsible for instructing and even disciplining, those who follow them along the way. It’s not just a job for pastors, it’s a job for every believer.

Q . Have you been through the NEXT discipleship process, either as a student or a mentor? If not, why not?

Q . What would our church look like if every mature believer invested in one person to mentor spiritually? How might that change the spiritual strength of Abundant Life?  How might that impact our community?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the spiritual father(s) who helped you to the point where you are now in your relationship with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to connect you with people you can look up to, and with people who can learn from your example.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

The God-Father

1. Power Verse

Joshua 1:5 “For I will not leave you. . . I will not fail you or abandon you.”

What’s Up: “God The Father Will Never Fail!”

As a family, write down a list of things that the “perfect” father would be or do. Write everything down, even if you know that what your child suggests may not really be what a perfect father would do (for example, “A perfect father would give me everything I want”).

2. Discussion

Once the list is completed, go back through it and discuss each item. Ask your children if the item really is something a perfect father should do. Some of the things they include should definitely stay on the list, such “a perfect father will always provide for his children.” Some things, though, should be removed. 

Q. Why did you include these items?

Q. Is there such thing as a “perfect” father?

God, as our Father in Heaven, is all of the things a perfect father should be and even more. Earthly dads have limitations, but God doesn’t.

Read the following scriptures that describe some of the characteristics of our Heavenly Father.

Matthew 28:20 “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ announces the Lord. ‘I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.’”

Psalm 121:3-4 “He won’t let your foot slip. He who watches over you won’t get tired. In fact, he who watches over Israel won’t get tired or go to sleep.”

Psalm 24:1 “The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it. The world belongs to him. And so do all those who live in it.”

Job 42:2 “I know that you can do anything.  No one can keep you from doing what you plan to do.”

Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With people, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.’”

3. Challenge

Even though earthly dads aren’t perfect and may sometimes fail us, God will always do what’s best and right for us, and He will never fail us.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God will surround your family with godly people who will reflect the characteristics of our Heavenly Father to your children.

Leading in Worship

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Worship changes you. Standing in God’s presence, singing together, hearing from the Holy Spirit… it should leave a lasting impact long after it’s over. How much it changes you, though, depends on how much you engage.

1. Discussion 

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

The way you as a parent, grandparent or mentor engage in worship will help define the norms and expectations for future generations, whether you’re actively teaching it or not. Kids learn by example.

Q . What were worship services like when you were a child? How were they different from today? How were they the same?

Q . If you attended church with your parents, what do you remember about how they engaged in worship? What effect do you think their engagement had on how you experience God’s presence today?

2. Challenge

2 Corinthians 3:18  “Our faces then are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him.  This change in us brings us ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

God wants us to engage in worship with excitement and awe, soaking in every moment in His presence. When we do, it not only changes how we experience Him, but it sets an example for others to follow.

Q . How would you describe your feelings about worship at church? 

a. Can’t wait for it to start. 

b. Can’t wait for it to be over.

c. Could take it or leave it.

Q . If you worked to change your level of engagement, what effect would that have on the way you experience the Holy Spirit in church? How might it affect the people around you?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for giving you access to His presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw you into deeper levels of engagement in worship, so you and the people who follow your example can experience Him more fully.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Follow the Leader

1. Power Verse

Mark 10:43 “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”

What’s Up: “I Will Lead Others To Jesus!”

This week, we conclude our series called, “Stand Out!” As Christians, it’s important that we stand out from the world and from culture. We must be different, and one of the greatest ways we can be different and stand out is by being a leader.

2. Discussion

Read: Acts 6:1-7  

“In those days the number of believers was growing. The Greek Jews complained about the non-Greek Jews. They said that the widows of the Greek Jews were not being taken care of. They weren’t getting their fair share of food each day.  So the 12 apostles gathered all the believers together. They said, ‘It wouldn’t be right for us to give up teaching God’s word. And we’d have to stop teaching to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven of your men. They must be known as men who are wise and full of the Holy Spirit. We will turn this important work over to them. Then we can give our attention to prayer and to teaching God’s word.’ This plan pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen. He was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas were chosen too. The group also chose Nicolas from Antioch. He had accepted the Jewish faith. The group brought them to the apostles. Then the apostles prayed and placed their hands on them. So God’s word spread. The number of believers in Jerusalem grew quickly. Also, a large number of priests began to obey Jesus’ teachings.”

Q. Why did they need help?  

Q. What did they do about their need?

Q. When the new leaders came to help with the food ministry, how did it affect the church?

3. Challenge

In this world, it’s easy for kids to see adults as leaders, but not actually see themselves as leaders. But kids CAN be leaders – and more importantly, Godly leaders! God has called all of us to be leaders in this world, leading others to Jesus.

Q. What are some ways you can be a leader at home? What are some ways you can be a leader at school?

Q. How can you lead others to Jesus? Godly leaders have a good reputation, practice self-control, seek peace rather than drama, and always follow Jesus’ commands. If we do those things, we can really STAND OUT for Jesus!

4. Prayer Focus

Ask your kids if they would like to commit to becoming a Godly leader. Pray that they will have a good reputation, practice self-control, always seek peace, and follow Jesus’ commands no matter what.

Own it

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Nobody’s perfect – even the best of us are going to make mistakes sometimes. Though we all know this, it can be really difficult to own up to our actions – to God, to others, even to ourselves. If we want to move forward, though, we’ve got to be bold enough to own our mistake.

1. Discussion 

Genesis 3:11-13 “…the Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What have you done?’ ‘The serpent deceived me,’ she replied. ‘That’s why I ate it.’”

From the very beginning, humans have been blame-shifting. It’s intimidating to admit our faults!

Q . Why do you think Adam and Eve shifted the blame? What were they afraid of?

Q . When you shift the blame from yourself, who or what usually gets blamed?  How does that make you feel in the moment? How might that negatively affect you in the long run?

2. Challenge

1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

God is rich in love and mercy, but he wants us to be honest. When we fail, we’ve got to own it, confess it to Him, and move forward.

Q . How do you feel in the moment when you confess your sin to God? How do you feel afterward?

Q . Is “moving forward” and letting past mistakes go difficult for you? How might confessing your sin to God affect that? 

How might confessing to others affect it?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. Confess any sins, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to move forward in confidence and the assurance of your salvation.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Stay Humble

1. Power Verse

Luke 14:11 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

What’s Up: “I Will Choose To Be Humble!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Stand Out!” As Christians, it’s important that we stand out from the world and from culture. We must be different, and one of the greatest ways we can be different and stand out is to stay humble!

2. Discussion

Read: Luke 7:36-50 One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So he went to the Pharisee’s house. He took his place at the table. There was a woman in that town who had lived a sinful life. She learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she came there with a special jar of perfume. She stood behind Jesus and cried at his feet. And she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair. She kissed them and poured perfume on them. The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this. He said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him. He would know what kind of woman she is. She is a sinner!” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.“Two people owed money to a certain lender. One owed him 500 silver coins. The other owed him 50 silver coins.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back. So he let them go without paying. Which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who owed the most money.” “You are right,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman. He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water to wash my feet. But she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss. But this woman has not stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You did not put any olive oil on my head. But she has poured this perfume on my feet. So I tell you this. Her many sins have been forgiven. She has shown that she understands this by her great acts of love. But whoever has been forgiven only a little loves only a little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to talk about this among themselves. They said, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Q. What did the sinful woman do when she saw Jesus? How did the religious leaders respond?  How did Jesus respond to them?

3. Challenge

This world is full of prideful people who are constantly looking to promote themselves and make themselves greater. It’s all about popularity! However, that’s not how Jesus lived – and that’s not how Jesus wants us to live either. Jesus displayed a life of humility. He was humble and he constantly blessed, promoted, & added value to humble people.  We need to do our very best to live like Jesus – a life of humility. Jesus had an “Others First, Me Last” attitude about everything! We should too! If we put others first, we will really STAND OUT for Jesus! 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would have a humble attitude in life. Pray that they would truly live out “others first, me last.”

Growing Where You Are Planted

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Life with God is good, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes we find ourselves in a season of frustration, and the natural tendency is to complain or shake our fist at the Creator. What we need to do instead is to remind ourselves whose we are and whose purpose we live to accomplish.

1. Discussion 

Psalms 92:12-15 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”

God doesn’t plant His servants anywhere with the intent to wither and kill them. He wants us to flourish in any season – even the difficult and frustrating ones.

Q. If you spend a difficult season looking for a way out, how will that change your effectiveness for God? How about if you spend a difficult season looking for ways to learn or to serve?

Q. Psalms 92 says the “righteous” will flourish. What kind of attitude & response to frustration does God expect from someone who is “righteous?”

2. Challenge

Galatians 1:10 [NIV] “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

If we look at a confusing or frustrating season of life from our own perspective (how does this affect me? Where am I at, compared with my peers?), we’re going to stay frustrated. When we remember, though, that our lives belong to God, and we’re instruments in His hands to serve His purpose, we can find growth – and even joy – in the hardest circumstances.

Q. Think back to a frustrating season in your life. Was your attitude positive or negative? Was your focus primarily “God, why are you doing this to me?” Or was it “God, what do you want to do through me?” How did your response affect your attitude in that season? What would be the best response in a future season of frustration?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for loving you through the easy times and the hard times in life. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop the attitude of a servant, so you can have the right attitude and response in any season of life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Evidence of Grace

1. Power Verse

Titus 2:11  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”

What’s Up: “I Will Show The World God’s Grace In Me!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Stand Out!” As Christians, it’s important that we stand out from the world and from culture. We must be different, and one of the greatest ways we can be different and stand out is by demonstrating the evidence of grace in our lives.

2. Discussion

Read: Mark 2:13-17 “Once again Jesus went out beside the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd came to him. He began to teach them. As he walked along he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus. Levi was sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told him. Levi got up and followed him. Later Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house. Many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples. They were part of the large crowd following Jesus. Some teachers of the law who were Pharisees were there. They saw Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors. So they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus heard that. So he said to them, ‘Those who are healthy don’t need a doctor. Sick people do. I have not come to get those who think they are right with God to follow me. I have come to get sinners to follow me.”’

Q: Who did Jesus ask to be his disciple? 

Q. What was his job? Where did Jesus have dinner?

Q. How did the religious leaders feel about that?

Q.  How did Jesus respond to the religious leaders?

3. Challenge

We need to show the world with our words and actions that we have been changed by God’s grace. Matthew ended up going from a despised, wicked tax collector to a man with the evidence of grace in his life.

Q. What does grace mean?

Q. Who does God give grace to?  

Q. How can you show the evidence of  grace in your life? 

God’s grace is for everyone and it helps us say  “NO” to sin and stay focused on Heaven! We need to make sure we have the evidence of grace in our lives!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for salvation if your children are ready to receive God’s grace and forgiveness. Pray that they would trade their sins for the hope of Heaven. Pray that they would begin to spend their time focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, instead of the temporary pleasure of sin.

Lenses- Part 3

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

All of us were born with a “me” – shaped lens, a world view where the our values and decisions are based on our physical urges, desires, and what benefits us. When we come to God, we get access to a new way of looking at things – a “God” – lens, where our values and decisions are subjected to His ways and His plans. The trouble is, the “me” lens doesn’t just go quietly…

1. Discussion 

Romans 8:6-7 [NLT]  “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”

The “me” lens, our default sinful-nature view, will always push for dominance. Through the Spirit’s power, we have to choose God’s view in every situation in life.

Q. What areas do you think people in today’s culture have the hardest time choosing God’s lens in?

Q. What area(s) do you have the hardest time choosing God’s lens in?

2. Challenge

Romans 6:1-2 [NLT]  “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Serving God is a constant series of choices to use His lens instead of ours. Every new topic is a new battleground, but the longer we fight, the better we get at choosing God’s way.

Q. What’s an area that used to be a me vs. God lens struggle for you, but has improved?

Q. What’s an area that’s still a contested battle? God doesn’t expect perfection, but He does expect persistence. Don’t give up! Keep fighting to use God’s perspective!

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for redeeming your Spirit and giving you access to a better way to see the world. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to choose His way in every situation in life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Helping Others

1. Power Verse

Psalms 82:3-4  “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

What’s Up: “God wants us to share His love, and help others in every way we can!”

In this week’s lesson we learned that God loved us so much, that He gave His son Jesus to die for us.  He wants us to do everything we can to share His love all around the world.  One of the ways we can do that is by giving to BGMC, (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge.)

2. Discussion

Q. In what ways has God blessed our family?

Q. What are some ways that we can share the things He has given us?

Q. Why is it important that we try to help others?

God has blessed us with many things, like a great church, a wonderful family, a home, food, and so much more.  We have a lot of friends and family that could help us out if we needed something. He expects us to help boys, girls, and families that don’t have friends to help out.  

3. Challenge

The kids at our church are working with BGMC to help boys and girls at a school in Thailand.  

Q. What can you tell me about these kids and their school?

Q. What are 3 things that we can do together this week, to help meet our kids church missions giving goal?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for the children at the Shang Rai Christian School in the mountains of Thailand.  Ask God to keep them safe and that the missionaries and teachers would be a great blessing to them.  Pray that our kids would be excited about giving to missions, and God would give them creative and fun ideas to meet our BGMC goal to pay for all the kids to attend the school for one year.

Lenses- Part 2

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everyone views life through a set of lenses – priorities, values, and expectations that help them make sense of the world around them. Those lenses filter what light (truth) comes in… but for those who are Christians, the lens has just as much of an impact in the other direction.

1. Discussion

The lens you use for life affects the way God’s light shines through you. 

2 Corinthians 3:17 [NLT] “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.”

The lens you view life through filters not only your beliefs, but also your actions, words, and attitudes. As God’s representatives to our world, it’s up to us to show those who are lost – by our behavior – what it means to be a Christian. We should be, as best we can, an accurate representation of what God’s life change looks like in a person.

Q. When you think about reflecting the “glory of the Lord,” what types of imagery comes to your mind? Does it seem like an everyday-life thing, or a mystic, other-worldly thing?

Q. When you consider the definition of “glory” – renown, honor, magnificence, beauty – does that change how “reflecting God’s glory” looks in your mind? How so?

2. Challenge

It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to calibrate your lens to reflect God’s glory properly.

2 Corinthians 3:18 [NLT] “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

Q. If someone from the outside commented on your life from 5 years ago versus today, what differences in words, actions, and attitudes would they see?

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the level of contrast between how you live your life (as a Christian) versus how people who don’t serve God live?

Q. What could you do this week to allow the Holy Spirit to work on your lens?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for allowing you to see His glory and to know Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep shaping the lens you see life through so you can be a good reflection for people who are spiritually lost to see.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

How to Make Your Life Count

1. Power Verse

Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

What’s Up: “God Can Use Me To Change The World!”

This week, we conclude our series called, “You Only Live Once” or “YOLO.” We’ve been learning some important lessons about making our lives count! Since we only live once, we need to make sure we do our very best to honor God with our lives and remain faithful to Him.

2. Discussion

Q. What do you think it means to make a difference in the world?

Q. Do you feel like you’re currently making a big difference in the world?

Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine yourself making a massive difference for the Kingdom of God. Changing the world or making a huge impact can seem pretty intimidating!

This week, we learned how Esther made a difference with her life. She really made her life count! 

We learned that we can make a difference too, if we take the right steps.

3. Challenge

Q. What have you done to live differently than the rest of the world?

Q. What can you do in order to live differently than the rest of the world?

Q. How often do you pray and seek God’s direction for your life?

Q. What can you do to make a big difference for the Kingdom of God? Will you be able to do it on your own? What steps should you take to accomplish this? 

We can really learn from Esther’s example to live different than the rest of the world, pray and seek God’s direction, and always remember just ONE person plus God can make a huge difference!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will do everything they can to make their lives count and make a difference! Pray they will set themselves apart from this world and choose to seek and obey God’s direction in their lives.

Lenses- Part 1

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everybody looks at life through a lens – a set of preconceptions about what’s valuable, what motivates actions, what is versus what should be. That lens makes a huge difference in our lives – especially when it comes to how we view God.

1. Discussion

Luke 11:34-35 [NLT] “When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.”

The lens we view life through can bring God’s truth… or it can fool us into believing a lie. Too many people in our world have the wrong outlook on life because their lens is filtering things in a negative way.

Q. What sorts of factors might affect the way someone looks at life? (i.e. upbringing, hurts & failures, etc.)

Q. What factors in your past (or present) do you think have the most influence on the way you look at life? that impact your quality of life? What other areas in your life might improve?

2. Challenge

Many people who heard Jesus’ teaching couldn’t accept Him as the Messiah (the promised savior) because their filters were set on a military leader who would liberate the Jews from Roman occupancy. As a result, they were blind to the truth that could save them. In the same way, people today have skewed filters for what kind of savior Jesus is supposed to be. If we want to be able to hear and accept the truth, we need to have the right lens. The one that comes from God’s source of truth- the Bible.

Q. What are some preconceptions people have about Jesus that might not be accurate?

Q. How do you think those misconceptions might keep someone from being saved or living a healthy spiritual life?

Q. What can you do to make sure your own lens is allowing you to see Jesus accurately?

 

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for allowing you to understand and accept the good news of Jesus, our Messiah. Ask the Holy Spirit to continually shape your lens by the truth of the Bible, so you can see life the way that He wants you to see it.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Lessons From Esther

1. Power Verse

John 14:15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.”

What’s Up: “I’ll Trust God & I Will Obey!”

2. Discussion

This week, we continue our series called, “You Only Live Once” or “YOLO.” We’re learning some important lessons about making our lives count! Since we only live once, we need to make sure we do our very best to honor God with our life and remain faithful to Him.

Q. What do you think the word “trust” means?

Q. Have you ever been in a situation where it was hard to trust someone?

Q. Have you ever been in a situation where it was hard to trust God?

This week we learned about Esther. She found herself in a pretty tough situation. When Mordecai told her of Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, she could have thought only about herself and played it safe. She could have ignored Mordecai’s request and never told the King how evil Haman was. However, Esther made the tough choice to trust God and obey Him. 

3. Challenge

Queen Esther spoke up and, as a result, the Jews were saved. She was brought into the kingdom for that special moment, & she didn’t waste it.

Q. In the situation you described earlier, did you end up trusting God?

Q. What did you do? How did it turn out?

Q. What can we do to strengthen our ability to trust God?

Q.  What can we do to make sure we’re ready and able to “seize our moment” when the time comes?

If we will trust God, obey Him, and seize our moment – God will bless us big-time!

 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to trust God and look for their “moment.” Pray for them if they are struggling to obey God’s commands. Remind them that blessing follows obedience. God is good. We can trust Him.