Generosity

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!

Better Together

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Family Devotional 8-6-17 AdultsFamily Devotional 8-6-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Bible Verse

“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.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT) 

2. Application

We are better together!

The scriptures teach that we are not intended to go through life by ourselves, but rather God intends that we would be a part of a community of faith.

One of the primary purposes of this community of faith is DISCIPLESHIP!

Discipleship is the passing on of biblical truths from one generation of believers to another.

 

3. Discussion

How is discipleship accomplished?

“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.” (2 Timothy 2:2, NLT) 

Discuss with your family or friends how important friendship based 

relationships are to the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Q. How strategic are you about using your relationships for encouraging others in the things of the Lord?

4. Prayer Focus

Lord, reveal to me how I can be a part of friendship/interest based groups and through the relationships built, move people closer to you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“Forgiving Others”

Matthew 6:14  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” 

Forgiving someone for stepping on your toe may be easy, but what about someone who really hurts your feelings?  Jesus taught us that we must forgive EVERYONE in order to be forgiven.  This is an important lesson for our children to learn as they begin to face people who may be difficult to forgive.

2. The Word

 

Read:  Matthew 18:21-35

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

3. Discussion 

Q. How many times did Jesus say we should forgive someone?  What lesson do we learn from the servant in this story Jesus told? 

Q. What was Jesus’ final statement in verse 35?

Q. Do you think it is fair that you should have to forgive people who have hurt you?

Jesus was teaching his disciples and others that we must forgive others, not once but over and over again.  Forgiveness is not an option.  If we want Jesus to forgive us, we have to forgive others who have hurt us. 

4. Prayer Focus

Sometimes, forgiving people who have hurt us isn’t easy.  Jesus isn’t saying forget what they have done to you, but He is saying forgive them.  Forgiveness is possible because Jesus has forgiveness us.  He can help us to forgive others who have hurt us.  Ask if anyone in your family has someone they need to forgive.   Pray together that God will help you forgive others.

God’s Greatest Commandments

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Family Devotional Adults 7-30-17Family Devotional Kids 7-30-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God addresses a lot of things directly in the Bible- don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t take advantage of the poor, etc. What about modern issues, like abortion, medical marijuana and birth control?  If the Bible is our guide, then what do we do when there’s no direct answer?

2. Bible Verse

Start with loving and serving.

Matthew 22:36-40 [NLT] “‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’  Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Learn the overarching values presented in scripture.

Matthew 7:12 [NLT] 12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

Jesus was not about adding regulations,  He was about heart & motive. If you have love in your heart and are living to serve others, you’ll find yourself on the right side of uncertain issues more often than not.

3. Application

Decide based on what you know of God’s character. 

John 10:27 [NLT] “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

The more we get to know God’s character, the more our thoughts will align with His. As we take on His world view, we’ll naturally do things He wants and avoid things He dislikes.

Q. Name one or two issues that are debated in church circles today. Does the Bible directly address these?

Q. How do you think loving and serving others would affect these issues?

Q. How do you think the overall values taught in the Bible affect these issues?

Q. Based on what you know of God’s character, what do you think His opinion on the subject is?

 

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for giving you the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to make the right decisions when you’re uncertain about an issue.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“Who is the Holy Spirit?”

John 14:26 “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

God is like no one else. He has unique traits that are His and His alone. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit share those unique traits. Why? Because they are One God, even though they are three Persons.

2. Discussion

The Holy Spirit does many things for us. Here are two:

1. The Holy Spirit will Teach God’s Truth

2. The Holy Spirit helps us Remember God’s Truth

Since the Holy Spirit is eternal, He was around before the very beginning, before creation. But in the Book of Genesis, we can read about how God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created all our universe.

Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

It says that the earth was empty and had no form. But God’s Spirit was there, ready for creation to begin. 

Remember, the Holy Spirit is God so He was everywhere, helping with the creation of our world.

The Bible has another great story that tells us that the Holy Spirit is God, one Person of the Trinity.  Read the story of Jesus’ baptism in water from Matthew 3:13-17.

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

 

3. Application 

Q. How many Persons are in the Trinity? 

Q. Who hovered over creation? 

Q. Which Person of the Trinity showed up as a dove? God the Son, (Jesus,) or God the Holy Spirit?

Q, Which Person of the Trinity said, “This is my Son”? God the Father or God the Holy Spirit? 

Q. How does the Holy Spirit help us?

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time praying together as a family.  Take turns praying for each other, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you about God’s truth.

Cornerstone- Blessings

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Family Devotional Adults 4-16-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-16-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

A life built on the Cornerstone is a life full of blessing! Jesus’ death and resurrection are not just about getting into heaven, they’re the basis of a new agreement between God and humanity.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Psalm 1:1-6 (ESV)

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Q. What are some ways you’ve experienced God’s blessings?  

Q. What are a few hardships that living life God’s way protects you from?

Q. What are some ways that living God’s way makes life better for others around you?

3. Application

 

Remember, the biblical idea of “blessing” is twofold: 

(1) A public declaration of a favored status with God. 

Ephesians 2:19-20 (ESV) 

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

(2) An endowment of power for prosperity and success. 

Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

4. Wrap up Discussion

Doing things God’s way doesn’t just make your future better, it makes your today better. A life built on the Cornerstone isn’t perfect or pain-free, but it is full of God’s acceptance, prosperity, and success.

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending Jesus to die in our place, not only for our salvation, but to make this life better.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Find a tree in your yard or near your house, and investigate it. Point out the roots, and explain (or remind them) that trees use their roots to draw water and nutrients from the soil. Point out that trees grow big and strong here because we’re close to the river. Ask them to imagine what would happen if you planted a tree seed in the middle of a desert, or on top of a volcano.

2. Bible Verse

Psalms 1:1,3 (VOICE)

“God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn: when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes, when you avoid sin’s highway, when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse…You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time; your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. If God blesses you, does that mean that bad stuff will never happen again? (no)

Q. If we do what God wants, will He give us peace and keep us from hurting ourselves and other people? (yes!)

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending Jesus to die in our place, not only for our salvation, but to make this life better.

Family Devotional 4-16-17 pdf download

Cornerstone- Money

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Christ should be the cornerstone in every area of our lives, including our finances. How we go about getting material things, and what we do with them when we have them, matters to God. If we want God to bless our finances, we need to do things His way.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Don’t spend your life worrying about money.

Matthew 6:31-32 (ESV) 

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

Q: What’s our greatest material need? Are we doing more worrying or trusting about it?  Work hard and earn a good living.

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT) 

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”

Q. Trusting God to help doesn’t mean we don’t get involved. What’s our greatest financial need at the moment? What does God expect our role to be in meeting it?

3. Application

Give to God first, and trust Him with the rest.

Malachi 3:10 (NLT) 

“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!’”

Q. Tithing is about trust. Do we believe God will meet our needs if we give to Him first?

 

4. Wrap up Discussion

Live within your means and don’t become a slave to debt.   Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”

Q. What are the financial obligations in our life that stress us? Is there a way to scale back?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you be grateful, generous and hard-working.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Help your kids make 2 lists. On the first one, have them list some things they don’t have that they want. For the second, have them walk around the house and list all the good things that they already have. Help direct their attention to the less-obvious things, like a toilet that works, food in the fridge, a roof that keeps them dry on rainy days.

2. Bible Verse

Matthew 6:31-32 (NLT)

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Having stuff is great – God loves to bless us with good things and reward us for working hard. At the same time, He doesn’t want the most important thing in our lives to be getting stuff. 

When we focus on getting we become greedy and unthankful. It hurts us and it hurts others. Instead, God wants us to be grateful, generous, and hard-working. (Define these words if needed.)

Q. What are some ways God takes care of our family’s needs?

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. Is it a bad thing to make money or have nice things? (no)

Q. What’s one way you can be grateful? Generous? Hard-working?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you be grateful, generous, and hard-working.

Family Devotional 4-2-17 pdf download