Adam and Eve

Empowered by the Spirit- Part 5

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God wants us to be effective witnesses – representatives of who Jesus is to the spiritually lost in our world. In order to accomplish that goal, the Holy Spirit empowers believers with special abilities, including the gifts of discernment and speaking / interpreting unknown languages.

1 John 4:1 [NLT] “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”

The spiritual gift of discernment enables you to identify the spirit behind a person or group, to tell whether a prophecy is legitimate or not, or to have insight into the spiritual realities of a situation.

Q . Have you ever fallen for an email scam or a similar hoax? If so, what were the repercussions? (if not, what do you imagine they would be?)

Q . What are some sources in our world of incorrect teaching about God?

Q . How might the gift of discernment make you more effective as a witness?

2. Challenge

1 Corinthians 14:5 [ESV] “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”

The spiritual gift of “tongues,” or, speaking in an unknown language, is one that seems to be mostly for personal prayer time, but it can also be beneficial to others -when it’s interpreted.

Q . When did you first encounter people speaking in unknown languages? What was your impression at the time? Is that different from your impression now?

Q . What are some ways that speaking in unknown languages could help you be a better witness, or point the spiritually lost toward God?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the spiritual abilities to discern spirits and speak in unknown languages. If you’ve received the ability to, take a little time to pray in the Spirit using unknown languages.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

God’s Response To Failure

1. Power Verse

1 John 1:9 “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.”

What’s Up: “When I Fail, I Can See God Always Comes Looking For Me!”

This week, we continue the series called, “The Garden”. In this series, we will look at the four characters involved in the first sin in the Garden of Eden: Satan, Adam, Eve, and God. 

In this lesson, we learn just how much our Heavenly Father loves us.

2. Read

Q. Who are people you love? (i.e. family, friends, etc.) Have you ever gotten mad at someone you love?

Q. Ever wonder how God feels when we sin? Does He get angry? Does He plot revenge? Does He say,“I told you so?” 

So many people have the idea in their mind that God is sitting in Heaven with one hand on the “zapper” and one foot raised in the air just waiting to STOMP on us when we sin.

Genesis 3:8-11 Then the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking in the garden. It was during the coolest time of the day. They hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called out to the man. “Where are you?” he asked. “I heard you in the garden,” the man answered. “I was afraid, because I was naked. So I hid.” The Lord God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten fruit from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?”

3. Discussion

Through the story of Adam and Eve, we see God’s heart and how He really responds when we fail Him. When we run from Him, He comes looking for us and gives us a chance to make it right.

John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.”

Q. Have you ever been afraid of what God thought when you messed up?

Q. What do you do when you mess up? What should you do when you mess up? 

4. Prayer Focus

Give your child a chance to “make it right” with God. Let them know that when they mess up, God comes to them and gives them a chance to be forgiven – all they have to do is ask.

Empowered by the Spirit- Part 3

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The Holy Spirit has special abilities He gives to us, which help us to be better witnesses in our world. For some, those abilities are gifts of faith and of healing.

Hebrews 11:6 [ESV] “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Many times we think of having faith in God’s power – what he can do, but the gift of faith can also empower us to believe in God’s character – what He wants to do in our lives and in our world.

Q . Think of someone in your life who has great faith. When you’re around this person, what happens to your own faith? 

Q. Is it strengthened? Are you challenged to grow?

Q . What’s a way God could use great faith in your life to inspire faith in others? 

2. Challenge

Isaiah 53:5 [NLT] “But he (Jesus) was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”

God doesn’t heal people just to show off. Healing is an extension of God’s mercy – a God who cares about our suffering. The gift of healing empowers Christians to not only change the outcome of ailments, but to express God’s mercy and compassion.

Q . Has God’s ability to heal changed since the records in the Bible? Has His character or willingness to heal changed? If not, why do you think many have a hard time believing God still heals people?

Q . Have you ever been sick or suffering, and felt like God didn’t care, or that people didn’t care? How would praying for someone to receive healing change that feeling in others?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for equipping His church (including you!) with the abilities needed to change the world. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop the abilities in you that He wants to express in your world.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

How To Handle Temptation

1. Power Verse

James 4:7 “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

What’s Up:  I May Be Tempted, But I Won’t Give In!

This week, we continue the series called, “The Garden”. In this series, we will look at the four characters involved in the first sin in the Garden of Eden: Satan, Adam, Eve, and God. In this lesson, we learn how to handle the temptation in our lives.

2. Read

Genesis 3:1-6 The serpent was more clever than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. The serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God did say, ‘You must not eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Do not even touch it. If you do, you will die.’ ”

“You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “God knows that when you eat fruit from that tree, you will know things you have never known before. Like God, you will be able to tell the difference between good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree’s fruit was good to eat and pleasing to look at. She also saw that it would make a person wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. And he ate it.

3. Discussion

Q. What did you notice about Eve in the story?

Eve made a huge mistake, but it wasn’t just an isolated incident. There were several mistakes she made that added up to the ultimate mistake of the original sin. Like Eve, we are all tempted, but we don’t have to give into that temptation. The only way we can handle the pressure is to recognize that rarely is sin an act of the moment. We must learn from Eve that there are other mistakes made that lead to our sin. First, we can’t listen to Satan’s lies. Instead we must trust God’s plan. Second, we can’t hang around when temptation comes. We must run away from the temptation in our lives. Lastly, we must not follow the crowd. We must do what’s right.

Q. Have you ever made a mistake that eventually lead to sin? (i.e. listening to Satan’s lies, hanging around temptation, following the crowd) 

4. Prayer Focus

Allow your child time to confess their sins to God. Then pray with them that God will help them follow the three steps in the plan to defeat temptation.

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.”

In the Beginning…Part 2

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God owns it all – the earth, and everything in it. He blesses us with many good things, and as His managers, He expects us to handle His resources His way. The first and the best of what we receive belongs to God; when we fail to do that, we open ourselves to unnecessary hardships and temptations.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 4:3-5 [NIV] “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.”

Q. Why did God receive Abel’s sacrifice with favor, but not Cain’s?

Q. Abel gave the first and the best of what he had to God. What would the first and the best look like in your life?

3. Discussion

Genesis 4:6-7 [NIV] “Then the Lord said to Cain… ‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’”

Cain’s refusal to give God his first and best lessened his view of God as leader and Lord, and that weakened state left him vulnerable to temptation. Instead, he should have refocused on giving God what was right. When we learn to put God first in any area of life, it helps us to put Him first in all other areas.

Q. How are you honoring God with your possessions? 

Q. Do your giving habits make it easier or harder to fully put God first in other areas of your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for blessing you with life, and for meeting your needs. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put Him first in your finances.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Matthew 5:16 “Let your shine before men…”

LIGHTNING BUGS“I’ll Shine My Light In This Dark World!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn how to work together as partners who belong to God!

2. Bible Reading

Read: Exodus 34

The New Stone Tablets

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut out two stone tablets that are just like the first ones. I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning. Then come up on Mount Sinai. Meet with me there on top of the mountain. No one must come with you. No one must be seen anywhere on the mountain. Not even the flocks and herds must be allowed to eat grass in front of the mountain.”

So Moses carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Early in the morning he went up Mount Sinai. He carried the two stone tablets in his hands. He did as the Lord had commanded him to do. Then the Lord came down in the cloud. He stood there with Moses and announced his name, the Lord. As he passed in front of Moses, he called out. He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord. I am the God who is tender and kind. I am gracious. I am slow to get angry. I am faithful and full of love. I continue to show my love to thousands of people. I forgive those who do evil. I forgive those who refuse to obey me. And I forgive those who sin. But I do not let guilty people go without punishing them. I cause the sins of the parents to affect their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if you are pleased with me, then go with us. Even though these people are stubborn, forgive the evil things we have done. Forgive our sin. And accept us as your people.”

10 Then the Lord said, “I am making a covenant with you. I will do wonderful things in front of all your people. I will do amazing things that have never been done before in any nation in the whole world. The people you live among will see the things that I, the Lord, will do for you. And they will see how wonderful those things really are. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites to make room for you. 12 Be careful. Do not make a peace treaty with those who live in the land where you are going. They will be a trap to you. 13 Break down their altars. Smash their sacred stones. Cut down the poles they use to worship the female god named Asherah. 14 Do not worship any other god. The Lord is a jealous God. In fact, his name is Jealous.

15 “Be careful not to make a peace treaty with the people living in the land. They commit sin by offering sacrifices to their gods. They will invite you to eat their sacrifices, and you will do it. 16 You will choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons. And those daughters will commit sin by worshiping their gods. Then they will lead your sons to do the same thing.

17 “Do not make any statues of gods.

18 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Do it at the appointed time in the month of Aviv. You came out of Egypt in that month.

19 “Every male animal born first to its mother belongs to me. That includes your livestock. It includes herds and flocks alike. 20 Sacrifice a lamb to buy back every male donkey born first to its mother. But if you do not buy the donkey back, break its neck. Buy back all your oldest sons.

“You must not come to worship me with your hands empty.

21 “Do your work in six days. But you must rest on the seventh day. Even when you are plowing your land or gathering your crops, you must rest on the seventh day.

22 “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Bring the first share of your wheat crop. Celebrate the Feast of Booths. Hold it in the fall. 23 Three times a year all your men must come to worship me. I am your Lord and King, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations ahead of you. I will increase your territory. Go up three times a year to worship me. While you are doing that, I will keep others from wanting to take any of your land for themselves. I am the Lord your God.

25 “Do not include anything made with yeast when you offer me the blood of a sacrifice. You must not keep any of the meat from the sacrifice of the Passover Feast until morning.

26 “Bring the best of the first share of your crops to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down the words I have spoken. I have made a covenant with you and with Israel in keeping with those words.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights. He didn’t eat any food or drink any water. The Lord wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant law. Those words are the Ten Commandments.

The Face of Moses Shines

29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. He had the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. His face was shining because he had spoken with the Lord. But he didn’t realize it. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses. His face was shining. So they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called out to them. So Aaron and all the leaders of the community came to him. And Moses spoke to them. 32 After that, all the Israelites came near him. And he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 Moses finished speaking to them. Then he covered his face with a veil. 34 But when he would go to speak with the Lord, he would remove the veil. He would keep it off until he came out. Then he would tell the people what the Lord had commanded. 35 They would see that his face was shining. So Moses would cover his face with the veil again. He would keep it on until he went in again to speak with the Lord.

3. Discussion

Jesus told us that we should be like a city on a hill with a light that can’t be hidden.  We are to SHINE the light of Jesus all over the darkness. Even the smallest light can cut through the thick layers of darkness that sin brings into the world. 

Q.  What does it mean to shine your light?  

Q. How can you shine your light?

Q. Do you think it is easy to shine your light?  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will shine their light in their school and in their neighborhood so that all people will see Jesus in us.

In the Beginning…

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When Satan brings temptation, it’s not obvious – it’s sneaky. He uses things that seem good, things which have a ring of truth to them, to get us off of God’s game plan.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 3:1 [ESV] “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

 

Satan didn’t use a full-on attack – that would have been easy to spot. He didn’t even start by contradicting God. Instead, he created doubt in Eve’s mind. Those same tactics he used in the garden are just as effective today. Your crafty enemy will tempt you by creating doubt.

Q. Have you ever wrestled with doubts about who God is or what He wants? If so, how did you resolve them?

Q. When Eve had doubts, she trusted the serpent’s interpretation. What should she have done instead? How does that relate to topics which are debated in today’s culture?

3. Discussion

Genesis 3:8-10 [ESV] “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

God put two things into place to help keep Adam and Eve from falling – His Word, and His fellowship. The best way to resist temptation is to lean into those supports. Stay connected to God through prayer and worship. Study the Bible and incorporate it into your life.

Q. Where do you need growth the most right now – Prayer, Worship or Bible Study?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for making a way for you to come near Him again, and for giving you access to His Word. Ask Him to strengthen you so you won’t fall for the sneaky temptations that Satan brings.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Corinthians 3:9 “We work together as partners who belong to God.”

 ANTS:  “You & Me, We Agree, We Will Work In Unity!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn how to work together as partners who belong to God!

2. Bible Reading

Water Out of the Rock

17 The whole community of Israel started out from the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place, just as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there wasn’t any water for the people to drink. So they argued with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”

But the people were thirsty for water there. So they told Moses they weren’t happy with him. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Did you want us, our children and our livestock to die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord. He said, “What am I going to do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me by throwing stones at me.”

The Lord answered Moses. “Go out in front of the people. Take some of the elders of Israel along with you. Take in your hand the walking stick you used when you struck the Nile River. Go. I will stand there in front of you by the rock at Mount Horeb. Hit the rock. Then water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses hit the rock while the elders of Israel watched. Moses called the place Massah and Meribah. That’s because the people of Israel argued with him there. They also tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Joshua Wins the Battle Over the Amalekites

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men. Then go out and fight against the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill. I’ll stand there holding the walking stick God gave me.”

10 So Joshua fought against the Amalekites, just as Moses had ordered. Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hand, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win. 12 When Moses’ arms got tired, Aaron and Hur got a stone and put it under him. Then he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands. Aaron was on one side, and Hur was on the other. Moses’ hands remained steady until sunset. 13 So Joshua destroyed the Amalekite army with swords.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is something to be remembered. So write it on a scroll. Make sure Joshua knows you have done it. I will completely erase the memory of the Amalekites from the earth.”

15 Then Moses built an altar. He called it The Lord Is My Banner. 16 He said, “The Amalekites opposed the authority of the Lord. So the Lord will fight against the Amalekites for all time to come.”

 

3. Discussion

Q. Who was Moses praying for?

Q. What happened when Moses would lower his arms?  Q. When Moses was tired, who helped him to keep his hands up?

Throughout the church’s history, Christians have struggled to work together in unity.  Individuals have strong feelings on how we should go about accomplishing God’s work.  Many times, those feelings and ideas differ from one another.

Too often, Christians begin to fight against one another rather than work together in unity.  Nothing causes more damage to the Kingdom of God than when the people of God begin to hurt and destroy each other.

God wants His people to work together in unity.  We won’t always agree, but when we disagree we should do so in love, trying to compromise with one another.  Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone at church?  How can we be better at working together with other Christians? 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will stay away from fighting other Christians and work together.  Pray that God would help you to work together as a family to accomplish the BIG task of reaching the world for Jesus.