Esther

Generosity

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Have you ever received way more than you expected? Whether it was a bigger tax refund, or an unexpected hand from your neighbor hauling bags of mulch, it feels great to be on the receiving end of generosity. It feels great to be on the giving end, too… because generosity is a function of God’s character at work in us.

1. Discussion

Ephesians 1:7–8  [ESV] “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.”

God modeled generosity – going beyond what’s required or expected – when He sent Jesus to live and die to redeem humankind.

Q. God didn’t have to go to such great lengths to save humanity. What other responses to sin could He have taken? What response would you have taken if it had been your decision?

Q. God’s generosity shows up in plenty of other areas in life beyond our salvation. What are some other ways that God has gone above and beyond for you?

2. Challenge

Ephesians 3:17–19 [ESV]  “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

God expects His children to take on His character – including His generosity. And that encompasses more than money – it’s a willingness to give, whether the need is funds, time, energy, attention, etc. The only way that character change happens is by growing in faith through discipleship.

Q. If someone gauged your relationship with God based solely on your generosity, how close to God would they think you are?

Q. Is generosity easy for you, or is it a challenge? Is there one area for you where generosity comes more easily than others?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for giving to you so freely and extravagantly. Ask the Holy Spirit to grow His generous character in you as you work to know and serve Him better.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Lessons From Haman

1. Power Verse

Psalm 4:4a “Don’t sin by letting anger control you…” 

What’s Up: “I Won’t Let Anger Control Me!”

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 are some things that make you angry?

Q. How do you normally respond when things make you angry?

There are many things in life that can make us angry. From not getting our way, to attacks against those we love, many things can bring out the anger in us.

Anger is a powerful emotion. If we allow it to take control of our lives, it can bring some dangerous results. If we don’t allow God to help us with our anger – it can turn to bitterness.

3. Activity

Q. Have you ever allowed anger to take control of your life? Explain.

Q. Why should we ask for God’s help when we’re angry?

In the Bible Story this week, we learned from the story of Haman and how he reacted to Mordecai and the Jews. We learned that it is not a sin to become angry, but it is a sin to allow anger to control you.

Q. What are some appropriate ways to act when you become angry?

Q. What can you do to avoid allowing anger to take control of your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would begin to ask for God’s help when they become angry so they don’t allow their anger to control their lives or lead to bitterness.

Contentment

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everyone wants to be happy. When you’re happy, life is sweeter, your outlook on the future is brighter, the glass is always half full. God wants you to have hope and a positive outlook, too, but in a way that supersedes the human formula for “happiness.” He wants us to experience supernatural contentment.

1. Discussion

Philippians 4:11-13 [ESV] “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Paul found the secret to feeling content with his life, no matter what it looked like. It wasn’t a switch that flipped instantly – it was a process.

Q. When Paul says in verse 12 “I have learned,” in what sorts of ways do you think he was taught?

Q. Paul wrote this letter nearly 30 years after deciding to follow Jesus. How long do you think it took him to grow to the place where he could write these words truthfully?

2. Challenge

Paul may have been content with his life, but most outsiders looking in at his life would call it difficult at best. It’s hard to understand how someone who was repeatedly rejected, beaten, and threatened could write about contentment, but that’s just the point – God’s contentment bypasses our logical understanding. It may not makes sense to others, but when it’s you… it just works.

Q. What are 3 things you would change about your life today?

Q. Is contentment and thankfulness for your life- just as it is – easy for you to feel and express, or is it a challenge right now?

Q. Learning contentment means seeing your life through God’s worldview. What can you do this week to strengthen that worldview in your mind & heart?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the good in your life… and for the challenges that help you to learn true contentment. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop His worldview in you more and more, so you can be content under any circumstances.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Galatians 6:9 “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

What’s Up: “God Will Honor Those Who Do What’s Right!”

2. Discussion

This week, we start a brand new 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.

In the Bible Story this week, we learned from a man named Mordecai in the book of Esther. We learned from his example of caring for others, doing the right thing no matter what, and remaining faithful to God.

Q. What are some ways you can show others you care about them?

Q. What are some things you can do because they’re the right things to do, even though you may not enjoy doing them? (i.e. chores, school, etc.)

We should never grow tired from doing the right thing. Instead, we should stay faithful to God because, just at the right time, God will honor and bless our faithfulness.

3. Activity

Have your children do some of the things they discussed earlier when asked some ways they could show others they care about them. Perhaps, they could

write a card to someone, do a  craft to give as a gift to someone, help clean something for someone, lighten someone’s load, or simply share kind words with someone who needs encouragement.

Because you’ve done these things, God said He’ll bless your faithfulness to Him and your faithfulness in doing the right thing no matter what!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to care for others and always do the right thing – no matter what. Pray, as they care for others and do right, God will honor their faithfulness.

Spiritual Maturity

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

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

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

2. Bible Verse

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

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

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

3. Discussion

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

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

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

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

4. Prayer Focus

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


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

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

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

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

2. Discussion

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

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

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

Q. What did Esther do for her people?

Q. Why was this so important?

3. Activity 

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

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

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

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

4. Prayer Focus

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