Joseph

Saved

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

What does it mean to be “saved?” Sometimes we get so familiar with church vocabulary that we lose sight of the full meaning of the words and phrases we use. “Saved” isn’t conceptual imagery – it should be taken quite literally.

1. Discussion

Acts 11:14 [ESV] “He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.”

Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord is the only way people can be “saved” – or rescued from an eternity of separation from God. When the angel told Cornelius he would be “saved,” it wasn’t yet a church-lingo word. That term carried with it the full weight and urgency of an escape from impending doom.

Q. What imagery comes to your mind when you think about being “saved?”

Q. Imagine someone asked you to define what you mean by “being saved” – how would you explain it to them? Can you do it without using other church vocabulary terms?

2. Challenge

Luke 19:9-10 [NLT] “Jesus responded (to Zacchaeus), ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’”

The concept of being “saved” goes back to Jesus. It was His mission to seek out those who were headed for destruction, and save them by providing a way out. That same mission is ours today.

Q. When you remind yourself of the literal saving that many people around you need, how does that affect your motivation to share the good news?

Q. Now that you’ve thought about how to explain what “being saved” means, what other church- specific terms or phrases might you use when sharing your faith? How would you define those terms with language that a church-outsider could understand?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for saving you. Ask Him to keep the reality of what salvation means fresh on your mind, and to keep you focused on His mission to seek and save the lost in your world.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 5:44  “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

Watts Up: “I Will Love And Pray For My Enemies!”

Most people would assume that the way to handle enemies is by fighting back. In the natural way of thinking, we should try to “hit them where it hurts” and possibly even “strike before they do.” That is not the way Jesus taught us to handle our enemies.

2. Bible Reading

Acts 9:1-21 “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples… on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.  ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ …Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered. The Lord told him, ‘Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying…’ ‘Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and… he has come here… to arrest all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went to the house… he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, —has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ‘…hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners?’”

3. Discussion

Q. Who was Saul? Were Saul and Ananias friends before this story?

Q. Did it make sense for Ananias to pray for Saul? What do you think would have happened if Ananias hadn’t obeyed God?

We all have enemies. Whether it is the person who continually talks behind our back, the person who insults us at every turn, or the bully who picks on us at school (or work), we all have those we would consider our “enemies.”

Q. How does Jesus want us to handle our enemies? Is this how you handle your enemies? How could you treat your enemies differently? 

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your children in a prayer for those they consider their enemies. Pray that God will change their hearts. Pray that God will use your children to be a light to those who are living in darkness.

All-Access Pass

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

It stinks to be out of the loop. We all have a craving to belong and to be in the know, but before salvation, we were all on the outside looking in spiritually. That’s one of the most exciting things about making Jesus Lord.  We’re not only saved from hell, we’re now insiders, with unprecedented access to the God of the universe!

1.Now that you’re an insider, come boldly to God’s throne.

Ephesians 3:12 [NLT] “Because of Christ and our faith in him (now that we’re insiders), we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”

Q. Take a minute to think about the words you use when you pray. When you talk to God, do you speak as an insider – a child with full access and expectation for a response – or as an outsider hoping for a crumb to fall off of God’s table?

Q. How would the prayer of an insider sound different from that of an outsider?

Q. How would the expectations and faith of an insider differ from those of an outsider?

2.Now that you’re an insider, invite other people in.

Ephesians 3:6-7 [NLT] “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.”

Q. What’s the name of a person you interact with who’s living without the benefits of an all-access pass to God?

Q. Take a minute and practice how you might share your experience with them: Why did you make the decision to accept Jesus as Lord? What are your favorite benefits, now that you’re an insider? How could these benefits make this person’s life better?

Now that you’ve thought through it – look for a God-opportunity, and invite them to be an insider like you!

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for inviting you into His family and filling your life with the benefits of being an insider. Ask Him (boldly!) for the power and opportunity to invite others to new life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that… ‘If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!” 

Watts Up: “Don’t Hold On To Grudges – Make Things Right!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Ouch!” This week, we learn that when we hold on to grudges and anger, it will do nothing more than hurt us. Instead of allowing anger to make us bitter, we must forgive others, just like God has forgiven us.

2. Bible Reading

Genesis 37-43  “So Joseph went to look for his brothers. He found them near Dothan. But they saw him a long way off. Before he reached them, they made plans to kill him. ‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to one another. ‘Come. Let’s kill him. Let’s throw him into one of these empty wells. Let’s say that a wild animal ate him up. Then we’ll see whether his dreams will come true.’ The traders from Midian came by. Joseph’s brothers pulled him up out of the well. They sold him to the Ishmaelite traders for eight ounces of silver. But the traders from Midian sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt… captain of the palace guard… he became very angry. So he put Joseph in prison. It was the place where the king’s prisoners were kept… the Lord was with Joseph. He gave Joseph success in everything he did. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘God has made all this known to you. No one is as wise and understanding as you are. You will be in charge of my palace. All my people must obey your orders.’ People from all over the world came to Egypt. They came to buy grain from Joseph. So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph looked around… He continued, ‘May God be gracious to you, my son.”’

3. Discussion

Q. What happened to Joseph? Did he have the right to be angry? 

Q. When he was second in command of Egypt, who came to see him? Did they know it was Joseph? How did Joseph respond?

Anger is an emotion we all deal with. However, Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount, “Anger is murder!” So what does that mean? Does that mean if you are angry, you are a murderer? Well, not exactly. What Jesus is saying is that when you hold onto your anger and allow it to turn into a grudge, THAT is the sin! Allowing your anger to control you can lead to a lot of heartache.

4. Prayer Focus

Have you ever held onto your anger?  What do you think Jesus wants us to do with our anger?

Pray for your child if they have been holding bad feelings and unforgiveness in their hearts toward others. Encourage them that they may need to go to the person this week and tell them that they are forgiven.

What is a Disciple?

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

What does it mean to make a disciple? Well – it doesn’t mean finding 12 guys to follow you around in robes and sandals! Jesus’ famous final command can be summed up this way: form a relationship with someone, and use your words and actions to help them live a life devoted to God the way that yours is.

1. Bible Knowledge

2 Timothy 2:1–2 [ESV] “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Bible knowledge can be passed along in a ton of different ways, but Christian character can only be conveyed one way, learning by example, one to one.

Q. Ask a friend or family member to describe how you talk, what your body language is like when you’re excited, how you sound when you’re tired. Where did you learn things like that from – school, reading a book… or from the example of people around you?

Q. What one or two people in your life have had the biggest impact on your character?

2. Challenge

Romans 6:1–4 [ESV] “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? … just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” 

It’s not enough to know the Bible or believe in Jesus.  We’ve got to teach people to do what He said. Successful discipleship produces visible life change.

Q. Name a few people in your life who look up to you or take their cues from how you live. How are your attitudes and actions pointing them toward a God-pleasing life? 

Q. If you’re setting an example for others by accident, how much more effectively could you influence them if you did it strategically? What could you start (or stop) today that would help you disciple someone more effectively?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the example(s) who showed you how to live a God-pleasing life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be that kind of an example for the next generation of believers.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Be Happy When People Pick On You

1. Power Verse

Matthew 5:10 “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

Watts Up: “Even When I’m Treated Bad, I Know God Will Bless Me Good!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Ouch!”  In this series, we will learn about powerful truths Jesus taught when he preached the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus said some things that made his followers say, “Ouch!” because they knew what Jesus said was so true, and when they thought about how they were living compared to how Jesus said they should be, it stung a little.

2. Bible Reading

Read: Genesis 39-41

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

39 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me.18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

The Cupbearer and the Baker

40 Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.

After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected.So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”

“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”

12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days.13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread.[a]17 In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

18 “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days.19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole.And the birds will eat away your flesh.”

20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.

23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

Pharaoh’s Dreams

41 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.

In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon.When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

22 “In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23 After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same.God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do.29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God[b]?”

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace,and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

Joseph in Charge of Egypt

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command,[c] and people shouted before him, “Make way[d]!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,[e] to be his wife.And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully.48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[f] and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[g] and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”

56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

3. Discussion

Q. What happened to Joseph?  

Q. Did Joseph do anything wrong?

Q. Was Joseph treated fairly?  How did he respond? 

Everyone gets mistreated at one time or another.  It’s a part of life, but how we respond is important.  It’s natural to respond to bullies and mean words and actions by getting upset or even angry, but Jesus said that we shouldn’t respond that way.

Jesus said that we should be HAPPY when people pick on us.  Ouch!  It stings a little when we realize the truth Jesus shared and how our behavior has differed from His instructions.

Q. Have you ever been mistreated by people in your life?  

Q. How did it make you feel?

Q. How do you normally respond to people who hurt you?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your child if they are being mistreated or bullied.  Pray that they will continue to do the right thing.  Pray that they will be comforted in knowing they are not alone in their situation – that Jesus knows how they feel.  And pray that they will always stay faithful to God even when they are persecuted.