Healthy Church

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.

Spiritual Growth

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Last week, we looked at God’s big vision for 2018, 700 new people reached with the gospel and growing spiritually as part of the church. It’s awesome – we want to see it… but how are we supposed to go about accomplishing it?

1. Prepare Yourself

1 Peter 3:15 [GW] “But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it.”

Q. Why do you choose to live with Christ as Lord of your life? Take a moment to explain it out loud, or if it helps, write it down.

Q. You don’t need to quote the entire Bible to lead someone to faith in God, but it would help to know a few verses by heart. Test yourself right now – can you remember verses that explain God’s plan for salvation? If not, what’s one verse that you should start memorizing today?

2. Engage the World

Matthew 13:3-8 [NLT] “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath… 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil… 7 Other seeds fell among thorns… 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

It’s not our job to make people accept Christ.  Jesus told us, not everyone will choose Him, but it is our job to spread the gospel like seeds everywhere we go. 

Q. The best gospel presentation you can make is your life. What elements of your life would support your claim that Jesus is Lord? What elements might contradict that message?

Q. Not every interaction with people is a “harvesting” moment. Sometimes our role is to plant a seed; we give people something to think about, to get the wheels turning in their minds and hearts. What are a few examples of what that might look like through your life?

Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for entrusting you with sharing the gospel. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you prepare to share your faith, and to open up opportunities with people who need a relationship with Him.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Money Matters

1. Power Verse

Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him.” 

Watts Up: “I’ll Be A Good Steward And Take Care Of God’s Stuff!”

This week we answer a very important question… “What is Stewardship?”  It’s important for our children to not only know what it means to be a “steward,” but also know how to take care of the stuff God gives them!

2. Bible Reading

Read: Matthew 25:14-28

“…A man was going on a journey. He sent for his slaves and put them in charge of his money. He gave five bags of gold to one. He gave two bags to another. And he gave one bag to the third. The man gave each slave the amount of money he knew the slave could take care of…The slave who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work. He earned five bags more. The one with the two bags of gold earned two more. But the man who had received one bag went and dug a hole in the ground. He hid his master’s money in it.  After a long time the master of those slaves returned…The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have earned five more.’ His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with two bags of gold. See, I have earned two more.’ His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest where you have not planted. You gather crops where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid. I went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You evil, lazy slave! …Well then, you should have put my money in the bank. When I returned, I would have received it back with interest.’ Then his master commanded the other slaves, ‘Take the bag of gold from him. Give it to the one who has ten bags.’” 

3. Discussion

Q. How many servants were there in our Bible story? What did each servant do with the “talents” or money he was given? What did the third servant do wrong with his “talent” or money?

That’s right!  The third servant buried his talent.  

Instead of making good use of it, he wasted it.  The master was not happy.  In the same way, God does not want us to waste our money, instead He wants us to be good “stewards!”

Q. What does it mean to be a good steward? Who does our money and stuff really belong to?  (God) How can we be good stewards of the things God has given to us?

4. Prayer Focus

Everything we have comes from God!  He is our source.  It’s important that we remember as “stewards” it’s our job to take good care of what we have because all of it comes from God and really belongs to Him! Pray that you and your children will recognize God as your source and focus on being good stewards of the things you have!

Predicament

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

God’s vision for Abundant Life in 2018 is big – reach 700 people with the good news of God’s salvation and disciple them. In order to do our part to see that vision become reality, we’ve got to overcome 3 predicaments our culture is entrenched in.

1. The Relationship Predicament

As technology changes communication, more and more people are becoming isolated. It was Jesus’ prayer for the church that we would be united, working together.

John 17:11 (ESV) Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Q. Do you feel connected or isolated in life? Is the church a factor in that feeling?

Q. Is forming friendships easy or difficult for you? If it’s easy – how might you be able to help others who are less comfortable making friends? If it’s difficult, what are some steps you can make to overcome that challenge?

2. The Transformation Predicament

Many Christians are full of information about God, but show no transformation in their lives. If we’re going to preach a gospel of life change, we need to model it.

Q. Which areas in your life are visibly different than unbelievers because of God’s influence? Which areas are not? If those areas changed, would your example to outsiders be stronger?

3. The Consumer Predicament

Our modern world is training us to expect people and organizations to serve us, instead of training us to serve others. Jesus modeled and taught a life that put others first.

John 7:38 (ESV) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 

Q. In which ways does the church exist to benefit you? In which ways are you a part of the church body to benefit others?

Q. If your mentality became 10% less consumer-minded and 10% more servant-minded, what kind of difference would that make in the lives of others? What difference would it make in the fulfillment of God’s vision for Abundant Life?

Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for a compelling vision to change lives in our community this year. Ask the Holy Spirit to help us as a church overcome these predicaments together.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Don’t Be a Stink Bug!

1. Power Verse

Philippians 2:5 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

Watts Up: “I Will CHOOSE A Good Attitude!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs.”  In this lesson, we use the stinkbug to help us remember that we have a choice whether or not we have a “stinky” attitude. 

2. Bible Reading

Read: Job 1

The Story Begins

There was a man who lived in the land of Uz. His name was Job. He was honest. He did what was right. He had respect for God and avoided evil. Job had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep and 3,000 camels. He owned 500 pairs of oxen and 500 donkeys. He also had a large number of servants. He was the most important man among all the people in the east.

His sons used to give feasts in their homes on their birthdays. They would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. The time for enjoying good food would end. Then Job would make plans for his children to be made pure and “clean.” He would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them. He would do it early in the morning. He would think, “Perhaps my children have sinned. Maybe they have spoken evil things against God in their hearts.” That’s what Job always did for his children when he felt they had sinned.

One day angels came to the Lord. Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered, “From traveling all around the earth. I’ve been going from one end of it to the other.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you thought about my servant Job? There isn’t anyone on earth like him. He is honest. He does what is right. He has respect for God and avoids evil.”

“You always give Job everything he needs,” Satan replied. “That’s why he has respect for you. 10 Haven’t you guarded him and his family? Haven’t you taken care of everything he has? You have blessed everything he does. His flocks and herds are spread all through the land. 11 But now reach out your hand and strike down everything he has. Then I’m sure he will speak evil things against you. In fact, he’ll do it right in front of you.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “All right. I am handing everything he has over to you. But do not touch the man himself.”

Then Satan left the Lord and went on his way.

13 One day Job’s sons and daughters were at their oldest brother’s house. They were enjoying good food and drinking wine. 14 During that time a messenger came to Job. He said, “The oxen were plowing. The donkeys were eating grass near them. 15 Then the Sabeans attacked us and carried off the animals. They killed some of the servants with their swords. I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

16 While he was still speaking, a second messenger came. He said, “God sent lightning from the sky. It struck the sheep and killed them. It burned up some of the servants. I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

17 While he was still speaking, a third messenger came. He said, “The Chaldeans separated themselves into three groups. They attacked your camels and carried them off. They killed the rest of the servants with their swords. I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

18 While he was still speaking, a fourth messenger came. He said, “Your sons and daughters were at their oldest brother’s house. They were enjoying good food and drinking wine. 19 Suddenly a strong wind blew in from the desert. It struck the four corners of the house. The house fell down on your children. Now all of them are dead. I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20 After Job heard all these reports, he got up and tore his robe. He shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground and worshiped the Lord. 21 He said,

“I was born naked.
    And I’ll leave here naked.
The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away.
    May the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In spite of everything, Job didn’t sin by blaming God for doing anything wrong.

3. Discussion

Q. What happened in Job’s life?  

Q. What kind of attitude did he have?

All of us have bad days.  Sometimes our hair won’t cooperate.  Other times, we face difficulties with people we work with.  Every day we are tested to see if we will have a Godly attitude or not.

Too often, we let our attitudes be determined by what our day is like.  If things go well, we have a great attitude. If things go badly, we have a stinky attitude. Our attitude is a choice.  It is not determined by others.  We should have the same attitude that Jesus had – no matter what!

Q. What determines your attitude?  

Q. Do you normally have a stinky attitude?

Q.  How can you change your attitude?

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your child in a prayer of repentance for having the wrong attitude at times.  Pray that God will help them to choose the right attitude, just as Jesus did.  Pray that with God’s help, they will make the right choice for the right attitude and never ever be a stinkbug.

Great Big U- Part 2

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Family Devotional Adult 10-8-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-8-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Through the Holy Spirit, God wants to use believers to get engaged in serving and make up the body of Christ – the Church. Often times, though, we feel like our lack of skills, qualifications or training leaves us without anything to offer. The truth is, God is looking for people just like you to accomplish His will on the earth.

2. Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 1:26-27 [ESV] “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 

Q. Think of someone in today’s world who has done, or is doing, big things for God. How qualified do they seem to you? How skilled? Does that intimidate you or encourage you?

Q. Now, imagine that same person when the Lord first called them to serve. How qualified or prepared do you think they felt at the time? Does that change how you feel about your own readiness to serve God?

3. Discussion

Judges 6:12-16 [NLT] “Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.  The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!…Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’ ‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’ The Lord said to him, ‘I will be with you.’”

Q. What is your family history and background? Believers or unbelievers? Casual Christians or ardent God-followers? Have you served God since childhood, or did you come to accept Him as an adult?

Q. How might God be able to use your past to equip you for His service? 

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to be part of the body of Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you engage in the Church to accomplish His will.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

“Gotta Stay Humble, Got To Pray, & God Will Heal Our Land Today!”

In our series, “Soul Food”, we continue to find out the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  This week, we learn that humility is one of those ingredients.  Humility is essential for serving God and giving Him all the glory each day.  We learn from the example of King Nebuchadnezzar what can happen if we are prideful.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Daniel 4:24-37

24 “Your Majesty, here is what your dream means. The Most High God has given an order against you. 25 You will be driven away from people. You will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass just as an ox does. You will become wet with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants. 26 But he gave a command to leave the stump of the tree along with its roots. That means your kingdom will be given back to you. It will happen when you recognize that the God of heaven rules. 27 So, Your Majesty, I hope you will accept my advice. Stop being sinful. Do what is right. Give up your evil practices. Show kindness to those who are being treated badly. Then perhaps things will continue to go well with you.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Comes True

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 It took place twelve months later. He was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon. 30 He said, “Isn’t this the great Babylon I have built as a place for my royal palace? I used my mighty power to build it. It shows how glorious my majesty is.”

31 He was still speaking when he heard a voice from heaven. It said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, here is what has been ordered concerning you. Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people. You will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass just as an ox does. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants.”

33 What had been said about King Nebuchadnezzar came true at once. He was driven away from people. He ate grass just as an ox does. His body became wet with the dew of heaven. He stayed that way until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle. His nails became like the claws of a bird.

34 At the end of that time I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven. My mind became clear again. Then I praised the Most High God. I gave honor and glory to the God who lives forever.

His rule will last forever.
    His kingdom will never end.
35 He considers all the nations on earth
    to be nothing.
He does as he pleases
    with the powers of heaven.
He does what he wants
    with the nations of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand.
    No one can say to him,
    “What have you done?”

36 My honor and glory were returned to me when my mind became clear again. The glory of my kingdom was given back to me. My advisers and nobles came to me. And I was put back on my throne. I became even greater than I had been before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything he does is right. All his ways are fair. He is able to bring down those who live proudly.

Q. Whom did King Nebuchadnezzar think was the reason for all of his success?

Q.  What did Daniel say would happen to King Nebuchadnezzar if he continued to have pride?  How did he respond?

Q. What did God do to King Nebuchadnezzar as punishment for his pride?  Then what happened when the time passed?

3. Discussion

King Nebuchadnezzar was very prideful and took all of the credit and glory for himself, instead of giving God glory.  When God saw this, God removed King Nebuchadnezzar from his position as king of Babylon until he was humbled and began to give God all of the glory.  We learn from our Power Verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, that God says we must humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our sin.  If we do those things, He says He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land.

Q. What are some ways you can become too prideful in your own life?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never allow pride to keep you from giving God all of the glory?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would humble themselves before God, pray, seek Him whenever they face life’s many difficult situations, and always run from sin.

Great Big U

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Family Devotional Adult 10-1-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-1-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God’s plans for believers to influence the world are group plans. He’s designed a system where believers work together with a united purpose, but widely varied functions to accomplish His goals. We call that diverse-yet-unified system, “church.”

2. Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 12:12-19 [ESV] “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ …If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?” 

Q. Have you ever felt like a “spare part,” or unnecessary organ in the church body?

Q. List several different functions that people might serve as part of a church. Which ones have you normally considered the most important? Which ones are least important?

Q. Look at the “less important” functions on your list. Can the church survive without them? If so, would it be more effective without the functions, or less effective?

3. Discussion

Proverbs 27:17 [ESV] “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

The relationships we build, functioning together in a church, can be some of the deepest and most rewarding in life. They can also lead to some of the deepest and most painful offenses. As we work together, conflict will inevitably come, but we need to use that to spur us on to grow as individuals and as an organization.

Q. Think of an example of conflict between different people functioning as part of the church body. In what ways could that conflict hurt the body? In what ways could it produce growth?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the purpose He has for you as part of the church body. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you work together with other believers to affect our world and grow His kingdom.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Psalm 68:3 “But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.” 

“I’ll Be Full of the Joy of the Lord!”

In our series, “Soul Food”, we continue to find out the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  This week, we learn that joy is one of those ingredients.  A lot of times it is easy for followers of Jesus to lose their joy when bad or difficult circumstances come their way.  When tough stuff happens in our lives, we often lose our sense of joy because we’ve forgotten some very important things about the joy of the Lord.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  2 Samuel 6

David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

Again David brought together the best soldiers in Israel. The total number was 30,000. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah. They wanted to bring the ark of God up to Jerusalem from there. The ark is named after the Lord. He is the Lordwho rules over all. He sits on his throne between the cherubim that are on the ark. The ark of God was placed on a new cart. Then it was brought from Abinadab’s house, which was on a hill. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart. They were the sons of Abinadab. The ark of God was on the cart. Ahio was walking in front of it. David was celebrating with all his might in front of the Lord. So was the whole community of Israel. All of them were playing castanets, harps, lyres, tambourines, rattles and cymbals.

They came to the threshing floor of Nakon. The oxen nearly fell there. So Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God. Then the Lord was very angry with Uzzah. That’s because what Uzzah did showed that he didn’t have any respect for the Lord. So God struck him down. He died there beside the ark of God.

David was angry because the Lord’s great anger had broken out against Uzzah. That’s why the place is still called Perez Uzzah to this day.

David was afraid of the Lord that day. He asked, “How can the ark of the Lordever be brought to me?” 10 He didn’t want to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom. Obed-Edom was from Gath. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in Obed-Edom’s house for three months. And the Lord blessed him and his whole family.

12 King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the family of Obed-Edom. He has also blessed everything that belongs to him. That’s because the ark of God is in Obed-Edom’s house.” So David went down there to bring up the ark. With great joy he brought it up from the house of Obed-Edom. He took it to the City of David. 13 Those carrying the ark of the Lord took six steps forward. Then David sacrificed a bull and a fat calf. 14 David was wearing a sacred linen apron. He danced in front of the Lord with all his might. 15 He did it while he was bringing up the ark of the Lord. The whole community of Israel helped him bring it up. They shouted. They blew trumpets.

16 The ark of the Lord was brought into the City of David. Saul’s daughter Michal was watching from a window. She saw King David leaping and dancing in front of the Lord. That made her hate him in her heart.

17 The ark of the Lord was brought into Jerusalem. It was put in its place in the tent David had set up for it. David sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings to the Lord. 18 After he finished sacrificing those offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord who rules over all. 19 He gave to each Israelite man and woman a loaf of bread. He also gave each one a date cake and a raisin cake. Then all the people went home.

20 David returned home to bless his family. Saul’s daughter Michal came out to meet him. She said, “You are the king of Israel. You have really brought honor to yourself today, haven’t you? You have gone around half-naked right in front of the female slaves of your officials. You acted like a fool!”

21 David said to Michal, “I did it to honor the Lord. He chose me instead of your father or anyone else in Saul’s family. The Lord appointed me ruler over his people Israel. I will celebrate to honor the Lord. 22 And that’s not all. I will bring even less honor to myself. I will bring even more shame on myself. But those female slaves you spoke about will honor me.”

23 Saul’s daughter Michal didn’t have any children as long as she lived.

Q. What happened that caused David to worship God like he did?

Q. How did David show his joy and worship?

Q. What did David’s wife, Michal, say about David dancing before the Lord?

Q. How did David respond?  Did he let Michal’s criticism keep him from having and expressing his joy in the Lord?

3. Discussion

David had joy even when his wife, Michal, criticized him during his time of worship and dancing.  In spite of what was going on around him, David chose to have the joy of the Lord and let no one stop him from showing it.  From this we learn that joy is not optional – it’s a command.  The Bible says we must have joy – even when the things going on around us aren’t very fun and exciting.  And the reason we should have joy in every circumstance, good or bad, is because God is with us always. 

Q. What are some circumstances that could cause you to lose your joy?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never allow your circumstances to keep you from having the joy of the Lord?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will have joy no matter what circumstances they are facing.  Pray that they will remember that joy is not optional because they know that God is with them always.

We are Better Together

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Family Devotional Adult 9-24-17

Family Devotional Kids 9-24-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

We live in a culture where people are becoming more and more isolated. From online shopping to text messages, technology is slowly chipping away at the social interactions in our lives, and leaving us vulnerable to the strategies of our spiritual enemy. The life God has planned for us is one that’s lived together in community.

2. Bible Verse

Isolation leaves you weak.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 [NLT] “Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.” 

Q. Have you ever felt alone, even around people? 

Q. Think of the time(s) in your life when you felt the most isolated. How close to God did you feel in that time? How fulfilled or unsatisfied did you feel?

3. Discussion

Strength and purpose is found in sharing life with each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 [NLT] “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.”

When we work together, we’ve got each others’ backs. We can be an encouragement when someone else is down, a word of caution when someone else is straying off God’s path – and they can be that for us. When we pour into someone else’s life, we can find the purpose and value in our own. 

Q. How connected do you feel to others today? How about in the church?

Q. If you’re more isolated than you want / should be, what steps can you take this week to help change the situation?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the people that He’s put in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to start and invest in relationships that will help you and others live stronger, God-pleasing lives.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

John 16:33  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

“No Matter What Happens – Jesus Gives Me Peace!”

In our brand new series, “Soul Food”, we will find out the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  This week, we learn that suffering is one of those ingredients.  Too many people have the idea that once you become a Christian, everything is going to go smoothly and you will never have a tough time in life.  But that is not what Jesus taught us.  Suffering isn’t only a “possibility” – Jesus said it is a guarantee.  Bad things will happen to us even as we follow Him.  Suffering is part of the deal.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Acts 6:8-7:54

Stephen was full of God’s grace and power. He did great wonders and signs among the people. But members of the group called the Synagogue of the Freedmen began to oppose him. Some of them were Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria. Others were Jews from Cilicia and Asia Minor. They all began to argue with Stephen. 10 But he was too wise for them. That’s because the Holy Spirit gave Stephen wisdom whenever he spoke.

11 Then in secret they talked some men into lying about Stephen. They said, “We heard Stephen speak evil things against Moses and against God.”

12 So the people were stirred up. The elders and the teachers of the law were stirred up too. They arrested Stephen and brought him to the Sanhedrin. 13 They found witnesses who were willing to tell lies. These liars said, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place. He also speaks against the law. 14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place. He says Jesus will change the practices that Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked right at Stephen. They saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Stephen Speaks to the Sanhedrin

Then the high priest questioned Stephen. “Is what these people are saying true?” he asked.

“Brothers and fathers, listen to me!” Stephen replied. “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham. At that time Abraham was still in Mesopotamia. He had not yet begun living in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said. ‘Go to the land I will show you.’ (Genesis 12:1)

“So Abraham left the land of Babylonia. He settled in Harran. After his father died, God sent Abraham to this land where you are now living. God didn’t give him any property here. He didn’t even give him enough land to set his foot on. But God made a promise to him and to all his family after him. He said they would possess the land. The promise was made even though at that time Abraham had no child. Here is what God said to him. ‘For 400 years your family after you will be strangers in a country not their own. They will be slaves and will be treated badly. But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves,’ God said. ‘After that, they will leave that country and worship me here.’ (Genesis 15:13,14) Then God made a covenant with Abraham. God told him that circumcision would show who the members of the covenant were. Abraham became Isaac’s father. He circumcised Isaac eight days after he was born. Later, Isaac became Jacob’s father. Jacob had 12 sons. They became the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.

“Jacob’s sons were jealous of their brother Joseph. So they sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt. But God was with him. 10 He saved Joseph from all his troubles. God made Joseph wise. He helped him to become the friend of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and his whole palace.

11 “There was not enough food for all Egypt and Canaan. This brought great suffering. Jacob and his sons couldn’t find food. 12 But Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt. So he sent his sons on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was. Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family. The total number of people was 75. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt. There he and his family died. 16 Some of their bodies were brought back to Shechem. They were placed in a tomb Abraham had bought. He had purchased it from Hamor’s sons at Shechem. He had purchased it for a certain amount of money.

17 “In Egypt the number of our people grew and grew. It was nearly time for God to make his promise to Abraham come true. 18 Then ‘a new king came to power in Egypt. Joseph didn’t mean anything to him.’ (Exodus 1:8) 19 The king was very evil and dishonest with our people. He treated them badly. He forced them to throw out their newborn babies to die.

20 “At that time Moses was born. He was not an ordinary child. For three months he was taken care of by his family. 21 Then he was placed outside. But Pharaoh’s daughter took him home. She brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was taught all the knowledge of the people of Egypt. He became a powerful speaker and a man of action.

23 “When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit the people of Israel. They were his own people. 24 He saw one of them being treated badly by an Egyptian. So he went to help him. He got even by killing the man. 25 Moses thought his own people would realize that God was using him to save them. But they didn’t. 26 The next day Moses saw two Israelites fighting. He tried to make peace between them. ‘Men, you are both Israelites,’ he said. ‘Why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was treating the other one badly pushed Moses to one side. He said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ (Exodus 2:14) 29 When Moses heard this, he escaped to Midian. He lived there as an outsider. He became the father of two sons there.

30 “Forty years passed. Then an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush. This happened in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When Moses saw the bush, he was amazed. He went over for a closer look. There he heard the Lord say, 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ (Exodus 3:6) Moses shook with fear. He didn’t dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals. You must do this because the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have seen my people beaten down in Egypt. I have heard their groans. I have come down to set them free. Now come. I will send you back to Egypt.’ (Exodus 3:5,7,8,10)

35 “This is the same Moses the two men of Israel would not accept. They had said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ But God himself sent Moses to rule the people of Israel and set them free. He spoke to Moses through an angel. The angel had appeared to him in the bush. 36 So Moses led them out of Egypt. He did wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for 40 years in the desert.

37 “This is the same Moses who spoke to the Israelites. ‘God will send you a prophet,’ he said. ‘He will be like me. He will come from your own people.’ (Deuteronomy 18:15) 38 Moses was with the Israelites in the desert. He was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. Moses was with our people of long ago. He received living words to pass on to us.

39 “But our people refused to obey Moses. They would not accept him. In their hearts, they wished they were back in Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us a god who will lead us. This fellow Moses brought us up out of Egypt. But we don’t know what has happened to him!’ (Exodus 32:1) 41 That was the time they made a statue to be their god. It was shaped like a calf. They brought sacrifices to it. They even enjoyed what they had made with their own hands. 42 But God turned away from them. He let them go on worshiping the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets. There it says,

“ ‘People of Israel, did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    for 40 years in the desert?
43 You have taken with you the shrine of your false god Molek.
    You have taken with you the star of your false god Rephan.
    You made statues of those gods to worship.
So I will send you away from your country.’ (Amos 5:25–27)
    God sent them to Babylon and even farther.

44 “Long ago our people were in the desert. They had with them the holy tent. The tent was where the tablets of the covenant law were kept. Moses had made the holy tent as God had commanded him. Moses made it like the pattern he had seen. 45 Our people received the tent from God. Then they brought it with them when they took the land of Canaan. God drove out the nations that were in their way. At that time Joshua was Israel’s leader. The tent remained in the land until David’s time. 46 David was blessed by God. So David asked if he could build a house for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the temple for God.

48 “But the Most High God does not live in houses made by human hands. As God says through the prophet,

49 “ ‘Heaven is my throne.
    The earth is under my control.
What kind of house will you build for me?
    says the Lord.
    Where will my resting place be?
50 Didn’t my hand make all these things?’ (Isaiah 66:1,2)

51 “You stubborn people! You won’t obey! You won’t listen! You are just like your people of long ago! You always oppose the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your people didn’t try to hurt? They even killed those who told about the coming of the Blameless One. And now you have handed him over to his enemies. You have murdered him. 53 The law you received was given by angels. But you haven’t obeyed it.”

Stephen Is Killed

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they became very angry. They were so angry they ground their teeth at Stephen.

Q. What did Stephen do that didn’t sit well with the other religious leaders?

Q. What were they afraid would happen if Stephen continued?

Q. What did the religious leaders do to ruin Stephen’s reputation?  What did they do when that didn’t stop Stephen from sharing about Jesus?

Q. What did Stephen look to Heaven and say right before he died?

3. Discussion

Life is full of troubles and difficulties.  Each day, we will be in a fight against our enemy, the devil.  But Jesus has already defeated the devil, so we do not have to be afraid or worried.  Although life is full of “many trials and sorrows,” we can have peace in our hearts and minds because Jesus has “overcome the world.”  If we trust Him and never give up, we will win the victory!

Q. What are some ways that you might suffer for your faith today?

Q. How should you prepare yourself for the suffering you know will eventually happen as a follower of Jesus?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will not be afraid or discouraged when suffering comes their way.  Pray that they will stand firm in their faith in Jesus.  Pray that they will take heart, knowing that He has overcome the world!

Better Together

Posted on Updated on

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.