Changed Behavior

You’re New

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When we come to God, He doesn’t refurbish or repair us spiritually – He makes us something all-new, something beyond what we could ever be otherwise. Every day with Him is a refreshing of that newness, as we walk in His grace and empowerment.

2 Corinthians 5:17 [NLT]
“…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Being new in God is more than just feeling different. With His help, we’re now able to act differently – to live the way He created us to.

Q . What are some things you can do differently, now that God has made you a new person?

2. Challenge

Romans 6:4 [NLT]
“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

God’s work in us isn’t just a onetime change. Every day, we have the choice to embrace the comfort of our old, indulgent life, or to say, do, and think the things that the Holy Spirit wants. Being new every day means that no matter our past failures, God gives us the strength to win today!

Q . Which is easier for you – saying “yes” to the new life and behaviors, or saying “no” to the old ones?

Q . What’s something from the “old” you that’s long gone? What’s something you’re still working on saying “no” to?

Q . What are some ways the Holy Spirit helps you to say, do, and think things differently?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for an all-new life every day. Ask Him to help you to keep choosing the new way of living He’s calling you to.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Jesus Is…Wonderful

1. Power Verse

Psalm 86:10 “For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God.”

What’s Up: “Jesus Is Wonderful – Yes He Is!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned about the prophecy that Isaiah made about Jesus. We learned that Jesus truly is the most WONDERFUL person who ever lived on Earth.

2. Read

Philippians 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs. He will meet them in keeping with his wonderful riches. These riches come to you because you belong to Christ Jesus.”

Q. What are some things that you consider wonderful? (Have your children write these things down – give them a minute or two to make a long list of wonderful things.)

We overuse the word “wonderful” A LOT! We use it to talk about food, saying, “That meal was wonderful!” We use it to talk about entertainment saying, “What a wonderful concert that was last night!” Wonderful has lost its “WONDER.However, Jesus truly IS wonderful! When we think about His grace, His love, His power, and His character – we are filled with wonder. Our minds can barely comprehend just how WONDERFUL He really is.

3. Discussion

Q. What are some things about Jesus that are wonderful? 

(Have your children write these things down – give them a minute or two to make along list of wonderful things about Jesus.)

Q. What is your favorite wonderful thing about Jesus that you just wrote down? 

Q. Why is it so special to you?

Jesus is SO wonderful! And if we open our hearts and minds, Jesus will fill us with wonder this Christmas Season!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children a prayer of worship and thanksgiving to Jesus for His wonderful miracles, wonderful love, and for being such a wonderful Savior.

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.

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.

Hard Question: Can I have eternal security?

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

“Predestination” – the idea that God has already decided who to save – is a concept that has been debated by church leaders for nearly 1,000 years. Some Bible references seem to suggest this, but if we take a closer look, we’ll see a God who – while knowing the future – gives every person a choice to accept or reject His offer of salvation.

2. Bible Verse

God knows everything – not only the present, but the future.

Isaiah 46:9-10  [NLT] “…For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens.”

No one can be saved unless God draws them.

John 6:44 [NLT] “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.”

God has called all people to repentance.

John 12:32 [NLT] “And I (Jesus), when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

3. Application

 

God saves those He chose.

Ephesians 1:11-13 [NLT] “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan… And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.”

God chose us… because we believed. We didn’t believe because He made us, we believed because, through Jesus’ sacrifice, He enabled us to. 

Q. God chose you, knowing in advance every time you’d make a mistake. How does that change how you view His grace? 

Q. Does knowing this make you feel less or more accountable for what you choose to do in life?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to repentance. Ask Him to empower you to keep living the life you’ve been called to, and to share the good news with others.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“Humble Yourself,  And The Lord Will Lift You Up!”

One way you can put others first is by serving others.  Let’s take time as a family and come up with ways together and individually we can serve  people.  (Use individual pieces of paper, poster board, markers, pens, etc. to make a list of ways you can serve others.)

2. Bible Verse

Luke 14:11 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  

This week, we continue our series “Say What?” by focusing on something that is hard for all of us to do:  putting others before ourselves!  Jesus wanted us to humble ourselves and always remember to put others first.  In this week’s lesson, we learn some valuable lessons from Jesus’ life on how we can do that!

Start by Reading Luke 14:1-14.

14 One Sabbath day, Jesus went to eat in the house of a well-known Pharisee. While he was there, he was being carefully watched. In front of him was a man whose body was badly swollen. Jesus turned to the Pharisees and the authorities on the law. He asked them, “Is it breaking the Law to heal on the Sabbath day?” But they remained silent. So Jesus took hold of the man and healed him. Then he sent him away.

He asked them another question. He said, “Suppose one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t you pull it out right away?” And they had nothing to say.

Jesus noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. So he told them a story. He said, “Suppose someone invites you to a wedding feast. Do not take the place of honor. A person more important than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come to you. He will say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be filled with shame. You will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place. Then your host will come over to you. He will say, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 All those who lift themselves up will be made humble. And those who make themselves humble will be lifted up.”

12 Then Jesus spoke to his host. “Suppose you give a lunch or a dinner,” he said. “Do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, or your relatives, or your rich neighbors. If you do, they may invite you to eat with them. So you will be paid back. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite those who are poor. Also invite those who can’t see or walk. 14 Then you will be blessed. Your guests can’t pay you back. But you will be paid back when those who are right with God rise from the dead.”

Q. Did Jesus want the people to sit in the seat of honor?

Q. Why do you think He told them to give it up?

Q. What do you think it means, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves with be exalted,” based on this story?

3. Application 

Jesus was teaching it is important to not make yourself more important than others, but rather, put others first.  Even the Pharisees in the story knew this was something hard to do.  This has always been difficult for followers of Jesus!

Q. Do you think this is something easy for you to do?  Why or Why not?

Q. When do you find it the hardest to not want to be #1?

Q. What is something you think you could do to help put others first?

 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God will help you as individuals and as a family to put others first and yourselves last!

A New Creation

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When we give our lives to God, He not only gives us a fresh start, but through His work in us, He brings things to life in us that have never been seen before.

If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-1-8-17 pdf download.


We want to invite you to join this home discipleship program designed to facilitate Bible reading, discussion, and prayer.

There are two pages in the Family Discipleship Guide.  One page is for teen & adult discussion and the other is for kids.

  1. Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
  2. Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
  3. Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
  4. Text DISCIPLE to 24587 after each prayer and discussion time or comment below so that we can celebrate with you, who are deepening your knowledge.

As always, please feel free to ask questions.