Changed Behavior

Happiness=Doing Your Best

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When asked what they do for fun, not many people list “working really hard.” The truth is, part of the God-character in us as Christians is a robust work ethic – giving whatever we do 100% effort. When we do that consistently, God will reward us.

1. Read

Colossians 3:17 [ESV] “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…”

It’s easy to think of Christianity as a part of your life – even a big part – but God wants His character to overlay everything we do. If you really want to live the God-life, you have to go all-in.

  • Think back through your day (or yesterday) and list 6-8 things that you did. (They can be big things, or simple, everyday things.)
  •  For each of those things, how might they be influenced by this overlay of God’s way of living? 
  • Were your decisions influenced at all by your relationship with God?

2. Challenge

Colossians 3:23-24 [ESV] Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”

When you give half-effort on a project or assignment, it’s not just a bad reflection on you, it’s an insult to your true boss – GOD. He has great happiness and rewards for those who give their best effort.

  • What’s a hobby, chore, or job that it’s easy for you to give 100% effort on?
  • What’s one that you have a hard time giving effort and attention to?
  • Does God care more about the effort you put on some activities than He does on others? 
  • If not, how does that affect the way you feel about things you typically give half-effort to?

3. Prayer Focus

When you talk to God today, thank Jesus for going all the way through 33 years on this planet, and not doing the cross halfway. Bring up those things that you struggle to give effort on, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you give 100% on them this week.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Resting In God

1. Power Verse

Psalm 23:2 “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.”

What’s Up: “I Won’t Be Stressed, ‘Cause God Gives Me Rest!”

This week are continuing in the series “The Good Shepherd.” We learned how God is the Shepherd who brings us peace and rest. Practice reading the Psalms 23 together- focus on Psalms 23:2 after you have read the whole chapter.

2. Read

Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me  in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

  • Do you think God cares about us and wants us to stress and worry all the time?
  • What do you think David was trying to teach us in verse two of this Psalm?

That’s right! God wants to teach us to rest in Him! He doesn’t want us to be stressed about school, and sports, and friends, and everything else that can get us down and discouraged- He wants us to learn to come to Him and find Peace and Rest. Let’s look at a famous story from the Bible that we can use to learn this lesson from.

3. Discussion

Luke 10:38-42 (The story of Mary and Martha)“As Jesus and the disciples… came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary hasdiscovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  • What was Martha doing in the story? 
  • What was Mary doing in the story? 
  • Who do you think was doing the “right” thing or the “better” thing?

Some times it isn’t about getting everything done, or being busy, but it’s about simply taking time to be with Jesus! Mary knew that being with Jesus was the best way to rest and find peace in her life. It’s the same way for us- when we are stressed, or worried, or tired, we should go to Jesus to find rest.

4. Prayer Focus

Take time as a family to sit and spend time with Jesus. Pray as a family and sit in His presence. REST together in Him.

Happiness=Serving Others

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Jesus said, “the greatest among you will be your servant.” We’re called to serve and meet the needs of others… which can be a counterintuitive, counter-cultural thing, at times. When we do, though, we not only make God happy – we find happiness ourselves.

1. Read

Romans 12:13 [ESV] “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment…”

Being a servant to others begins with an accurate understanding of where your position is. As long as you see yourself as more important than others, you’ll never be able to spend yourself to meet their needs.

  • Name 2 or 3 of the most selfless-giving people you’ve known. From what you can tell, do/did they serve out of obligation, or did they just value others more than themselves?
  • How did their selflessness benefit you?
  • If a poll were taken of 100 people close to you, how would they rate your view of your own importance? 
  • Would they label you as selfless, selfish, or somewhere in between?

2. Challenge

1 Peter 5:6 [ESV]“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

If you puff yourself up full of self-importance, God will have to spend time bringing you back down to earth. If you live humble, though, and serve others, God will raise you up and bring you honor and fulfillment.

  • It’s easy to serve kind, selfless people, but not everyone in life falls into that category. Who are the people in your life who are the hardest to serve? 
  • Why do you think that is? 
  • Does that change God’s expectation of you?
  • Think of a time when you willingly gave time, energy, attention, or money to serve others. How fulfilled did you feel afterward? 
  • Did that act increase or deflate your happiness?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank Jesus for setting the example of selfless service. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you keep the right view of yourself, so you can invest your life in serving others.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

The Good Shepherd

1. Power Verse

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”

What’s Up: “I Will Follow The Lord, ‘Cause He’s My Shepherd!”

This week we started a new series “The Good Shepherd.” We will spend the next few weeks learning how God is the Shepherd who longs to take care of His sheep – Us!

2. Read

Luke 15:1-7 “Then Jesus told them a story.  He said, ‘Suppose one of you has 100 sheep and loses one of them. Won’t he leave the 99 in the open country? Won’t he go and look for the one lost sheep until he finds it?  When he finds it, he will joyfully put it on his shoulders and go home. Then he will call his friends and neighbors together. He will say, ‘Be joyful with me. I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you, it will be the same in heaven. There will be great joy when one sinner turns away from sin. Yes, there will be more joy than for 99 godly people who do not need to turn away from their sins.”

  • How many sheep were there in the story? What happened to one of the sheep?
  • What did the shepherd do for the one sheep that was missing?
  • Who/What does the sheep represent?

3. Discussion

In our Bible Story, one sheep was missing. The shepherd left 99 of his sheep to go find the one that was lost. We learn from this story that God, our shepherd, will do whatever it takes to find one of his sheep (us!) that is lost or missing. 

  • What do you think it means for a person to be lost or missing? 
  • Why do you think God cares so much about one person who is missing?

That’s Right! God loves us so much, He will do whatever it takes to be in relationship with us. And when we are in relationship with Him, He will do whatever He can to take care of us and meet our needs. He is “The Good Shepherd” who wants to take care of us. He loves us and wants us to have everything we need!!!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for the members of your family that they will be in right relationship with God. Give each child an opportunity to respond to an opportunity to accept Him. Also, give each child a chance to share a need that maybe they need God to meet as their “Good Shepherd.”


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Finding happiness in generosity sounds like a contradictory statement – after all, accumulating stuff makes you feel happy, right? Well, in God’s economy, the more you give, the more you’re blessed, and the happiness that comes from giving is way beyond what comes from getting.

1. Read

Luke 6:38 [ESV] “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

No matter how generous you are, God will always outdo you in the giving department. The blessings may not come to you in dollars, but they’re always abundant.

  • Think of a time when your generosity met someone else’s need.
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What impact did it have on your outlook on life?
  • Giving money is just one way to be generous. What are other ways you can show generosity to others?

2. Challenge

Matthew 6:33 [ESV] “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

When you receive, it’s a good day for you, but when you give, you’re advancing God’s kingdom – not only in yourself, but in others. People see God’s love and generous heart through your actions, and those qualities point hearts toward Him.

  • Which area in your life is it hardest to be generous in?
  • Any time you say “no” to yourself and “yes” to God, you’re advancing His kingdom (His rulership) in your heart. How has generosity deepened your submission to God’s rule? What can you expect to gain in return for putting His requests ahead of your own interests?

3. Prayer Focus

When you talk to God this week, remember to thank Him for being so generous with you. Ask Him to meet your needs in proportion to the way you meet the needs of others… and then go be as generous as you can!

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Should I Be baptized?

1. Power Verse

Acts 2:38 “…Repent and be baptized, every one of you…”

What’s Up: “Baptism Is A Picture Of What God’s Done For Me!”

2. Activity

On a piece of paper, draw some of the following logos or symbols you think your kids will recognize: McDonalds, Target, Superman, Batman, Nike, and Shell Gas. You can also Google “common logos” and let them look at some of the pictures. Ask them to identify each of the logos. Then discuss the following questions: 

  • What do the people who make these signs want you to do when you see one of their symbols? (Help your kids understand that the logos are supposed to make you think about what they represent.)
  • Are the symbols actually the product they represent? For example, is the McDonald logo a real hamburger, or is the Nike swoosh a real shoe?

3. Discussion

Explain to your kids that baptism is a symbol, too, just like the symbols you looked at. Tell them that going into the water symbolizes dying, being under the water symbolizes being buried, and coming out of the water represents being raised from the dead, just like Jesus did. Remind them that Jesus was baptized, too.

  • Why did Jesus get baptized? (To lead us by example.)
  • Why should you get baptized? (It symbolizes to others that you’re following Jesus’ example.)
  • Does getting baptized save you or cause your sins to be forgiven?
  • How do you get saved, if baptism doesn’t save you?

If your kids haven’t been baptized, talk to them about whether they’ve asked Jesus to forgive their sins. If they have, ask them if they’re ready to be baptized. If they haven’t, talk to them more about why it’s important to ask Jesus to save them.

4. Prayer Focus

If your kids have been baptized, talk about the experience. Ask them how they felt and what it meant to them. Finish by praying together.


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Everyone’s looking for happiness – from diet plans, to dating sites, to shopping trips – we’re looking everywhere. And yet, happiness-producing things are already all around us… if we can see them.

1. Read

Romans 14:17 [SEV] “God’s kingdom isn’t about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit.”

God doesn’t want to snuff out the happiness in your life – He wants to fill your life with it.The instructions we find in the Bible are there to make your life better, and in the end, they produce the kind of happiness that will last.

  • What’s your favorite fruit? Think of all the work that goes into producing it – planting, fertilizing, harvesting, etc. Does the fruit come without the work?
  •  What are some God-adjustments to your life that take effort? What sort of fruit might they produce in your life in the long run? What about in someone else’s life?

2. Challenge

Proverbs 17:9 [ESV] “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

Resentment & unforgiveness keep you so focused on the bad in your life that you become unable to appreciate the good. God calls you to forgive, not only for the sake of others, but to keep you from nullifying your own happiness.

  • Think of someone you know who’s bitter or resentful. Is their “right” to be angry making them happier? Are they pleasant to be around? 
  • What are some ways their life might change if they let go of old hurts?
  • List a few things God has forgiven you for. Did He deserve what you did? Did you deserve His forgiveness? In light of His example, what sorts of things should you be willing to forgive when people do them to you?

3. Prayer Focus

Thank God for how ready He is to forgive you when you mess up. Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight old wounds you still hang onto, and to help you to truly forgive, so you can move forward in uninhibited happiness.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Super Science Sunday!

1. Power Verse

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

What’s Up: “God gives us friends and family to help us during tough times.”

The kids experienced wacky science experiments in Overflow Kids Church today, all designed to demonstrate Biblical truths.  Take a few minutes to discuss the service with your kids.  What was their favorite experiment? Did they learn any scientific facts? 

2. The Science

These are some of the experiments that were used in the children’s service, and the Biblical points they demonstrated.

Balloon on a bed of nails: A balloon can be popped by a single nail, but not when placed on a bed full of nails. This reminds us that God gives us friends and family to help us during tough times.

  • Think of a time when you were helped by someone.
  • Have ever been blessed by another person?
  • What are some ways that people can really help each other?

3. Discussion

Inertia Beads Demonstration:  A long string of beads is placed into a cup.  A slight tug on one end of the beads creates an inertia reactions that pulls all of the beads quickly out of the cup.

Proverbs 12:26  “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

  • Why is it important to have good friends? 
  • What are some ways that our friends might encourage us to make poor decisions? 
  • How can we encourage our friends to be more like Jesus?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a moment to pray for our friends and family members.  Ask God to help each one of us to be good friends that point people toward good decisions and ultimately, closer to God.

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.


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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.

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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.