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?
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?
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.
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.”
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
“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. 2 In front of him was a man whose body was badly swollen. 3 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?” 4 But they remained silent. So Jesus took hold of the man and healed him. Then he sent him away.
5 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?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
7 Jesus noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. So he told them a story. 8 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. 9 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?
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!
The promise of the Holy Spirit’s power wasn’t just for Jesus’ disciples. It’s not just for pastors or evangelists. The Holy Spirit’s world-changing power is meant for all believers.
Building up our character is great, but it’s not a prerequisite for the Holy Spirit to empower us. Too many believers put the power on hold, waiting for the Holy Spirit to make them mature enough to be used. Read the passages below, and notice how quickly God’s power was available.
1 Samuel 10:5-6 (ESV) (Samuel to Saul, after anointing him the chosen king of Israel) 5 …you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.
Acts 19:1-6 (ESV) 1And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” … 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Acts 2:1-4 (ESV) 1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting…4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
- Are you waiting to become “good enough” to operate in God’s power?
- Did the people in the examples do that?
- How would you pray / affect your world if you felt like you were ready to be used by God like He used Paul and Peter?
Take a few minutes as a family and pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to work through you, even while He’s still working on you.
Kids & Family Outline
Have you ever smelled something mom or dad was cooking and asked for a taste, but it wasn’t ready yet? (ask for an example or give one) Sometimes, we feel the same way about God using us. “Maybe when I’m older,” we think, “or maybe when I get rid of all the bad stuff in my life.” The truth is, God wants to use you right now!
Read these stories below, and notice how fast God starts using people when the Holy Spirit comes.
1 Samuel 10:5-11 (NLT) (This is what Samuel said to Saul when he anointed him as the chosen new king of Israel) …you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the place of worship. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. 6At that time the Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy (speak God’s words) with them. You will be changed into a different person …9As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day. 10When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, they saw a group of prophets coming toward them. Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy. 11When those who knew Saul heard about it, they exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet? How did the son of Kish become a prophet?”
Acts 2:1-4 (NLT) 1On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
- Did the people in the examples have to wait to get older or better for God to use them? What does that mean for you – is God ready to use you right now?
- Take a few minutes as a family and pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to work through you, even while He’s still working on you.
If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-3-5-17 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.
- Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
- Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
- Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
- 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.
1 SAMUEL 16:1-13
BE CAREFUL HOW YOU LIVE
LIVE IN SUCH A WAY THAT GOD’S HAND RESTS UPON YOUR LIFE
What had Saul done to cause the Lord to reject him as the king?
The Lord’s command-1 Samuel 15:2-3
Saul’s action-1 Samuel 15:7-9
Saul’s arrogance-1 Samuel 15:12
Saul’s lie-1 Samuel 15:13
Saul’s deflection of blame-1 Samuel 15:15
In what does the Lord delight? 1 Samuel 15:22
What great blessing did Saul lose because of his disobedience? 1 Samuel 16:14
GOD DOES NOT LOOK ON PEOPLE THE WAY WE DO
People usually judge by the outward appearance but how does God judge? 1 Samuel 16:7
What was Saul’s opinion of himself before being chosen as king? 1 Samuel 9:21
David was the least in his family (the youngest) & wasn’t even called to come to the feast, yet he is the one God called.
God’s pattern for leadership in Matthew 25:21 states… if you are faithful in small things then He will put you in charge of great things.
What great power did God bestow on David to help him? 1 Samuel 16:13
What does the Spirit in us provide for us? 2 Timothy 1:7
JOSHUA 6 & 7
1. There is no obstacle, circumstance, or need too large for God.
Before they even started, how had the Israelites won the battle? Notice the tense of the verb.
Several times in Scripture God uses people & plans that seem foolish & weak to the world. Joshua with trumpets & marching (Joshua 6), Gideon with torches & pitchers (Judges 7), & David with a sling (I Samuel 17). To whom does the Lord look for to use in His plans? 2 Chronicles 16:9a
What did the Israelites provide in the victory at Jericho? Hebrews 11:30
How do we inherit what has been promised to us? Hebrews 6:12
2. The first belongs to God, all of it.
It seems terrible to us that God commanded Israel to destroy all the humans in Jericho except Rahab & her family. They did not always obey when God asked them to do this. What was the result of this disobedience? Nehemiah 13: 23-27
What do we gain if we obey God & do not become yoked with unbelivers?
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
3. God is always willing to redeem sinners.
What was Rahab? Joshua 2:1
What had Rahab realized about the Lord of the Israelites? Joshua 2:11b
What great honor came to Rahab because of her belief in God? Matthew 1:5 (look at the heading of this chapter)
4. Sin is a big deal.
Why would God blame the whole nation for the disobedience of only one? God considered them one people, His people, not just an assorted collection of tribes, clans, & families. Read what God speaks about them in Exodus 19: 5-6 (considered by Bible scholars to be the heart of the Old Testament.)
What does Paul say about believers in Christ? 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
In Roots 8 we learned to seek first God’s kingdom & righteousness & all these things would be given to us. Matthew 6:33. What does God promise if we seek Him first? Matthew 6:25-32
Phillips Brooks statement: Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be better men & women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Note: This post was written on Sunday, January 26.
It’s Sunday morning and just about the time that most of you are rising for your day, we will be meeting with the children and families from the school in Soloy. We are an hour ahead of you and the day here doesn’t move with the clock but with the sun. In other words, things start early here. We’ve been here at the school for the past two days.
This morning I have once again been amazed at how quickly our North American thinking and standards adjust to a different way of living. While we were at the conference, we had no running water, building, and nothing but dirt for a floor and the sky for a ceiling. Now that we are at the school we have buildings to sleep in, concrete floors, and electric lights as long as we have gasoline for the generator. There is a pump that fills a tank from the River and we have running water.
What’s amazing is to hear our team’s comments about having a little room with a drain in the floor, a bucket full of water that they ran from a plastic pipe, and a plastic bowl that all serves as our shower. I actually had a conversation with one of the teens who is with us about how great this system is! Please understand that you can’t drink this water, there’s no light in the “shower” room, and this water is really cold! What’s amazing is that just a few days ago, all of this was a hardship, now a five gallon bucket of water and a plastic bowl is luxury!
The first night we were here, the team sort of laughed at me for setting up the inside screen part of my tent in one of the classrooms and putting my cot inside it to sleep. When the laughter and screams started about midnight because of the half dozen bats flying around over their heads, suddenly every room had tents. However, after just one night you would have thought they slept with bats in their room every night.
I love watching the growing sense of thanksgiving and gratitude for the blessings of home, family, health, and opportunity. I pray that we would all live in the knowledge of Gods blessings and allow that sense to regulate how we express care and grace to the world around us.
We will however enjoy a warm shower in a few days!
Today I want to bring a powerful section of scripture before you for consideration. It is powerful not for the wonder that it instills, but rather for the shame and humiliation that it describes. This section of scripture is found in John chapter nineteen verses twenty three and twenty four.
John 19:23–24 (NIV84) When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.
Whenever I think about Jesus being beaten and then crucified for you and me, I always try to imagine the extreme physical suffering that Jesus endured. I picture in my mind, the scourging post and blow after blow falling on Jesus’ body. I imagine the blood loss and trauma that is poured out upon him. Ultimately, Jesus arrives at the place of crucifixion and nails are used to pierce his wrists and feet and he is raised up for all to see. It always moves me to imagine it. However, there is a piece that I always leave out.
The above verses reminded me that there is another powerful aspect to what Jesus endured for you and me. These verses remind me that Jesus is crucified naked. Not only did Jesus endure physical suffering to redeem you and me, but he also endured tremendous shame as he hung naked before the world. Not only did Jesus take upon himself the pain that was to be mine, he also took the shame. Something about this causes me to have a deeper appreciation for Jesus. It’s one thing to square your shoulders and walk boldly into someone else’s punishment, but it’s something entirely different to be shamed for that person. That’s what Jesus did for us. He took not only the pain but also the shame.
Can you imagine heaven’s reaction? Although I have no scriptural basis for this, I imagine that the angels wanted to wipe us out. Here is their King being openly shamed by his creation. Surely they did not understand. Do we? Do you and I act like we really understand the price that was paid for our salvation?
Father, today we praise you for the price that was paid, that we might be saved! Let us never take for granted the suffering and shame that Jesus bore for us.