Erasing Hell- Part 2

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Whether it’s the night before a test, the last 2 minutes of a game, or the startling realization that you hit snooze too many times, urgency produces results. In the same way, understanding there’s a very real hell and an immanent rapture should produce a healthy dose of urgency in our Christian lives.

1. Read

1 Thessalonians 5:2 [NASB95] “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”

Ever wonder why God’s timing is so secretive? Part of the reason He plays that close to the vest is that He wants us to keep ourselves ready for the rapture – close to Him and far from sin.

  • Jesus could come back for His church tomorrow. Is that more exciting or intimidating? What excites you? What intimidates you?
  • If you knew Jesus was returning 3 days from now, how would that affect your relationship with Him and your submission to Him in the various areas of your life?

2. Challenge

Mark 13:35-36 [NLT] “You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. ”

The primary work God needs us to do is to point the people around us to salvation – both by what we say, and how we live. Without our witness, many of those people will spend an eternity in hell. We can’t fall asleep on the job – He needs us working at it every day with a sense of urgency!

  • List a few people in your sphere of influence who are in danger of hell. What could you do this week to show them what a Christian life looks like? 
  • God has given us everything we need to point spiritually lost people toward Him. What are a few of those resources He’s provided? For each one you list, how could you better take advantage of it this week?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank God for being patient enough to give people time to be saved. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep you in a sense of spiritual urgency to reach people around you with the good news.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

God’s Never Ending Love

1. Power Verse

John 9:4 (ESV) “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”

What’s Up: “We must all work to share God’s love!”

2. Activity

Have your children draw a picture of a giant pile of their all time favorite candy.  Hide a piece of this candy somewhere in your house where they will never be able to find it.

Have them imagine if the candy pile they drew would never run out, but somehow it just kept growing and growing.

  • What would do with all of that candy if you really had it?  
  • Where would you try to store it?  Who are some people you might share it with?  
  • Would you be willing to share it with strangers, knowing that it will never run out?

Now tell them to try and find the hidden candy, give them five minutes to try and locate it. After the time is up, take them to the hidden candy and give it to them.

3. Discussion

God has given us a giant pile of His love.  It’s more than we could ever store up and use just for ourselves.  

  • What are some ways that we could share God’s love with others?  

  • Sometimes people don’t know where to find God’s love, but we know right where it is!

  • Think together about some people you know that might need help finding God’s love.  How can we work together to help them find it?

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time thanking God for his never ending love.  Then, start praying for the people who don’t know about God’s love.

Erasing Hell

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Hell is a real place. As Christians, we typically believe in a literal hell, but have the concept pushed so far into the corners of our awareness that it has little to no impact on our lives. If we want to do this God-life the right way, we need to live like there’s a hell to be avoided.

1. Read

Matthew 25:41 [NASB95] “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…”

Hell is a very real place, with very real regret and suffering. Any concept less than that will fall short as a motivation for us and for the people we love.

  • What was your concept of hell as a child? How was it talked about in your family, peers and church?
  • How is today’s cultural understanding of hell different from when you were growing up?
  • How is your personal understanding different? Are those changes positive or negative?

2. Challenge

Matthew 6:14-15 [NASB95] “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

It’s easy to say you’ve forgiven someone while still harboring anger and resentment in your heart. The kind of forgiveness God expects, though, is complete restoration of the relationship.

  • Think of a time when you forgave someone who wronged you – but you still didn’t like them. Maybe you even wished them ill. Now think of a time you’ve asked God for forgiveness. Imagine Him “forgiving” you, but still disliking you, and even looking for ways to pay you back for your wrongdoing. How “forgiven” would you feel?

  • God’s forgiveness is a model for what He expects of us. What offenses do you still carry hard feelings over? What could you do this week to move toward restoration, and forgive more like God does?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank God for rescuing you from an eternal future in hell. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep the reality of hell in your mind as motivation to live right, forgive others, and share the good news of His offer of salvation.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

I Want it Now

1. Power Verse

Luke 12:15 “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

What’s Up: “I Won’t Be Greedy For More And More Stuff!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Living Large”. In this series, we are learning how to handle our money and possessions God’s way.

2. Activity

Place a plate of candy, cookies, or some other food your children really enjoy in front of them. Tell them they can have one piece right now, BUT if they’ll wait until you come back, they can have two. Then leave the room, telling them to stay there until you come back. Depending on the age of your children, you should stay away for 2-10 minutes. Come back and tell them if they didn’t eat the candy or cookie, they can have two now.

  • Did you eat the candy or cookie? Why or why not?

  • How did you feel while you were waiting for me to come back?

  • Was it hard or easy to resist the temptation to eat the candy or cookie?

  • If you ate the candy or cookie, how do you feel now?

  •  If you didn’t eat the candy or cookie, how do you feel now?

3. Discussion

This activity is kind of like saving money. Sometimes you see something you want to buy, but if you wait to buy it, you might either have more money or discover that you don’t want it after all.

  • Have you ever bought anything that you later regretted buying? What was it? 
  • Why did you regret buying it?
  • What are some ways you can prevent this from happening in the future?

God wants us to handle the money He gives us wisely, and buying things on an impulse isn’t a wise way to spend money.

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time thanking God for the money He’s given to you and your children and asking Him to help you give, save, and spend it wisely.

In the Beginning…Part 4

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God is a promise-making master; both in promises to all of humanity, and to us as individuals. From a human perspective, though, it’s all too easy to grow impatient waiting for promises to come true, and when we lose patience, we have a tendency to take matters into our own hands… with unpleasant results.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 16:2a [ESV] “Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children…’”

It had been 10 years since God had promised descendants to Abram, but he was still childless. It was at that point that doubt in God’s promise finally outweighed faith.

Q. What are some promises / dreams / plans that you feel like God has spoken to you? Have they come to pass yet? If not, can you relate to Sarai’s impatience and frustration with God?

Q. Why do you think God spoke the promise to Abram so long before the fulfillment? Could it be that He has a purpose for putting hopes & dreams in your heart that are still down the line?

3. Discussion

Genesis 16:2b [ESV] “…Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”

Just like in the garden of Eden, Satan brings temptation by casting doubt on God’s word. Sarai adopts an interpretation of God’s promise that can be fulfilled by human strength, without any additional waiting or faith. The result was perpetual hostility that is still active today between the descendants of Isaac (Israel) and Ishmael (Islam).

Q. Be honest – which of God’s promises (to humanity or to you personally) are you tempted to doubt or reinterpret? 

Q. Is the sin to have doubts, or to act on them?

Q. Satan often offers a “shortcut” to promises or blessing, by cutting corners morally. Can you think of a few examples of this in today’s culture?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for all the promises He has made to humanity, and to you personally. Ask Him to give you faith to trust Him and wait for Him to bring them to pass in His timing.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

James 4:7 “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!”

SPIDER“I’ll Avoid The WEB Of Temptation!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn just how God has given us the ability to avoid being trapped in the web that Satan has laid out for us.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus Is Tempted in the Desert

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. There the devil tempted him. After 40 days and 40 nights of going without eating, Jesus was hungry. The tempter came to him. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man must not live only on bread. He must also live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city. He had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. It is written,

“ ‘The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you.
    They will lift you up in their hands.
    Then you won’t trip over a stone.’ ” (Psalm 91:11,12)

Jesus answered him, “It is also written, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:16)

Finally, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain. He showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “If you bow down and worship me,” he said, “I will give you all this.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Get away from me, Satan! It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:13)

11 Then the devil left Jesus. Angels came and took care of him.

3. Discussion

Q. Where was Jesus when Satan came to tempt Him?

Q. What were the ways that Satan tempted Jesus?

Spiders weave webs to trap their prey.  They lie in wait for an unsuspecting insect to fly or crawl into the web and get stuck.  Then, the spider moves in for the kill.

Satan, our enemy, does much the same with us.  He weaves a web of temptation in order to trap us into sin.  Much of the time, if we are not careful and looking out for it, we will get caught in the web of temptation and fall into sin.

Satan is very crafty in his ways of trapping us.  We must be aware of his schemes in order to avoid getting caught in the web of temptation. 

Q. How has Satan tried to tempt you?  

Q. Have there been times you gave-in to temptation?

Q. How can you try to avoid temptation?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to be strong and resist the devil’s web of temptation.  Pray for them if they have fallen into sin already and lead them in a prayer for forgiveness.  Pray that God will help them to recognize where they are weak and help them to stay strong in those areas.