Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
1. Primary Statement
Life is a journey. From birth, to childhood, to adolescence, all the way to our twilight years, we’re never really static – we’re always growing. In the same way, Christianity is a lifelong progression, as we grow to become more like God, and know Him better. Growth is God’s expectation for all of us, and it happens best in the context of relationships.
2. Bible Verse
1 Corinthians 3:1-2 [NLT] “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.”
Paul is addressing the spiritual maturity of the Corinthian church. Regardless of our age, we’re all spiritual infants when we join God’s family – but He doesn’t expect us to stay that way.
Romans 12:2 [ESV] “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
How do we renew our minds? By being discipled – learning and applying God’s ways of thinking. This is a lifelong process that happens best in relationships with other Christians.
Q: Which individuals in your life have had the biggest impact on your spiritual growth? Is your relationship with them close, or distant?
Q: Outside of pastors, authors, and public speakers, who are the spiritually mature people you look to for inspiration and guidance? If you don’t have anyone like that, how might you go about building a relationship with someone?
Q: Who are the people in your life that are less experienced in their relationship with God than you are? Are you actively building them up in their faith? If not, how might you start helping them to grow?
4. Prayer Focus
God’s will for us all is to be part of this process. Never stop learning from others. Never stop teaching and helping others. Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the growth-inspiring relationships in your life. Ask Him to help you strengthen those connections, so more and more people can become more like Him.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
1. Power Verse
John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
“I Will Stand Up For Others – No Matter What The Cost!”
This week we continued our series, “Never Too Young.” In this week’s lesson, the children learned a powerful message from the life of Esther about how to stand up for those who are in need!
Read Esther 4:7-8, 15-16 “Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him. He told him about the exact amount of money Haman had promised to add to the royal treasures. He said Haman wanted it to be used to pay some men to destroy the Jews… It commanded people to wipe out the Jews…
Mordecai told Hathak to show the order to Esther. He wanted Hathak to explain it to her. Mordecai told him to tell her to go and beg the king for mercy. Mordecai wanted her to make an appeal to the king for her people. 15 Then Esther sent a reply to Mordecai. ‘…Then I’ll go to the king. I’ll do it even though it’s against the law. And if I have to die, I’ll die.”’
Q. Do you remember who this week’s Bible story was about?
Q. What did Esther do for her people?
Q. Why was this so important?
Discuss with your children why what Esther did was so important and how difficult it must have been to stand up for others. Share a time in your life where you had to stand up for someone or something. This can help your children identify with this story.
Q. What do you think it means to “stand up for others?”
Q. How does this make God feel when we “stand up for others?”
It’s important that we stand up for others and what is right. There may be people at your school who are being bullying, and you could be the person to stop them. There may be a person who needs new friends, and you could be that new friend for them. Or, maybe God wants you to help those less fortunate than you like the homeless or poor. It’s important that when you see other people in need, you respond and help them.
4. Prayer Focus
Discuss with your children ways they can “Stand up for others.” As a family, make a plan to give back to those in need. Pray together that God will use your family to make a difference in this world!
Those of you who were at the Alton campus of Abundant Life Sunday, heard me preach from 2 Corinthians 3:14-18. Let me take a few minutes and firm up a few of the thoughts from this passage of scripture. (Here it is, if you missed it.)
Paul is writing concerning the nation of Israel and how their confusion concerning God’s intent for the law has left them in a state wherein they are blinded. Paul compares their lack of clear understanding to a person who has a veil over their eyes and consequently their vision is restricted. Clarity and focus escape such a person.
Here’s the scripture…
“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:14–18, ESV)
I want to direct your attention to verses 16-18 and the transformation that God intends when a person comes to Jesus. Notice this progression.
- When a person turns to Jesus the veil is removed.
- The Holy Spirit brings freedom. In this particular context this is freedom from confusion of the truth.
- We begin to be transformed into the image of Christ by beholding the glory of God.
- Every time we behold his glory we are transformed from one degree to the next.
I love this biblical description of the process of sanctification in the life of a believer. My question for today is this… “How do we behold God’s glory?”
Simply answered, by seeing Him in His Word and by experiencing Him through the work of the Holy Spirit that occurs when we truly worship.
The importance of God’s Word in the life of the believer cannot be overstated. Through the study and meditation upon the Scriptures we learn who God is. Pictures of His interaction with His people begin to form in our minds and we begin to trust His care and understand His will. Without the Scriptures hidden in our hearts and minds, we are prey to every contradictory opinion and idea about who God is and even His existence.
Once the Word is within us, we have the fuel that the Holy Spirit ignites.
The Holy Spirit, in times of worship and meditation, takes the Word and makes it alive. Suddenly God’s direction and counsel expresses itself in our minds, and according to 2 Corinthians 3:18 one degree at a time we are transformed into the image of Christ.
It’s a process. Step-by-step, moment-by-moment, year-by-year we are moved closer and closer. Slowly our image disappears and the image of Jesus appears. What’s my advice for you today? Don’t cut class. Don’t avoid the Word or times in God’s presence. Both are crucial ingredients in the maturation process of the believer and our world desperately needs you and me to reveal the image of Jesus.
Find a methodology that works for you to put the word of God in your mind. I read and listen to the Scriptures while I read. By using both my eyes and my ears I find that I retain much more of what I read. Find something that works for you. Then I schedule time to be alone with God and to meditate upon Him. These times begin with me focusing my mind on God. I do this through expressions of worship. Sometimes I speak out loud, other times I sing. My goal being to shut out the world and give God a portion of my time. It always amazes me how suddenly pieces of Scripture, things I’ve seen or heard, and other materials in my mind are used by the Holy Spirit to form a thought about God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness. In a flash God is with me, and conviction, encouragement, instruction, and direction happen. Over and over again I return to these times and little by little I am being changed into His image.
It only took a moment to be saved but to form the image of Christ in me takes a lifetime. I’m in for the whole thing! How about you?