Tithing

The Kingdom of God

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Jesus talked a lot about God’s “Kingdom.” Over 100 times in the gospels He mentions it, trying to explain it to people whose minds were stuck on a physical kingdom. God’s kingdom isn’t a place, it’s a state of being, where He’s the boss.

1. Read

Luke 17:20-21 [MSG] “Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, ‘The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”

What the pharisees couldn’t understand was that you don’t enter God’s kingdom by being born somewhere, or traveling somewhere, or waiting for some new political leader. You enter it by submitting to God’s leadership – serving Him as King.

  • Before this week’s lesson, did you think of the “Kingdom of God” as a place (like heaven), or a state of being?
  • Are there people you know who believe in God, but don’t submit to His leadership?
  • Are they in the kingdom, or not?

2. Challenge

Matthew 13:47-50 [NLT] “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Kingdom citizenship is required to enter heaven. We have to show people the way, so they don’t wind up in that fiery furnace!

  • Who are the people in your life who need to enter God’s kingdom? Make a to-do list for this week: what can you do to point them toward Him?

3. Prayer Focus

Take some time to reaffirm your submission to God’s leadership. Ask the Holy Spirit to use your life as an inspiration to spiritually lost people around you, pointing them to Him.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Buried Treasure

1. Power Verse

Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

What’s Up: “I’m Gonna Store Up Treasure In Heaven!”

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

2. Read

2 Corinthians 8:1-4 “Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given to the churches in Macedonia.  They have suffered a great deal. But in their suffering, their joy was more than full. Even though they were very poor, they gave very freely.  I tell you that they gave as much as they could. In fact, they gave even more than they could. Completely on their own, they begged us for the chance to share in serving the Lord’s people in that way.”

3. Discussion

  • Why do you think the Macedonian churches wanted so badly to give?
  • How is it possible to give beyond your ability?
  • What does it mean to sacrifice?
  • Have you and your family given sacrificially in the past? If so, how did you feel about it?

Talk to your kids honestly about some of the ways you sacrifice for them, particularly how you sometimes give up things you want or need so that they can have things they want or need. Tell them that you willingly give up these things because you love them and it brings you joy to be able to give to them.

Then tell your kids that this week, as a family, you’re going to practice intentional sacrifice—you’re going to give up something your family wants or needs and give that item or the money you would have used to buy that item to someone else. Brainstorm for a few minutes to think of things your family enjoys or uses frequently. A few suggestions are certain foods, renting movies, eating out, etc.

Then discuss what you want to do with the money you saved. Do you want to buy some groceries or a gift card to a restaurant for another family, put gas in someone else’s car, or put the money in the offering at church? Whatever you decide to do, do it together as a family. Even if you can afford it, don’t buy the item for yourself—go the entire week without it.

4. Prayer Focus

Thank God for not only supplying everything you need, but for giving you the chance to supply someone else with what they need.

Powerful Prayer

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Let’s be honest – sometimes prayer feels like a joy and sometimes it feels like a chore. Sometimes it seems fresh and inspired; other times, it’s as mindless as reciting the pledge of allegiance to open school. When we think about the reality of hell though, our prayer life should become focused, urgent and Spirit-led.

1. Read

Jude 20:21 [ESV] “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

In order to be a beacon of light to point others to God’s salvation, your spirit and body need to be aligned with God. That happens when you pray.

  • When Jude says “praying in the Holy Spirit,” do you think he means speaking in unknown languages, or having your known-language prayer directed by the Spirit? Or is it both?
  • What are a few places in your life where your spirit and human nature get out of alignment with God’s way? Give some examples of how your effectiveness as a witness would be different with more spiritual strength in those areas.

2. Challenge

2 Corinthians 10:4 [NASB95] “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

We’re not fighting physical fortresses, but strongholds in the minds of the spiritually lost that make it hard for them to receive the good news of salvation. They’re called “fortresses” for a reason – they won’t go down with half-hearted, lip-service prayer. If we intend to do battle, we need to pray like warriors!

  • What are some examples of spiritual fortresses in the minds of the spiritually lost around you?
  • Think of the most firmly-entrenched Republican or Democrat you know. Could their political views be changed by a social media post? How about a well thought-out, persuasive argument? Probably not. Now, imagine that level of mental fortress in a spiritually lost person in your life. How should that shape your prayers for them? What specifically should you ask God to do?

3. Prayer Focus

Take some time to ask God fervently to align your spirit with His, and to tear down spiritual fortresses in the minds of the spiritually lost people in your life. Be specific, use their names, pray in the Spirit, and don’t be in a hurry!


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Are You Smarter Than An Ant?

1. Power Verse

Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

What’s Up: “My Money Is God’s Money, So I Will Use It WELL!”

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. Discussion

I want you to imagine that the local bank is giving out $100 bills to everyone wearing a ball cap who shows up at the bank on Monday at noon.

  • What would happen if you showed up on Sunday instead of Monday?
  • What would happen if you showed up at the right time, but didn’t have on a ball cap?
  • What would happen if you showed up at the right time wearing a cowboy hat?
  • What if you got really excited about what the bank was doing and told everybody you knew about it, but forgot to go to the bank yourself?
  • Whose fault would it be if you didn’t get the $100?

3. Read

Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a mere human being dare to steal from God? But you rob me! “You ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “By holding back your offerings. You also steal from me when you do not bring me a tenth of everything you produce. So you are under my curse. In fact, your whole nation is under my curse. That is because you are robbing me. Bring the entire tenth to the storerooms in my temple. Then there will be plenty of food. Test me this way,” says the Lord. “Then you will see that I will throw open the windows of heaven. I will pour out so many blessings that you will not have enough room to store them.”

  • What does God expect us to do with the money we receive?
  • How much do we pay when we tithe? For example, if you had $10, how much would you tithe on it?
  • Why do you think God asks us to tithe? Does He need the money?

4. Prayer Focus

God asks us to tithe, so we learn to trust Him instead of our money. When we obey Him by tithing, we position ourselves to be blessed in the future. Spend time thanking God for the money He’s given to you and your children and asking Him to help you trust Him enough to always pay your tithe.

Cornerstone- Blessings

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Family Devotional Adults 4-16-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-16-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

A life built on the Cornerstone is a life full of blessing! Jesus’ death and resurrection are not just about getting into heaven, they’re the basis of a new agreement between God and humanity.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Psalm 1:1-6 (ESV)

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Q. What are some ways you’ve experienced God’s blessings?  

Q. What are a few hardships that living life God’s way protects you from?

Q. What are some ways that living God’s way makes life better for others around you?

3. Application

 

Remember, the biblical idea of “blessing” is twofold: 

(1) A public declaration of a favored status with God. 

Ephesians 2:19-20 (ESV) 

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

(2) An endowment of power for prosperity and success. 

Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

4. Wrap up Discussion

Doing things God’s way doesn’t just make your future better, it makes your today better. A life built on the Cornerstone isn’t perfect or pain-free, but it is full of God’s acceptance, prosperity, and success.

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending Jesus to die in our place, not only for our salvation, but to make this life better.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Find a tree in your yard or near your house, and investigate it. Point out the roots, and explain (or remind them) that trees use their roots to draw water and nutrients from the soil. Point out that trees grow big and strong here because we’re close to the river. Ask them to imagine what would happen if you planted a tree seed in the middle of a desert, or on top of a volcano.

2. Bible Verse

Psalms 1:1,3 (VOICE)

“God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn: when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes, when you avoid sin’s highway, when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse…You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time; your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. If God blesses you, does that mean that bad stuff will never happen again? (no)

Q. If we do what God wants, will He give us peace and keep us from hurting ourselves and other people? (yes!)

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending Jesus to die in our place, not only for our salvation, but to make this life better.

Family Devotional 4-16-17 pdf download

Cornerstone- Money

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Christ should be the cornerstone in every area of our lives, including our finances. How we go about getting material things, and what we do with them when we have them, matters to God. If we want God to bless our finances, we need to do things His way.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Don’t spend your life worrying about money.

Matthew 6:31-32 (ESV) 

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

Q: What’s our greatest material need? Are we doing more worrying or trusting about it?  Work hard and earn a good living.

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT) 

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”

Q. Trusting God to help doesn’t mean we don’t get involved. What’s our greatest financial need at the moment? What does God expect our role to be in meeting it?

3. Application

Give to God first, and trust Him with the rest.

Malachi 3:10 (NLT) 

“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!’”

Q. Tithing is about trust. Do we believe God will meet our needs if we give to Him first?

 

4. Wrap up Discussion

Live within your means and don’t become a slave to debt.   Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”

Q. What are the financial obligations in our life that stress us? Is there a way to scale back?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you be grateful, generous and hard-working.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Help your kids make 2 lists. On the first one, have them list some things they don’t have that they want. For the second, have them walk around the house and list all the good things that they already have. Help direct their attention to the less-obvious things, like a toilet that works, food in the fridge, a roof that keeps them dry on rainy days.

2. Bible Verse

Matthew 6:31-32 (NLT)

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Having stuff is great – God loves to bless us with good things and reward us for working hard. At the same time, He doesn’t want the most important thing in our lives to be getting stuff. 

When we focus on getting we become greedy and unthankful. It hurts us and it hurts others. Instead, God wants us to be grateful, generous, and hard-working. (Define these words if needed.)

Q. What are some ways God takes care of our family’s needs?

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. Is it a bad thing to make money or have nice things? (no)

Q. What’s one way you can be grateful? Generous? Hard-working?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you be grateful, generous, and hard-working.

Family Devotional 4-2-17 pdf download