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Overcoming Anxiety and Fear- Part 2

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Anxiety is a challenge we need to stand up to, but it’s not always obvious how to fight it. Thankfully, God has given us some great instructions in Philippians on strategic ways to stiff-arm fear and pursue joy & peace.

1. Read

Philippians 4:6 [ESV] “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Fear is often based on a lack in ourselves, our resources, or our ability to get through a situation without pain & suffering. When we actively take all our fear-inducing challenges to God in prayer, we remind ourselves that at the end of the day, He’s got us. Q . What are a few scenarios in your life that have the potential to be fear-inducing? Q . Do you ask God for help in those areas on a regular basis? Q . If you knew that for each scenario, no matter the outcome, God would ensure you’re alright – how would that affect your level of peace about it?

2. Challenge

Philippians 4:8-9 [ESV] “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
The best positive action you can take to fight anxiety isn’t to try and worry less – it’s to populate your mind with God’s truths. When your head and heart are full of His promises, it’s a lot harder to get swallowed up in worry and anxiety. Q . What are some specific examples of things that would fit into the category of what you should think about? Q . What are 4 or 5 different ways you can populate your mind with the right things?

3. Prayer Focus

Go back to those scenarios that can be fear-inducing. Ask God for specific help in each one, then read Psalm 145 to Him as an affirmation of your trust in His character and power.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Life is a Highway: Construction Zone

1. Power Verse

Colossians 2:6-7 “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.”
What’s up: “I Gotta Build My Faith Every Day!” This week, we continue our series called, “Life Is A Highway”. In this series, we’re learning that life is a lot like a highway. The Bible says that there are two roads that we can choose to travel on. One leads to life in Heaven forever and one leads to sin and death. We have to make sure we are on the road that leads to Heaven.

2. Activity

Drive through some kind of construction zone with your kids. Tell your kids to pay attention to what they see when they pass. If you can’t actually see a project, ask your kids to think back to other construction areas they’ve seen before. Q.  How do you think they decide that an area needs to be worked on? Q. What would happen if no one worked on an area that needed work? Q. What does the work area usually look like? (It’s messy, it’s changed from the way it looked before, and it doesn’t look like it will eventually look when it’s finished.)

3. Discussion

Growing and changing for the better is always a choice, and it’s almost always hard work. One way to make it easier is to hang around people who are growing, too. “Construction Zone” people can inspire and encourage you when you’re struggling, and they’ll have some great ideas on how to accomplish your goal. Q. How do you decide that an area in your life needs to be worked on? Q. What would happen if you never worked on that area? Q. What area in your life needs to be worked on?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that God will help them with the area of their life they said needs work. Pray they’ll always keep growing in their faith.

Fasting for Advancement

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A fast is a special season of setting yourself apart and reaching out to God. It’s more than just a routine or tradition – fasting is for special times and special needs.

1. Read

2 Chronicles 20:1-3 [NLT] “After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunitesa declared war on Jehoshaphat… Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.”

Jehoshaphat was in a dire circumstance – something that was beyond his ability to fix, and he responded by seeking God’s help in a special way. Whether it’s oppression, danger, hardship, or even a new season of opportunities you’re facing – when the moment is bigger than you, fasting is the right way to respond.

Q . What are the challenges, hardships or decisions in your life right now which are too big to be addressed by your strength alone?

Q . Have you fasted before? What prompted you to do it? How did God respond?

2. Challenge

2 Chronicles 20:3-4 [NLT] “Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the LORD’s help.

Fasting isn’t a badge of honor you wear to feel holier, or a magical ritual that makes God do your will. Fasting is a way to put yourself in a position of humility and dependence, while you wait on God’s guidance, provision, protection, and blessing.

Q . As you begin this fast, what do you want the Lord to do for you?

Q . How is fasting different than normal times of prayer? What change does it make in you?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as you begin this season of fasting, and reaffirm your submission to God and your reliance on Him for help. Ask Him specifically what you need, and thank Him in advance for His answer.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Life is a Highway: One Way

1. Power Verse

John 14:6 “I am THE WAY, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

What’s Up: “God’s Son Is The Only ONE WAY To Heaven!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Life Is A Highway”.  In this series, we’ll learn that life is a lot like a highway.  The Bible says that there are two roads that we can choose to travel on.  One leads to life in Heaven forever and one leads to sin and death.  We have to make sure we are on the road that leads to Heaven.

2. Activity

Draw a horizontal line with a large circle at the right end of it across the middle of a piece of paper. Label the line “Jesus” and in the circle, write the word “Heaven.”  Show the paper to your children and tell them that they’re going to help you draw a life map.

Ask them to name some of the things they’ll encounter during their lives that might influence them, either positively or negatively.For each suggestion they make, draw a side road off of the horizontal road and label it.Some of the side roads might be friends, school, sports, drugs, money, alcohol, work, spouses, children, etc. 

3. Discussion

Q. Some things we listed are always bad influences.  What are they?

Q. Some things we listed can sometimes be good influences and sometimes bad.  What are they?  Why?

Q. Can following any of those things get you to Heaven?  Why not?

Throughout life, things will come along, both good and bad, that might distract us or cause us to lose sight of our true destination – Heaven.  Some of those things may be exciting or seem good at the time, but they won’t get us to Heaven.  The only way we can stay on the highway to Heaven is to maintain a daily relationship with Jesus.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God would help your children to stay focused on the highway to Heaven and to live their life so others will see the difference in them.

Parent Power

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Parents and kids both have a responsibility to each-other: to teach and to learn God’s truth, so that they can serve God together.

1. Read

Deuteronomy 6:6–7 [NLT] “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

God’s expectation for parents is to invest time teaching their children about who God is – not just in an abstract way, but as you’re going through everyday life.

Q . What are a few things you learned from your parents when you were young? How are those skills, attitudes or practices benefiting your life now?

Q . Give a few examples of values or behaviors that God wants parents to teach their children. What are some real-life scenarios where those things come into play? How can those scenarios become teaching moments?

2. Challenge

Proverbs 1:8 [NLT] “My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.”

Nobody likes getting disciplined – it’s painful!  In the end, it helps us, though – as long as we receive it. It takes patience and humility to accept correction, but that’s the only way we’ll really learn.

Q . Do you ever get frustrated when someone’s trying to teach you something, or give you advice on how to do something better? Do you think you learn more with a resistant attitude, or a receptive attitude?

Q . For parents – what kind of tone do you take when instructing your kids? Are you making it easier or harder for them to accept your instruction and to respect you in return?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and talk to God about your relationship with the people you influence, and the ones who influence you. Ask Him to help you teach the next generation faithfully and to have a receptive attitude when you need correction or instruction.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Jesus Is…Prince of Peace

1. Power Verse

1 John 3:1 “See what amazing love the Father has given us! Because of it, we are called children of God. And that’s what we really are!”

What’s Up: “I can obey and learn each day!”

Parents and kids both have a responsibility to each-other: to teach and to learn God’s truth, so that they can serve God together.

2. Read

Deuteronomy 6:6–7 [NLT] “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

3. Discussion

God’s expectation for parents is to invest time teaching their children about who God is – not just in an abstract way, but as you’re going through everyday life. Q . What are your favorite things to do together as a family?  What are a few things that your parents taught you to do?  Q . What are somethings that you could teach your parents about? (video games, Common Core math, dance moves, etc.)

Proverbs 1:8 [NLT] “My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.”

Nobody likes getting disciplined – it’s painful!  In the end, it helps us, though – as long as we receive it. It takes patience and humility to accept correction, but that’s the only way we’ll really learn.

Q . Do you ever get frustrated when someone’s trying to teach you something, or give you advice on how to do something better? Do you think you learn more with a bad attitude, or a good attitude?

Q . For parents – what kind of tone do you take when instructing your kids? Are you making it easier or harder for them to accept your teaching and to respect you in return?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and talk to God about your relationship with the people who love and care for you.  Pray that you will have good, respectful attitudes when learning and when teaching each other.

Prince of Peace

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Jesus’ birth brought a lot of things to humanity, but one of the greatest things – and one that the spiritually lost search for most – is peace.

1. Read

Luke 2:13-14 [NLT] “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’”
The Shepherds who witnessed the armies of heaven showing up on earth must’ve been scared, but the birth of the Messiah was the greatest peace gesture in the history of humanity. At last, we could be in right-standing with God. Q . Think back (if you can!) to a time before you had a relationship with God. What was it like to be at odds with God? How is the peace in your life different now from what it was then? Q . What are a few substitutes people turn to in order to find peace apart from God? How do those substitutes fall short in the end?

2. Challenge

John 14:27 [GNT] “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”
Our Messiah didn’t just come to make peace between us and God – He came to equip us with supernatural peace for the challenges and worries of an imperfect life. Q . What’s the difference between the peace the world gives and the kind of peace that only God can give? Q . Peace doesn’t mean the absence of challenges – it’s a change in perspective; a different response. Think of a time when you asked God to remove a problem, and instead, He gave you peace in the middle of it. Was the end result still good? Were you closer to Him as a result?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family – thank Jesus for making peace between you and God. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and peace-giver when life gets stressful.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Jesus Is… Emmanuel

1. Power Verse

Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”
What’s Up: “Jesus Is With Me Every Single Day!” This week, we continue our series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned another word that is used in the Bible to describe Jesus. We learned that Jesus is…Emmanuel.

2. Read

Read the Christmas Story from the Gospels (You choose which one you would like to read) or retell the story in your own words. Where was Jesus born? What do you think it looked like? (Have your child draw a picture of the manger on a sheet of paper.)

3. Discussion

Christmas is the birthday of a king. But, Jesus was not just ANY king. He was a king who left His throne in Heaven in order to come to Earth. His entire motivation was to save the world from their sin. Jesus chose to come to Earth not as a flashy king with a crown and material wealth. He chose the most humble beginnings – a stable and a manger. He proved that He was not in it for Himself, but for others. Jesus is Emmanuel – “God with us.” He didn’t wait for us to come to HIM. He came to us. He came FOR us. He came to be WITH us. No matter where we are, what we do, or what we face, we can always count on Jesus to be with us. When we face trouble in this world, Jesus can bring peace to our lives. Just like the shepherds – when we spend time with Jesus, we can feel His presence and His peace.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your child if they are facing tough situations in their lives. Pray they will be reminded that Jesus is always with them. Lead them in a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice to come to Earth and pay the price for our sins.

Eternal Messiah

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Jesus may have been born in a stable 2,000 years ago, but our Savior is eternal – He has no beginning and no end. He’s the Everlasting Father.

1. Read

John 1:1 [NLT] “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
An Eternal Messiah means that Jesus wasn’t a course-correction. He wasn’t “plan B.” Jesus was with God the Father in the beginning of time. He knew the fall of humanity was coming, and He knew he would be the sacrifice for us. Q . If you knew ahead of time that the human race you helped create would betray you, and you’d have to die to fix their mess, would you go through with it? Q . The Messiah came to save you, even knowing you’d mess some things up after accepting Him. How does that affect the way you feel about His love for you? How does that affect the way you feel about the way you should live your life now?

2. Challenge

Matthew 10:29-31 [VOICE] “Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.”
Just as the Messiah was Eternal before you, He’s in eternity ahead of you. Whatever lies ahead of you on the road, He’s already there, and He cares about you deeply. Q . What are things ahead of you in life that cause anxiety when you think about them? What are a few things that might happen which make you nervous? Q . God doesn’t just see the future – He’s already in the future. How does that change how you feel about what might happen to you?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family – thank Jesus for creating humanity, even knowing He’d have to suffer to save us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live up to the sacrifice paid to save you.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Jesus Is…Prince of Peace

1. Power Verse

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
What’s Up: “When Life Gives Me Trouble, Jesus Gives Me Peace!” This week, we continue our series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned another word that Isaiah used to describe Jesus when prophesying about His birth. We learned that Jesus is…Prince of Peace. What would you do if you were a prince or princess? (have your children draw a picture of what their crown would look like.)

2. Read

Luke 2:4-20 “While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were taking care of their sheep.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news. It will bring great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said, “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child.”

3. Discussion

Q. Who did the angels appear to in this story? Q.  Where did the shepherds go?  Q. Who did they go to see? When the shepherds went to see Jesus, they worshiped Him. They were able to receive peace in His presence. Life is full of trouble and difficult things. This world is filled with scary situations – divorce, death, war, tragedy, etc. It can cause us to fear or worry. When we face trouble in this world, Jesus can bring peace to our lives. Just like the shepherds – when we spend time with Jesus, we can feel His presence and His peace.

4. Prayer Focus

Spend some time in worship with your family. Pray your kids will receive the peace that only Jesus can bring to our lives.

Mighty God

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Isaiah’s prophecy tells us that this promised Messiah – Jesus – was more than a prophet or teacher. His name was to be called “Mighty God.”

1. Read

John 14:8-9 [NLT] “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!’”

Jesus wasn’t a reflection of God, or a teacher about God. He was God. He is God. Christmas reminds us that Jesus is the most unique individual to ever live. Q . When you read about His life, which is harder to remember: that Jesus was fully God, or that he was fully human? Q . If Jesus had been just a prophet – even the greatest of all prophets – how would that have changed the impact of the crucifixion?

2. Challenge

Philippians 2:5-7 [NLT] “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”

Christmas reminds us that God isn’t just standing in the perfection of heaven passing judgment on helplessly-corrupted humanity. He stepped down into our mess to lead us back to Him. Q . Which of Jesus’ divine privileges do you think it was hardest to do without? Do you think it ever frustrated Him to be so limited? Q . We often speak of God “sending” Jesus to earth, but since Jesus is God, we can also think of it as God Himself coming to save us. Which way of looking at it are you more familiar with? What does each say about God’s character and how He feels about you?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family – thank God for loving you enough to come Himself to save you. Take a minute to worship Jesus for who He is – the Mighty God.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Jesus Is…Everlasting Father

1. Power Verse

John 3:1 “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”

What’s Up: My Heavenly Father Is The BEST!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned another word that Isaiah used to describe Jesus when prophesying about His birth. We learned that Jesus is… Everlasting Father.   This world is full of different types of families! A lot of families look way different than others! Q. What do some other families you know look like? (i.e. mom, two kids) Q. What does our family look like?  (Have your children draw a picture of your family, labeling each person.)

2. Read

Matthew 1:20-25 “But as Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit.  She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That’s because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to bring about what the Lord had said would happen. He had said through the prophet, “The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The name Immanuel means “God with us.” Joseph woke up. He did what the angel of the Lord commanded him to do. He took Mary home as his wife. But he did not sleep with her until she gave birth to a son. And Joseph gave him the name Jesus.”

3. Discussion

Q. Who was the young man in this story? Q. Who came to speak to him? Q. What did the angel say to Joseph? Q. How did he respond? Because of his obedience, Joseph became the earthly father of Jesus. And God is OUR Father – our Everlasting Father! Even though we have our family here on earth, we are all children of God! He is our Everlasting Father! He will always love us and never leave us!Have your children add God to their family picture, labeling Him “Everlasting Father.”

4. Prayer Focus

Pray your kids will remember that no matter what happens God, their Everlasting Father, will always be there.

Wonderful Jesus

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“Wonderful” is a word we use often. Casseroles can be “wonderful.” News about getting an extra hour off from work can be “wonderful.” “Wonderful,” is more than just a way to say “really good,” though. It means to marvel at something, to be in awe… it means something about our Savior.

1. Read

Isaiah 9:6 [ESV] “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful…”

In Hebrew culture, a name was more than just what you called someone. A person’s name encapsulated the essence of who they are – their character, their attributes. “Wonderful,” isn’t the name on the tag of the Messiah’s robe; it’s one of the cornerstones of who He is.

Q . What does your name mean? Does it describe your character, or is it way off?

Q . Do you know what the name, “Jesus” means? If not, look it up real quick!

2. Challenge

Luke 2:16-18 [ESV] “And (the Shepherds who had been visited by the angel) went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”

The birth of Jesus is a true wonder. For those of us who have heard the story many times, it’s easy to lose our sense of astonishment and awe… but we should recapture that. Wonderful is who Jesus is.

Q . Think back to when you first heard the story of Jesus’ birth. What was the most astonishing thing about it to you?

Q . What causes us, as humans, to lose our sense of wonder? What could you do to regain that sense this Christmas season?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family – thank God for the absolute miracle of Jesus’ birth. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with fresh wonder this Christmas season as you think about our Savior.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Jesus Is…Mighty God

1. Power Verse

Psalm 77:13 “O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you?”

What’s Up: “Mighty, Mighty, Jesus Is Mighty!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned another word that Isaiah used to describe Jesus when prophesying about His birth. We learned that Jesus is a Mighty God.

2. Read

Luke 1:26-37 “In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee.  He was sent to a virgin. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has blessed you in a special way. He is with you.” Mary was very upset because of his words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you.  You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. The Son of the Most High God will rule forever over his people. They are from the family line of Jacob. That kingdom will never end.”  “How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin.” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth will have a child even though she is old. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. That’s because what God says will always come true.”

3. Discussion

Q. Who was the girl in this story?

Q. Who came to speak to her?

Q. What did Gabriel say to Mary?

Q. How did she respond?

There are a lot of BIG problems in this world. Every day we face powerful situations – sickness, family problems, fear, sinful habits, and so many more – but Jesus is a MIGHTY GOD. He can help us with any situation we face. Jesus is more mighty than anything that comes our way. The power of God is greater than anything. God did the impossible by using Mary to give birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Q. What are some MIGHTY things that God can do in your life? (Have your children make a list – spend some time on this.) God can do the impossible in your life! All you have to do is call on Him and have faith in Him, and He will do the impossible! We serve a MIGHTY GOD!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children if they have an impossible need. Pray that they would always remember that God is on their side and He is MIGHTY! Pray that they would have faith in Jesus and that God would do the impossible in their lives.