Walk the Talk

Love Your Neighbor

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-28-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-28-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Loving people who love us is easy. Loving those who are different, who dislike us, or who intentionally hurt us, that’s a different story. To love these, though, is to prove that God’s love and grace are at work inside of us.

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 5:43-45a [NLT] “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”

Q. Looking back over your life, who would be some “enemies” on a personal level? Without God’s help, how difficult would it be to love them?

Q. What are a few groups, nationalities, or cultures which seem like enemies to you? (i.e. urban gangs, terrorist organizations, foreign dictators)

Q. What pressures are there from your own group, nationality, and culture to treat these people with hostility?

3. Application

Matthew 5:45b-48 [NLT] “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Jesus called us to share the good news with everyone, even our enemies. When we remember our own need for God’s grace and forgiveness (things we don’t deserve), we can more easily extend grace and forgiveness to those who are hard to love.

Q. Who is more loved by God: you or the people from the list you made earlier? Who is more in need of God’s grace? Who is more deserving of it?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for extending grace to you. Ask Him to help you love those like the people on your list, and to share the good news with them.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

For this devotion, you will need a flashlight or lamp, and a TV or radio. Have your entire family go into the darkest room of your house and then ask them what they see.  Depending on how dark it is, they may or may not be able to see anything.  Hand the flashlight to one of your children (or have someone turn on a lamp or overhead light) and ask them again what they can see.

2. Bible Verse

“The Holy Spirit Will Give Me Power!”

Acts 1:8 “And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. Why couldn’t we see much at first?

Q. Why did turning on the flashlight or lamp help us see better?

Q. What caused the flashlight or lamp to be able to light up? (electricity)

Q. Could you see the electricity? (No, but you could see what the electricity did.)

3. Application & Talking Point

Have your family move into the room where the TV or radio is.  Tell one of your children to turn on the TV or radio.  Listen for a few moments, and then have someone turn it off.

Ask the following questions:

Q. How does the TV or radio work? (Most children and adults won’t be able to answer this question very well, and that’s the point: we don’t really know how they work, we just know that they do.)

Q. What does the TV or radio need in order to work? (electricity)

Explain to your children that the Holy Spirit is kind of like electricity. When we become Christians, it’s like having a power plant in our hearts!  Although we may not fully understand how He does it, the Holy Spirit guides, convicts, comforts, and teaches us.  He also gives us the power we need to do what God asks us to.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together, thanking God for giving each member of your family the Holy Spirit as a power source in your lives.

How to Keep Work from Sucking the Life Out of You

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-21-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-21-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Work is a blessing from God that can become a boat anchor around your neck if it grows out of balance. Your body and mind were designed for regular intervals of rest – without that, work can suck the life out of you and steal your joy.

2. Bible Verse 

Exodus 20:9-10 [NLT] “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work.”

Q. When you have a “day off,” how much rest do you actually get?

Q. Running your life without rest isn’t just stupid – it’s a sin. Do you agree or disagree?

Q. Do you think God is pleased with the way you observe His command to take a break? If not, how can you change your routine?

Ecclesiastes 4:6 [NLT] “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

3. Application

Luke 12:15 [ESV] “And he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’”

Q. God warns us to fight against the pursuit of “more.” In which area is “more” most tempting for you? (work, money, success, hobbies, etc.)

Q. What is the thing/activity in your life that is most out-of-balance? What would happen if you did it less or took more frequent breaks from it?

Q. Sometimes we feel like we can’t take a break, because we’re on our own and things depend on us. Who could you call that would be willing to help you from time to time so you could get some rest?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the good things He’s put in your life. Ask Him to help you keep things in balance and make time to rest.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Prep: Gather some small candies / cereal pieces / marbles / etc. and put them in a bowl. Also get a coloring book and crayons (or notepad and pencil). 

Instructions: Ask your child to grab a handful of items from the bowl and hold them in one hand while coloring/sketching something simple with the other. Then, have them repeat the process, only with two handfuls of items. When they’re finished, compare the quality of the 2 colorings / sketches.

2. Bible Verse

Ecclesiastes 4:6 [NLT] “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

God warns us in the Bible about having too much of anything – even something good. Just like it’s hard to color when both of your hands are full, it’s hard to live a healthy life when you’re trying to do too much of everything. Things like schoolwork, sports, cartoons and video games are all great… but we also need to take time to rest. God told adults to take a break from work once a week, and kids need rest, too.

3. Application & Talking Point

 

Q. What’s your favorite thing to spend time doing? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Q. If you spent literally (parents, define this word if needed) all your time doing it, what would happen to you? (example: no bathroom break, no food, no sleep).

Q. Even good things can become unhealthy when we do them too much. What’s one thing you need a parent to remind you to take a break from this week?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the good things He’s put in your life. Ask Him to help you keep things in balance and make time to rest.

Mother’s Influence

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-14-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-14-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Of all the sources of God’s wisdom and guidance we have, one of the greatest is the influence of our parents. Much of your character today was shaped by the way your parents lived in front of you. How important it is then, to make sure that we’re providing a good example for the next generation.

2. Bible Verse 

Athaliah had a bad influence… which produced bad consequences.

(2 Chronicles 22:3–4, NLT) “Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother (Athaliah) encouraged him in doing wrong. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.” 

Eunice had a good influence… which produced a great legacy.

(2 Timothy 1:3–5, NLT)“Timothy, I thank God for you… I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” 

3. Application

The success Timothy had in ministry was in many ways attributable to the character his mother and grandmother built in him. Even if children don’t seem to be listening to your instruction, be sure that they are greatly influenced by your presence in their life.

Q. What influences the next generation more, what you teach, or how you live?

Q. What are some ways that you’re actively building Godly character in the next generation?

Q. What are some areas where your life choices may be sending the wrong message to someone who’s watching you? What can you do this week to change that?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for those who raised you. Then ask Him to help you live and teach in a way that builds the right kind of character for future generations.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Gather some small candies / cereal pieces / crackers and give them to your child. Take 2 pieces of paper – on one, right “school,” and on another write “mom (or dad/grandma/etc).” Ask your child the following questions, and have them answer by placing food items on either paper. At the end, see whose stack/pile is the largest.

Q: Where did you learn to count? Where did you learn how to hug? Who taught you to spell? Who taught you to share? Where did you learn about planets? Where did you learn about table manners? 

(Add your own questions, if you’d like to.)

2. Bible Verse

Luke 19:10 (ERV) “Follow my example, just as I follow the example of Christ.”

Proverbs 1:8-9 (ERV) “My son (or daughter), listen to your father when he corrects you, and don’t ignore what your mother teaches you. What you learn from your parents will bring you honor and respect, like a crown or a gold medal.”

3. Application & Talking Point

You can learn a lot of things from a lot of different places and people, but the ones who have the biggest impact on who you are as a person are your parents (or grandparents/etc, based on your situation).  God put parents in your life so that you can learn about how to treat other people, how to make wise choices, and how to make God happy with your life. Listen to your parents! Let them help you become the best “you” you can be.

Q. What are some of the people and places you learn things from?

Q. What’s the best thing your parents ever taught you?

Q. What’s something you want to teach if you have kids of your own someday?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for those who raised you. Then ask Him to help you live and teach in a way that builds the right kind of character for future generations.

Tell the Whole World

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 5-7-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-7-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

40% of the people in our world have never been reached with the gospel. Nearly 20% don’t have the access or ability to read the Bible in a language they understand. While we’re blessed with an abundance of knowledge in America, the need around the world is still great. That’s why missions giving is so important!

2. Bible Verse 

Luke 19:1–10 (ESV) “He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’”

 

3. Application

Q. Which is a more important group to reach – the lost in unreached countries, or the lost across the street? Can we do both effectively?

Q. How difficult would it be to grow in your faith if all English-translation Bibles suddenly disappeared?

Q. Is there an item, activity, or subscription in your everyday life that you could give up for a season to support missions? How much of a difference would it make in the life of someone in an unreached people group? How much of a difference would it make in you?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending someone into your lives to tell you the good news. Then ask Him to help you share that news with the lost by telling them and sending missionaries to them.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Gather 20 M&M’s, Skittle candies, or pennies. Have the kids help you separate out 8 of them (that is 40%) and set aside. Explain to your kid(s) that 40% of the world’s population has never even heard of Jesus. Take the 40% group and divide in half (to make 4 candies). 

Explain that nearly 20% of the world’s population doesn’t have the access or education to be able to read the Bible in a language they understand. 

Throw the 40% group of 8 candies/ pennies in the trash. Without the good news about Jesus, those people are lost.

2. Bible Verse

Luke 19:10 (ERV) “The Son of Man (that’s Jesus!) came to find lost people and save them.”

Romans 10:14 (ERV) “But before people can pray to the Lord for help, they must believe in him. And before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about him. And for anyone to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. How did it make you feel when we threw away the candy (or pennies)? How do you think God feels when a person He loves dies without ever hearing about Him?

Did you know that there are over 7.5 billion people in the world?

That’s enough M&M’s to fill 175 swimming pools (100 pools with pennies)! The reason adults give to missionaries and kids work so hard to raise money for BGMC is so we can help send people to tell that lost 40% that God loves them and Jesus died for their sins. Telling people the good news about God’s love was Jesus’ most important mission, and it should be our most important one, too!

Q. What’s something you can do (maybe with a parent’s help) to help raise money for BGMC (Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge) this week? 

 

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for sending someone into your lives to tell you the good news. Then ask Him to help you share that news with the lost by telling them and sending missionaries to them.

Family Devotional 5-7-17 pdf download

How to Make Your Boss Happy

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adults 4-30-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-30-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Some leaders in life are great, some are okay, and some are downright terrible. God has called you to honor and submit to all of them, and to work hard to please Him with your actions and attitude. 

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

God is your real boss.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT) “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”

Your work ethic matters to God, because ultimately, He’s your boss. Whatever you do with your time, do it well! Have a good attitude. Go above and beyond what’s required. You’re not working for a paycheck, a grade, or even the respect of others. You’re working for the Lord.

Q. If you work hard, but have a bad attitude, is God still pleased?

Q. Which area of your job is the easiest to become complacent in? Would extra effort in that area matter to your human boss/ leader? Would it matter to God?

3. Application

Honor God by honoring the human leaders in your life.

Romans 13:1-2 (NLT) “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has institutedand they will be punished.”

The human leaders in your life are an extension of God’s authority. When we respect and submit to them, we’re serving God. We don’t honor and submit because they’ve earned it, we do it because our God commands it.

Q. God said He’ll reward you for honoring authority. What are some ways He might do that?

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. Who are the leaders in your life you have the hardest time respecting?

Q. Is it possible to treat them with honor and respect while disagreeing about how they do things? Think specifically – what would that look like?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the leaders He’s put in your life. Ask God to help you to respect Him by respecting the leaders in your life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Play a few rounds of “Simon Says” with the family. Let different people take turns being “Simon.” Try suggesting a few actions that are silly or undesirable. For example: “Simon says sing your favorite song in a dinosaur voice,” or “Simon says put an ice cube in your sock.”

2. Bible Verse

Colossians 3:20 (NIV) “Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.”

Romans 13:1-2 (NLT)“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.”

3. Application & Talking Point

If you want to win “Simon Says,” you have to follow instructions, even if they seem silly or you don’t like them. 

Just like “Simon” is in charge in the game, God put parents (or guardians) in charge of kids, so they can grow up well and learn how to make good choices. When we obey our parents with a good attitude, we’re not just respecting them, we’re respecting God. That means, if we disobey or have grumpy attitudes, we’re disrespecting God 😦 Choose to make God happy today, obey your parents and treat them with respect.

Q. What’s something parents ask you to do that you don’t like to do?

Q. Does it still make God happy when we obey, but have a bad attitude? (no!)

Q. What’s something you could do today that would show your parents (and God) respect?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the leaders He’s put in your life. Ask God to help you to respect Him by respecting the leaders in your life.

Family Devotional 4-30-17 pdf download

Stop Hating Your Job

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adults 4-23-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-23-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Half of all Americans dislike their job. Many stay-at-home parents and retirees feel depressed and unfulfilled. Why? Because we’ve forgotten that work is a blessing from God. 

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Colossians 3:23 (NIV) “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for  human masters.”

Whatever you do…

God designed us for meaningful work, whether that takes the form of an employee, a homemaker, a retiree… even those who are physically disabled or homebound. Whatever season of life you’re in, God has designed and called you to be active and accomplish things, from earning a paycheck, to raising children, to sharing the wisdom you’ve gained.

Genesis 2:15 (NLT) “The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”

Q. What sort of work do you think it was tending to the Garden?

Q. Was God’s purpose to improve Adam’s quality of life, or to make it more challenging?

Q. Does meaningful work still have a quality of life benefit to humans, or has modern technology and society made it irrelevant?

3. Application

 

Work at it with all your heart…

Work is a blessing from God! Yes, it’s hard (because of sin), but we don’t do it just for benefits or obligations in this world. When we apply ourselves and work hard at the task God has given us, we honor Him, our True Boss. On the flip-side, laziness and half-effort in work is disrespectful to the God who called us and blessed us with a job to do.

Romans 12:11 (NLT) “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”

Q. What are the blessings you feel in the job / activity God’s given you in this season of your life?

Q. What are the challenges that make it hard work?

4. Wrap up Discussion

What could you change this week about your effort or attitude that would honor God?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you be thankful for your job and honor Him by working hard.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Ask your child to imagine what his/her dream job would be. What would a work day be like? What would they wear to work? What kind of location would they work in? Get their imagination working- the more vivid the imagery, the better. Depending on your child’s age, try asking them to draw a picture of them at their dream job or to role play as their future employed self.

2. Bible Verse

Colossians 3:23 (NIV) “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. Is this week’s Bible verse just for adults who work jobs? (no!)

God wants everyone to give their very best and work hard at whatever they do. For adults, that’s working a job, taking care of the house, volunteering, sharing wisdom, and things like that. You have a job, too – right now! (Ask your child to guess what it is.)

Your job is to learn!

Learn in school, learn at church, learn right now. It’s important to God that you try your best to learn. Pay attention in school, memorize Bible verses, learn how to load the dishwasher or sweep the floor. When we try hard at our job, it honors (define this word) God. It’s a way for us to say “thanks” to Him for blessing us.

Q. What does it look like when kids don’t try hard at school? 

Q. What does it look like when they do?

Q. If you build good work habits now, will it help you do better when you grow up and have an adult job?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you be thankful for your job, and honor Him by working hard.

Family Devotional 4-23-17 pdf download

Cornerstone- Lifestyle

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adults 4-9-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-9-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

A life built on the Cornerstone of Christ looks different than those built on the world’s standards. Every one of us has a responsibility to live a visibly-changed life, and the empowerment of God to accomplish it.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

You have a responsibility to live differently.

Matthew 5:16 (ESV) 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (ESV)

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Q. In which area in life is it the hardest to live differently than the world? 

 Q. What happens to our message when we preach one thing, but live another?

3. Application

The Holy Spirit gives you the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to right-living.

Romans 8:11-13 (NLT) 

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.”

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. What’s something you know you should do that seems impossible?

On your own, it’s impossible to choose a God-honoring life, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, you have more than enough strength to reject sin and practice what you preach.

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you choose the right things through His power in you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Find something around the house that is too heavy for your child to lift on their own, but not too heavy for you. Ask them to try lifting it. After establishing that it’s impossible (or really difficult, if you underestimated their strength), ask them to lift it again, but this time, help them do it.

2. Bible Verse

Romans 8:11-12 (NLT)

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation (parents, define “obligation”) to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.”

3. Application & Talking Point

Q. Do you ever find yourself in a spot where you know the right thing to do, but you feel like you just can’t? (parents, you may need to suggest a few examples)

Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to make the right choice – and by yourself, it is; just like picking up something really heavy. But when God lives inside of you, He helps you. No matter what the situation is, you can do the right thing with God’s help!

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. What’s something that you know you should do, but it seems too hard? You can do it with God’s help!

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you choose the right things through His power in you.

Family Devotional 4-9-17 pdf download