Worship

Spiritual Leadership

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

The God-life is a journey, and we’re all traveling it together. Everyone needs spiritual leadership along the way. Are you seasoned in your relationship with God? Be a spiritual father for those following behind you.

1. Discussion 

1 John 3:1 [NIV] “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

It’s God’s love as a Father that sets the example for us, and as the Holy Spirit changes us more and more into His image, we should live out that love as an example to those following us in this God-journey.

Q . Who in your life best exemplifies God’s love put into practice?

Q . What are some actions – visible in your life – that reflect God’s love to others? 

2. Challenge

2 Timothy 2:1-2 [NLT] “Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”

Spiritual fathers are responsible for instructing and even disciplining, those who follow them along the way. It’s not just a job for pastors, it’s a job for every believer.

Q . Have you been through the NEXT discipleship process, either as a student or a mentor? If not, why not?

Q . What would our church look like if every mature believer invested in one person to mentor spiritually? How might that change the spiritual strength of Abundant Life?  How might that impact our community?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the spiritual father(s) who helped you to the point where you are now in your relationship with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to connect you with people you can look up to, and with people who can learn from your example.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

The God-Father

1. Power Verse

Joshua 1:5 “For I will not leave you. . . I will not fail you or abandon you.”

What’s Up: “God The Father Will Never Fail!”

As a family, write down a list of things that the “perfect” father would be or do. Write everything down, even if you know that what your child suggests may not really be what a perfect father would do (for example, “A perfect father would give me everything I want”).

2. Discussion

Once the list is completed, go back through it and discuss each item. Ask your children if the item really is something a perfect father should do. Some of the things they include should definitely stay on the list, such “a perfect father will always provide for his children.” Some things, though, should be removed. 

Q. Why did you include these items?

Q. Is there such thing as a “perfect” father?

God, as our Father in Heaven, is all of the things a perfect father should be and even more. Earthly dads have limitations, but God doesn’t.

Read the following scriptures that describe some of the characteristics of our Heavenly Father.

Matthew 28:20 “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ announces the Lord. ‘I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.’”

Psalm 121:3-4 “He won’t let your foot slip. He who watches over you won’t get tired. In fact, he who watches over Israel won’t get tired or go to sleep.”

Psalm 24:1 “The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it. The world belongs to him. And so do all those who live in it.”

Job 42:2 “I know that you can do anything.  No one can keep you from doing what you plan to do.”

Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With people, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.’”

3. Challenge

Even though earthly dads aren’t perfect and may sometimes fail us, God will always do what’s best and right for us, and He will never fail us.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God will surround your family with godly people who will reflect the characteristics of our Heavenly Father to your children.

Leading in Worship

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Worship changes you. Standing in God’s presence, singing together, hearing from the Holy Spirit… it should leave a lasting impact long after it’s over. How much it changes you, though, depends on how much you engage.

1. Discussion 

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

The way you as a parent, grandparent or mentor engage in worship will help define the norms and expectations for future generations, whether you’re actively teaching it or not. Kids learn by example.

Q . What were worship services like when you were a child? How were they different from today? How were they the same?

Q . If you attended church with your parents, what do you remember about how they engaged in worship? What effect do you think their engagement had on how you experience God’s presence today?

2. Challenge

2 Corinthians 3:18  “Our faces then are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him.  This change in us brings us ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

God wants us to engage in worship with excitement and awe, soaking in every moment in His presence. When we do, it not only changes how we experience Him, but it sets an example for others to follow.

Q . How would you describe your feelings about worship at church? 

a. Can’t wait for it to start. 

b. Can’t wait for it to be over.

c. Could take it or leave it.

Q . If you worked to change your level of engagement, what effect would that have on the way you experience the Holy Spirit in church? How might it affect the people around you?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for giving you access to His presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw you into deeper levels of engagement in worship, so you and the people who follow your example can experience Him more fully.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Follow the Leader

1. Power Verse

Mark 10:43 “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”

What’s Up: “I Will Lead Others To Jesus!”

This week, we conclude our series called, “Stand Out!” As Christians, it’s important that we stand out from the world and from culture. We must be different, and one of the greatest ways we can be different and stand out is by being a leader.

2. Discussion

Read: Acts 6:1-7  

“In those days the number of believers was growing. The Greek Jews complained about the non-Greek Jews. They said that the widows of the Greek Jews were not being taken care of. They weren’t getting their fair share of food each day.  So the 12 apostles gathered all the believers together. They said, ‘It wouldn’t be right for us to give up teaching God’s word. And we’d have to stop teaching to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven of your men. They must be known as men who are wise and full of the Holy Spirit. We will turn this important work over to them. Then we can give our attention to prayer and to teaching God’s word.’ This plan pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen. He was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas were chosen too. The group also chose Nicolas from Antioch. He had accepted the Jewish faith. The group brought them to the apostles. Then the apostles prayed and placed their hands on them. So God’s word spread. The number of believers in Jerusalem grew quickly. Also, a large number of priests began to obey Jesus’ teachings.”

Q. Why did they need help?  

Q. What did they do about their need?

Q. When the new leaders came to help with the food ministry, how did it affect the church?

3. Challenge

In this world, it’s easy for kids to see adults as leaders, but not actually see themselves as leaders. But kids CAN be leaders – and more importantly, Godly leaders! God has called all of us to be leaders in this world, leading others to Jesus.

Q. What are some ways you can be a leader at home? What are some ways you can be a leader at school?

Q. How can you lead others to Jesus? Godly leaders have a good reputation, practice self-control, seek peace rather than drama, and always follow Jesus’ commands. If we do those things, we can really STAND OUT for Jesus!

4. Prayer Focus

Ask your kids if they would like to commit to becoming a Godly leader. Pray that they will have a good reputation, practice self-control, always seek peace, and follow Jesus’ commands no matter what.

Mission: Christmas, God’s Plan for Humanity

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Family Devotional Adult 12-3-17Family Devotional Kids 12-3-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people – a time to reconnect with family, a time to bond around nostalgia, a time to practice generosity – but for Christians, it’s a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. In order to fully appreciate the importance of Jesus’ arrival, we need to understand why He came, beginning with the crown jewel of God’s creation – humanity.

2. Bible Verse

Humanity was created to give praise and bring glory to God.

Everything in creation brings God glory, just like a trophy case brings glory to an athlete, or an art gallery brings glory to an artist. Humanity is different, though. We weren’t made to passively point to God – we have the capacity and design to actively praise Him.

Psalm 100:1-3 [ESV] “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

Q. What are some examples of creation bringing glory to God? 

Q. What are some ways you can actively praise God?

3. Discussion

Humanity was designed for community.

From the beginning, this worship we were designed for was intended to happen together; side by side in community, with God as the uniting principle among us.

Psalm 95:6-7 [GNT] “Come, let us bow down and worship him; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! He is our God; we are the people he cares for, the flock for which he provides.”

Psalm 133:1 [ESV] Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”

Q. Can you worship God all by yourself?

Q. When you worship God in community with others, how is it different?

Q. What are some ways you can worship God in community?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for including you as part of His amazing creation. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep your focus on bringing praise to Him with all areas of your life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Philippians 3:1 “Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy.”

Watts Up: “God Gives Joy To Every Girl And Boy!”

**PARENTS:  Sometimes joy gets buried under a pile of busyness during the Christmas season—joy seems to be inversely related to stress! This week’s devotion is to set aside some time to rediscover and experience joy as a family. You’ll need to clear everyone’s calendar for a couple of hours one night (that may mean canceling some of your own plans).

2. Activity

Think of an activity everyone in your family enjoys, and plan on spending the night doing it. Ask your teens to put away their cell phones (and put your own away) so you can enjoy just being with each other. If you can’t think of anything to do, here are some suggestions:

  • Play a favorite board or card game.
  • Gather all the pillows and blankets in your house and lay together in the floor, watching your favorite funny movie.
  • Drive around looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music.
  • Play charades.
  • Cook something together.
  • Go bowling.
  • Go to the mall and tell everyone they have $500 pretend dollars to spend.
  • Stay together and see how each person spends their money. Don’t buy anything!

3. Discussion

After you’ve finished, take some time to talk about the following questions:

Q. What are some of the best or funniest memories you have of things we’ve done in the past?

Q. Did all of these memories seem good while they were happening, or were some of them not so great at the time, but ended up being special?

Q. What are some of the things you look forward to in the future that you think will bring you joy?

Q. What are some things that keep you from experiencing joy? Where does true joy come from?

4. Prayer Focus

Finally, pray together, praising God for the joy he has brought to your family. Thank him for all of the good memories you have made over the years and for the ones that you’ll make in the future.

Waiting for God

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Family Devotional 6-11-17 Adult

Family Devotional 6-11-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Sometimes it’s hard to wait. In a culture of microwave dinners, Keurig coffee brewers, and on-demand video content, it can seem downright criminal when God doesn’t answer prayers quickly. When the answer doesn’t come in the time we expect it to, though, the problem is not God’s timing… it’s ours.

2. Bible Verse 

2 Peter 3:9 [ESV] “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God’s timing works differently than ours, with many factors we may not take into account. Remember, He’s patient, and He’s working for your good.

Q. What’s a prayer you’ve prayed that didn’t get answered as quickly as you wanted?

Q. What’s an example of a time when God was patient with you?

Q. Would you rather have God’s answers – and judgment – happen on your timetable, or on His?

3. Application

Matthew 7:11 [NLT] “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

God will give good things to you, but He’s the one who determines what is truly good. If you find yourself not getting what you want, that thing you’re asking for might not be as good for you as it seems.

Q. What’s something that humans used to think was good or healthy, which we now understand is bad or unhealthy?

Q.  Is it possible that something that seems good for you could actually be bad for others? If God loves all humanity, could His delay in answering be for the greater good?

Q. Sometimes a good thing can become bad if it comes at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. Can you think of a few examples?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for caring enough about what’s good for you to answer prayers in His timing. Ask Him to give you patience to wait for His answers and to help you trust in His character while you’re waiting.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I Will Worship God With All My Heart!”

Give everyone a pen and piece of paper and have them write down the name of their favorite celebrity—an athlete, a singer, an actor, a public figure, or whomever.   Once everyone is finished, tell them to imagine that they’ve been invited to spend an hour alone with this person.

2. Bible Verse

Psalm 100:2 “Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”   

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. What is the first thing you would do when you saw this famous person?

Q. How would you feel while you were in this person’s presence?

Q. How do you think you would feel once you left this person’s presence?

Q. What are some of the things you might say to that person?

When you’re discussing some of the things you might say, suggest to your children that they may say something like:

“You’re the best quarterback ever.  The way you run the ball is awesome.”

“You’re so funny in all of your movies.  I love the way you can make me laugh.”

“The way you dress is so cool, I would love to look just like you.”

3. Application 

Tell your children that while they may never get the chance to be in the presence of their favorite celebrity, they always have the opportunity to be in the presence of God. 

Sometimes our biggest problem in worship is we can’t really think of anything to say other than, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over.  Maybe it’s because we aren’t paying enough attention to what God is doing in our lives every day.  As a family, make a commitment to praising God every day over the next week for something He’s done in your life that day.  It may be something simple like giving you the strength to resist temptation or giving you a sense of peace during a stressful situation. Whatever it is, make sure you spend some time praising God for it.

4. Prayer Focus

To end your devotion, have each person name one thing that God has done for them recently.  Then worship God together as a family, either silently or out loud, praising Him for all of the good things He does.