Hearing God’s Voice

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Family Devotional Adult 9-3-17Family Devotional Kids 9-3-17

 

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Before Jesus came, God only spoke to a few select people, and only in special ways and on special occasions. Many Christians live like God still operates this way, but Jesus promised that when He sent the Holy Spirit, we would be able to hear from God anytime, anywhere.

2. Bible Verse

Elijah only heard from God in certain instances.

1 Kings 18:1 [ESV] “After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah…”

1 Kings 19:9 [ESV] “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” 

1 Kings 21:28 [ESV]  “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah…”

 

God spoke to others in that era – people like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even John the Baptist. They were known as “prophets” – people who spoke on God’s behalf.

3. Discussion

Jesus told us His Word would not only be available to us – it would live in us.

John 15:7 [ESV]  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” 

John 14:16–17 [ESV] “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Q: If you can hear directly from God, does that make it less or more important to know what He said in the Bible? Why?

Q: In what ways has the Holy Spirit spoken into your life? Do you think He wants to say more?

Q: If the Holy Spirit is speaking all the time, should we expect the gifts of the Spirit to operate only on special occasions, or more day-to-day?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for speaking to you through the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to work in your life to impact others as He reaches out to them through you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Romans 8:31  …If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

“If I Take A Risk, God Will Bring The Victory!”

This week we continued our series, “Never Too Young.”  In this week’s lesson, the children learned about the importance of “Taking A Risk” in their lives.  It is important that our kids know that they can tackle any “giant” that may stand before them with God’s help!

2. Discussion

Q. What giant did you learn about this week?  (Goliath)

Q. Who defeated the giant?  (David)

Q. How did David defeat the giant?  Do you think David was scared or worried when he stood before the giant?

It’s natural to be scared when we stand before a “giant” in our own lives.  David may have been scared too!  But, David didn’t worry because he knew God was with Him and God would help him defeat the giant.

Q. What “giant” can you think of that you are facing now in your own life?  (Help your child identify problems that seem bigger than they are.)

Q. What are some things you can do to help defeat your giant?

Q. What would God want to tell you about your giant?

3. Activity 

God wants us to know that with His help we can defeat our giants and do great things for Him!  We have been talking the last few weeks about how you are “Never Too Young” to do things for God.  With God’s help, you can do anything!  

Be willing to take a risk for God!

Read This Scripture:

Romans 8:31 “…If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  

Spend some time helping your child memorize this scripture for the next time they face a giant in their lives.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your child will be strong and with God’s help can stand up against their giant!  Pray that they will be willing to take a risk in order to do BIG things for God!

Faith-Filled Life

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Family Devotional 8-27-17 AdultsFamily Devotional 8-27-17 Kids

 

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

As Christians we believe very strongly in God: His goodness, His power, His offer of salvation to the world – but our belief doesn’t become faith until we act on it. If you want to live a faith-filled life, you’ve got to allow what you believe to shape how you behave.

2. Bible Verse

Hebrews 11:17-30 (ESV) “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him… It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff… It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born… It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger… It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.”

 

3. Discussion

God uses 2 main ways to instruct us on what sorts of actions we should take – the Bible, and the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives. By spending time getting to know God through His Word and developing a sensitivity to His personal direction in our lives, we can put our faith in Him into practice and continually experience what a God-changed life looks and feels like.

Q: Take a look at the passage in Hebrews again. Circle or highlight the verbs describing how people acted out their faith.

Q: Of the actions you circled, which ones probably seemed logical at the time? Which ones seemed crazy at the time? Does the same faith in God  that drives the big things drive the little things? What does that mean for the “little” things in your life?

Q: What are some modern-day examples of actions that a belief in God should produce in someone’s life? Of your own list, which things are you doing the best? Which could you stand to change or improve?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for speaking to you through the Bible and directly through the work of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to show you any areas in your life where your beliefs and actions don’t match up so you can keep growing in faith.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Deuteronomy 16:17  “All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God. “ 

“If I Give God A Little, He Will Make It Much!”

This week, we continued our series “Never Too Young.”  The children are learning that they are “Never Too Young” to do amazing things for God.

2. Discussion

Read Aloud:  John 6:1-22

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone.

Q. Do you think it was hard for that little boy to give up his lunch?

Q. Do you think he thought Jesus was going to perform such a miracle with just 5 loaves and 2 fish?

Q. What do you think would have happened if he hadn’t shared his lunch with Jesus?

The amazing thing about the story is that God didn’t need a lot, he just needed a little.  God can take a little bit and turn it into something big and great! 

Q. Have you ever given something- money, toys, etc. to someone who needed them?  Or have you ever given money to a missionary and maybe it didn’t seem like much?

Q. Do you think God was able to use that?  How?

Q. Have you ever felt like God was asking you to give something and you chose not to?  How did that make you feel?

Parents: share a time with your kids when you or your family gave something that was able to help someone else.  (It may be in a missions offering, clothes, your tithe, etc.)

3. Activity 

As a family, discuss some ideas to help others or something God may be asking you to sacrifice to give to missions, etc.  Write them down and share them with each other, or let your small children draw a picture to illustrate what they could do.  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God will help you to sacrifice and “Give What you Have” to help others!

God’s Miracles

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 8-20-17 AdultsFamily Devotional 8-20-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Miracles aren’t just for “Bible stories.” They’re not just for Bible times, either. God is still an all-powerful, miracle-working God – but we don’t always see that played out in our lives. If we want to see the miraculous power of God in our lives, we need to put ourselves in the position to be used.

2. Bible Verse

Galatians 3:2–5 (ESV) “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law (deeds, or what you can do) or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith…”

 

3. Discussion

It takes faith to live a miraculous life – that faith is revealed in…

An understanding of who God is:

Q: How much time have you spent with God on your own this week? Do you think He’s pleased with that, or do you think He wants more?

A submission to Christ’s lordship:

Q: Take an inventory of your lifestyle – what area is the hardest to submit to Christ’s lordship? How does that area look to others?

A willingness to be gracefully bold:

Q: Have you experienced pentecostal services or people who came across as “weird?” Are you ever reluctant to step out in faith because you’re concerned about what you’ll look like to others?

An expectation of God’s deliverance:

Q: Have you ever prayed about something fully expecting the answer to be “no?” What effect do you think that has on God’s response to your request?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the miraculous way He answers prayers. Ask Him to help you grow in faith so you can be ready to bring that power into your life and the lives of those around you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Ephesians 4:15  …speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…”

“I Will Speak Up And Say What Is Right!”

This week, we continued our series “Never Too Young.”  The children are learning that they are “Never Too Young” to do amazing things for God.

2. Discussion

In this week’s story a guy named Naaman had a servant girl who helped him.  

We are going to reread it now.  

Read: 2 Kings 5

Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lordhad given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels[c] of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.

22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent[d] of silver and two sets of clothing.’”

23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.

25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.

26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves?27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.

Q. What did the little girl do for Naaman?

Q. Why was this so important?

Q. Would you have been able to do what she did?

It’s easy to think you are too young to speak up for someone or to tell other’s about Jesus, but the world needs to hear what you have to say!

Q. Have you ever gotten a really cool gift for Christmas or your Birthday?  Did you want to keep it to yourself or show it off to others?  

Q. Why do we want to share our special gifts with others?

Q. As Christians, what is something we should want to share with others?  (the story of Jesus)

That’s right, as Christians, it’s our jobs to “Speak Up” and tell other’s about Jesus.  It isn’t always easy, but God wants us to tell others about Him.  We need to share the love of Jesus with those around us!

3. Activity 

As a family, make a chart, list, or poster to write down the names of people, friends, or family members that you can share Jesus with.  Let everyone participate and share during this time.  

4. Prayer Focus

When you are finished, pray for the people on your list and ask God to give each of you courage to tell them about Christ!

Where are the Prophets?

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 8-13-17 AdultsFamily Devotional 8-13-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

It’s easy to be wowed by stories of God’s power at work in the Bible, or in different places in our modern world, and think – “it must take someone amazing to do that!” The truth is, God doesn’t just work through a small group of people anymore. His plan is for all believers to live in His anointing and have an impact on the world.

2. Bible Verse

1 Kings 19:19 [NRSV] “So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing… Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him.”

The “mantle,” or cloak, that Elijah put on Elisha’s back represented God’s anointing and power. With this action, he was telling Elisha, “God has called you and will empower you like He has called and empowered me.”

Q. Who is someone you consider to have a strong anointing or to be greatly used by God? 

Q. Imagine if that person came to your house and recruited you to be his/her protégé or apprentice. How would you feel?

3. Discussion

2 Kings 2:14 [ESV]  “Then he (Elisha) took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.”

The plan was always for Elisha to take up the role of the prophet after Elijah was gone, but he had to accept it and take action. The parting of the river was a sign that God’s anointing and power was with Elisha just like it had been with his mentor.

Q. Elisha didn’t just believe that God’s anointing was for him- he took action. What would you do differently if you really believed God’s anointing and power was for you?

Q. What steps could you take this week to get yourself ready for God’s power to work through you?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to serve Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to work through your life as mightily as He does through the people you look up to.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Timothy 4:12  “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers…”   

“I’m Never Too Young To Change The World!”

This week we started a new series in Overflow Kids called, “Never Too Young.”

2. Discussion

Q. What are some things that you are “too young” to do?

Q. How does it make you feel when someone says you are “too young”?

Q. Do you think God says things like you are “too young” to do things for Him?

The world, video games, school, or even our friends may sometimes tell us we are too young to do things, but God never says we are “too young!” The next few weeks we are going to be talking about some things that God thinks you are “not too young” to do.  In fact, you are just the right age!  

Q. Does anyone remember who the young man was who studied under the Apostle Paul?  (Answer:  Timothy)

Q. What did we learn from Timothy that we are never too young to do?  (Be an example and change the world!)

This week, Timothy helped us learn that we can do BIG things for God.  We can change the world!  We are never too young to get involved in what God is doing!

3. Activity 

As a family (or help children individually) make a list or chart of the things they can get involved in and start doing for God.  (Some Examples: talk to their friends about Jesus, get involved in a certain ministry, raise money for missions, etc.)  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will never forget that they are “Not Too Young” to do great BIG things for God! 

Better Together

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 8-6-17 AdultsFamily Devotional 8-6-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Bible Verse

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT) 

2. Application

We are better together!

The scriptures teach that we are not intended to go through life by ourselves, but rather God intends that we would be a part of a community of faith.

One of the primary purposes of this community of faith is DISCIPLESHIP!

Discipleship is the passing on of biblical truths from one generation of believers to another.

 

3. Discussion

How is discipleship accomplished?

“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.” (2 Timothy 2:2, NLT) 

Discuss with your family or friends how important friendship based 

relationships are to the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Q. How strategic are you about using your relationships for encouraging others in the things of the Lord?

4. Prayer Focus

Lord, reveal to me how I can be a part of friendship/interest based groups and through the relationships built, move people closer to you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“Forgiving Others”

Matthew 6:14  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” 

Forgiving someone for stepping on your toe may be easy, but what about someone who really hurts your feelings?  Jesus taught us that we must forgive EVERYONE in order to be forgiven.  This is an important lesson for our children to learn as they begin to face people who may be difficult to forgive.

2. The Word

 

Read:  Matthew 18:21-35

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

3. Discussion 

Q. How many times did Jesus say we should forgive someone?  What lesson do we learn from the servant in this story Jesus told? 

Q. What was Jesus’ final statement in verse 35?

Q. Do you think it is fair that you should have to forgive people who have hurt you?

Jesus was teaching his disciples and others that we must forgive others, not once but over and over again.  Forgiveness is not an option.  If we want Jesus to forgive us, we have to forgive others who have hurt us. 

4. Prayer Focus

Sometimes, forgiving people who have hurt us isn’t easy.  Jesus isn’t saying forget what they have done to you, but He is saying forgive them.  Forgiveness is possible because Jesus has forgiveness us.  He can help us to forgive others who have hurt us.  Ask if anyone in your family has someone they need to forgive.   Pray together that God will help you forgive others.

God’s Greatest Commandments

Posted on

Family Devotional Adults 7-30-17Family Devotional Kids 7-30-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God addresses a lot of things directly in the Bible- don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t take advantage of the poor, etc. What about modern issues, like abortion, medical marijuana and birth control?  If the Bible is our guide, then what do we do when there’s no direct answer?

2. Bible Verse

Start with loving and serving.

Matthew 22:36-40 [NLT] “‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’  Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Learn the overarching values presented in scripture.

Matthew 7:12 [NLT] 12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

Jesus was not about adding regulations,  He was about heart & motive. If you have love in your heart and are living to serve others, you’ll find yourself on the right side of uncertain issues more often than not.

3. Application

Decide based on what you know of God’s character. 

John 10:27 [NLT] “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

The more we get to know God’s character, the more our thoughts will align with His. As we take on His world view, we’ll naturally do things He wants and avoid things He dislikes.

Q. Name one or two issues that are debated in church circles today. Does the Bible directly address these?

Q. How do you think loving and serving others would affect these issues?

Q. How do you think the overall values taught in the Bible affect these issues?

Q. Based on what you know of God’s character, what do you think His opinion on the subject is?

 

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for giving you the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to make the right decisions when you’re uncertain about an issue.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“Who is the Holy Spirit?”

John 14:26 “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

God is like no one else. He has unique traits that are His and His alone. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit share those unique traits. Why? Because they are One God, even though they are three Persons.

2. Discussion

The Holy Spirit does many things for us. Here are two:

1. The Holy Spirit will Teach God’s Truth

2. The Holy Spirit helps us Remember God’s Truth

Since the Holy Spirit is eternal, He was around before the very beginning, before creation. But in the Book of Genesis, we can read about how God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created all our universe.

Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

It says that the earth was empty and had no form. But God’s Spirit was there, ready for creation to begin. 

Remember, the Holy Spirit is God so He was everywhere, helping with the creation of our world.

The Bible has another great story that tells us that the Holy Spirit is God, one Person of the Trinity.  Read the story of Jesus’ baptism in water from Matthew 3:13-17.

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

 

3. Application 

Q. How many Persons are in the Trinity? 

Q. Who hovered over creation? 

Q. Which Person of the Trinity showed up as a dove? God the Son, (Jesus,) or God the Holy Spirit?

Q, Which Person of the Trinity said, “This is my Son”? God the Father or God the Holy Spirit? 

Q. How does the Holy Spirit help us?

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time praying together as a family.  Take turns praying for each other, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you about God’s truth.

Facing Hardships

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Family Devotional Adults 7-23-17Family Devotional Kids 7-23-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When grief, poverty, stress, or other hardships press down on us, the pain can overshadow our identity. The truth is, God has created each of us with a unique identity and purpose; something no season of hardship can delete.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 17:1-5 [GNT]  “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right.  I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.’  Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said, ‘I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations.  Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham (which means, ‘father of many nations’), because I am making you the ancestor of many nations.’”

 

God spoke over Abram’s life and identity before his situation changed. He had a purpose for Abram’s life that infertility couldn’t overcome. It was a hardship, but it wasn’t his identity.

3. Application

Matthew 16:17-18 [ESV] 

“Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you… Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.’”

Jesus spoke over Peter’s life and affirmed his purpose, even knowing Peter would deny him 3 times. Even a hardship of Peter’s own actions couldn’t change God’s purpose and plan.

Q. Have you ever experienced a hardship that redefined your life? Do you think that situation shipwrecked God’s purpose for your life?

Q. God saw leadership in Peter, even knowing he would falter. When you miss the mark, does it change your identity in Christ? Does it change God’s purpose for you? 

Q. Think of someone in your life who has been redefined by hardship. What would you say to them about their identity and purpose? Do you think God feels the same way about you?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for giving you an identity and purpose. Ask Him to strengthen that sense of identity through seasons of hardship and to be a help to others walking through difficult seasons.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“I Will Love And Pray For My Enemies!”

Luke 6:27  “…love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”  

This week we continue our series “Say What?” by talking about something very important, love.   Love is easy when it comes to people we like; our friends, our family, BUT it can be quite difficult when it comes to our enemies.  Jesus commanded us to love the people who hurt us.  We need to pray for them, even when it isn’t easy!  We must learn to love our enemies!

2. Discussion

Read:  Acts 9:1-20

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Q. Who was the man Jesus sent to Saul to lay hands on him?  Do you think he was scared?

Q. What if he hadn’t obeyed God and gone because he saw Saul as his “enemy”?

Q. Do you believe God changed Saul’s heart?  How does that change who he was and how other’s should see him?

God changed Saul.  He went from being an enemy to being a follower of Jesus!  Paul was no longer anyone’s enemy because Jesus had changed him and his heart.  Jesus changed us, He changed Paul, and God can change others too!

3. Application 

Identifying Our Enemies:

Q. Do you feel like you have any enemies in your life?

Q. Who are they?  (It’s okay, have courage to name the people that you struggle with. There may be people who pick on you or who hurt your feelings.)

Q. How can we love our enemies and follow God’s plan for our lives like Ananias did?  (We can pray for them, show kindness, etc.)

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time praying together as a family for the people in your lives who may be enemies.  Pray God will help you love them with Christ’s love and show compassion to them!