How to Make Your Boss Happy

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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

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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- Blessings

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Family Devotional Adults 4-16-17

Family Devotional Kids 4-16-17


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

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

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Psalm 1:1-6 (ESV)

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

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

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

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

3. Application

 

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

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

Ephesians 2:19-20 (ESV) 

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

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

Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 

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

4. Wrap up Discussion

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

5. Prayer Focus

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


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

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

2. Bible Verse

Psalms 1:1,3 (VOICE)

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

3. Application & Talking Point

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

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

5. Prayer Focus

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

Family Devotional 4-16-17 pdf download

Cornerstone- Lifestyle

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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

Cornerstone- Money

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

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

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Don’t spend your life worrying about money.

Matthew 6:31-32 (ESV) 

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

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

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT) 

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

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

3. Application

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

Malachi 3:10 (NLT) 

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

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

 

4. Wrap up Discussion

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

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

5. Prayer Focus

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


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

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

2. Bible Verse

Matthew 6:31-32 (NLT)

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

3. Application & Talking Point

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

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

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

4. Wrap up Discussion

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

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

5. Prayer Focus

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

Family Devotional 4-2-17 pdf download

Cornerstone- Marriage & Family

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God wants to bless every part of our lives, but we can only experience that blessing when we build with Jesus as our cornerstone. Building our marriage on the Cornerstone means treating our spouse like Jesus treated us; selflessly serving.

2.Bible Verse & Talking Point

Philippians 2:3-5 (ESV)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

Q: Husbands, your wife needs to feel loved and secure. What can you do this week to serve her?

Q: Wives, your husband needs to feel respected and supported. What can you do this week to serve him?

3. Application

Romans 5:7-8 (NLT)

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Jesus loved and served first, before we loved Him. A marriage built on the Cornerstone means choosing to be loving to a wife, even when she’s disrespectful, and choosing to be respectful to a husband, even when he’s unloving.

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q: When we meet our spouse’s deepest needs, will they be more likely or less likely to meet ours? 

Q:  If they don’t reciprocate right away, should we give up or keep serving?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you to serve one another by thinking of the needs of others before your own needs.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Have you ever tried to give yourself a back massage? (Ask your child to try it.) It doesn’t work so well, does it? It works a lot better when somebody else does it. (Have members of your family take turns massaging each other’s backs.)

2. Bible Verse

Philippians 2:3-5 (NLT)

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

3. Application & Talking Point

If we want our family to be built on Jesus as the cornerstone, we have to love our family like Jesus loves. That means we should put the needs of others ahead of our own needs.

Q. What’s something you could do to serve a family member?  (A. Say kind things, help with chores, etc.)

Q. When someone else massaged your back, did that make you want to hurt them or help them?  (A. Help them.)

4. Wrap up Discussion

When we do things to serve and love our family members, we motivate them (define: “motivate” if necessary) to serve and love us.

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you to serve one another by thinking of the needs of others before your own needs.

 

Family Devotional 3-26-17 pdf download

Cornerstone- Beliefs

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Family Devotional 3-19-17 pdf download


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Point

The way we see the world is largely based on how our parents and other influential adults in our lives saw things. In the same way, what we believe, teach, and model will have a compounding effect on every generation to come after us. All the more reason to choose a cornerstone that’s perfectly straight.

2. Application & Talking Point

Psalm 78:5-7 (ESV)

“He (God) established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments…”

Q: Which commands or beliefs are the hardest for you to communicate? 

Q: Which are the hardest to model?

3. Bible Verse

Worldview drift always starts with something small…

Romans 1:21 (ESV) “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

…but eventually takes people way off course.

Romans 1:29-30 (ESV) “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q: Where do you feel the most drift between the beliefs of your generation and those of the younger ones? 

Q: Where might that slippery slope lead to in the future? 

Q: How can you do something about it today?

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you teach and model Christ as the Cornerstone to the next generation.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Primary Point

Babies aren’t born reading and writing – they don’t even know how to talk! They have to learn. It’s a kid’s job to learn, and it’s a parent’s job to teach, and those jobs are given by God.

2. Bible Verse

Psalm 78:5-7 (The Message)

“…(God) set his Word firmly in Israel, 

Then commanded our parents to teach it to their children, 

So the next generation would know, and all  the generations to come—

Know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God, 

Never forget the works of God but keep his commands to the letter.”

3. Application & Talking Point

(Blindfold your child. Ask them to walk around the room while you speak directions to them [“move to your left, turn right,” etc]. 

Let each child take a turn.) 

Q. Did it sound like your parent was bossing you around? 

Q. Were they trying to hurt you, or help you?

Q. Could they see things you couldn’t see?

Sometimes we want to do things our own way & we don’t want parents to tell us what to do. 

Remember, though, God said it’s a parent’s job to teach kids the right way to live. Parents teach, correct, and even punish because they love you, and want to help you live a life that makes God happy. 

4. Wrap up Discussion

Q. What is a parent’s job? (to teach!)

Q. What is a kid’s job? (to learn!)

5. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and ask God to help you work together as a family to teach and learn God’s way of living.