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It Costs Too Much

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Family Devotional Adult 11-12-17Family Devotional Kid 11-12-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Have you ever felt the need to do something, but didn’t follow through because the cost was too high? Everything has a cost – whether money, time or energy – and whether something “costs a lot,” or “costs too much” often depends on who’s asking.

2. Bible Verse

Matthew 10:8 [NKJV] “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Matthew 16:24 [ESV] “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”

When God asks something of us, it often comes at a high cost. We have to remember who’s asking, though – not only is He God the Creator, but He’s the Savior, who has given us so much. 

Q. What’s something God has asked of you that cost a lot? 

Q. When you consider what God has freely given you, does that cost seem greater or smaller?

3. Discussion

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 [ESV] “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Who’s asking doesn’t just determine what we’re willing to give, it determines how we feel about giving it. God isn’t after reluctant givers, obedient givers, or even willing givers. He wants our partnership with Him to be something we celebrate – to give because we love Him.

Q. Have you ever said “yes” to God’s commands because you felt obligated to? In that moment, did you think of Him more as “God the Creator” or “God the Savior?”

Q. What steps could you take this week to redirect your heart to serve God more joyfully?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for blessing you in so many generous ways. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop inside of you the willingness and joy to say “yes” to whatever He commands.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…”

Watts Up:  “The Devil Is A Liar, And He’s UNDER MY FEET!”

In our series, “Soul Food”, we learn that swagger is one of the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  Swagger is how someone looks, feels, and acts when they know they are going to win.  It’s the way they carry themselves, the way they react to difficulties, the way they handle it when their enemy comes against them.  In the Bible Story, you will see a man who has been attacked by the enemy (the devil), but when Jesus sets him free, he develops some swagger by knowing that Jesus has and will take care of him when he faces difficulty.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Luke 8:26-39

26 Jesus and his disciples sailed to the area of the Gerasenes across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped on shore, he was met by a man from the town. The man was controlled by demons. For a long time he had not worn clothes or lived in a house. He lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet. He shouted at the top of his voice, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what do you want with me? I beg you, don’t hurt me!” 29 This was because Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times the spirit had taken hold of him. The man’s hands and feet were chained, and he was kept under guard. But he had broken his chains. And then the demon had forced him to go out into lonely places in the countryside.

30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus again and again not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. And he allowed it. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep bank. They ran into the lake and drowned.

34 Those who were tending the pigs saw what had happened. They ran off and reported it in the town and countryside. 35 The people went out to see what had happened. Then they came to Jesus. They found the man who was now free of the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet. He was dressed and thinking clearly. All this made the people afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the others how the man who had been controlled by demons was now healed. 37 Then all the people who lived in the area of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them. They were filled with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

38 The man who was now free of the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him away. He said to him, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away. He told people all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Q. Who ran up to Jesus as he got off the boat?  

Q. Where had he been living?

Q. What did the demon-possessed man say to Jesus?

Q. What did Jesus do to help the demon- possessed man?  Where did the demons go?

Q. What was the man doing when the people from the town came to see?

3. Discussion

Someone with “swagger” knows they are on the winning side. They look past things that stop others because they already know they are going to win.  You can have “swagger” because Jesus has already defeated the devil.  In fact, if you look in the back of the book (the Bible), WE WIN!  Jesus defeated the enemy, and we share in that victory as followers of Jesus!

Q. What are some difficult or impossible circumstances you might face?

Q. How should you respond when faced with difficult and impossible circumstances?

4. Prayer Focus

Lead the children in a prayer of celebration and thanksgiving that Jesus IS victorious and that WE WIN!

It Is Too Long

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Family Devotional Adult 11-5-17Family Devotional Kid 11-5-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

“How long is this going to take?” All of us have asked that or thought that more times than we can count. In a world governed by time and prioritized around pleasing one’s self, it’s easy to let impatience replace joy and turn us ungrateful. The only way to overcome that trap is to live full of the Holy Spirit.

2. Bible Verse

Ephesians 5:18 [GWT] “Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Believing in God isn’t enough to produce heart change and life change – you have to live full of His Spirit, His directing influence. Without the Holy Spirit, we’ll never experience patience the way we need to.

Q. The conjugation of the original language means to be “being filled” on an ongoing basis. What are some ways you can invite the Holy Spirit into your day to day life?

Q. What’s one step you can take today to allow more access to the Holy Spirit’s direction and influence?

3. Discussion

Galatians 5:22 [NLT] “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience…”

Patience is one of the things that should be evident to others when the Holy Spirit is filling your life. You don’t produce the patience – He produces it in you, which is why if you want to live with patience in your life, you have to keep Him in the driver’s seat. 

Q. Have you tried to “be patient” on your own? How well did it work?

Q. What are some ways you think the Holy Spirit might work in you to develop patience?

Q. Fruit is a visible sign that differentiates one plant from another. When people see your life, can they tell by your patience that the Holy Spirit is living in you? Have you seen that type of patience in others?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for being patient with you. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce patience in your life by giving you His perspective.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.” 

Watts Up:  “To Be A Healthy Christian, I’ll Stay Away From Sin!”

In our series, “Soul Food,” we learn that separation is one of the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  Have you ever known someone who claims to be a Christian, but acts just like the world?  They go to church, give in the offering, worship God, but then they act a totally different way when they are away from church?  In our Bible Story, we learn from the story of Ananias and Sapphira how we should NOT be hypocrites.  We learn that we must live lives that are separated unto God!

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Acts 5:1-11

Ananias and Sapphira

A man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, also sold some land. He kept part of the money for himself. Sapphira knew he had kept it. He brought the rest of it and put it down at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart? He made you lie to the Holy Spirit. You have kept some of the money you received for the land. Didn’t the land belong to you before it was sold? After it was sold, you could have used the money as you wished. What made you think of doing such a thing? You haven’t lied just to people. You’ve also lied to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. All who heard what had happened were filled with fear. Some young men came and wrapped up his body. They carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later, the wife of Ananias came in. She didn’t know what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me. Is this the price you and Ananias sold the land for?”

“Yes,” she said. “That’s the price.”

Peter asked her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! You can hear the steps of the men who buried your husband. They are at the door. They will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at Peter’s feet and died. Then the young men came in. They saw that Sapphira was dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 The whole church and all who heard about these things were filled with fear.

Q. What did they decide to do with all of the money from selling their land?

Q. What did Ananias tell the Apostle Peter?  

Q. How did Peter respond?

Q. What happened to Ananias?

Q. What happened to Sapphira?

3. Discussion

Ananias and Sapphira are great examples of hypocrites.  Today, there are lots of people that claim to be Christians, but in reality, are hypocrites.  They say they belong to Jesus, but they don’t act like it.  Their words, actions, and attitudes are no different than those who are not following Jesus.  Sadly, when lost people look at those hypocrites, they think THAT is the way all Christians act.  As a result, they want nothing to do with Jesus.  When we become followers of Jesus, we must separate ourselves from the things of this world and be and act more like Jesus every day!

Q. What are some ways you should be careful to separate yourself from the things of this world?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never become a hypocrite?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will live lives that are separated from the world and that their words and actions will set them apart from those who don’t know Jesus.

It’s Too Hard

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 10-29-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-29-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

“It’s too hard!” We’ve all uttered those words before, as we let the fear of failure keep us from trying to accomplish something. Many times, God calls us to things that are simply too hard for us… on our own. It takes faith to take on things that seem too hard, but with God’s help, we can do anything.

2. Bible Verse

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

John 15:5 [NLT] “Yes, I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

Q. Think of a time when you gave up on something – or never started – because it seemed too hard. Were you factoring in God’s help, or just your own ability?

Q. What are a few examples of things God has called you to that are too hard without His help?

3. Discussion

1 Corinthians 1:28-29 [NLT] “God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

Q. Why does God put us in situations where we can only succeed with His help?

Q. When you succeed, and it’s obviously because of God’s help, how should that affect how you see other challenges? How does that effect how others see you? How does it affect how others see God?

Q. Have you ever been frustrated with God because of a difficult situation you found yourself in? Is it possible He allowed you to be in that situation to learn to depend on His strength instead of your own?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for giving you strength to accomplish anything He asks of you. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you courage to take on challenges and keep you dependent on His strength instead of your own.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIrV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways obey him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.”

“Hold on to God when life spins out of control.”

If your family or your children are going through some hard times, take the time to talk about it this week and pray with your kids. Take the lead, showing them how to lean on God in hard times, and let God be your strength.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Genesis 41:14-27, 41-43

 

Genesis 41:14-27New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. He was quickly brought out of the prison. Joseph shaved and changed his clothes. Then he came to Pharaoh.

15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when you hear a dream you can explain it.”

16 “I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. “But God will give Pharaoh the answer he wants.”

17 Then Pharaoh told Joseph what he had dreamed. He said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 Seven cows came up out of the river. They were fat and looked healthy. They were eating the tall grass growing along the river. 19 After them, seven other cows came up. They were bony and very ugly and thin. I had never seen such ugly cows in the whole land of Egypt. 20 The thin, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But no one could tell that the thin cows had eaten the fat cows. That’s because the thin cows looked just as ugly as they had before. Then I woke up.

22 “In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain. They were full and good. They were all growing on one stem. 23 After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were weak and thin and dried up by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told my dream to the magicians. But none of them could explain it to me.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years. And the seven good heads of grain are seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin, ugly cows that came up later are seven years. So are the seven worthless heads of grain dried up by the east wind. They are seven years when there won’t be enough food.

Genesis 41:41-43New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Joseph Is Put in Charge of Egypt

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I’m putting you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took from his finger the ring he used to give his official stamp. He put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes made out of fine linen. He put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck. 43 He also had him ride in a chariot. Joseph was now next in command after Pharaoh. People went in front of Joseph and shouted, “Get down on your knees!” By doing all these things, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

Joseph thought life was out of control, but after meeting Pharaoh, he realized he was right where he was supposed to be. God gave Joseph the gift of interpretation. He was in the right place at the right time to interpret a terrible dream for Pharaoh. 

He was in the right place at the right time for God to use him.

3. Discussion

Sometimes life can feel like it’s spinning us out of control! No one had a life that spun from good to bad to worse quite like Joseph. But Joseph never lost his faith, and God blessed Joseph. 

Q. How did Joseph’s life spin out of control?

Q. How did God turn things around for Joseph?

Q. Why do we need to hold onto God when life is spinning out of control?

4. Prayer Focus

When life feels like it’s spinning out of control, pray to Jesus, and ask him to help you through it. Thank God for always being constant and in control.

The Bible

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 10-22-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-22-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

The Bible is more than just a collection of laws and moral guidelines. It’s more than a history or philosophy book – it’s the authoritative Word of God. At the same time, many passages in scripture are debated over their historical accuracy or scientific feasibility – even among religious scholars. With all that uncertainty, what should we believe? According to Jesus, every last word.

2. Discussion

Jesus affirmed the Bible by quoting and teaching from it. 

Jesus quoted the Old Testament scriptures 78 different times, referencing 27 different books. Included in these are books with debated miracles, like Genesis (creation, global flood), Exodus (Egyptian plagues, parting of the Red Sea) and Daniel (Daniel in the lion’s den, Shadrach, Meshach,  and Abednego in the furnace). If you trust Jesus’ words, you have good reason to trust the rest of the Bible.

Q. Which passages in scripture do you find the hardest to believe? 

Q. If Jesus quoted a passage or a book, would that make it easier for you to accept the rest of the book as reliable?

 

3. Bible Verse

Jesus affirmed the Bible directly.

When Jesus referred to the Old Testament writings, He used phrases to describe it such as “the Scripture,” and “the Word of God.” He also said this about the Old Testament:

Matthew 5:17-18 [NLT] “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I Tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”

Q. Which passages in scripture do you see Christians ignoring most often? 

Which passages do you tend to ignore? 

Q. Since Jesus spoke about the importance of every detail in the Old Testament scripture, is there any logical room to accept some of it as fact and other parts as fiction, legend or embellishment?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to pray together as a family. Thank God for communicating to you through the words of the Bible and ask Him to help you fully trust in it as His source of truth.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Psalm 84:2 “…With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.”

“God’s Won The Victory, It’s Time To SHOUT!” 

In our series, “Soul Food”, we learn that a shout for victory is one of the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  We are often faced with difficult and impossible circumstances.  Sometimes the enemy, Satan, tries to trick us and make us feel discouraged when we’re faced with those tough times.  When we remember that God sent His Son, Jesus, to defeat the devil and win the ultimate victory, we should SHOUT for victory!

2. Bible Reading

Read: Joshua 6

Joshua 6 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

The gates of Jericho were shut tight and guarded closely because of the Israelites. No one went out. No one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “I have handed Jericho over to you. I have also handed over to you its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all your fighting men. In fact, do it for six days. Have seven priests get trumpets made out of rams’ horns. They must carry them in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times. Tell the priests to blow the trumpets as you march. You will hear them blow a long blast on the trumpets. When you do, tell the whole army to give a loud shout. The wall of the city will fall down. Then the whole army will march up to the city. Everyone will go straight in.”

So Joshua, the son of Nun, called for the priests. He said to them, “Go and get the ark of the covenant of the Lord. I want seven of you to carry trumpets in front of it.” He gave an order to the army. He said, “Move out! March around the city. Some of the fighting men must march in front of the ark of the Lord.”

When Joshua had spoken to the men, the seven priests went forward. They were carrying the seven trumpets as they marched in front of the ark of the Lord. They were blowing the trumpets. The ark of the Lord’s covenant was carried behind the priests. Some of the fighting men marched ahead of the priests who were blowing the trumpets. The others followed behind the ark and guarded all the priests. That whole time the priests were blowing the trumpets. 10 But Joshua had given an order to the army. He had said, “Don’t give a war cry. Don’t raise your voices. Don’t say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city once. Then the army returned to camp. They spent the night there.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning. The priests went and got the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets started out. They marched in front of the ark of the Lord. They blew the trumpets. Some of the fighting men marched ahead of them. The others followed behind the ark and guarded all of them. The priests kept blowing the trumpets. 14 On the second day they marched around the city once. Then the army returned to camp. They did all those things for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at sunrise. They marched around the city, just as they had done before. But on that day they went around it seven times. 16 On the seventh time around, the priests blew a long blast on the trumpets. Then Joshua gave a command to the army. He said, “Shout! The Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it must be set apart to the Lord to be destroyed. But the prostitute Rahab and all those with her in her house must be spared. That’s because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the things that have been set apart to the Lord. If you take any of them, you will be destroyed. And you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. You will cause it to be destroyed. 19 All the silver and gold is holy. It is set apart to the Lord. So are all the things made out of bronze and iron. All those things must be added to the treasures kept in the Lord’s house.”

20 The priests blew the trumpets. As soon as the army heard the sound, they gave a loud shout. Then the wall fell down. Everyone charged straight in. So they took the city. 21 They set it apart to the Lord to be destroyed. They destroyed every living thing in it with their swords. They killed men and women. They wiped out young people and old people. They destroyed cattle, sheep and donkeys.

22 Then Joshua spoke to the two men who had gone in to check out the land. He said, “Go into the prostitute’s house. Bring her out. Also bring out everyone with her. That’s what you promised her you would do.” 23 So the young men who had checked out the land went into Rahab’s house. They brought her out along with her parents and brothers and sisters. They brought out everyone else there with her. They put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it. But they added the silver and gold to the treasures kept in the Lord’s house. They also put there the things made out of bronze and iron. 25 But Joshua spared the prostitute Rahab. He spared her family. He also spared everyone else in the house with her. He did it because she hid the spies he had sent to Jericho. Rahab lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua made a promise and called down a curse. He said, “May the person who tries to rebuild this city of Jericho be under the Lord’s curse.

“If that person lays its foundations,
    it will cost the life of his oldest son.
If he sets up its gates,
    it will cost the life of his youngest son.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua. And Joshua became famous everywhere in the land.

Q. What city did God tell Joshua to destroy?  What was in the way?

Q. What did God tell Joshua and the Israelite army to do?

Q. What happened after the army marched around the wall the last time?

Q. When did the army shout – before or after the walls came down?

3. Discussion

Sometimes the enemy, Satan, will try to make us think God isn’t able to or doesn’t want to help us out.  But as Christians, we know that God has already won the victory and defeated the devil, so we shouldn’t be discouraged and afraid of what will happen when we’re faced with tough times.  Instead, we should celebrate what we know God is capable of and desires to do to help us.  We must SHOUT about the victory we know we can have with God on our side.

Q. What are some difficult or impossible circumstances you might face?

Q. How should you respond when faced with difficult and impossible circumstances?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will be bold and courageous when faced with tough circumstances because they know that God has already won the victory.lightstock_263442_download_medium_user_1189589

Called for a Purpose

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 10-15-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-15-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God has a calling for every person on earth – not just for what he wants someone to do, but more importantly, who he wants them to become. In order to live the God-life to the fullest, you need a clear vision for the calling God has for you.

2. Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 [NLT] “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”

Q. Think of the kind of person God has called you to be. What are a few temptations that could pull you off of that track? 

Q. What sorts of things could you do to “discipline your body” like Paul and stay focused?

3. Discussion

Hebrews 11:17-18 [NLT] “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, ‘Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.’”

Q. Has God (through the Bible, a sermon, or some other way) ever asked you to do something that didn’t make sense?  How would a clear vision for your calling change the way you view that request? 

Psalm 56:3-4 [NLT] “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”

Q. Why do you think praising God for His promise helped David through his fear? How might the same principle work in your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to be something greater than you could be on your own. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep you focused on becoming the person He’s called you to be.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Psalm 92:1 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.” 

“No Matter What May Ever Go Wrong, I Ain’t Gonna Let It Steal My Song!” 

In our series, “Soul Food”, we learn that a joyful song in our heart is one of the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  There are times in life when we can be going along, singing a joyful tune, loving everything that’s going on – then suddenly, life hits us like a ton of bricks!  It is easy to get overwhelmed, depressed, and dejected when those times come.  This week, we learn from David during a time he was running for his life from King Saul and how he didn’t let his circumstances steal his song.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  1 Samuel 19; 1 Samuel 22:1,2;   Psalm 34:1-10

1 Samuel 19
Saul Tries to Kill David

19 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan liked David very much. So Jonathan warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be very careful tomorrow morning. Find a place to hide and stay there. My father and I will come and stand in the field where you are hiding. I’ll speak to him about you. Then I’ll tell you what I find out.”

Jonathan told his father Saul some good things about David. He said to him, “Please don’t do anything to harm David. He hasn’t done anything to harm you. And what he’s done has helped you a lot. He put his own life in danger when he killed Goliath. The Lord used him to win a great battle for the whole nation of Israel. When you saw it, you were glad. So why would you do anything to harm a man like David? He isn’t guilty of doing anything to harm you. Why would you want to kill him without any reason?”

Saul paid attention to Jonathan. Saul made a promise. He said, “You can be sure that the Lord lives. And you can be just as sure that David will not be put to death.”

So Jonathan sent for David and told him everything he and Saul had said. Then he brought David to Saul. David served Saul as he had done before.

Once more war broke out. So David went out and fought against the Philistines. He struck them down with so much force that they ran away from him.

But an evil spirit sent by the Lord came on Saul. It happened as he was sitting in his house and holding his spear. While David was playing the harp, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear. But David got away from him just as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David escaped.

11 Saul sent some men to watch David’s house. He told them to kill David the next morning. But David’s wife Michal warned him. She said, “You must run for your life tonight. If you don’t, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal helped David escape through a window. He ran and got away. 13 Then Michal got a statue of a god. She laid it on David’s bed. She covered it with clothes. And she put some goat hair at the place where David’s head would have been.

14 Saul sent the men to capture David. But Michal told them, “He’s sick.”

15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David. He told them, “Bring him up here to me in his bed. Then I’ll kill him.” 16 But when the men entered, the only thing they found in the bed was the statue. Some goat hair was at the place where David’s head would have been.

17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you trick me like this? Why did you help my enemy escape?”

Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Help me get away. If you don’t, I’ll kill you.’ ”

18 After David had run away and escaped, he went to Samuel at Ramah. He told him everything Saul had done to him. Then David and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Saul was told, “David is in Naioth at Ramah.” 20 So Saul sent some men to capture him. When they got there, they saw a group of prophets who were prophesying. Samuel was standing there as their leader. Then the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men. So they also began to prophesy. 21 Saul was told about it. So he sent some more men. They began to prophesy too. Saul sent some men a third time. And they also began to prophesy. 22 Finally, Saul decided to go to Ramah himself. He went to the large well at Seku. He asked some people, “Where are Samuel and David?”

“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.

23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God even came on him. He walked along and prophesied until he came to Naioth. 24 There he took off his clothes. Then he also prophesied in front of Samuel. He lay there without his clothes on all that day and night. That’s why people say, “Is Saul also one of the prophets?”

1 Samuel 22:1-2  “David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. His brothers and the other members of his family heard about it. So they went down to join him there. Everyone who was in trouble or owed money or was unhappy gathered around him. He became their commander. About 400 men were with him.”

Psalm 34:1-10

A psalm of David when he was with Abimelek and pretended to be out of his mind. Abimelek drove him away, and David left.

I will thank the Lord at all times.
    My lips will always praise him.
I will find my glory in knowing the Lord.
    Let those who are hurting hear me and be joyful.
Join me in giving glory to the Lord.
    Let us honor him together.

I looked to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He saved me from everything I was afraid of.
Those who look to him have joyful faces.
    They are never covered with shame.
This poor man called out, and the Lord heard him.
    He saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord stands guard
    around those who have respect for him.
    And he saves them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Blessed is the person who goes to him for safety.
You holy people of God, have respect for the Lord.
    Those who respect him have everything they need.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry.
    But those who look to the Lord have every good thing they need.

Q. Who was trying to kill David?

Q. What did David do when he found King Saul wanted to kill him?

Q. After running for his life,  where did David end up?

Q. What was David’s attitude like in the song he wrote in Psalm 34?

3. Discussion

Even in the midst of danger, sadness, and difficulty, David never let it steal his song!  He knew that having a song in your heart is an important ingredient for a healthy soul!  We can’t allow bad times, attacks from the enemy, or attacks from other people to steal our song.  We have been saved from our sin and are headed to Heaven for eternity.  That’s something to sing about!  No matter how difficult life may become, we must never let anything steal our song.

Q. What are some circumstances in your own life that can steal your song?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never lose the joyful song in your heart during difficult times?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would not lose their song.  Ask if they feel like they have already.  Pray that God will restore the song of their heart.  Remind them that God is still on the throne.

Great Big U- Part 2

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 10-8-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-8-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Through the Holy Spirit, God wants to use believers to get engaged in serving and make up the body of Christ – the Church. Often times, though, we feel like our lack of skills, qualifications or training leaves us without anything to offer. The truth is, God is looking for people just like you to accomplish His will on the earth.

2. Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 1:26-27 [ESV] “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 

Q. Think of someone in today’s world who has done, or is doing, big things for God. How qualified do they seem to you? How skilled? Does that intimidate you or encourage you?

Q. Now, imagine that same person when the Lord first called them to serve. How qualified or prepared do you think they felt at the time? Does that change how you feel about your own readiness to serve God?

3. Discussion

Judges 6:12-16 [NLT] “Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.  The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!…Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’ ‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’ The Lord said to him, ‘I will be with you.’”

Q. What is your family history and background? Believers or unbelievers? Casual Christians or ardent God-followers? Have you served God since childhood, or did you come to accept Him as an adult?

Q. How might God be able to use your past to equip you for His service? 

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to be part of the body of Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you engage in the Church to accomplish His will.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

“Gotta Stay Humble, Got To Pray, & God Will Heal Our Land Today!”

In our series, “Soul Food”, we continue to find out the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  This week, we learn that humility is one of those ingredients.  Humility is essential for serving God and giving Him all the glory each day.  We learn from the example of King Nebuchadnezzar what can happen if we are prideful.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  Daniel 4:24-37

24 “Your Majesty, here is what your dream means. The Most High God has given an order against you. 25 You will be driven away from people. You will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass just as an ox does. You will become wet with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants. 26 But he gave a command to leave the stump of the tree along with its roots. That means your kingdom will be given back to you. It will happen when you recognize that the God of heaven rules. 27 So, Your Majesty, I hope you will accept my advice. Stop being sinful. Do what is right. Give up your evil practices. Show kindness to those who are being treated badly. Then perhaps things will continue to go well with you.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Comes True

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 It took place twelve months later. He was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon. 30 He said, “Isn’t this the great Babylon I have built as a place for my royal palace? I used my mighty power to build it. It shows how glorious my majesty is.”

31 He was still speaking when he heard a voice from heaven. It said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, here is what has been ordered concerning you. Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people. You will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass just as an ox does. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants.”

33 What had been said about King Nebuchadnezzar came true at once. He was driven away from people. He ate grass just as an ox does. His body became wet with the dew of heaven. He stayed that way until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle. His nails became like the claws of a bird.

34 At the end of that time I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven. My mind became clear again. Then I praised the Most High God. I gave honor and glory to the God who lives forever.

His rule will last forever.
    His kingdom will never end.
35 He considers all the nations on earth
    to be nothing.
He does as he pleases
    with the powers of heaven.
He does what he wants
    with the nations of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand.
    No one can say to him,
    “What have you done?”

36 My honor and glory were returned to me when my mind became clear again. The glory of my kingdom was given back to me. My advisers and nobles came to me. And I was put back on my throne. I became even greater than I had been before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything he does is right. All his ways are fair. He is able to bring down those who live proudly.

Q. Whom did King Nebuchadnezzar think was the reason for all of his success?

Q.  What did Daniel say would happen to King Nebuchadnezzar if he continued to have pride?  How did he respond?

Q. What did God do to King Nebuchadnezzar as punishment for his pride?  Then what happened when the time passed?

3. Discussion

King Nebuchadnezzar was very prideful and took all of the credit and glory for himself, instead of giving God glory.  When God saw this, God removed King Nebuchadnezzar from his position as king of Babylon until he was humbled and began to give God all of the glory.  We learn from our Power Verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, that God says we must humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our sin.  If we do those things, He says He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land.

Q. What are some ways you can become too prideful in your own life?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never allow pride to keep you from giving God all of the glory?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would humble themselves before God, pray, seek Him whenever they face life’s many difficult situations, and always run from sin.

Great Big U

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 10-1-17

Family Devotional Kids 10-1-17

Download pdf button royal purple


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God’s plans for believers to influence the world are group plans. He’s designed a system where believers work together with a united purpose, but widely varied functions to accomplish His goals. We call that diverse-yet-unified system, “church.”

2. Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 12:12-19 [ESV] “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ …If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?” 

Q. Have you ever felt like a “spare part,” or unnecessary organ in the church body?

Q. List several different functions that people might serve as part of a church. Which ones have you normally considered the most important? Which ones are least important?

Q. Look at the “less important” functions on your list. Can the church survive without them? If so, would it be more effective without the functions, or less effective?

3. Discussion

Proverbs 27:17 [ESV] “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

The relationships we build, functioning together in a church, can be some of the deepest and most rewarding in life. They can also lead to some of the deepest and most painful offenses. As we work together, conflict will inevitably come, but we need to use that to spur us on to grow as individuals and as an organization.

Q. Think of an example of conflict between different people functioning as part of the church body. In what ways could that conflict hurt the body? In what ways could it produce growth?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the purpose He has for you as part of the church body. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you work together with other believers to affect our world and grow His kingdom.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Psalm 68:3 “But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.” 

“I’ll Be Full of the Joy of the Lord!”

In our series, “Soul Food”, we continue to find out the key ingredients for a healthy Christian life.  This week, we learn that joy is one of those ingredients.  A lot of times it is easy for followers of Jesus to lose their joy when bad or difficult circumstances come their way.  When tough stuff happens in our lives, we often lose our sense of joy because we’ve forgotten some very important things about the joy of the Lord.

2. Bible Reading

Read:  2 Samuel 6

David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

Again David brought together the best soldiers in Israel. The total number was 30,000. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah. They wanted to bring the ark of God up to Jerusalem from there. The ark is named after the Lord. He is the Lordwho rules over all. He sits on his throne between the cherubim that are on the ark. The ark of God was placed on a new cart. Then it was brought from Abinadab’s house, which was on a hill. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart. They were the sons of Abinadab. The ark of God was on the cart. Ahio was walking in front of it. David was celebrating with all his might in front of the Lord. So was the whole community of Israel. All of them were playing castanets, harps, lyres, tambourines, rattles and cymbals.

They came to the threshing floor of Nakon. The oxen nearly fell there. So Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God. Then the Lord was very angry with Uzzah. That’s because what Uzzah did showed that he didn’t have any respect for the Lord. So God struck him down. He died there beside the ark of God.

David was angry because the Lord’s great anger had broken out against Uzzah. That’s why the place is still called Perez Uzzah to this day.

David was afraid of the Lord that day. He asked, “How can the ark of the Lordever be brought to me?” 10 He didn’t want to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom. Obed-Edom was from Gath. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in Obed-Edom’s house for three months. And the Lord blessed him and his whole family.

12 King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the family of Obed-Edom. He has also blessed everything that belongs to him. That’s because the ark of God is in Obed-Edom’s house.” So David went down there to bring up the ark. With great joy he brought it up from the house of Obed-Edom. He took it to the City of David. 13 Those carrying the ark of the Lord took six steps forward. Then David sacrificed a bull and a fat calf. 14 David was wearing a sacred linen apron. He danced in front of the Lord with all his might. 15 He did it while he was bringing up the ark of the Lord. The whole community of Israel helped him bring it up. They shouted. They blew trumpets.

16 The ark of the Lord was brought into the City of David. Saul’s daughter Michal was watching from a window. She saw King David leaping and dancing in front of the Lord. That made her hate him in her heart.

17 The ark of the Lord was brought into Jerusalem. It was put in its place in the tent David had set up for it. David sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings to the Lord. 18 After he finished sacrificing those offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord who rules over all. 19 He gave to each Israelite man and woman a loaf of bread. He also gave each one a date cake and a raisin cake. Then all the people went home.

20 David returned home to bless his family. Saul’s daughter Michal came out to meet him. She said, “You are the king of Israel. You have really brought honor to yourself today, haven’t you? You have gone around half-naked right in front of the female slaves of your officials. You acted like a fool!”

21 David said to Michal, “I did it to honor the Lord. He chose me instead of your father or anyone else in Saul’s family. The Lord appointed me ruler over his people Israel. I will celebrate to honor the Lord. 22 And that’s not all. I will bring even less honor to myself. I will bring even more shame on myself. But those female slaves you spoke about will honor me.”

23 Saul’s daughter Michal didn’t have any children as long as she lived.

Q. What happened that caused David to worship God like he did?

Q. How did David show his joy and worship?

Q. What did David’s wife, Michal, say about David dancing before the Lord?

Q. How did David respond?  Did he let Michal’s criticism keep him from having and expressing his joy in the Lord?

3. Discussion

David had joy even when his wife, Michal, criticized him during his time of worship and dancing.  In spite of what was going on around him, David chose to have the joy of the Lord and let no one stop him from showing it.  From this we learn that joy is not optional – it’s a command.  The Bible says we must have joy – even when the things going on around us aren’t very fun and exciting.  And the reason we should have joy in every circumstance, good or bad, is because God is with us always. 

Q. What are some circumstances that could cause you to lose your joy?

Q. What can you do to make sure you never allow your circumstances to keep you from having the joy of the Lord?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will have joy no matter what circumstances they are facing.  Pray that they will remember that joy is not optional because they know that God is with them always.