Faith

Generosity

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Have you ever received way more than you expected? Whether it was a bigger tax refund, or an unexpected hand from your neighbor hauling bags of mulch, it feels great to be on the receiving end of generosity. It feels great to be on the giving end, too… because generosity is a function of God’s character at work in us.

1. Discussion

Ephesians 1:7–8  [ESV] “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.”

God modeled generosity – going beyond what’s required or expected – when He sent Jesus to live and die to redeem humankind.

Q. God didn’t have to go to such great lengths to save humanity. What other responses to sin could He have taken? What response would you have taken if it had been your decision?

Q. God’s generosity shows up in plenty of other areas in life beyond our salvation. What are some other ways that God has gone above and beyond for you?

2. Challenge

Ephesians 3:17–19 [ESV]  “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

God expects His children to take on His character – including His generosity. And that encompasses more than money – it’s a willingness to give, whether the need is funds, time, energy, attention, etc. The only way that character change happens is by growing in faith through discipleship.

Q. If someone gauged your relationship with God based solely on your generosity, how close to God would they think you are?

Q. Is generosity easy for you, or is it a challenge? Is there one area for you where generosity comes more easily than others?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for giving to you so freely and extravagantly. Ask the Holy Spirit to grow His generous character in you as you work to know and serve Him better.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Lessons From Haman

1. Power Verse

Psalm 4:4a “Don’t sin by letting anger control you…” 

What’s Up: “I Won’t Let Anger Control Me!”

2. Discussion

This week, we continue our series called, “You Only Live Once” or “YOLO.” We’re learning some important lessons about making our lives count! Since we only live once, we need to make sure we do our very best to honor God with our life and remain faithful to Him.

Q. What are some things that make you angry?

Q. How do you normally respond when things make you angry?

There are many things in life that can make us angry. From not getting our way, to attacks against those we love, many things can bring out the anger in us.

Anger is a powerful emotion. If we allow it to take control of our lives, it can bring some dangerous results. If we don’t allow God to help us with our anger – it can turn to bitterness.

3. Activity

Q. Have you ever allowed anger to take control of your life? Explain.

Q. Why should we ask for God’s help when we’re angry?

In the Bible Story this week, we learned from the story of Haman and how he reacted to Mordecai and the Jews. We learned that it is not a sin to become angry, but it is a sin to allow anger to control you.

Q. What are some appropriate ways to act when you become angry?

Q. What can you do to avoid allowing anger to take control of your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children would begin to ask for God’s help when they become angry so they don’t allow their anger to control their lives or lead to bitterness.

Contentment

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everyone wants to be happy. When you’re happy, life is sweeter, your outlook on the future is brighter, the glass is always half full. God wants you to have hope and a positive outlook, too, but in a way that supersedes the human formula for “happiness.” He wants us to experience supernatural contentment.

1. Discussion

Philippians 4:11-13 [ESV] “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Paul found the secret to feeling content with his life, no matter what it looked like. It wasn’t a switch that flipped instantly – it was a process.

Q. When Paul says in verse 12 “I have learned,” in what sorts of ways do you think he was taught?

Q. Paul wrote this letter nearly 30 years after deciding to follow Jesus. How long do you think it took him to grow to the place where he could write these words truthfully?

2. Challenge

Paul may have been content with his life, but most outsiders looking in at his life would call it difficult at best. It’s hard to understand how someone who was repeatedly rejected, beaten, and threatened could write about contentment, but that’s just the point – God’s contentment bypasses our logical understanding. It may not makes sense to others, but when it’s you… it just works.

Q. What are 3 things you would change about your life today?

Q. Is contentment and thankfulness for your life- just as it is – easy for you to feel and express, or is it a challenge right now?

Q. Learning contentment means seeing your life through God’s worldview. What can you do this week to strengthen that worldview in your mind & heart?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the good in your life… and for the challenges that help you to learn true contentment. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop His worldview in you more and more, so you can be content under any circumstances.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Galatians 6:9 “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

What’s Up: “God Will Honor Those Who Do What’s Right!”

2. Discussion

This week, we start a brand new series called, “You Only Live Once”, or “YOLO.” We’re learning some important lessons about making our lives count! Since we only live once, we need to make sure we do our very best to honor God with our life and remain faithful to Him.

In the Bible Story this week, we learned from a man named Mordecai in the book of Esther. We learned from his example of caring for others, doing the right thing no matter what, and remaining faithful to God.

Q. What are some ways you can show others you care about them?

Q. What are some things you can do because they’re the right things to do, even though you may not enjoy doing them? (i.e. chores, school, etc.)

We should never grow tired from doing the right thing. Instead, we should stay faithful to God because, just at the right time, God will honor and bless our faithfulness.

3. Activity

Have your children do some of the things they discussed earlier when asked some ways they could show others they care about them. Perhaps, they could

write a card to someone, do a  craft to give as a gift to someone, help clean something for someone, lighten someone’s load, or simply share kind words with someone who needs encouragement.

Because you’ve done these things, God said He’ll bless your faithfulness to Him and your faithfulness in doing the right thing no matter what!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to care for others and always do the right thing – no matter what. Pray, as they care for others and do right, God will honor their faithfulness.

My Purpose

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Every human has an innate desire to find purpose in life. People go about that search in different ways, but ultimately, there’s only one fulfilling solution – serving the purpose you were created for. Serving God.

1. Discussion

Psalm 100:2-3 [ESV] “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

Understanding our purpose starts with understanding our origin. We are God’s creation- He’s the one who determined our purpose, and He designed us for it specifically.

Q. Have you ever wondered what your purpose was in life?

Q. When (if) you wondered that, did it feel like something you needed to discover, to remember, or to create?

Q. How do you think someone with a secular evolutionary belief would view the quest for purpose?

2. Challenge

Psalm 100:4-5 [ESV]   Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good…”

Your purpose in life is to serve the Lord, to acknowledge Him as a creator and benefactor, and to praise Him – not only with our words, but with our lifestyle. Trying to substitute any other purpose will be unfulfilling in the long run.

Q. What are some alternative purposes people substitute in place of serving God?

Q. What are a few examples of how functioning in your true purpose (serving God) might bring more fulfillment in your life?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for creating you for a purpose. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay focused on Him, living life with Him infused in every part.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

The kids experienced wacky science experiments is Overflow Kids Church this week, all designed to demonstrate Biblical truths.  Take a few minutes to discuss the what they learned.  

Q. What was your favorite experiment? Did you learn any scientific facts? What interesting things did you see at the science fair?

2. Bible Reading

These are some of the  experiments that were used in the children’s service, and the Biblical points they demonstrated:

Tornado Tubes:  We created tornadoes in 2 liter bottles of water.

Big Idea: God will bring me through any storm.

Psalm 46:1 (ESV) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Q. What are some times that you feel afraid?  

Q. What should we do when we are scared?  

Q. How should we pray?

3. Discussion

The acetone ate through the styrofoam: It really dissolved when placed in acetone.

Big Idea: God makes my sins disappear.

1 John 1:9 (ESV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Q. Do you think it disappoints God when we disobey Him and sin? What are some examples of sin?  

Q. What happens to us when we ask Jesus into our hearts and ask for forgiveness for our sins?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God would help your children find God in their everyday experiences. Through struggles and victories we can praise God for the things and people around us.

A Life Worth Living

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Jesus came to make life better – not just in eternity, but in this season of living on earth. That difference that He brings is more than theory or philosophy – it’s a real-world, observable change that lifts every part of life.

1. Discussion

John 10:10 [ESV] “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Jesus’ famous words still ring true today. There’s a level of living that can only exist when the Holy Spirit is regenerating us from the inside out. It’s that change – the kind that people can see – that gives credibility to our story when we share with others.

Q. What are some visible changes that happen in people when they surrender their lives to God?

Q. What’s an example of a behavior or way of life that’s different in you because of the Holy Spirit’s influence?

2. Challenge

Psalm 42:1-2 [ESV]   “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Have you ever had a craving for something, but didn’t know exactly what it was that you were missing? Frustrating, for sure! You understand that the craving in your spirit is for God, but people who don’t know God don’t realize what they’re missing. That’s what’s so exciting about sharing the gospel?  Getting to see someone made spiritually whole when they first encounter God’s abundant life! 

Q. Think back to when you first gave your life to God. How would you describe the difference between the pre-God you, and the spiritually-whole you?   Q. The people in your life who need God may not realize what it is they’re missing. How would you explain the difference God can make in their life?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for making your life abundantly better (be specific!). Ask the Holy Spirit to use you to share that experience with other people who need to experience the God-life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 28:5-6  “The angel said, … ‘You are looking for Jesus… He isn’t here.  He has been raised from the dead.’”

What’s Up: “I Believe Jesus is ALIVE”

Thomas gets a bad rap. Most of us know him as “Doubting Thomas,” but he is not the only one to ever have doubts about Jesus.  If we are honest, we all struggle with doubts from time to time.  Sadly, we choose to hide our doubts because we are ashamed and think they make us less of a Christian.

2. Bible Reading

Instead, we should admit our doubts to God and ask Him to help us overcome them with faith.  The truth is – even if we doubt Jesus rose from the dead, it doesn’t change the truth that He did!

Read: Luke 22-24 

Judas Agrees to Hand Jesus Over

22 The Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus. They were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, who was called Iscariot. Judas was one of the 12 disciples. He went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard. He talked with them about how he could hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. Judas accepted their offer. He watched for the right time to hand Jesus over to them. He wanted to do it when no crowd was around.

The Last Supper

Then the day of Unleavened Bread came. That was the time the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John on ahead. “Go,” he told them. “Prepare for us to eat the Passover meal.” 13 Peter and John left. They found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover meal. 17 After Jesus took the cup, he gave thanks. He said, “Take this cup and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you, I will not drink wine with you again until God’s kingdom comes.” 19 Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”

 

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives. His disciples followed him. 40 When they reached the place, Jesus spoke. “Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted,” he said to them. 41 Then he went a short distance away from them. There he got down on his knees and prayed. 42 He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering away from me. But do what you want, not what I want.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and gave him strength. 44 Because he was very sad and troubled, he prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 After that, he got up from prayer and went back to the disciples. He found them sleeping. They were worn out because they were very sad. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up! Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted.”

Jesus Is Arrested

47 While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. The man named Judas was leading them. He was one of the 12 disciples. Judas approached Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you handing over the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen. So they said, “Lord, should we use our swords against them?” 50 One of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “Stop this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders. They had all come for him. “Am I leading a band of armed men against you?” he asked. “Do you have to come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courtyard. And you didn’t lay a hand on me. But this is your hour. This is when darkness rules.”

 

The Guards Make Fun of Jesus

63 There were men guarding Jesus. They began laughing at him and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him. They said, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 They also said many other things to make fun of him.

Jesus Is Brought to Pilate and Herod

66 At dawn the elders of the people met together. These included the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Jesus was led to them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me. 68 And if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” 70 They all asked, “Are you the Son of God then?” He replied, “You say that I am.” 20 Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22 Pilate spoke to them for the third time. “Why?” he asked. “What wrong has this man done? I have found no reason to have him put to death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go.” 23 But with loud shouts they kept calling for Jesus to be crucified. The people’s shouts won out. 24 So Pilate decided to give them what they wanted. 

Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross

32 Two other men were also led out with Jesus to be killed. Both of them had broken the law. 33 The soldiers brought them to the place called the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Jesus Dies

44 It was now about noon. Then darkness covered the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my life.” After he said this, he took his last breath. 47 The Roman commander saw what had happened. He praised God and said, “Jesus was surely a man who did what was right.” 48 The people had gathered to watch this sight. When they saw what happened, they felt very sad. Then they went away. 49 But all those who knew Jesus stood not very far away, watching these things. They included the women who had followed him from Galilee.

Jesus Is Buried

50 A man named Joseph was a member of the Jewish Council. He was a good and honest man. 51 Joseph had not agreed with what the leaders had decided and done. He was from Arimathea, a town in Judea. He himself was waiting for God’s kingdom. 52 Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Joseph took it down and wrapped it in linen cloth. Then he placed it in a tomb cut in the rock. No one had ever been buried there. 54 It was Preparation Day. The Sabbath day was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was placed in it. 56 Then they went home. There they prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath day in order to obey the Law.

Jesus Rises From the Dead

24 It was very early in the morning on the first day of the week. The women took the spices they had prepared. Then they went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from it. When they entered the tomb, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They were wondering about this. Suddenly two men in clothes as bright as lightning stood beside them. The women were terrified. They bowed down with their faces to the ground. Then the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here! He has risen! Remember how he told you he would rise. It was while he was still with you in Galilee. He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people. He must be nailed to a cross. On the third day he will rise from the dead.’ ” Then the women remembered Jesus’ words. They came back from the tomb. They told all these things to the 11 apostles and to all the others. 10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them were the ones who told the apostles. 11 But the apostles did not believe the women. Their words didn’t make any sense to them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He bent over and saw the strips of linen lying by themselves. Then he went away, wondering what had happened.

 

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

36 The disciples were still talking about this when Jesus himself suddenly stood among them. He said, “May you have peace!” 37 They were surprised and terrified. They thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do you have doubts in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see. A ghost does not have a body or bones. But you can see that I do.” 40 After he said that, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 But they still did not believe it. They were amazed and filled with joy. So Jesus asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of cooked fish. 43 He took it and ate it in front of them.

44 Jesus said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must come true.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written. The Messiah will suffer. He will rise from the dead on the third day. 47 His followers will preach in his name. They will tell others to turn away from their sins and be forgiven. People from every nation will hear it, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You have seen these things with your own eyes. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised. But for now, stay in the city. Stay there until you have received power from heaven.”

Jesus Is Taken Up Into Heaven

50 Jesus led his disciples out to the area near Bethany. Then he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them. He was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him. With great joy, they returned to Jerusalem. 53 Every day they went to the temple, praising God.

3. Discussion

Q. How did Jesus die?  How long was he buried?

Q.  What happened on the third day?  What did the angel say?

John 20:24-29 Now Thomas… one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands… I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Q. Who doubted that Jesus rose from the dead?

Q. What did Thomas say when the disciples told him about Jesus?

Q. When did Thomas finally choose to believe?

Q. What did Jesus say about those who believe without seeing?

It’s okay to have doubts.  Jesus doesn’t get angry when we doubt, but He does want us to admit our doubt and allow Him to help us overcome it and replace it with strong faith.  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God would help your children to leave their doubt behind and choose faith.  Remind them that Jesus loves them even when they doubt, but He wants their lives to be full of faith so they can do amazing things for Him.

What is Next?

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Being a kid is fun! Playing all summer, cookies for Santa, pool parties, sleepovers… but eventually, we need to grow up and begin to take responsibility for the more serious concerns in life. Our spiritual life is the same way – we’re not meant to stay children forever – we have to grow up!

1. Discussion

Galatians 3:3 [ESV] “In the same way we also, when we were children [spiritually], were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.”

We all start life as spiritual children, but not everyone matures.  That’s why discipleship is so important – we have to take steps to grow in our understanding of who God is, how He views the world, and what He wants from our lives.

Q. What’s a concept from the Bible you understand now, that you didn’t get when you were younger spiritually?

Q. How did you gain an understanding of that concept?

Q. How does that understanding affect the way you live your life for God?

2. Challenge

Hebrews 5:12-6:1 [ESV]  “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God… Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…”

You can’t learn calculus if you haven’t mastered addition and subtraction. We need to grow in our understanding of God, from the basics on up. It’s a lifelong process – one that’s essential for anyone who’s serious about serving God with their life.

Q. Where would you rate yourself on spiritual maturity? A child? A pre-teen? A Ph.D? 

Q. Wherever you’re at in the journey, there’s a next step. What is that step for you? Going over the basics again to make sure they’re solid? Being coached spiritually in more advanced topics? Becoming a spiritual mentor to train up young Christians?

Whatever the next step is for you, don’t wait, take action today!

Go to abundantlifechurches.org/next  and sign up for your next step.

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for growing you from a spiritual baby to where you are today. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep guiding you into spiritual maturity and commit as a family to be actively engaged in the process in whatever ways you can.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 22:37  “…You must love the LORD your God with all of your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”

Watts Up: “I Will Follow Jesus With All Of My Heart!”

This week, we finish the series called, “Ouch!”. This week, we learn from the parable of the two builders. We learn what it means to follow Jesus with all of our heart.

2. Bible Reading

Matthew 7:24-27 “So then, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man. He builds his house on the rock. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. But it does not fall. It is built on the rock. But everyone who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man. He builds his house on sand. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. And it falls with a loud crash.”

3. Discussion

Q. Where did the wise man build his house? Where did the foolish man build his house? What happened to their houses when the storm came?

Q. To whom did Jesus compare the wise man? To whom did He compare the foolish man?

To be a Christian means that we follow Jesus and we live our life for Him daily. Unfortunately, many people are confused about this. They think that as long as long as they go to church, do some good deeds, and CLAIM to be a Christian, then that means they are going to Heaven.

Jesus taught that it takes much more than that. In order to go to Heaven, we must receive His forgiveness for our sin and have a relationship with Him.

Q. Do you see yourself as the wise man or the foolish man from the story?

Q. What does it mean to you to follow Jesus? Are you living like that in your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Ask you children if they want to ask Jesus to be their Savior if they haven’t already. Pray with them to receive forgiveness of their sins. Celebrate their brand new life in Jesus! Pray that they will follow Jesus closely and do what He leads them to do.

Saved

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

What does it mean to be “saved?” Sometimes we get so familiar with church vocabulary that we lose sight of the full meaning of the words and phrases we use. “Saved” isn’t conceptual imagery – it should be taken quite literally.

1. Discussion

Acts 11:14 [ESV] “He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.”

Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord is the only way people can be “saved” – or rescued from an eternity of separation from God. When the angel told Cornelius he would be “saved,” it wasn’t yet a church-lingo word. That term carried with it the full weight and urgency of an escape from impending doom.

Q. What imagery comes to your mind when you think about being “saved?”

Q. Imagine someone asked you to define what you mean by “being saved” – how would you explain it to them? Can you do it without using other church vocabulary terms?

2. Challenge

Luke 19:9-10 [NLT] “Jesus responded (to Zacchaeus), ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’”

The concept of being “saved” goes back to Jesus. It was His mission to seek out those who were headed for destruction, and save them by providing a way out. That same mission is ours today.

Q. When you remind yourself of the literal saving that many people around you need, how does that affect your motivation to share the good news?

Q. Now that you’ve thought about how to explain what “being saved” means, what other church- specific terms or phrases might you use when sharing your faith? How would you define those terms with language that a church-outsider could understand?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for saving you. Ask Him to keep the reality of what salvation means fresh on your mind, and to keep you focused on His mission to seek and save the lost in your world.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 5:44  “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

Watts Up: “I Will Love And Pray For My Enemies!”

Most people would assume that the way to handle enemies is by fighting back. In the natural way of thinking, we should try to “hit them where it hurts” and possibly even “strike before they do.” That is not the way Jesus taught us to handle our enemies.

2. Bible Reading

Acts 9:1-21 “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples… on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.  ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ …Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered. The Lord told him, ‘Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying…’ ‘Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and… he has come here… to arrest all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went to the house… he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, —has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ‘…hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners?’”

3. Discussion

Q. Who was Saul? Were Saul and Ananias friends before this story?

Q. Did it make sense for Ananias to pray for Saul? What do you think would have happened if Ananias hadn’t obeyed God?

We all have enemies. Whether it is the person who continually talks behind our back, the person who insults us at every turn, or the bully who picks on us at school (or work), we all have those we would consider our “enemies.”

Q. How does Jesus want us to handle our enemies? Is this how you handle your enemies? How could you treat your enemies differently? 

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your children in a prayer for those they consider their enemies. Pray that God will change their hearts. Pray that God will use your children to be a light to those who are living in darkness.

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

It stinks to be out of the loop. We all have a craving to belong and to be in the know, but before salvation, we were all on the outside looking in spiritually. That’s one of the most exciting things about making Jesus Lord.  We’re not only saved from hell, we’re now insiders, with unprecedented access to the God of the universe!

1.Now that you’re an insider, come boldly to God’s throne.

Ephesians 3:12 [NLT] “Because of Christ and our faith in him (now that we’re insiders), we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”

Q. Take a minute to think about the words you use when you pray. When you talk to God, do you speak as an insider – a child with full access and expectation for a response – or as an outsider hoping for a crumb to fall off of God’s table?

Q. How would the prayer of an insider sound different from that of an outsider?

Q. How would the expectations and faith of an insider differ from those of an outsider?

2.Now that you’re an insider, invite other people in.

Ephesians 3:6-7 [NLT] “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.”

Q. What’s the name of a person you interact with who’s living without the benefits of an all-access pass to God?

Q. Take a minute and practice how you might share your experience with them: Why did you make the decision to accept Jesus as Lord? What are your favorite benefits, now that you’re an insider? How could these benefits make this person’s life better?

Now that you’ve thought through it – look for a God-opportunity, and invite them to be an insider like you!

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for inviting you into His family and filling your life with the benefits of being an insider. Ask Him (boldly!) for the power and opportunity to invite others to new life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that… ‘If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!” 

Watts Up: “Don’t Hold On To Grudges – Make Things Right!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Ouch!” This week, we learn that when we hold on to grudges and anger, it will do nothing more than hurt us. Instead of allowing anger to make us bitter, we must forgive others, just like God has forgiven us.

2. Bible Reading

Genesis 37-43  “So Joseph went to look for his brothers. He found them near Dothan. But they saw him a long way off. Before he reached them, they made plans to kill him. ‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to one another. ‘Come. Let’s kill him. Let’s throw him into one of these empty wells. Let’s say that a wild animal ate him up. Then we’ll see whether his dreams will come true.’ The traders from Midian came by. Joseph’s brothers pulled him up out of the well. They sold him to the Ishmaelite traders for eight ounces of silver. But the traders from Midian sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt… captain of the palace guard… he became very angry. So he put Joseph in prison. It was the place where the king’s prisoners were kept… the Lord was with Joseph. He gave Joseph success in everything he did. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘God has made all this known to you. No one is as wise and understanding as you are. You will be in charge of my palace. All my people must obey your orders.’ People from all over the world came to Egypt. They came to buy grain from Joseph. So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph looked around… He continued, ‘May God be gracious to you, my son.”’

3. Discussion

Q. What happened to Joseph? Did he have the right to be angry? 

Q. When he was second in command of Egypt, who came to see him? Did they know it was Joseph? How did Joseph respond?

Anger is an emotion we all deal with. However, Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount, “Anger is murder!” So what does that mean? Does that mean if you are angry, you are a murderer? Well, not exactly. What Jesus is saying is that when you hold onto your anger and allow it to turn into a grudge, THAT is the sin! Allowing your anger to control you can lead to a lot of heartache.

4. Prayer Focus

Have you ever held onto your anger?  What do you think Jesus wants us to do with our anger?

Pray for your child if they have been holding bad feelings and unforgiveness in their hearts toward others. Encourage them that they may need to go to the person this week and tell them that they are forgiven.