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Everyone’s looking for happiness – from diet plans, to dating sites, to shopping trips – we’re looking everywhere. And yet, happiness-producing things are already all around us… if we can see them.

1. Read

Romans 14:17 [SEV] “God’s kingdom isn’t about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit.”

God doesn’t want to snuff out the happiness in your life – He wants to fill your life with it.The instructions we find in the Bible are there to make your life better, and in the end, they produce the kind of happiness that will last.

  • What’s your favorite fruit? Think of all the work that goes into producing it – planting, fertilizing, harvesting, etc. Does the fruit come without the work?
  •  What are some God-adjustments to your life that take effort? What sort of fruit might they produce in your life in the long run? What about in someone else’s life?

2. Challenge

Proverbs 17:9 [ESV] “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

Resentment & unforgiveness keep you so focused on the bad in your life that you become unable to appreciate the good. God calls you to forgive, not only for the sake of others, but to keep you from nullifying your own happiness.

  • Think of someone you know who’s bitter or resentful. Is their “right” to be angry making them happier? Are they pleasant to be around? 
  • What are some ways their life might change if they let go of old hurts?
  • List a few things God has forgiven you for. Did He deserve what you did? Did you deserve His forgiveness? In light of His example, what sorts of things should you be willing to forgive when people do them to you?

3. Prayer Focus

Thank God for how ready He is to forgive you when you mess up. Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight old wounds you still hang onto, and to help you to truly forgive, so you can move forward in uninhibited happiness.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Super Science Sunday!

1. Power Verse

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

What’s Up: “God gives us friends and family to help us during tough times.”

The kids experienced wacky science experiments in Overflow Kids Church today, all designed to demonstrate Biblical truths.  Take a few minutes to discuss the service with your kids.  What was their favorite experiment? Did they learn any scientific facts? 

2. The Science

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

Balloon on a bed of nails: A balloon can be popped by a single nail, but not when placed on a bed full of nails. This reminds us that God gives us friends and family to help us during tough times.

  • Think of a time when you were helped by someone.
  • Have ever been blessed by another person?
  • What are some ways that people can really help each other?

3. Discussion

Inertia Beads Demonstration:  A long string of beads is placed into a cup.  A slight tug on one end of the beads creates an inertia reactions that pulls all of the beads quickly out of the cup.

Proverbs 12:26  “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

  • Why is it important to have good friends? 
  • What are some ways that our friends might encourage us to make poor decisions? 
  • How can we encourage our friends to be more like Jesus?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a moment to pray for our friends and family members.  Ask God to help each one of us to be good friends that point people toward good decisions and ultimately, closer to God.

Hard Question: Homosexuality

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Family Devotional 6-25-17 AdultFamily Devotional 6-25-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Of all the controversial topics facing American Christians today, perhaps none is more fiercely debated than homosexuality. 

Cultural norms and values have been in a state of rapid change over the past few decades, but God’s view on it remains unchanged.  

Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s teaching.

2. Bible Verse 

Leviticus 18:22  [ESV] “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”

1 Timothy 1:10-11  [NLT] “The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.”

Q. God’s statements on homosexuality were separated by over a thousand years. Do you think they are tied to a cultural period, or are they meant to instruct all cultures and times?

Q. The Bible condemns many other practices beyond homosexuality. Why do you think the topic of homosexuality generates more controversy than other sexual sins?

3. Application

Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s design.

Matthew 19:4-5 [NLT] “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’”

Q. The traditional definition of a family has been changing in America for a long time. Do you think that change has affected the rise in acceptance of homosexual lifestyles? If so, how?

Q. Is someone who is living a homosexual lifestyle contradicting God’s family design more than someone who is addicted to pornography or engaged in an extramarital affair? Have you / the church typically acted like these sins were on the same level, or different levels?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for His wonderful design for human sexuality. Ask Him to help you live within His teaching and design, and to be loving yet truthful to those who are contradicting it.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Don’t store up treasure on earth.  Store up treasure in Heaven!

As a family, make a list, chart, or just plan how individually or as a group you can work to make Jesus more important than your stuff or just number #1 in your life.

2. Bible Verse

Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

This week we began a new series, “Say What?”  The kids learned an important lesson about the things they value and find important.  Nothing in life is more important than Jesus!

Start the lesson by Reading Matthew 19:16-30.

16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”

17 Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you want to have eternal life, obey the law’s commands.”

18 The man asked, “Which ones?”

Jesus answered, “‘You must not murder anyone, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not tell lies about others, 19 you must respect your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor[b] the same as you love yourself.’[c]

20 The young man said, “I have obeyed all these commands. What else do I need?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, then go and sell all that you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me!”

22 But when the young man heard Jesus tell him to give away his money, he was sad. He didn’t want to do this, because he was very rich. So he left.

23 Then Jesus said to his followers, “The truth is, it will be very hard for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom. 24 Yes, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”

25 The followers were amazed to hear this. They asked, “Then who can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.”

27 Peter said to him, “We left everything we had and followed you. So what will we have?”

28 Jesus said to them, “When the time of the new world comes, the Son of Man will sit on his great and glorious throne. And I can promise that you who followed me will sit on twelve thrones, and you will judge the twelve tribes of Israel.29 Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms to follow me will get much more than they left. And they will have eternal life.30 Many people who are first now will be last in the future. And many who are last now will be first in the future.

Q. What did Jesus tell the man in the story he must do with his possessions?

Q. How did this make the man feel?

Q. What did Jesus tell his disciples about someone who is rich?

It’s easy to want “stuff” but Jesus was teaching His disciples that the more things we have the harder it can be to give up everything and follow Him. 

Jesus never wants us to make money or things more important than Him!

3. Application 

Q. What is your favorite toy or game to play with?

Q. What if Jesus asked you to give that up or give it away to the poor, could you do it?  

Q. Would it be hard for you?Jesus may not ask you to give away your favorite toy, or all your money, but He doesn’t want anything to be more important than Him.  Jesus should be number one in our lives.  He is the most important, and if we obey Him, we will be blessed!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children this week to make Jesus the most important part of their lives.

Hard Question: Divorce & Remarriage

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Family Devotional 6-18-17 AdultFamily Devotional 6-18-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When you look across our culture, commitment seems to be at an all-time low, and the poster child for the problem is marriage.  God designed marriage to bless us, and even if it ends, His desire for us is peace and healing.  

God’s plan for families has always been committed relationships for life.  Look for those dynamics in the following verses:

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 19:5-6 [ESV] “and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

1 Corinthians 7:15 [NIV] “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”

Q. God refers to marriage as a covenant – in what ways is marriage similar to His covenant with us?

3. Application

It takes 2 people to stay in a relationship, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things come to an end. Even then, we’re called to live in peace and to forgive, so everyone can heal and move forward in life.

Q. God permits divorce in some cases, but is that ever His preference? 

Q. Have you ever been hurt by a divorce? If so, how hard was it for you to offer forgiveness? Is there someone you still need to forgive?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for blessing humanity with marriage. Ask Him to help you to be faithful and support marriage – not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I will tell my friends about Jesus!”

Tell your children to imagine that they’re sick—so sick, in fact, that without help, they’ll die.  Ask them the following questions:  How do you think you’d feel emotionally if you were this sick?  What do you think you’d do to try to get better?

2. Bible Verse

Mark 16:15 & Romans 10:13  “Go into all the world and preach the good news…”

Tell your children that someone told them about a new cure for their illness. Have them imagine that they’ve undergone treatment and now they’re perfectly healthy.  

Ask them the following questions:

Q. How would you feel emotionally once you were healed?

Q. How would you feel toward the person who told you about the cure?

Q. How would you feel toward the person who actually found the cure?

Q. How would you feel if you found out there was a cure and a friend had known about it but didn’t tell you?


3. Application 

Next, have your children imagine that a friend has come to them describing some symptoms that are very similar to the ones they had.  After listening to this friend for awhile, they realize that he has the same disease that they did.  

Talk about the following questions:

Q. Would you tell your friend about the cure? Why?  What might happen to your friend if you don’t tell him about the cure?

Q. Can you force the person to undergo the treatment and take the medicine that will cure him?

Tell your children that all people have a disease that will eventually kill them: sin.  Sin is a disease that everyone is born with, and unless we seek the “cure”—Jesus—we will die an eternal death and be separated from God and everything that’s good.

4. Prayer Focus

Tell your children that thinking about sin as a fatal disease will help them see the importance of telling others about Jesus.  Our job is to tell them about Jesus and show them Christ’s love, so they’ll know about the cure. Pray with your family, asking God to open your eyes to the people around you who need to know about Him.