Kids Devotional

Lenses- Part 3

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

All of us were born with a “me” – shaped lens, a world view where the our values and decisions are based on our physical urges, desires, and what benefits us. When we come to God, we get access to a new way of looking at things – a “God” – lens, where our values and decisions are subjected to His ways and His plans. The trouble is, the “me” lens doesn’t just go quietly…

1. Discussion 

Romans 8:6-7 [NLT]  “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”

The “me” lens, our default sinful-nature view, will always push for dominance. Through the Spirit’s power, we have to choose God’s view in every situation in life.

Q. What areas do you think people in today’s culture have the hardest time choosing God’s lens in?

Q. What area(s) do you have the hardest time choosing God’s lens in?

2. Challenge

Romans 6:1-2 [NLT]  “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Serving God is a constant series of choices to use His lens instead of ours. Every new topic is a new battleground, but the longer we fight, the better we get at choosing God’s way.

Q. What’s an area that used to be a me vs. God lens struggle for you, but has improved?

Q. What’s an area that’s still a contested battle? God doesn’t expect perfection, but He does expect persistence. Don’t give up! Keep fighting to use God’s perspective!

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for redeeming your Spirit and giving you access to a better way to see the world. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to choose His way in every situation in life.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Helping Others

1. Power Verse

Psalms 82:3-4  “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

What’s Up: “God wants us to share His love, and help others in every way we can!”

In this week’s lesson we learned that God loved us so much, that He gave His son Jesus to die for us.  He wants us to do everything we can to share His love all around the world.  One of the ways we can do that is by giving to BGMC, (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge.)

2. Discussion

Q. In what ways has God blessed our family?

Q. What are some ways that we can share the things He has given us?

Q. Why is it important that we try to help others?

God has blessed us with many things, like a great church, a wonderful family, a home, food, and so much more.  We have a lot of friends and family that could help us out if we needed something. He expects us to help boys, girls, and families that don’t have friends to help out.  

3. Challenge

The kids at our church are working with BGMC to help boys and girls at a school in Thailand.  

Q. What can you tell me about these kids and their school?

Q. What are 3 things that we can do together this week, to help meet our kids church missions giving goal?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for the children at the Shang Rai Christian School in the mountains of Thailand.  Ask God to keep them safe and that the missionaries and teachers would be a great blessing to them.  Pray that our kids would be excited about giving to missions, and God would give them creative and fun ideas to meet our BGMC goal to pay for all the kids to attend the school for one year.

Lenses- Part 2

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everyone views life through a set of lenses – priorities, values, and expectations that help them make sense of the world around them. Those lenses filter what light (truth) comes in… but for those who are Christians, the lens has just as much of an impact in the other direction.

1. Discussion

The lens you use for life affects the way God’s light shines through you. 

2 Corinthians 3:17 [NLT] “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.”

The lens you view life through filters not only your beliefs, but also your actions, words, and attitudes. As God’s representatives to our world, it’s up to us to show those who are lost – by our behavior – what it means to be a Christian. We should be, as best we can, an accurate representation of what God’s life change looks like in a person.

Q. When you think about reflecting the “glory of the Lord,” what types of imagery comes to your mind? Does it seem like an everyday-life thing, or a mystic, other-worldly thing?

Q. When you consider the definition of “glory” – renown, honor, magnificence, beauty – does that change how “reflecting God’s glory” looks in your mind? How so?

2. Challenge

It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to calibrate your lens to reflect God’s glory properly.

2 Corinthians 3:18 [NLT] “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

Q. If someone from the outside commented on your life from 5 years ago versus today, what differences in words, actions, and attitudes would they see?

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the level of contrast between how you live your life (as a Christian) versus how people who don’t serve God live?

Q. What could you do this week to allow the Holy Spirit to work on your lens?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for allowing you to see His glory and to know Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep shaping the lens you see life through so you can be a good reflection for people who are spiritually lost to see.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

How to Make Your Life Count

1. Power Verse

Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

What’s Up: “God Can Use Me To Change The World!”

This week, we conclude our series called, “You Only Live Once” or “YOLO.” We’ve been 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 lives and remain faithful to Him.

2. Discussion

Q. What do you think it means to make a difference in the world?

Q. Do you feel like you’re currently making a big difference in the world?

Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine yourself making a massive difference for the Kingdom of God. Changing the world or making a huge impact can seem pretty intimidating!

This week, we learned how Esther made a difference with her life. She really made her life count! 

We learned that we can make a difference too, if we take the right steps.

3. Challenge

Q. What have you done to live differently than the rest of the world?

Q. What can you do in order to live differently than the rest of the world?

Q. How often do you pray and seek God’s direction for your life?

Q. What can you do to make a big difference for the Kingdom of God? Will you be able to do it on your own? What steps should you take to accomplish this? 

We can really learn from Esther’s example to live different than the rest of the world, pray and seek God’s direction, and always remember just ONE person plus God can make a huge difference!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children will do everything they can to make their lives count and make a difference! Pray they will set themselves apart from this world and choose to seek and obey God’s direction in their lives.

Lenses- Part 1

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everybody looks at life through a lens – a set of preconceptions about what’s valuable, what motivates actions, what is versus what should be. That lens makes a huge difference in our lives – especially when it comes to how we view God.

1. Discussion

Luke 11:34-35 [NLT] “When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.”

The lens we view life through can bring God’s truth… or it can fool us into believing a lie. Too many people in our world have the wrong outlook on life because their lens is filtering things in a negative way.

Q. What sorts of factors might affect the way someone looks at life? (i.e. upbringing, hurts & failures, etc.)

Q. What factors in your past (or present) do you think have the most influence on the way you look at life? that impact your quality of life? What other areas in your life might improve?

2. Challenge

Many people who heard Jesus’ teaching couldn’t accept Him as the Messiah (the promised savior) because their filters were set on a military leader who would liberate the Jews from Roman occupancy. As a result, they were blind to the truth that could save them. In the same way, people today have skewed filters for what kind of savior Jesus is supposed to be. If we want to be able to hear and accept the truth, we need to have the right lens. The one that comes from God’s source of truth- the Bible.

Q. What are some preconceptions people have about Jesus that might not be accurate?

Q. How do you think those misconceptions might keep someone from being saved or living a healthy spiritual life?

Q. What can you do to make sure your own lens is allowing you to see Jesus accurately?

 

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for allowing you to understand and accept the good news of Jesus, our Messiah. Ask the Holy Spirit to continually shape your lens by the truth of the Bible, so you can see life the way that He wants you to see it.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Lessons From Esther

1. Power Verse

John 14:15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.”

What’s Up: “I’ll Trust God & I Will Obey!”

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 do you think the word “trust” means?

Q. Have you ever been in a situation where it was hard to trust someone?

Q. Have you ever been in a situation where it was hard to trust God?

This week we learned about Esther. She found herself in a pretty tough situation. When Mordecai told her of Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, she could have thought only about herself and played it safe. She could have ignored Mordecai’s request and never told the King how evil Haman was. However, Esther made the tough choice to trust God and obey Him. 

3. Challenge

Queen Esther spoke up and, as a result, the Jews were saved. She was brought into the kingdom for that special moment, & she didn’t waste it.

Q. In the situation you described earlier, did you end up trusting God?

Q. What did you do? How did it turn out?

Q. What can we do to strengthen our ability to trust God?

Q.  What can we do to make sure we’re ready and able to “seize our moment” when the time comes?

If we will trust God, obey Him, and seize our moment – God will bless us big-time!

 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to trust God and look for their “moment.” Pray for them if they are struggling to obey God’s commands. Remind them that blessing follows obedience. God is good. We can trust Him.

Peace

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Everybody wants to be at peace – peace with God, with others, peace with whatever life throws at you. God wants that, too. He has peace that’s beyond anything humans can find or cultivate, but it can only be experienced when we’re submitted to His leadership.

1. Discussion

2 Thessalonians 3:16 [NLT] “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.”

The peace of God is different than a human emotion. Just like His contentment, it supersedes logic and circumstance, and works no matter what kind of storm is blowing around us.

Q. What’s the greatest stress in your life right now? What situation brings the most anxiety?

Q. Have you tried just talking yourself out of stress/worry? How did that work for you?

Q. If you could hit a button and instantly relieve the stress from this situation, how would that impact your quality of life? What other areas in your life might improve?

2. Challenge

Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] “You [God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

God’s peace is perfect- it overcomes any stress or worry- but it’s not a promise to every human. His peace comes with His presence, to those who trust Him and keep their thoughts fixed on Him. When we lean in close to our heavenly father, we can experience the peace of His protection- something truly supernatural.

Q. Think of your stressful situation again, is it easy or difficult to trust God to see you through, no matter the outcome?

Q. What steps could you take this week to keep your thoughts focused more on God your helper and less on the situation and the stress it brings?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for His supernatural peace. Whatever is stressful to you, hand it over to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep your thoughts focused on Him, and to bring, with His presence, perfect peace in every situation.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Lessons From Haman

1. Power Verse

Philippians 2:3 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

What’s Up: “Treat People Nicely – Don’t Be A Jerk!”

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 do you think the word “pride” means?

Q. Have you ever met someone that was filled with pride?

Nobody likes a jerk.  They’re filled with pride, always get what they want, and treat others as less than themselves.  As followers of Jesus, we need to avoid becoming a jerk.

In the Bible Story this week, we learned from King Xerxes how to NOT be a jerk.  King Xerxes made a lot of terrible mistakes that made him a total jerk!  We learned to avoid the mistakes King Xerxes made and be much better examples of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

3. Activity

Q. Who in your life is a great example of kindness?

Q. How can we avoid becoming prideful?

Q. What are some things we can do to show kindness to others?

We need to do our very best to always be humble, to not get mad when we don’t get our way, and to treat people like they matter!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children to avoid being a jerk.  Pray that they would love and treat everyone with humility and kindness!

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.