Life Groups

Big Impact

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We all want to have a big impact for God – to see poverty eradicated, or the lines of racism erased, to see dozens, or even hundreds of people give their lives to Jesus as a result of our service. God wants the big impact, too, but He typically accomplishes it in much subtler ways – in the little things.

1. Read

Luke 13:18-19 [NLT] “Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?…It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree…”

God loves building big things out of small beginnings! Just like a mustard seed, your contribution to God’s grand, worldwide scheme might seem small, but through the Holy Spirit’s direction, little acts of obedience can produce major victories for His mission.

  • What was your missions pledge for 2019? (if you haven’t made one yet… make one!) In the grand scheme of things, does it seem like a little, or a lot? Now, think of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with 5 bread loaves and 2 fish. Did He need a lot to start with, or did He just need one person’s obedience? What sort of impact do you think God can produce through your obedience?

2. Challenge

Mark 4:32 [NIV] “Yet when planted, [the mustard seed] grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Sometimes, it feels like we put in the work, and nothing is happening! Not every seed planted sprouts up overnight, but under the surface, the Holy Spirit is always working in the lives of people, more than we realize. Think of a few decisions you made today that were affected by your commitment to serve God. 

  • Did they have an obvious, immediate impact for His kingdom? If not, imagine some ways that little decisions might have a big impact over time.

  • List a few people who have had a large spiritual impact on you. Did they accomplish that impact in one large gesture, or was it the accumulation of a lot of seemingly-insignificant things over a period of time?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank God for the people who sowed seeds of obedience so that you could hear the gospel. Ask Him to take your behaviors, your influence, your talents and your finances, and accomplish big stuff with them for His cause.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Follow the Leader

1. Power Verse

Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example in everything you do…”

What’s Up: “I Will Follow God’s Plan For My Money And Stuff!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Living Large”. In this series, we are learning how to handle our money and possessions God’s way. This week, we learned to “Follow the Leader.”

2. Activity

(Set Up: Go through your house and place a small amount of money [loose change is fine] in various locations.) Play Follow the Leader, doing the following:

  • Do fun, safe activities that lead them to the places you’ve hidden the money. Give them the money when you get there.
  • Do things that you normally wouldn’t allow your children to do, such as walk on top of the furniture, kick the walls, etc. When you stop, point out that there’s no money around.

Play Simon Says, doing the following:

  • Give fun, safe commands, such as turn in circles, jog in place, do jumping jacks, etc. After “Simon” tells them to stop, give them a coin.
  • Give commands without saying Simon says that you normally wouldn’t want your children to do, such as kick your brother, pinch your sister, pick your nose, etc. Give a coin only to the children who DIDN’T obey the command.

3. Discussion

How are these games like the way we should handle our money? 

God blesses us when we tithe and give our money because that’s what the Bible says. When we’re unsure about how to spend our money, we should follow the example or ask for help from people who are obeying God.

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time thanking God for all of the money He gives us, and ask Him to help your children spend and save it the way He wants them to.

A New Life- Part 2

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When God revolutionizes your life, it’s not something to keep to yourself – this new life is meant to be shared! The people in our world who are spiritually lost need to hear the gospel and encounter the Holy Spirit, but they’ll never accept a Christianity that’s contradicted by your lifestyle.

1. Read

John 6:44 [NLT] “…For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…”

There’s a portion of coming to faith that’s totally up to the Holy Spirit. Unless people have a spiritual encounter with God, they won’t be able to accept His salvation. We can’t conjure up a “God-experience” – that’s between God and each person.

Romans 10:17 [ESV]“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

There’s also a portion of coming to faith that requires encountering God’s word. Church is a great place for this, but it’s not the only place. The Bible is more readily available than it has ever been, but spiritually lost people need a reason to look to it for help.

2. Challenge

1 Peter 2:12 [NLT] “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”

The final piece of the puzzle is up to you! Your day-to-day, real-world application of God’s character will either point people toward faith, or away from it. If you’ve been given new life in Christ, let it shine! 

  • Think of a few gaps between God’s standard for living and the norms that our culture has drifted to. Where do you fall on that spectrum? How could your obedience to God in those areas point people to Him? How could your disobedience sour people on the gospel?
  • Think of a spiritually lost friend or family member: If you never mentioned church, prayer or reading the Bible to them, would they know (or assume) you’re a Christian? What would be their biggest clues? What things from your life might make them second-guess their assumption?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank God for drawing you to Himself, for giving you access to the Bible, and for placing Christians around you to give you an example of a changed life. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep you on track this week, so that your life points people toward Him.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Don’t Miss the Boat!

1. Power Verse

Isaiah 25:4 “O Lord, you are a refuge from the storm.”

What’s Up: “Through The Rain And Through The Storm, God Will Keep Me Safe And Warm!”

This week, we continue the series called, “NOAH: Surviving The Storms Of Life.” In this lesson, we learn what our response should be when God gets us through the storms of life.

2. Activity

(Set Up: Find age appropriate pictures of the aftermath of storms that your child might have heard of before. For example, Hurricane Katrina, a tornado, or local storm, etc.)

Show your child the pictures of the damages of the storm and talk with them about its impact.

  • How do you think you would have felt if you’d been in the storm?
  • How do you think the people felt after the storm was over?

3. Discussion

During our lives, we’ll go through storms, too. Maybe not like this storm, but there will be times when we face tough situations and problems that may seem impossible. God promises to be with us during these times, though, and He’s the one who gives us the strength to survive.

  • What should we do when we have made it through the storms of life?
  • God is the one who helps us through our storms. When we have made it through, we should praise Him and celebrate what He has done in our lives.

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your child in a time of prayer and worship. Encourage them to worship if they are in a storm or if they aren’t in a storm. Thank God together for what He has done and what He will do in your lives.

A New Life

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New life in Christ is something we celebrate, but what effects should that change have in our day to day life? We can take a few cues from Jesus’ example.

1. Read

Luke 6:12 [ESV] “…he (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.”

A new life is a spiritual one, one that keeps us in communion with God. Jesus knew His time on earth was limited, but He didn’t let that sense of urgency keep Him from spending the time He needed to in prayer.

  • Prayer takes time. What’s the biggest competition for your prayer time?

  • What are some ways you could help (or force) yourself to take more time for prayer and worship?

2. Challenge

Luke 6:13 [ESV] “And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles…”

A new life is a relational one. The God-life was never meant to be done alone. Jesus recruited the twelve not only to help and support Him, but so that He could invest in them and prepare them for ministry.

  •  List 3 or 4 aspects of the God-life – things God expects of every believer once they’re saved. Which of these would benefit from being in community with other Christians? Get specific, how would relationships help?

  • What’s one or more ways that God has specifically called you to minister (serve Him by sharing and showing the gospel)? How would your ability to fulfill God’s assignment benefit from being in relationship with others? Be specific, and write it down. Are you really giving God your best if you don’t invest in relationships to gain these benefits?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank God for the new life He’s given you. Commit to using your time and relationships to maximize your effectiveness for Him.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Don’t Miss the Boat!

1. Power Verse

Genesis 7:5 “And Noah obeyed all that God commanded him.”

What’s Up:  “Stick With God And You Won’t Miss The Boat!”

This week, we continue the series called, “NOAH: Surviving The Storms of Life”. In this lesson, we learn that when we follow God and obey His commands, we will find miracles taking place in our own lives.

2. Read

Genesis 6:9-22  Noah was a godly man. He walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons. The earth was very sinful in God’s eyes. It was full of people who did mean and harmful things. God saw how sinful the earth had become. All its people were living very sinful lives. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to everyone. They have filled the earth with their harmful acts. I am certainly going to destroy them and the earth. So make yourself an ark out of cypress wood. Cover it with tar inside and out. The ark has to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it. Put a door in one side of the ark. I am going to bring a flood on the earth. It will destroy all life under the sky. But I will make my covenant with you. You will go into the ark. Your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives will enter it with you.  Bring a male and a female of every living thing into the ark. They will be kept alive with you.  Two of every kind of bird will come to you. Two of every kind of animal will also come to you. And so will two of every kind of creature that moves along the ground. All of them will be kept alive with you. Take every kind of food that you will need. Store it away as food for you and them.”  Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

3. Discussion

  • What did God say He was going to send to the earth? Why?
  • Do you think it was hard for Noah to believe a flood was going to happen? 

  • Did he still obey God?

It wasn’t easy for Noah and his family to trust God and believe that there was actually going to be a flood that would destroy the whole Earth. It had never flooded like that before. But despite the difficulty, Noah and his family obeyed. They were saved from the flood and delivered from complete annihilation.

Have you ever felt like God wanted you to do something that was hard? Obeying God can be hard – especially when we are going through a hard time in life. But when we obey, He keeps us safe.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your child if they are currently facing a storm in their life. Pray that now and in the future they would find safety in their Comforter and God would provide a miracle.

We are Better Together- Part 2

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You and the church are only healthy and fully-functional when you’re connected to other Christians. We’re better together! The problem is, connection doesn’t happen by default. In order to live up to God’s best for us, we’ve got to make the effort to live a connected life.

1. Read

Hebrews 10:24 [NLT] Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”

Being relationally connected to other Christians takes effort – energy – on your end. Connecting God’s way means finding ways to be a support to others. Don’t just have friends, function as a friend to the people around you. 

  • Think for a few minutes – what are ways people in the church motivate each other to live the God-life better? What are some ways you’ve benefited from the influence of other Christians?

  • Who are the people you’re connected to relationally in the church? What are some ways the Holy Spirit could use you to motivate them to acts of love and good works?

2. Challenge

Hebrews 10:25 [NLT] “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Connecting to people requires an intentional effort – there will always be other ways to spend your time and energy, and those other things are constantly vying for your attention. If you want to feel connected to people in the church, you’re going to need to make it a priority.

  • What are some otherwise-good things that can push connection points (like Life Groups, Serving Teams, eating out with friends, etc) down on your priority list?

  • What are some things that you might have to do less, or drop altogether, to make space for connecting to people?

  • What are some ways that those competing activities could be modified to become relationship-building, church-people-connecting activities?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes to thank God for the support and encouragement He brings to you through individuals in the church. Be specific – use their names! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you prioritize connection so you can have that kind of positive impact on others.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Living for God in a Wicked World

1. Power Verse

Hosea 14:9 “The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them.”

What’s Up: “I’m Gonna Walk With God Every Day, Living Righteous Is The Only Way!”

This week, we start a brand new series called, “NOAH: Surviving The Storms Of Life”. In this series, we will look at one of the most famous guys in the Bible – Noah! In this lesson, we learn how we can live a life that stands out for God just like Noah.

2. Activity

Set Up: Gather several of the same object and one object that is different. For example: several candies of the same color and one of a different color; several marshmallows and one chocolate chip.

Allow your children to observe the objects.

  • What do you notice about these things?
  • How could you tell one was different? (i.e. it looked different, it felt different, etc.)

3. Discussion

As Christians, we are supposed to be like the one object. In the world, there is a lot of evil, a lot of people doing the wrong thing. God wants us to be different than everyone else in the world. He wants us to stand out and choose to do what’s right. When we do, others can quickly tell there is a difference in us just like you were able to quickly tell the difference in these objects.

If we are going to live a life that is different, we have to stay close to God. We can stay close to God by praying, reading the Bible, and worshipping. By doing these things, we can live for Him in a sinful world.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that God will help them to live their lives so others will see a difference in them. Talk about ways that your family already spends time with God and/or discuss ways your family can make it a new priority.

We are Better Together

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Over the past few years, we’ve been able to accomplish great things in our community as we work together… but there’s more. God has world-changing work for us to accomplish, but the only way to do it is to work together – not just in partnership, but in deep relationships.

1. Read

1 Corinthians 12:12 [NLT] “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.”

Your body is only healthy and strong when all your systems and organs are interconnected and working together. It’s the same way for the body of Christ – the Church. God needs a stronger-than-ever representation in our community, and that means we need to be more connected and united than ever.

  • What are a few organs your body could live without? How would losing them affect your health and strength? What are some activities you’d be unable to do after losing them?

  • Just being at a church service doesn’t make someone connected to the body. What does it look like to be disconnected? (Give some examples!) What does it look like, then, to be connected?

2. Challenge

1 Corinthians 12:27 [ESV] “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

Flex your biceps. Every time you lift a gallon of milk or bring your toothbrush to your mouth, that action is accomplished by about 250,000 individual muscle fibers. On its own, a muscle fiber could do next to nothing, but together, the bicep muscle group can do some impressive stuff. Your role in God’s Church is vital – but it can only be fully realized when you work in harmony with others.

  • What are some functions or roles that you feel like the Holy Spirit has assigned to you?

  • What are some ways that being connected relationally could help you to do God’s work better (be specific!)? How might working with others allow you to have a greater impact than what you could do by yourself?

3. Prayer Focus

Talk to God for a few minutes about your role in His body. Ask Him to empower you to be stronger as an individual, to work in harmony with other Christians, and to grow in relationships with others, so that the whole body benefits.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Life is a Highway: Detour

1. Power Verse

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

What’s up: “Trust In God!  Don’t Forget, He Has Never Failed You Yet!”

This week, we conclude our series called, “Life Is A Highway”.  In this series, we learned that life is a lot like a highway.

2. Activity

On a sheet of paper, draw two dots with several inches of space between them, and label the dots Home and Store.  Ask your kids the following questions:

  • Can you draw the best way to get from Home to the Store?
  • Why is that the best way? (it’s the shortest)
  • Is the shortest way the only way?
  • Is the shortest way always the best way?  
  • What are some reasons to take a different route? 
  • Can you draw some other ways to get from Home to the Store? (help them draw some curvy lines that connect the two dots)

Sometimes we have a goal or a dream we want to accomplish in life, and the way to achieve it seems pretty obvious.  We work hard and take all the steps needed to accomplish the goal, but sometimes things happen that cause us to detour from our goal. 

3. Discussion

  • What are some things that might force us to take a detour?
  • How do we feel when we have to take a detour?
  • Does a detour mean that we’ll never accomplish the goal?

Detours in life are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean God has abandoned us.  Trusting God may seem hard, but it’s the only way to ultimately achieve our goals.  God isn’t surprised by detours! 

4. Prayer Focus

Thank God for leading you on life’s highway.  Ask Him to help you through times when you feel like you’re not accomplishing your goal.

Genesis 2

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The Completion of Creation (Genesis 2:1-7)

  1. The seventh Day of Creation
    1. God rested on the seventh day
    2. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.
      1. The Sabbath was made for man not the other way around

Colossians 2:16–17 (ESV) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Galatians 4:9–11 (ESV)  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

  1. The history of the heavens and the earth
    1. Before any plants were on the earth
    2. God had not yet caused it to rain
    3. God formed man from the dust of the earth
    4. God breathed life into man

Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-17)

  1. Two trees in the Garden of Eden (8-9)
    1. The tree of life
    2. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil
  1. God’s command to Adam (15-17)

God creates the first woman (2:18-25)

  1. God makes a helper comparable to Adam (18)
    1. It’s not good that man should be alone
    2. I will make a helper comparable to him
  1. God makes Eve from a rib from Adam’s side
    1. Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones
  1. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed

Genesis 1

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Discipleship Outlines for Life Groups

Quick Summary: God created the heavens, the earth and everything that lives. He made humankind in his image, and gave them charge over the earth.

Creation, Accomplished by God

Who made all of this? 

Genesis 1:1 (ESV)  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Acts 17:24 (ESV)  “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man…”

Psalm 33:6 (ESV)  “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

Psalm 33:9 (ESV)  “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

Hebrews 11:3 (ESV)  “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Isaiah 42:5 (ESV)  “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it…”

Colossians 1:16 (ESV)  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

Romans 1:20 (ESV)  “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

How He did it. God spoke it into being.

Genesis 1:3 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

Genesis 1:6 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.'”

Genesis 1:9 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.”

Genesis 1:11 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.’ And it was so.”

Genesis 1:14 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years…”

Genesis 1:20 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.'”

Genesis 1:24 (ESV)  “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so.”

Genesis 1:26 (ESV)  “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”

Notice God’s: Authority, Power, Sovereignty 

Man was made in God’s image

Genesis 1:26 (ESV)  “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”

The image of God does not necessarily mean that God looks like us but rather that we carry within us an outline of the divinity of God and were created to represent him on this earth.

Also note that mankind was created unique and above the rest of creation.  As such we were commanded by God to take dominion over the rest of creation.

God exists in three persons. (The Hebrew word is a plural noun.) Father, Son, Holy Spirit