Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
1. Primary Statement
Sometimes it’s hard to wait. In a culture of microwave dinners, Keurig coffee brewers, and on-demand video content, it can seem downright criminal when God doesn’t answer prayers quickly. When the answer doesn’t come in the time we expect it to, though, the problem is not God’s timing… it’s ours.
2. Bible Verse
2 Peter 3:9 [ESV] “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
God’s timing works differently than ours, with many factors we may not take into account. Remember, He’s patient, and He’s working for your good.
Q. What’s a prayer you’ve prayed that didn’t get answered as quickly as you wanted?
Q. What’s an example of a time when God was patient with you?
Q. Would you rather have God’s answers – and judgment – happen on your timetable, or on His?
Matthew 7:11 [NLT] “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
God will give good things to you, but He’s the one who determines what is truly good. If you find yourself not getting what you want, that thing you’re asking for might not be as good for you as it seems.
Q. What’s something that humans used to think was good or healthy, which we now understand is bad or unhealthy?
Q. Is it possible that something that seems good for you could actually be bad for others? If God loves all humanity, could His delay in answering be for the greater good?
Q. Sometimes a good thing can become bad if it comes at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. Can you think of a few examples?
4. Prayer Focus
Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for caring enough about what’s good for you to answer prayers in His timing. Ask Him to give you patience to wait for His answers and to help you trust in His character while you’re waiting.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
“I Will Worship God With All My Heart!”
Give everyone a pen and piece of paper and have them write down the name of their favorite celebrity—an athlete, a singer, an actor, a public figure, or whomever. Once everyone is finished, tell them to imagine that they’ve been invited to spend an hour alone with this person.
2. Bible Verse
Psalm 100:2 “Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”
Then talk about the following questions:
Q. What is the first thing you would do when you saw this famous person?
Q. How would you feel while you were in this person’s presence?
Q. How do you think you would feel once you left this person’s presence?
Q. What are some of the things you might say to that person?
When you’re discussing some of the things you might say, suggest to your children that they may say something like:
“You’re the best quarterback ever. The way you run the ball is awesome.”
“You’re so funny in all of your movies. I love the way you can make me laugh.”
“The way you dress is so cool, I would love to look just like you.”
Tell your children that while they may never get the chance to be in the presence of their favorite celebrity, they always have the opportunity to be in the presence of God.
Sometimes our biggest problem in worship is we can’t really think of anything to say other than, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over. Maybe it’s because we aren’t paying enough attention to what God is doing in our lives every day. As a family, make a commitment to praising God every day over the next week for something He’s done in your life that day. It may be something simple like giving you the strength to resist temptation or giving you a sense of peace during a stressful situation. Whatever it is, make sure you spend some time praising God for it.
4. Prayer Focus
To end your devotion, have each person name one thing that God has done for them recently. Then worship God together as a family, either silently or out loud, praising Him for all of the good things He does.
Unity isn’t a destination- it’s a constant effort, pushing back against the divisive forces in the world around us.
If you are having trouble reading it, here is the family-devotional-11-20-16 pdf download.
We want to invite you to join this home discipleship program designed to facilitate Bible reading, discussion, and prayer.
There are two pages in the Family Discipleship Guide. One page is for teen & adult discussion and the other is for kids.
- Choose the discipleship outline that works for you and/or your family.
- Sit down and read through the scriptures and questions each week and then take some time to discuss your thoughts.
- Later in the week we ask that you take time to pray for each other and for specific needs.
- Text DISCIPLE to 24587 after each prayer and discussion time or comment below so that we can celebrate with you, who are deepening your knowledge.
As always, please feel free to ask questions.
Today is Tuesday, December 4, 2012. I intentionally waited until the elections were some distance in our rear-view mirror prior to publishing this blog. While the status quo in the Office of the President as well as both Senate and House of Representatives was maintained, it occurs to me that more so than any in my memory, this election reveals a fundamental change in the constituency of our nation.
For the first time in the history of our nation, two states put same-sex marriage to the popular vote and the ballot measure passed. Previous measures that allowed gay couples to be legally recognized as married had come from state lawmakers and judges rather than a vote of the people. Both Maine and Maryland voters followed the trend shown by several national polls that reveal for the first time that the majority of Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage in America.
In Colorado and Washington voters passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. While federal law remains in effect declaring this practice to be illegal, the people in these states declared their support for this practice.
What has changed?
For years I have heard people say that we are now in a “Post-Christian America”. I am now a believer.
However, what alarms me most is not that the title “Christian Nation” may have changed. What alarms me most, is that if you asked those who voted for these changes, many of them would claim that they are Christians. In fact, according to Barna Research Group most Americans still maintain that they are Christians and are knowledgeable about biblical content. This calls to question what it means to be a Christian. In order to be more precise let’s change the question.
Let’s consider how many people in our nation have a biblically informed world-view and for that classification to apply to a person they must…
- Believe that absolute moral truth exists
- Believe the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches
- Believe that Satan is a real being or force, not merely symbolic
- Believe a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works
- Believe Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
- Believe God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
Barna’s research indicates that when those standards are applied only 9% of our nation has a biblical world-view.
What does that mean to those who are in the 9%? It means that those who do live according to a biblical world-view are far in the minority and as such we have to be more proactive in our faith than ever before. I believe that we must find strategies that are much more effective in the passing of biblical truths from one generation to another. We must become more prayerful than ever before, and we must become a people who are much better educated in the truths of God’s Word.
We no longer live in a world that affords us a mediocre faith. Rather, our faith must become vibrant, powerful, and relevant to the world in which we live. We must once again become the greatest agent for change the world has ever seen.
I for one am praying God would grow me to fit the challenge and I firmly believe that He has prepared me just for this time.
How about you?
Fact: Through Christ’s vicarious death and resulting atonement, and my acceptance of his favor and Lordship, I have been freed from the penalty of both my past and my future sins.
Fact: God’s grace, provided by Christ’s death, covers sin which I recognize and those of which I am unaware.
Fact: There is nothing that I can do to either increase or diminish God’s love or grace.
I believe all of the above statements. Their existence in my reasoning brings great peace and direction to my life and yet they raise a question.
“Why should I live an overly careful life in regards to the things that I allow into my life if these statements are true?”
Do you realize that there are people who embrace many things in their life that most fundamentally conservative Christians would see as a denial of Christian faith and yet those individuals claim an overt faith and trust in Jesus as their savior? The discussion that Christians should live a holy life and more specifically what that life consists of is a discussion more often met with disbelief and sarcasm than with affirmation and agreement. Entire sections of Christian book catalogs are filled with books espousing the relinquishing of antiquated habits that reportedly imprison and bind the faith of those young in the faith and suggest that for the Church to prosper it must embrace the freedoms found in a grace without restrictions. While I don’t embrace many of the traditions that are supposed to be the earmarks of holiness within the Pentecostal movement, my fear is that like so many historical, behavioral, or doctrinal corrections we have allowed the proverbial pendulum to swing beyond balance into equally damaging yet opposite error. Therefore, I would like to suggest a motivation for excluding things from Christian life, that while not the only reason, might certainly be one of the best.
Some of you are old enough to remember when radios and televisions didn’t have buttons for tuning but rather they had knobs. Do you remember on both of them that there was an inner knob or ring that you used to make big changes and an outer ring that you used to really fine tune the channel? It’s that outer or fine tuning ring that I want you to consider.
Let’s work on the premise that now that you have accepted Jesus (the inner ring that chooses the channel) you are beginning to be used of him to reach out into the lives of others who have yet to become a Christ-follower. In order to really be used effectively, you need more than to just be a Christian, you need to be directed by the voice of the Holy Spirit so that you will say and do the right thing at the right time so that the Gospel will have maximum impact.
Your receptivity will result in exacting obedience that will result in maximum presentation and create the possibility of maximum response.
My premise is that it may be possible to be saved and yet because of the interference that the things of the world cause in your spirit and heart, there is no way that you can effectively hear and therefore obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance as God attempts to use you to further His kingdom. It’s the removal of these things (the outer fine tuning ring) that enables you to be an effective witness for Christ.
My best understanding of holiness means that something is without deviation.
Jesus was holy because he was not some of one thing and some of another. Jesus was totally aligned with his father’s will. You and I will never achieve that same degree of holiness, but we should however be willing to remove anything from our life that causes us to be less receptive to the Father’s will. What might those things be? Anything that routinely contradicts in form or philosophy the teachings of our Father’s Word.
There are those that say “the work has been done” in reference to our salvation. I believe that and yet, for all those who have yet to encounter the accurate story of Jesus, there is much work yet to be done and for that work to be done well, you and I must be “finely tuned” to the voice and direction of the Holy Spirit.
That’s all the motivation I need!
For as long as I can remember one of the things that I have loved most has been music. The Lord has used a simple melody or a lyric hundreds of times to capture my attention and direct me towards something that He wanted to say to me. My most moving memories of God’s presence have almost always been accompanied by some piece of music.
One of my most favorite pieces of music is not even church or worship music, but rather would be considered by most people to be modern classical. It is by a composer named Aaron Copeland and is named Appalachian Spring. If you heard it you would probably recognize some of the melodies as it has been used in a lot of commercials and movie soundtracks. There are parts of it that actually make me happy.
Anyway, music is a huge part of my life. It communicates right into my spirit. It is for that reason that I am very careful about what I listen to. While this might not need to be a part of your life, for me nothing conveys a message right into my spirit quicker than melodies and lyrics. For others perhaps it’s the written word or video but for me the quickest way to get something onto me is through music.
I think that everyone has something like this that works best for them. I believe that God created each person with this “door” into their spirit. It’s important that you find out what that is for you and become a guardian of that doorway. It will be a very strategic position in your life. Whoever controls the gate into your spirit will ultimately control your spirit. Don’t allow anything through that gate that might move you away from God. No message, tune, image, or philosophy.
I believe that this is what Solomon was admonishing us to do when he wrote in Proverbs 2:23 “Above all else, guard your heart. For it is the wellspring of life”. You have to be careful what you allow to take root inside you. If you control what gets in you can control what takes root in your spirit, mind or heart.
Let me leave you with a favorite, simple, worship chorus that not only feeds my spirit, but also makes my point. Enjoy it!