Conversation Starters: Justice

DSC_9747THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Justice is what most people look for in any society. Unfortunately, the reality of injustice is just as common. We all want justice when we’ve been wronged, but are we as ready to step up when it’s someone else needing justice? We cannot ignore injustice because our apathy or inaction is simply another form of injustice. We can’t right every wrong, but God calls us to be His champions for justice.

Concept: Justice 

Preschool

Judges 6-8

LIFE POINT: Some people called Midanites were hurting God’s people. The Midianites stole their crops. The people prayed for God’s help. One day as Gideon was working, an angel appeared to him. The angel called him a mighty warrior. The angel said that Gideon must lead his men to save his people from the Midianites. Gideon did not know how to do this, since he was not strong. “God will give you the victory,” the angel said. God chose the men who would go with Gideon by the way they drank water from a stream. Gideon had 300 men. Each man had a torch in a clay jar and a trumpet Gideon and his men surrounded the Midianites’ camp. It was dark and late. At the signal, the men
blew their trumpets and broke their jars. The Midianites were confused and ran away. Gideon and his men followed and defeated them. God had given them the victory!

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your child to name some things God wants people to do. Help her work to do what God says.

Kids

Judges 6-8

LIFE POINT: One day, God sent an angel to Gideon. “God sent me to tell you that He has heard your people praying and asking for His help,” the angel said. “You are the one God chose to help them.” Gideon said he did not have an army and that the Midianites were too strong. God announced that He would be with Gideon. God chose men to fight by the way they drank from a stream. Now Gideon had only 300 men. And the enemy had 120,000 men! God helped Gideon know what to do. Gideon gave every man a trumpet and an empty pitcher with a torch inside. He placed directed the men to surround the enemy camp. At Gideon’s signal, the men broke the pitchers and blew their trumpets. “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” they shouted. The enemy was frightened and began to fight one another. The battle was won!

LIVE IT OUT: Talk with your child about different choices she makes every day. Remind her that God wants her to make right choices. Pray with your child that she will make the choices God wants her to make.

Students

Exodus 23:1-3, 6-9

THE POINT: God wants us to defend those who can’t defend themselves. Discuss with your student some of the injustices you see in your community and how you can take action to help. Discuss the following quote:

“It takes great courage to open one’s heart and mind to the tremendous injustice and suffering in our world.”1 —Vincent A. Gallagher

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If your student plans to complete Called To Action:
• Help your student determine what social justice topic to research.
• Commit to serve alongside your student as they learn about this social injustice.

If your student plans to complete Do More:
• Encourage your student to stand up against bullying.
• Be an encouragement to students, or even other adults, who may be bullied in your community or church.

1. Vincent A. Gallagher, The Truth Cost of Low Prices: The Violence of Globalization (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Book, 2006), 96.

Conversation Starters: Serving Others

IMG_7365-001THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: At the root of all our problems is a selfish bent, an emphasis on “what I want.” While it’s good to be a part of a church that will help us grow in Christ, sometimes we cross the line when we make the church all about what it can do for us personally. The church is to help us grow, but as a part of the body of Christ, we are also to be involved in serving and helping others grow.

Concept: Serving Others 

Preschool

Deuteronomy 4-6

LIFE POINT: The Israelites were getting ready to go into the land that God had promised them. Moses spoke to the people before they went into the land. Moses told the people to remember everything that God had done for them. He reminded the people that God had brought them out of Egypt and led them to the land that He had promised to give them. Moses reminded the people of the Ten Commandments that God had given them.
Moses told the people they must worship only the One true God. Moses said, “And this commandment is the greatest: love God with all your heart and all your strength. Teach these words to your children so that they will love God. God will bless your families for many years if you keep His commandments.”

LIVE IT OUT: With your child, look at a picture of your family. Lead her to do one kind thing this week for each person in the picture. Mention that it pleases God when we help our family.

Kids

Deuteronomy 4-6

LIFE POINT: The Israelites were getting ready to go into the land that God had promised them. Moses spoke to the people before they went into the land. Moses told the people to remember everything that God had done for them. He reminded the people that God had brought them out of Egypt and led them to the land that He had promised to give them. Moses reminded the people of the Ten Commandments that God had given them. He told the people they must worship only the One true God. Moses said, “And this commandment is the greatest: love God with all your heart, all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Teach these words to your children, so that they will love Me. I will bless your families for many years if you keep my Commandments.”.

LIVE IT OUT: Draw a picture of your family. Promise to do at least one kind thing this week for each person in your picture.

Students

Ephesians 5:15-21

THE POINT: Serving in the body of Christ is a wise use of our time. Discuss your student’s current schedule. Ask: Is this a wise use of your time? Consider your own time. Are you using it to serve the body of Christ? Discuss the following quote:

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”1 —Gilbert K. Chesterton

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he plans to complete Preferences:
•Reflect with your student on times when you’ve complained about preferences in your church.
•Determine to prioritize your real issues over preferences.

If he plans to do Appreciate Your Leader:
•Suggest ways your student can serve the leaders of your church.
•Pray with your student for your church leaders.

1. “G.K. Chesterton Quotes,” Goodreads, [cited March 20, 2014]. Available from the Internet: https://www.goodreads.com.

Conversation Starters: Spiritual Growth

DSC_2629THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Rooted in the American dream is the idea of the self-made individual—a person who rises from a low level to become great. The self-made person, though, is a myth. No one can rise to any level without the help and support of others. That is certainly true in the church. God designed His church so that we need and support one another. Growth in Christ occurs in the context of connecting with other believers.

Concept: Spiritual Growth 

Preschool

Exodus 13:17- 5:21

LIFE POINT: Pharaoh told the people to leave Egypt. Moses led the people, God showed the way. God led by a cloud in the day and a fire at night. God told Moses to tell the people to camp. God knew Pharaoh would chase them. The Egyptians would see God’s power and know that God was the only God. Pharaoh came after the Israelites to bring them back to Egypt. When the people saw the Egyptians coming, they were frightened. Moses said, “Do not be afraid!” God told Moses, “Stretch your staff across the sea.” Moses obeyed, and God divided the sea with a great wind. The waters were piled up on either side, and the people walked across the sea on dry land! When the people were safe, God told Moses to stretch his hand out again. The waters of the sea came back together. God had saved the people. The people were happy and sang a song to God.

LIVE IT OUT: Talk about how adults hold preschoolers’ hands as they cross a busy street. Ask your child why they think that happens. Help him understand that even though we can’t see God, we can trust God to take care of us even when we are scared.

Kids

Exodus 13:17-15:21

LIFE POINT: Pharaoh told the people to leave Egypt. Moses led the people as God showed the way. God led by a cloud in the day and a fire at night. God told Moses to tell the people to camp. God knew Pharaoh would chase them. The Egyptians would see God’s power and know that God was the only God. Pharaoh came after the Israelites to bring them back to Egypt. When the people saw the Egyptians coming, they were frightened. Moses said, “Do not be afraid!” God told Moses, “Stretch your staff across the sea.” Moses obeyed, and God divided the sea with a great wind. The waters were piled up on either side, and the people walked across the sea on dry land! When the people were safe, God told Moses to stretch out his hand again. The waters of the sea came back together. God had saved the people. The people were happy and sang a song to God.

LIVE IT OUT: Talk about how adults hold children’s hands as they cross a busy street. Ask your child why they think that happens. Help him understand that even though we can’t see God, we can trust God to take care of us even when we are scared.

Students

Ephesians 4:11-16

THE POINT: Use your gifts to build up the community of faith. What are your gifts? How are you using them to build up the church? Discuss the following quote:

“It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.”1 —Calvin Coolidge

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help:

If he plans to complete Learn to Serve:
•Point out to your student places of service within the church.
•Search out opportunities and commit to serve with your student.

If he plans to do Find a Mentor:
•Encourage your student to seek a mentor.
•Consider being a mentor.

1. Lewis C. Henry, ed. 5000 Quotations for All Occasions (Philadelphia, PA: The Blackiston Company, 1945), 319.

Conversation Starters: Temptation

IMG_0506THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Sin is so enticing and compelling on the front end; but afterward, as we face the consequences of giving in, we see our sin from a different perspective. It is in the aftermath that we often ask ourselves with regret, “Why did I give in?” Through the life of Joseph, the Bible gives us an example of how the Holy Spirit moves us beyond temptation to make the right choice.

Topic: Temptation 

Preschool

Genesis 39

LIFE POINT: Joseph had been taken to Potiphar’s house in Egypt to work as a servant. Potiphar was an important officer in Pharaoh’s army. God took care of Joseph. God helped Joseph become successful. Potiphar liked Joseph, and soon he became Potiphar’s helper. Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his whole house and all his business. Potiphar trusted Joseph. Potiphar did not have to worry about anything. God blessed Potiphar’s house because of Joseph. Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph, too. She wanted Joseph to make a wrong choice. But Joseph said no. So Potiphar’s wife told a lie about Joseph to Potiphar. Even though Potiphar trusted Joseph, he believed his wife. He sent Joseph to Pharaoh’s prison.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your preschooler think of times he has been tempted to do wrong things (not sharing, disobeying, telling a lie, etc.). Remind him that God is always with him and can help him make the right choice.

Kids

Genesis 39

LIFE POINT: In Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar. Potiphar was an important officer of the king. God helped Joseph to do his job as a slave well. Potiphar saw that everything Joseph did turned out good. He put Joseph in charge of all he owned. Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph, too. But she tried to get Joseph to do something wrong. She grew angry when Joseph would not do what she wanted. Potiphar’s wife told lies about Joseph. Potiphar was very angry. Even though Potiphar trusted Joseph, he believed his wife. He had Joseph thrown in prison. God was good to Joseph even in prison. The guard liked Joseph. He put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child think of times he’s been tempted to do wrong things (examples: not sharing, disobeying, telling a lie). Remind him that God is always with him and can help him make the right choice.

Students

Genesis 39:3-12

THE POINT: It’s easier to fight temptation when you’re pursuing God’s purposes. What temptation do you struggle with? Discuss with your student a time when you overcame temptation. Discuss the following quote:

“Sin always seems ‘good, and pleasant, and desirable,’ at the time of commission.”1 —J. C. Ryle

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he plans to complete Know Temptation:
•Discuss with your student some of his or her current struggles with temptation.
•Share with your student a favorite verse that helps you overcome temptation.

If he plans to do It Is Written:
•Help your student identify areas where he or she struggles with temptation.
•Guide your student to “It is Written” Scripture verses to help with these struggles.

1. J. C. Ryle, The Priest, The Puritan, and The Preacher (New York, NY: Robert Carter and Brother, 1856), 237.

Conversation Starters: Honor God

DSC_0965THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Words can last a lifetime. We can use our words to build up or tear down, but as the church of Jesus Christ, we are given only one option: build up. The Holy Spirit can empower us to use what we say to glorify God.

Concept: Honor God 

Preschool

Exodus 20

LIFE POINT: God gave the people ten special rules called commandments to help them know what to do. These are the rules God spoke.
**I am God. There is no other God. Love only Me.
**Do not make anything of gold or wood to worship. Worship only Me.
**Always say God’s name with respect.
**Work on six days, but rest on the seventh. It is a day special to God.
**Obey your father and mother.
**Do not kill anyone.
**Keep your marriage promises.
**Do not take anything that is not yours.
**Always tell the truth.
**Do not want other people’s things.
When the people heard thunder and lightning, they were afraid. Moses said, “Do not be afraid. God wants you to love and obey Him.”

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your preschooler some ways she can obey you (parents). Remind her that just as we obey our parents, it is important to do what God wants us to do.

Kids

Exodus 20

LIFE POINT: God gave the people ten special rules, called Commandments, to help them know how to live and what to do. These are the rules God spoke:
I am God. There is no other God. Love only Me.
Do not make anything of gold or wood to worship. Worship only Me.
Always say God’s name in a respectful way.
Work on six days, but rest on the seventh. It is a day special to God.
Obey your father and mother. Do not kill anyone. Keep your marriage promises. Do not take anything that is not yours. Always tell the truth. Be happy with what you have. Do not want other people’s things.Then the people heard thunder and saw lightning. They were frightened. Moses said, “Do not be afraid. God wants you to love and obey Him.”

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child think of ten ways kids can obey their parents. Write them down and number them from 1-10. Remind your child that just as people should obey their parents, it is even more important to do what God wants them to do.

Students

Ephesians 4:25-32

THE POINT: Our words matter. Do your words tear down or build up? Discuss with your student the power of words. Discuss the following quote:

“Somehow, what’s in our hearts, good or bad is eventually translated into words and deeds.”1 —Andy Stanley

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he plans to complete Watch Your Words:
•Challenge your student to be mindful of his or her words this week.
•Share with your student a time in your own life where your words got you in trouble.

If he plans to do Good Words:
•Challenge your student to memorize Psalm 19:14.
•Memorize Psalm 19:14 yourself. Discuss with your student how you best memorize Scripture.
1. Andy Stanley, Enemies of the Heart (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2011), 31.

Conversation Starters: Christian Unity

IMG_8012THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: All sports carry a high level of excitement in championship games, but the excitement is even greater when a team with only average talent wins. Talent has a role in winning games, but what can really make a difference is when the individual players work together as a single unit—a team. This principle is all the more critical when we’re talking about the life and ministry of the church. The Holy Spirit empowers believers to work together in complete unity.

Topic: Christian Unity 

Preschool

Exodus 5-12

LIFE POINT: The Israelites worked hard for Pharaoh. God spoke to Moses. “Go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go. I will show Pharaoh My power. Tell the people of Israel that I will free them.” Moses and Aaron went to speak to Pharaoh. “God says, ‘Let My people go!’ ” said Moses. Pharaoh said, “No!” To show His power, God made the water in the Nile River undrinkable. But Pharaoh did not let the people go. Eight more times they went to Pharaoh. Each time God made something happen to the Egyptians—frogs, gnats, loss of cattle, boils, hail, locusts, and no sun in the day. Pharaoh did not let the people go. Moses told the people to get ready. God knew that Pharaoh was finally going to let the people leave. The people did what God said. The next morning, Pharaoh allowed the people to leave Egypt.

LIVE IT OUT: March around the room playing follow the leader with your child. Remind him that God had a plan for Moses to lead the people and Moses obeyed. Help your preschooler learn that God has a plan for his life, too.

Kids

Exodus 5-12

LIFE POINT: The Israelites worked hard for Pharaoh. God spoke to Moses. “Go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go. I will show Pharaoh My power. Tell the people of Israel that I will free them.” Moses and Aaron went to speak to Pharaoh. “God says, ‘Let My people go!’ ” said Moses. Pharaoh said, “No!” To show His power, God made the water in the Nile River undrinkable. But Pharaoh did not let the people go. Eight more times they went to Pharaoh. Each time God made something happen to the Egyptians—frogs, gnats, loss of cattle, boils, hail, locusts, and no sun in the day. Pharaoh did not let the people go. Moses told the people to get ready. God knew that Pharaoh was finally going to let the people leave. The people did what God said. The next morning, Pharaoh allowed the people to leave Egypt.

LIVE IT OUT: Remind your child that God had a plan for Moses to lead the people and Moses obeyed. Help your child learn that God has a plan for his life, too. Help him begin to discover what that plan is.

Students

Ephesians 4:1-6

THE POINT: Unity within the body of Christ takes work. How do you handle discord?Discuss with your student the appropriate way to handle disagreements between believers. Discuss the following quote:

“To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.”1 —Martin Luther

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he plans to complete Build Unity:
•Suggest some ways your student can help build unity within his or her peer group.
•Commit to build unity in your own group of peers.

If he plans to do Encourage Others:
•Discuss your student’s ideas of how to be an encourager this week.
•Generously encourage your student this week.

1. “Martin Luther Quotes, “ Brainy Quote, [cited March 19, 2014]. Available from the Internet: http://www.brainyquote.com.

Conversation Starters: Refuge

DSC_2695A Study in the Psalms

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: When life seems to turn against us, we need someone to stand with us. We need to know we are not alone when we experience loss. God, who never disappoints or hurts us, walks with us. He provides what we need and strengthens us with His presence. Our desire should be to look back at the storm and say that we are nearer to God and now look more like Him because of His presence.

Psalm 23

Preschool

Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-24

LIFE POINT: Mary lived in the town of Nazareth. One day an angel visited Mary. She was surprised. “Do not be afraid,” the angel said. “God has a message for you. You will have a baby. He will be special. He will be God’s Son.” Mary did not understand how this could happen. But she believed God. She said, “I will do what God says.” One night when Joseph was sleeping, he had a dream. God sent an angel to give Joseph a message. “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife,” the angel told Joseph. “She will have a special baby. The baby is God’s Son. You will name the baby Jesus.” Joseph believed God and did what God told him to do. He took Mary to his house. Mary and Joseph became a family. God chose a special family for Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Review the Bible story with your child. Tell her that God chose a special family for Jesus because families care for one another.

Kids

Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-24

LIFE POINT: Mary was a young woman who lived in Galilee in a town called Nazareth. Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph. Gabriel was an angel sent by God to Mary. Gabriel said, “Do not to be afraid. You will have a son. You should name the baby Jesus.”
Mary did not understand how she could have a baby. Gabriel reminded Mary that nothing is impossible for God. Mary said she would do whatever God wanted her to do.
When Joseph heard about the baby, he was unhappy. Joseph knew he was not the father of this baby. He would not marry her. One night, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel said that Joseph should not be afraid to marry Mary. The angel explained that this was God’s Son. He said, “Name Him Jesus.” When Joseph woke up, he did what God’s angel told him to do. Joseph and Mary were married.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child recite Matthew 1:21 from memory. Help him write a short thank-you prayer for the Savior, Jesus.

Students

Psalm 23

THE POINT: No matter what you are going through, God is with you. Tell your student about a difficult season in your life when you knew God was with you. How did God reveal Himself to you during this time? Discuss the following quote:

“Without a shepherd, sheep are not a flock.”1 —Russian Proverb

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If your student plans to complete Refuge:
• Memorize Psalm 46:1 with your student. Post it around your home as a reminder that God is always with you.

If your student plans to complete Encouragement Box:
• Help your student make a box that he/she can fill with encouraging words.
• Give your student notes of encouragement or Scripture that he/she could add to the box.

1. “Shepherd,” ThinkExist.com, [cited 2 May 2014]. Available from the Internet: http://thinkexist.com.

Conversation Starters: Peace

IMG_1504-001A Study in the Psalms

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: “I could have some peace in my life if it weren’t for ….” We could all complete that statement with something that, at best, is annoying or, at worst, causes pain in our lives. Peace is not just the absence of irritating circumstances or challenging problems. We can experience truth in the midst of trouble. Psalm 46 points us to the source of such peace: God Himself.

Psalm 46:1-11 

Preschool

Luke 15:11-24

LIFE POINT: Jesus was teaching people about God’s love. He told a story
about a father and a son. Jesus said, “A father had two sons. The younger son said, ‘Father, give me my share of all that you own.’ The son took all that was his and left. He traveled to a faraway country. He wasted his money on wrong choices. When a famine came, he had no food and no money. He finally got a job taking care of a man’s pigs. The son was so hungry he thought about eating the pigs’ food. The son realized he needed to go home and tell his father that he was sorry. So the son returned home. When the son was near his father’s house, the father saw him. The father ran to him, hugged, and kissed him. ‘I am sorry,’ the son said. The father was so happy his son was home. The father had
forgiven his son and they all had a big party.”

LIVE IT OUT: Forgiveness is a hard concept for preschoolers to comprehend. Begin teaching your child about forgiveness by modeling forgiveness for him.

Kids

Luke 15:11-24

LIFE POINT: One day Jesus told a story about a man who had two sons. The younger son asked his father for his share of the money and left. The son spent his money foolishly and soon had nothing left. There was a famine. Food was hard to find. The son got a job so he would have money for food. The only job he could find was feeding pigs. He was hungry and he wanted to eat the pigs’ food! The son remembered his father’s house. He decided to go home, ask for forgiveness, and ask to work as his father’s servant. Before the son got home, his father ran to greet him. The son began telling his father that he had done wrong. His father didn’t wait. He forgave him and ordered the servants to, “Bring the best robe for my son. Put a ring on his finger. Put sandals
on his feet. Let’s have a feast and celebrate! This son of mine was lost, and now is found!”

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child make a list of sins (or wrong choices) she has done on a certain day. Lead her in a prayer of forgiveness.

Students

Psalm 46:1-11

THE POINT: God is the source of peace when your world falls apart. Discuss with your student some things that people mistakenly try to find peace in. Discuss the following quote:

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”1 —C.S. Lewis

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If your student plans to complete Be Ready:
• Help your student answer the question,”Why do you have peace?”
• Pray that your student would have an opportunity to share his/her answers.

If your student plans to complete Stronger:
• Ask your student how he/she would complete the sentence: “I would have some more peace in my life if it weren’t for…”
• Pray for your student to find peace in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

1. .S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2001), 50.

Conversation Starters: God’s Protection

DSC_0980A Study in the Psalms

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We do all we can to protect ourselves and people we love from
danger. Nothing we do actually guarantees protection. As a result, we can live in constant fear, or we can adopt an “I’m not afraid of anything” attitude. The Bible, however, offers us a more complete choice: to trust God and His protection.

Psalm 91:1-4, 9-11, 14-16 

Preschool

Luke 15

LIFE POINT: Jesus was talking to people about God’s love. Jesus told three stories, or parables. First Jesus told about a lost sheep. Jesus said, “If you have one hundred sheep and one gets lost, you will go find it. You will call your friends and have a party because you found your sheep. In the same way, God and all of heaven will be happy when people decide to love and follow Him.” Next Jesus told about a lost coin. Jesus said, “Suppose a
woman has ten coins and loses one. She will light a lamp and look everywhere for it. She will call her friends together and say, ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Even more so, God and all of heaven is happy when people decide to love and follow God.” The third parable was about the lost son. Jesus wanted people to know that God and all of heaven celebrates when people decide to love and follow God.

LIVE IT OUT: Involve your preschooler in using the Bible. Let him turn the pages. Point out where certain verses are found. Point to the name Jesus. Help him to learn that
the Bible is a book for him.

Kids

Luke 15

LIFE POINT: Jesus told three stories, or parables, to teach the Pharisees how
God felt about sinners. Jesus asked, “If you had 100 sheep and one was lost, wouldn’t
you look for the lost one? When the sheep is found, you would call your friends. You would say, ‘Rejoice with me! I found my lost sheep!’ Heaven is excited when one sinner turns from sin!” Then Jesus told about a woman who had 10 silver coins. When
she lost one, she searched carefully everywhere until she found it. She was excited and called her friends and neighbors to share the good news. Jesus explained that God’s angels are even more joyful when a sinner turns from his sin! Finally, Jesus told the third parable about the lost son. The father was happy his son came home. The father told his older son, “We must celebrate. We must rejoice. Your brother is found!”

LIVE IT OUT: Talk to your child about how you protect him. Help him think of ways God protects him. Thank God for that protection.

Students

Psalm 91:1-4, 9-11, 14-16

THE POINT: A close relationship to God is my ultimate protection. How has God protected you in your life? Share with your student a specific time when you trusted God to protect you. Discuss the following quote:

“There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”1 —Corrie Ten Boom

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do the Live It Out activity. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If your student plans to complete Faithful Protector:

• Memorize 2 Thessalonians 3:3 with your student.
• Share with your student how the Lord has been faithful
in your own life.

1. “Corrie Ten Boom Quotes,” Goodreads.com, [cited 7 May 2014]. Available from the Internet: https:// www.goodreads.com.

 

Conversation Starters: Difficult Circumstances

IMG_1190A STUDY IN THE PSALMS 

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We can often feel overwhelmed and let our circumstances get us down. Some of the most confusing times of our lives can be when we don’t know what to do. In the Bible, we read the words of the psalmist, who also experienced a down time, but his words give us encouragement by pointing to the God who is above our circumstances.

Psalm 42:1-3, 6-8; 43:3-5 

Preschool

Matthew 2:1-12

LIFE POINT: After Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem. “Where is the special baby that was born? We saw a star that rose after He was born,” they said. “We have come to worship Him. He is God’s Son.” The king heard about the men who were looking for a special baby. The king asked the priests to find out where this happened. The priests
studied the Bible and said, “The baby was born in Bethlehem.” The king told the wise men, “Go to Bethlehem to find the child. When you find Him, tell me where He is. I want to worship Him also.” The wise men left Jerusalem. As they traveled to Bethlehem, they saw
the star they had followed. It was shining over the place where Jesus was. They were very happy! They went into the house and saw Jesus with His mother, Mary. They worshiped Jesus. The wise men gave Jesus special gifts–gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned the wise men in a dream to not return to the king. So they returned home a different way.

LIVE IT OUT: Use your time driving in the car to play worship music and sing. Encourage your child to sing along, too.

Kids

Matthew 2:1-12

LIFE POINT: During the reign of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw a star that rose after He was born,” they said. “We have come to worship Him. ” King Herod was upset. He was the king! Herod’s advisers told him about Micah’s prophecy that t Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. King Herod sent the men to Bethlehem. “When you find this child,
come tell me so that I can worship Him, too.” The star led the men into Bethlehem and stopped above the very place where Jesus and His family stayed. The wise men saw Jesus with Mary. They fell to their knees and worshiped Jesus. They presented Him with gifts: treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, the wise men returned to their own country by another route.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child find the following verses in the Bible: John 16:33, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7, and Hosea 12:6. Discuss how these verses speak about God’s
encouragement.

Students

Psalm 42:1-3, 6-8; 43:3-5

THE POINT: You can trust God when you don’t know what to do. Talk to your student about a time in your life when you had to trust that God was above your circumstances.
What did you learn about God’s character during this time? Discuss the following quote:

“Don’t trust to hold God’s hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting.”1 —Hammer William Webb-Peploe

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If your student plans to complete Written Word:
• Encourage your student to look to Scripture when feeling discouraged.
• Suggest Scriptures to your student that you find encouraging.

If your student plans to complete Forward Thinking:
• Help your student find creative ways to encourage others this week.
• Pray for your student to be an encouragement to the people around him or her.

1. SearchQuotes.com, [cited 2 May 2014]. Available from the Internet: http://www.searchquotes.com.