Conversation Starters: Promise of Provision

IMG_9128THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We don’t always make wise or correct decisions. When we discover our error or sin, how should we respond? Psalm 34 shows us that God responds to us when we turn to Him for help and deliverance. Life under God’s care is good because He provides all we truly need. In His love and faithfulness to us, God provides.

Concept: Promise of Provision

Preschool

1 Samuel 16; Psalm 23

LIFE POINT: Saul was sad because God was no longer pleased with him as king. Saul’s helpers said, “Let us look for someone to play the lyre for you. The music will make you feel better.” One of Saul’s helpers told him about David who played the lyre. David came to live with Saul and became one of his helpers. Whenever Saul was sad, David played the lyre for the king. Saul felt better when David played music.
David often used music to sing prayers to God. Psalm 23 is one of David’s prayers:
The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need. God is with me every day. I never have to be afraid. God will love me all the days of my life. I will worship God forever.

LIVE IT OUT: Use a cardboard tube to whisper into your child’s ear. Say something like “God loves you” or “God helps you.” Ask if she could hear what you said. Comment that God always hears our prayers.

Kids

1 Samuel 16; Psalm 23

LIFE POINT: David was the youngest son of Jesse. David’s job was to take care of the sheep. He took the sheep to green grass and clear water. He kept the sheep safe from wild animals. When David was still a boy, God chose him to be the next king of Israel. David had to wait until he was older to be the king. King Saul’s servants knew David played a harp. They brought David to play the harp for the king. David wrote Psalm 23 praising God for taking care of him as a shepherd cares for his sheep.

LIVE IT OUT: Talk with your child about some requests she might make to God in prayer. Discuss with her how best to pray for each of the requests. Help her understand that God always answers prayer but not always in the way we want.

Students

Psalm 34:1-14

THE POINT: God provides for those who choose to live under His care. When and how has God responded to your needs? What does it mean to taste God’s goodness?
Discuss the following quote:

“…He longs to relieve our worries and has promised to supply our most fundamental needs.”1 —Charles R. Swindoll

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 or she plans to complete Prayer Partner:
• Share with him or her how you’ve seen God’s faithfulness in your life.

If he or she plans to complete Encouragement Jar:
• Have your student write down way God has been faithful to them on slips of paper, then put them in an Encouragement Jar. Parents participate in this as well.
• After a few weeks, gather together and pull out your slips of paper. As a family, take some time to thank God for His faithfulness in your lives.

1. Charles R. Swindoll, “Quotes About Provision,” Goodreads [online], [accessed 16 March 2015]. Available from the Internet: www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/provision

Conversation Starters: Promise of Eternal Life

IMG_2572THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Accomplishments, relationships, and possessions can make us feel happy for a while, but those things can’t ultimately satisfy us. However, the life Jesus offers us goes beyond a transient good feeling; the life He offers promises—and delivers—an abundant life that never ends.

Concept: God’s Promise of Eternal Life

Preschool

1 Samuel 14:49; 18:1-4; 20

LIFE POINT: David went to speak with King Saul. Saul had David stay and live at the palace instead of returning home. David and Jonathan became best friends. The men promised to always be friends. Later, King Saul became angry with David and wanted
to hurt him. David told Jonathan about his father. Jonathan promised to help David.
Jonathan knew that David would have to leave to be safe. Jonathan went to the field and talked with David. The friends said good-bye to each other. Both men remembered
their promise to help one another.

LIVE IT OUT: Name some friends your child has. These could be children he knows or adult friends like teachers at church. Comment that these friends love your child and they love Jesus. King Saul had several children. One of his sons was named Jonathan.

Kids

1 Samuel 14:49; 18:1-4; 20

LIFE POINT: Jonathan and David were best friends. One day Jonathan gave his friend a robe, a sword, a bow, a belt, and a tunic. Jonathan’s father, King Saul, became jealous and wanted to kill David. Jonathan promised to find out what King Saul planned to do. David would hide in a field. Jonathan would signal with arrows. Jonathan shot an arrow. He called to his servant, “The arrow is beyond you!” That was the signal that David was not safe. The two men promised to stay friends. They promised to care for each other and for each other’s families.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child make a list of friends. Include friends from school, church, and the neighborhood. Explain that the best way to love a person is to tell him about Jesus. Challenge him to share that message with those friends.

Students

1 John 5:6-13

THE POINT: You were created for eternal life in Christ. Why is it sometimes hard for
people to believe that faith in Jesus is enough for salvation? What does 1 John 5:6-13 teach us about Jesus? Discuss the following quote:

“God destines us for an end beyond the grasp of reason.”1 —Thomas Aquinas

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 or she plans to complete Eternal Perspective:
• Create your own lists of the things heaven will offer and be free from.
• Share those lists with your student.

If he or she plans to complete Romans Road:
• Challenge your student to memorize the “Romans Road.”
• Place note cards with each verse on it throughout your house as a study help.

1. Thomas Aquinas, “Quotes About Heaven,” Christian Quotes [online], [accessed 16 March 2015]. Available from the Internet: www.christianquotes.info/quotes-by topic/quotes-aboutheaven/# ixzz3Qarw4gyK

Conversation Starters: Promise of Faithfulness

IMG_7649THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We live in a society in which commitments and vows are regularly broken. Circumstances and life situations change, and people walk away from a commitment or agreement. Sometimes we “break faith” in a relationship simply because we’ve changed our minds or our feelings. Fortunately, God is not like us. God keeps His word to us and Psalm 89 gives us cause to celebrate God’s faithfulness.

Concept: God’s Promise of Faithfulness

Preschool

1 Samuel 9; 10; 11:12-15; 13:1-15; 15

LIFE POINT: A man named Saul went to look for lost donkeys for his father. While looking, he spoke to Samuel, the church helper (priest). Saul hoped Samuel could help him find the donkeys. Instead, Samuel told him the donkeys were safe and invited
him to a special feast (dinner). God promised the Israelites a king. Samuel poured oil
over Saul’s head and Saul became the king. Saul chose not to follow Samuel’s instructions from God. Because he chose to not obey, Saul’s children could not
become the next kings.

LIVE IT OUT: Make a promise to your child about something you will do later. When you do what you promised, comment that God always keeps His promises.

Kids

1 Samuel 9; 10; 11:12-15; 13:1-15; 15

LIFE POINT: One day, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head. “God has chosen you to be king.” Later, Saul did become king. Saul prepared to lead the army in a mighty battle. Samuel told Saul to wait for him. Samuel would make offerings to God for the army. Saul got tired of waiting. He made the offerings himself. Samuel was angry. “Why didn’t you trust God? God will punish you.” God told Saul not to take anything from a battle. King Saul chose to take the best things from the enemy. God was not pleased. God decided to make someone else the king.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child remember God’s faithfulness. Challenge her to memorize Psalm 89:1. Encourage her to print it on a poster board and decorate the sign to remind her of God’s faithfulness and love.

Students

Psalm 89:1-2, 5-8, 15-18

THE POINT: God is faithful in every circumstance. How has God kept His promises
to you? What are some things we can do to increase our trust in God? Discuss the following quote:

“… What modern believers can learn from the patience of biblical saints like Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul is that waiting upon the Lord has eternal rewards.”1 —Charles 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 or she plans to complete He Is Faithful:
• Share with your student how God has faithfully kept His promises in your life.

If he or she plans to complete List of Gratefulness:
• Work with your student to list a few things they can be grateful for today.
• Discuss with your student why a heart of gratitude is honoring to the Lord.

1. Charles Stanley, “Promises Quotes,” Brainy Quote, [accessed 13 March 2015]. Available from the Internet: www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/promises.html#HfeDdT53xRXoFEW1.99

Conversation Starters: Hospitality

IMG_6605THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: The best parties have little to do with food or activities. They’re about the people. Think back to your favorite celebration and you’ll likely be flooded with memories of friends and family. Maybe you received an awesome gift, but the memories have more to do with people than the stuff you received. Life is meant to be shared. Hospitality. Friendship. Fellowship. All these experiences point us to God’s kingdom. Jesus, who was constantly interacting with people over dinners and parties, teaches us we can use these moments to extend the kingdom of God to others.

Concept: Hospitality

Preschool

Acts 16:11-15

LIFE POINT: Paul was a missionary (someone who goes and tells about Jesus). He and his friends traveled by boat to a big city. They wanted to tell people in the city about Jesus. Paul and his friends left the city and walked down to the river. A group of women were seated by the river. They had gathered to pray. Paul and his friends sat with the women and told them about Jesus. One of the women, named Lydia, sold purple cloth as her job. Lydia listened to what Paul said. She believed what Paul said about Jesus.
Lydia asked Paul and his friends to come to her house, and they did.

LIVE IT OUT: If your child is old enough, tell him to invite a friend to church. The friends can have a good time learning about Jesus together.

Kids

Acts 16:11-15

LIFE POINT: Paul and his friends traveled to Philippi. On the Sabbath, they looked for a place to pray with others. They went outside the city to the river. They found a group of women praying beside the river. Paul and the men with him sat down. Paul began to tell the women about Jesus. Lydia was a believer in God, but she needed to know about Jesus. Because Lydia and her family trusted Jesus as Savior, they were baptized.
Lydia said to Paul, “If you believe I have trusted Jesus, come and stay at my house.”
Paul and his friends went to her house to stay.

LIVE IT OUT: Challenge your child to memorize Deuteronomy 5:32. Tell him that knowing this verse and calling it to mind will help him follow Jesus’ example on how to
live.

Students

Luke 14:12-24

THE POINT: Hospitality is an easy way to show people Jesus. What do you enjoy most about having friends over? Talk about ways to make entertaining friends both memorable and meaningful. Discuss this quote:

“Hospitality . . . means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend. . . . Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place..”1 — Henri Nouwen

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

If he or she plans to complete Invite the Outcast:
• Talk with your student about the people who are considered outcasts in their circles—school, church, sports.
• Pray together, asking the Lord to give your student strength and courage to reach out to someone on the fringe.

If he or she plans to complete Switch It Up:
• List some practical ways that you as a family can be hospitable to those around you. After you’ve written out your ideas, make plans to carry them out.

1. Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out (New York: Doubleday, 2013), 71.

Conversation Starters: The Savior’s Birth

IMG_0054THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: People look to a variety of religious figures or leaders to give their lives meaning. Some of these religions offer a god—or gods—who is so beyond us that he is unreachable. Other religions have human leaders, yet their humanity makes them little different from us. But in Jesus, the all-powerful, transcendent God came to us. He came to earth and became one of us. That is what makes Jesus unique. He is fully God, who became fully human.

Concept: The Savior’s Birth

Preschool

Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 1:26-56; Luke 2:1-20

LIFE POINT: An angel visited Mary and said, “You will have a baby and name Him Jesus. He will be the Son of God.” Mary was surprised but said, “I will do what God says.” Mary went to visit Elizabeth, her cousin. Elizabeth was happy to see Mary. Elizabeth was going to have a baby also. Her baby jumped when she heard Mary’s greetings. Elizabeth told Mary she has received a good gift from God. Mary was so happy she sang a song of praise to God. Joseph learned Mary was to have a baby. One night an angel spoke to him in a dream. “Mary’s baby is the Son of God. You will name Him Jesus.” Joseph did what the angel told him to do. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to be counted. The baby was born just as the angels said. They named Him Jesus. He was the most special baby ever born!

LIVE IT OUT: Print Jesus’ name on a sheet of paper. Encourage your child to decorate the name with markers or stickers. Display the sign in your child’s room to remind her of the special name of Jesus.

Kids

Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 1:26-56; Luke 2:1-20

LIFE POINT: The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would have God’s special Son and she was to name Him Jesus. Mary was surprised. Then Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant. Elizabeth was old, so this was surprising. The angel told her: Nothing is impossible with God. Mary said, “Your will be done.” She was willing to do the impossible if it would bring God glory. Mary went to see Elizabeth. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb jumped. Mary began to praise God. She stayed with Elizabeth for three months. Joseph was also visited by an angel. Joseph heard Mary was pregnant and decided to cancel their engagement. But the angel told Joseph to take Mary as his wife. He confirmed that Mary’s child would be a son and Joseph was to name the child Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child memorize Matthew 16:16. This verse tells who Jesus really is. His name is Jesus, but He was the Son of God.

Students

Luke 1:26-35

THE POINT: Jesus is fully God and fully human. How do you usually react when God calls you to do something you don’t feel able to do? Tell your student about a time when you stepped out in faith. Discuss the following quote:

“The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He hath sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.”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 or she plans to complete Chosen:
•Help your student think of a situation when God equipped him or her to do what seemed impossible.
•Memorize Mary’s reply in Luke 1:38 with your student.

If he or she plans to complete Mission Possible:
•Spend time searching the Scriptures with your student for passages about God using unlikely people.
•Talk to your student about ways that God has done what seemed impossible in situations in your family.

1. Martin Luther, The Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther, trans. Henry Bell, (London: Sussex Press, 1818), 100.

Conversation Starters: God’s Plan

FG7A8015THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We can be resistant when someone else’s plans collide with ours, disrupting our own plans. But changes can also be welcome, especially if they come from God. Joseph had a plan for his life with Mary, but God stepped in and changed that plan. All of us benefit from the plan God gave to Joseph.

Concept: God’s Plan

Preschool

Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2

LIFE POINT: Prophets were people who told others messages from God. Long before Jesus was born, God told prophets to tell people that Jesus would be born. One of those prophets was Isaiah. The prophet wrote, “This is a sign from God. A woman will have a Son. His name will be Immanuel. Immanuel means ‘God with us.’ He will be born for us. He will rule over us in love. He will be called the Prince of Peace.” Another prophet named Micah also wrote about Jesus. “God’s Son will be born in Bethlehem,” Micah wrote. The words written by the prophets are in our Bible today.

LIVE IT OUT: Print the name JESUS in the center of a sheet of paper. Give your child some markers and simple circle stickers to decorate Jesus’ name. Remind him that God
told people to write about Jesus before He was born.

Kids

Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 11:1-5; Micah 5:2

LIFE POINT: One of the messages God gave Isaiah was that God would send Someone very special. Isaiah announced that God would give the people a sign: A virgin would have a son and call Him Immanuel. Isaiah continued telling God’s messages. He proclaimed that a child would be born. He told what the child would be called. The names told the people what God’s promised Messiah would be like. Isaiah explained that the child would come from the family of Jesse, the father of King David. Isaiah told how the Messiah would have wisdom, understanding, and strength. He noted that He would judge all people fairly and righteously. The prophet Micah also preached about one of God’s promises. He told where the special One would be born! Bethlehem was a small town, but God’s Son would be born there.

LIVE IT OUT: With your child, look up Isaiah 9:6 in the Bible. Write down the names of the Savior that Isaiah used. If you have a commentary or Bible dictionary, research those names and talk about how each one relates to Jesus as Savior.

Students

Matthew 1:18-25

THE POINT: Following God’s plan for Christmas will change your life. Discuss with your student a time when your plans were disrupted. Discuss the following quote:

“Put simply, if we get the Christmas story wrong, we get the Gospel wrong.”1 —Al Mohler

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 The Christmas Story:
• Read the two Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke with your family.

If your student plans to complete Gifted to Serve:
• Encourage your student to serve with his/her gifts during the Christmas season. Help him come up with possible service ideas.
• Use your gifts and serve

1. Al Mohler, “Where Does the Story of Christmas Begin?” AlbertMohler.com, 21 December 2009, [cited 5 May 2014]. Available from the Internet: http://www.albertmohler.com.

Conversation Starters: Prayer and Fasting

a6323a43-adc9-44ed-aa06-3e14348b9c25THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Do you ever wish you could just get away? Your schedule is slammed. You can barely keep up. And your perspective on what’s really important has become foggy. You need a break from the routine of your life. Sometimes you just need to stop and remind yourself what’s really important. Two powerful ways to regain your focus are prayer and fasting. They can revitalize you and lead you to fix your attention on the things that matter. In Acts 13, we see this principle at work in the church in Antioch. They prayed. They fasted. And God did something incredible.

Concept: Prayer and Fasting

Preschool

Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2

LIFE POINT: Jesus said to His disciples, “Tell people everywhere about Me. ” On the day of a special Jewish celebration, people from far away came to in Jerusalem to celebrate. People spoke many languages. Peter stood up to preach. God made all of the people to hear and understand what Peter said in their own languages. Peter told the people many stories about Jesus and His miracles. He told them that Jesus had died but was alive. He said that Jesus was the one to believe in or trust. Many people
believed in Jesus that day, and the first church began. Members of the first church listened to Jesus’ disciples teach about Jesus. They ate together, prayed for one another, and shared their belongings with one another. They met together often to worship and praise Jesus. They told others about Jesus. The new church continued to grow.

LIVE IT OUT: Take your child along on a ministry opportunity with your church. Help distribute flyers about a special event or do yard work for a homebound member.

Kids

Matthew 28:19-21; Acts 2

LIFE POINT: Jesus said to His followers: “Go all over the world. Tell about Me. Baptize believers. Teach them to follow Me.” On the day of a special Jewish celebration, people from far away came to in Jerusalem to celebrate. People spoke many languages. Peter stood up to preach. God made all of the people to hear and understand what Peter said in their own languages. Peter told many stories about Jesus and His miracles. He said
that Jesus had died but was alive. He said that Jesus was the Messiah. Three thousand people believed. The first church began. Members of the first church listened to Jesus’ disciples teach about Jesus. They ate together, prayed for one another, and shared their belongings with one another. They met together often to worship and praise Jesus. They told others about Jesus. The new church continued to grow.

LIVE IT OUT: The purpose of the church is to worship God and help others. Get your child involved in a church ministry. Help her live out God’s purpose for the church.

Students

Acts 13:1-3,44-52

THE POINT: An energized church tells the world about Jesus. When was the last time you felt like you needed a break? What do you do when you get tired and start losing your focus? Discuss the following quote:

“Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.”1 — Watchman Nee

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 or she plans to complete Just Pray:
• Talk with your student about the importance of prayer. Help him or her see that prayer is the act of turning to God and trusting Him for help.

If he or she plans to complete Do Something:
• Read 1 Timothy 4:12 together and talk about what this passage means in the life of your student.
• Pray together, asking God to show your student how he or she can share the love and hope Jesus has for the world.

1. Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, Volume 1 (North Chesterfield, VA: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1968), 20.

Conversation Starters: Unity

_MG_0406THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We unite with others over the strangest things. Consider your favorite sports team. As you sit in the stands, the people surrounding you are strangers. However, rallied around your favorite team they become family. Your one common interest unites you. The church takes unity to a different level. The church is very diverse, but we come together because of our shared faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a unity grounded in who we are. In the Book of Acts, we see a group of believers who changed the world because they lived in unity.

Concept: Unity

Preschool

Luke 10:38-42

LIFE POINT: Jesus and His helpers (disciples) were traveling. They came to the town where two sisters, Mary and Martha, lived. Martha invited Jesus to come inside the house. Mary sat on the floor near Jesus. She listened carefully as Jesus talked. She
wanted to hear everything Jesus said. Martha did not sit down. She was busy in the house, preparing food for Jesus to eat. Soon, Martha noticed that she was doing all
the work. She said to Jesus, “Tell my sister to help me.” In a kind voice, Jesus said, “Martha, do not worry about what needs to be done. Mary is listening to Me. She has made the right choice.”

LIVE IT OUT: Make a list of people who are important to your family and your child. Pray with your child for each person on the list. Be sure your child knows that Jesus loves each of them.

Kids

John 20:19-29

LIFE POINT: After Jesus died, the disciples were afraid. They met together in a locked room. Suddenly, Jesus stood with them! Jesus greeted His disciples. He showed them his hands and side. He spoke to them with encouraging words. Thomas was not with the disciples when they saw Jesus. He did not believe what they told him. “I must see for myself!” Thomas exclaimed. Eight days later, Thomas was with the disciples in a locked room. Suddenly Jesus was with them. Jesus showed Thomas His hands and His side. Now Thomas knew that Jesus was alive.

LIVE IT OUT: Jesus is alive! Discuss with your child how he knows Jesus is alive. Pray together, thanking God for Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Students

Acts 4:31-37

THE POINT: Our return to God pulls us together. Who do you feel connected to? What makes you feel connected to those people or groups? Discuss the following quote:

“God’s family, which comes into being by regeneration, is more central and more lasting than the human family that comes into being by procreation.”1 — John Piper

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 or she plans to complete Your Church:
• Pray with your student for your church family. Pray 1 Peter 3:8 specifically. Ask God to show you your part in bringing or maintaining unity.

If he or she plans to complete Unity Through Forgiveness:
• Make yourself available to your student to talk as he or she learns to forgive people who have hurt him or her.
• Model forgiveness in your home this week by extending grace to your spouse, children, and friends.

1. John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 117.

Conversation Starters: God’s Word

IMG_0279THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Have you ever been backpacking? When you backpack, you
only bring the essentials you’ll need to survive for the amount of days you’re hiking. One essential is a map—a real, paper map. You’ll make wrong turns and get turned around. But a map takes you where you want to go regardless of how lost you get. God has given us a map that never fails. This map—God’s Word—gives us His directions on how to live. It puts us on the right path. The Israelites knew this during the days of Nehemiah, and it is a truth we should cling to.

Concept: God’s Word

Preschool

Luke 4:16-22

LIFE POINT: Jesus went to Nazareth. Nazareth was the town where Jesus’ family lived when He was a boy. While Jesus was there, He went to the synagogue (church). Jesus stood up to read. A church helper handed Jesus the scroll of Scriptures. Jesus carefully unrolled the scroll and read. Jesus read, “God sent Me to teach people about Him and to help people.” Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it to the church helper, and sat down. All the people watched Jesus. Jesus looked at the people and said, “These words are about Me.” The people were surprised at what Jesus said.

LIVE IT OUT: Make sure your child has a Bible he can use. The Bible is a book for everyone. He will begin to develop love and respect for the Bible as his own. Read to him from the Bible and help him to learn familiar stories.

Kids

John 14:15-26

LIFE POINT: Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover meal together. Jesus spoke to His followers. He explained that the way they could show love to Him was by obeying His commands. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to help them. The Holy Spirit would be with them forever. Jesus told the followers over and over that keeping God’s commands was the way to show their love. The Holy Spirit would come to Jesus’ followers. Anyone who loved Jesus and believed in Him would receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would teach them. He would remind them of everything Jesus said.

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your child to find something in the Bible that has been difficult for her to understand. Comment that God sends His Holy Spirit to Christians to help them. If your child is not a Christian yet, begin to talk to her about how to become a Christian.

Students

Nehemiah 8:1-8

THE POINT: God’s Word is the map for a consistent life. What sources do you consult most often when you need direction? In what ways might you need to recalibrate? Discuss the following quote:

“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”1 —Augustine of Hippo

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 or she plans to complete Hide and Seek:
• Talk with your student about the reasons it’s important to hide God’s Word in our hearts.
• Sit down and identify one or two Scripture passages that you will work together to memorize this week.

If he or she plans to complete Have a Plan:
• Join your student in identifying a Bible reading plan. You may choose different plans, but you can hold each other accountable by talking about what you are learning.

1. “ Augustine of Hippo Quotes,” Goodreads [cited 18 November 2015]. Available from the Internet: http://www.goodreads.com.

Conversation Starters: Prayer

_MG_6711THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We can try to avoid bad news. We can pretend it’s not there. But that doesn’t change reality. We have to face up to bad news when it happens. That’s what Nehemiah was faced with in today’s Scripture: a mountain of bad news that hit him like a truck. Nehemiah’s example invites us to do as he did: Nehemiah responded by turning to God in prayer. His example can help us do the same. Whatever we’re facing, we should seek God and turn to Him in prayer. God has given us prayer as a way to have constant communication with Him.

Concept: Prayer

Preschool

Matthew 4:23-25; 5:1-2; 6:5-13

LIFE POINT: Jesus traveled, taught in the churches (synagogues, temples), preached about God, and helped people. Large crowds followed Jesus. One day, Jesus went up the mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him. Jesus taught everyone. He said, “When you pray, go to a special place by yourself and talk to God. God will see you and hear you. Remember, God knows what you need before you ask Him.” Jesus said, “Pray like this: ‘God, we love You. Help us do the things You want us to do. Give us the food we need. Help us remember to love those who hurt us just as You love us. Help us to make the right choices. Amen.”

LIVE IT OUT: Pray with your child and begin teaching her to pray. Help her learn, not by using memorized prayers, but by praying in simple words she can understand.

Kids

Matthew 6:5-15

LIFE POINT: Jesus taught His followers many things. One thing He taught them was how to pray. Jesus told them not to pray just so others would see them. He told them not to use lots of words that did not mean anything. Jesus said that God knows what people need even before they ask Him. Jesus told His followers to pray by talking to God their Father in heaven. He taught them to pray that God would be honored. He wanted them to pray for God’s will to be done. Jesus taught people to ask God for what they need. He taught them to ask God to forgive their sins. He taught people to pray that they would not keep sinning. Jesus also told the people that they must forgive others if they want God to forgive them.

LIVE IT OUT: Jesus modeled how we should pray. You can model prayer for your child. Give him many opportunities to pray at home. The more he prays, the more comfortable he will be with praying in public.

Students

Nehemiah 1:3-10

THE POINT: Push forward by leaning into prayer. What do you pray for? Talk about the difference in praying for what we want versus praying for what God wants. Discuss the following quote:

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.”1 — Brother Lawrence

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 or she plans to complete Push Back:
• Talk to your student about how God wants us to come to Him with our fears, worries, and problems.
• Set an example by leading out in prayer, showing your student what it looks like to lean into God through prayer.

If he or she plans to complete Focus, Focus, Focus:
• Your student will study more about fasting in a couple of weeks, but you can begin laying the foundation by helping him or her understand how fasting from something can help us connect with God.

1. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God as quoted in Joel Balin, The Spirit, Soul & Body of Worship (Norcross: Ampelon Publishing, 2006), 39.