Conversation Starters: Encouraging Words

c644836a-0f23-4c5e-95b7-dc472319d33fThe Bible Meets Life: We all face the pressure of using our words to criticize, gossip, or
verbally assault others. Words spoken carelessly, unwisely, hastily, and destructively can affect every aspect of our lives. As we follow Jesus, He will empower us to use our words in a positive way.

Preschool

Mark 10:13-16

LIFE POINT: Jesus loves children. Why was Jesus angry with His disciples? Why did Jesus think children were special? What did He tell His disciples about children?

LIVE IT OUT: Sing the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” or “Jesus Loves Me” with your preschooler. Remind her that Jesus loves her and all children.

Kids

Mark 10:13-16

LIFE POINT: Reflect God’s love by speaking to everyone with kindness. Why did Jesus get angry with His disciples? How can you use Jesus’ example to speak kindly to everyone?

LIVE IT OUT: Give your child a box of inexpensive breath mints. Tell him that this week when he is tempted to use unkind words, to use a breath mint to remind him to use his words wisely.

Students

James 3:1-18

THE POINT: Our words should reflect our relationship with Christ. How can we do a better job of communicating as a family? How can we encourage each other with words this week? Have a conversation around this quote:

“Kind words do not cost much…yet they accomplish much.”1 —Blaise Pascal

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

If she plans to complete Say It:
• Encourage your student to choose someone she can
encourage this week.
• Encourage your student this week with positive words.
If she plans to do Whatever:
• Ask your student if she would like you to help her
complete the activity.
• Ask your student how you can pray for her regarding how she talks to and about others.

1. John Mason, You Can Do It (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2003), 55.

Conversation Starters: Working for God

DSC_0064-001THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We’ve all had a leader or boss we loved and respected, but we’ve also had at least one we struggled with. Maybe it was their leadership style or their method of motivation. How do you respond to those leaders? In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, God tells us how to handle situations like this. The truth is, as a Christian, everything you do should be done as if it is for the Lord.

Preschool

Genesis 6:9- 8:19

THE POINT: Noah loved God. One day God spoke to him and said, “I will send a flood to cover all of the earth. Build an ark of wood. Make it with three levels of rooms. Cover the ark with pitch inside and out.” Noah obeyed God and built the ark. God said, “Bring two of every animal and bird onto the ark. Take every kind of food for your family and for the animals.” Noah, his family, and the animals entered the ark. God shut the door. The rain began to fall. The ark floated on the water. Noah, his family, and the animals were safe. It rained until the water covered the mountains. Finally the waters went down. The ark rested on a mountain. When the earth was dry, Noah and his family and the animals came out of the ark.

LIVE IT OUT: Play a game of “Simon Says” giving simple instructions. Discuss how Noah listened and followed God’s instructions. Help your child know that God gives us instructions through the Bible and that we need to be obedient to Him.

Kids

Genesis 6:5 -9:17

THE POINT: God told Noah to build an ark. He told Noah how tall and long and wide to make the ark. Noah built the ark just as God said. Noah worked hard. He built the ark. He loaded food for the animals and his family onto the ark. Then God sent rain. The rain lasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Because Noah had done his work, his family and the animals were safe on the ark. When he left the ark, Noah worshiped God.

LIVE IT OUT: Lead your child to assist another family member with or complete a special task. Help her understand the importance of the task and see how the work is valuable to your family.

Students

THE POINT: How we work reflects our attitude toward Christ. Have a discussion with your student about how you deal with frustrating issues at work. Have a conversation around this quote:

“The will of God for your life is simply that you submit yourself to Him each day and say, ‘Father, Your will for today is mine. Your pleasure for today is mine. Your work for today is mine. I trust You to be God. You lead me today and I will follow.’ ”1 —Kay Arthur

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities in the Personal Study Guide.

• Ask your student if there is a way you can help him or her with a daily prayer and Bible reading strategy.

• Give your student examples of what has worked for you when it comes to having a daily plan for prayer.

• Encourage your student this week by pointing out something he or she does well or that you’re proud of.

• Help your student determine who to encourage.

 

1. Kay Arthur, His Imprint, My Expression, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), 24.

God in Your Home

DSC_0569THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: One of the clearest messages in the Bible is that God is our Father, but to some, that does not sound like good news. Our experience with our dad shapes how we see God as Father. Jesus told a story that can change our idea of what a father should be. God as Father gives us the hope of a second chance.

Preschool

Luke 15:11-32

THE POINT: Jesus often used stories to teach about God’s love. He told a parable about a father and two sons. Jesus said, “A man had two grown sons. The younger son said, ‘Give me my share of the family money.’ Soon the son had spent all of his money. He had no food. Finally a man gave him work feeding pigs. The son thought about eating the pigs’ food. He thought about his father’s house where there was food to eat. He decided to go home. The son was far from the house when his father saw him. The father ran to hug and kiss him. The son said, ‘Father, I have done wrong. I do not deserve to be your son.’ But the father threw a big celebration to welcome him home.”

LIVE IT OUT: As a family, review sign language for “God loves me” (one finger pointing up to God/arms crossing chest/pointing to self). During the week, when two family members see each other for any reason, see who can remember first to sign “God loves me!”

Kids

Luke 15:11-32

THE POINT: Jesus often told stories to teach people. One day he told this story: “Father, give me my share of the family money,” the younger son said. He took the money and moved away. He spent his money foolishly. Soon he had nothing, not even food, so he took a job feeding pigs. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pigs’ food. Finally, he decided to go home and ask his father to let him work as a servant. When the father saw his son, he ran to hug him. The father said, “Put the best robe, a ring, and sandals on him! Let’s celebrate! My son has come home!” The older son was jealous that his brother was welcomed back with a party. The father encouraged the older brother to be happy.

LIVE IT OUT: As a family, talk about the meaning of the word forgiveness. Talk about times when each person has needed to forgive someone.

Students

Luke 15:11-32

THE POINT: God welcomes us because of His love for us. Tell your student about someone you trust to be there for you. Ask your student how you can better be there for them. Have a conversation around this quote:

If you have been reduced to God being your only hope, You are in a good place.”1 —Jim Laffoon

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. If your student chooses to do Come Home:

• Ask your student if there is a specific area you can be praying for in his or her life.

• Pray this week that your student will be able to surrender every area of life to Christ. If your student chooses to do Reach Out:

• Ask your student if there is any way you can help him or her reach out to someone who needs to return to God.

• Encourage your student as he or she seeks to reach out to someone for the sake of the gospel.

1. “Quotes Collection,” Fuel for Faith, [cited July 19, 2013].

Conversation Starters: Salvation

22d97013-cd32-4b88-86ee-512bd4a12b91THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: If you go to the tombs of Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, or any other religious leader, you will find a body. It’s not so with Jesus. He is risen. Because Jesus died and rose again, He provides victory over death for all who would follow Him. The Holy Spirit empowers Christians to live the life He has given us for God’s purpose to advance His kingdom.

Concept: Salvation

Preschool

Matthew 21:1-11; 26:36-28:10

THE POINT: Jesus had been arrested. People who did not accept who He was had put Him on a cross to die. After His death, a man named Joseph placed His body in a tomb for burial. Very early on the third day, Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to the tomb. They were very sad. As they got near the tomb, there was a strong earthquake. An angel rolled the stone from the front of the tomb and sat on the stone. The angel said, “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus. He is not here! He is alive. Look and see where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He is alive.” As the women turned to go, they saw Jesus. The women began to worship Jesus. They were so happy to see Him. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My disciples to go to Galilee and I will see them there.”

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child name as many different ways they can that we can know that Jesus loves us. As a family, write down ways that we can tell and show Jesus that we love Him.

Kids

Matthew 26:36-28:10

THE POINT: After the last supper, some of the disciples went with Jesus to a garden to pray. Soldiers came to the garden and arrested Jesus. They took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate could not find that Jesus had done any thing wrong, but the people wanted Jesus killed. Jesus died on a cross. A rich man asked Pilate to allow him to bury Jesus’ body in the man’s own tomb. On Sunday morning, two women went to the tomb. An earthquake shook the ground. An angel from God rolled the stone away. The angel looked as bright as lightning and told the two women that Jesus was alive. As the women rushed away, they saw Jesus! Jesus told the women to go tell His disciples where to meet Him. Jesus was alive!

LIVE IT OUT: Share with others that Jesus is alive by designing a car window sign. Use a bumper sticker- size piece of poster board and brightly colored markers to boldly print “HE IS ALIVE!” and/or “Matthew 28:6.” Place the poster in the window of your family vehicle.

Students

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

THE POINT: Through Jesus you have victory over death. Discuss a victory you’ve experienced with your student. In what area of life do you need to experience victory right now? Have a conversation around this quote:

“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.”1 —Dwight D. Eisenhower

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities.

• Ask your student to write out all the different names of Jesus. Have them share something they learned while reading through the different names.
• Read through and discuss some of the names with your student.

• Encourage your student this week as he or she embraces the victory God has already given.
• Pray for your student to live victoriously.

1. “Dwight D. Eisenhower Quotes,” Brainy Quote, [cited 19 July
2013]. Available from the Internet: http://www.brainyquote.com.

Conversation Starters: God is Powerful

DSC_0390THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We’ve all lost something valuable. We’ve experienced the panic-filled search for that item. Then we find it and all is well. But what about something abstract such as hope? Can a person ever truly find it? In Matthew 8, we see Jesus’ interaction with a leper and a Roman centurion. More importantly, we find an answer. In Christ we find hope for today and our future.

Preschool

Matthew 8:1-13

THE POINT: Jesus was on a mountain teaching about God. As He came down, a man with a serious skin disease came and said, “Jesus, if You are willing You can heal me.” “I am willing,” Jesus said. The man was healed. Jesus told the man to go show himself to the priest and give an offering to God. As Jesus traveled to another town, a soldier came and pleaded, “Please help my servant. He is sick and in pain.” Jesus offered to come and heal the servant. “Jesus, You do not need to come,” the man said. “Just speak the word, and my servant will be better.” Jesus was amazed by the man’s words. “Go home. Because you believed, your servant will be better.” Jesus helped people and gave them hope.

LIVE IT OUT:  Talk with your child about times that God has answered specific prayers for your family. Remind her that even though sometimes we don’t get the answer we hope for, God always wants what is best for us. Begin a prayer journal. Write down prayer requests made at each devotion time, and then be sure to record God’s answers as they come.

Kids

Matthew 8:1-13

THE POINT: A man with a skin disease begged Jesus: “I know You can make me well.” Jesus answered that the man would be well, and it happened! Later, a soldier said to Jesus: “My servant is very ill and in pain.” Jesus offered to go to the servant. The soldier stopped Jesus. He told Jesus that soldiers obeyed his commands. He knew that Jesus could just speak and that his servant would be well. Jesus praised the man for his faith. He told the soldier that the servant would be well—and he was!

LIVE IT OUT: Send a card to someone in your family, church, or community who is ill. Include encouraging Bible verses and reminders that Jesus gives hope.

Students

Matthew 8:1-13

THE POINT: When we seek Christ, we find hope. Discuss with your student something important you’ve lost and later found. Have a conversation around this quote:

“Thanks be to God, there is hope today; this very hour you can choose Him and serve Him.”1 —D.L. Moody

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities:

Encourage your student as he or she plans to connect with friends this week to discuss the Word. Pray that your student is encouraged as he or she studies with friends.

Ask your student if he or she needs help planning ways to seek Christ in different areas of life. Encourage your student during the week as he or she is working through the Live It Out.

1. Dwight Lyman Moody, Anecdotes and Illustrations of D.L. Moody, ed. James Baird McClure (Chicago: Rhodes & McClure, 1877), 100.

Conversation Starters: God’s Plan

IMG_1832THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Whether it’s schoolwork or running a company, what you do every day can seem tedious. But when we look at what we do through the lens of God’s purpose for our lives, we begin to see things differently. God created work to be a good thing, and His plan is for us to approach work with enthusiasm and joy.

Preschool

Genesis 2:4-24

THE POINT: God created a beautiful world. He planted a lovely garden with trees and plants that gave food. A river ran through the garden to provide water. God placed Adam in the garden. He told Adam to care for the garden. God said, “You may eat from any tree in the garden, except for one tree in the middle of the garden.” God brought every wild animal and bird He had created to Adam so Adam could name each one. Adam named all of the animals and the birds. God looked at everything He had created but did not see a helper for Adam. God made Adam go to sleep. God took a rib from Adam and made it into a woman. God brought the woman to Adam. Adam named the woman Eve.

LIVE IT OUT:  Write family projects on strips of paper, fold, and place in a basket or other container. Ask your preschooler to choose one and complete the task together as a family. Remind your child to have a good attitude while working and thank God for strong bodies that are able to work.

Kids

Genesis 2:4-24

THE POINT:  God made the earth ready for people. Then God made a man out of the dust from the ground. He breathed life into the man and placed him in a special garden. God told the man to work in the garden and watch over it. God said, “You may eat from any tree in the garden except the tree in the middle of the garden. Do not eat from it.” God brought animals and birds to the man. The man gave names to all the animals, but the man had no one like him. Then God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. He took one of the man’s ribs and made it into a woman. Now the man had a helper who was like him.

LIVE IT OUT: Organize a family neighborhood spring cleaning day. As a family, spend time in your neighborhood picking up litter that may have gathered during the winter. Thank God for the ability to work hard and care for the world He has given.

Students

Genesis 1:28; 2:8-9, 15-17

THE POINT: Work is an opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose. How does what you do each day impact God’s purpose for your life? Have a conversation around this quote:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas A. Edison

LIVE IT OUT: Ask if your student would like some insight from you on what abilities you think he or she possesses.Later in the week, ask if your student has completed this Live It Out. If not, ask how you can help. Ask your student if he or she would like you to recommend a place to help or serve. Pray for your student as he or she seeks to fulfill God’s purpose in life.

1. “Thomas Edison Quotes,” ThomasEdison.com [cited 19 July
2013]. Available from the Internet: http://www.thomasedison.com.

Conversation Starters: Rest

DSC_7328THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: One of the hardest things to do in the midst of the busyness of life is to intentionally take time to hit the brakes and rest. While God desires for us to work hard, He also desires for us to rest hard. What did God do on the seventh day of creation? He rested. Does God need rest? No. But God did set a precedent for how our lives are supposed to work. It’s biblical to work hard and rest with intentionality.

Concept: Rest

PRESCHOOL

Exodus 31

THE POINT: God spoke to Moses and gave him special rules for all the people to follow. God had told Moses His plans to make a special place to worship Him. Then God spoke to
Moses again. “Tell the people that they must have a day of rest. This day of rest will help other people to know that My people are special.” God told Moses that the day of rest
was to be a holy day. People should work six days and on the seventh day rest. God said, “The day of rest is to be kept by My people and all the families that come after them. It is a special sign between Me and them because I made the world in six days and rested on the seventh.” Then God gave Moses stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them.

LIVE IT OUT: Commit to a specific time this week for your family to rest. No work,
practices, or technology allowed. Instead, relax and enjoy the time together. Talk
about how God wants us to rest. Thank Him for this time.

KIDS

Exodus 31

THE POINT: God gave Moses special instructions: “Remember the Sabbath Day. It is a holy day. Anyone who disobeys this law will be punished. People are to work for six days. The seventh day is a time to stop and rest. Do no work on the Sabbath. I made the heavens and the earth in six days. Then I stopped.” Then God gave Moses two stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments.

LIVE IT OUT: Rest is an important part of hard work. Help your child recognize that without sufficient rest it becomes difficult to work hard. Schedule a family rest time when everyone in the family will “unplug,” “turn off,” and rest.

STUDENTS

Exodus 31:12-17

THE POINT: Rest is a gift from God. Have a discussion with your student about how each of you likes to relax. Have a conversation around this quote:

“You have made us for Yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”
—Augustine of Hippo

LIVE IT OUT: Help your student evaluate how busy his or her life is and areas where it would be good to slow down. Encourage your student to rest during the week. Help your student determine some good guidelines for rest. Plan something you can do as a family that would be a restful break for everyone.

1. Saint Augustine, Confessions: Books I-IV, ed. Gillian Clark (Cambridge University Press, 1995), 84. LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been

 

Conversation Starters: Give

06.14.13_Skills34THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: God has given us work and income to take care of our needs, but He doesn’t intend for us to use them only for ourselves. God has a greater purpose for our time, talents, and resources. In Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, we discover how God has given us these things to help support His work in the world today.

Concept: Give

PRESCHOOL

Luke 21:1-4

THE POINT: One day Jesus was teaching His disciples and the people in the temple. Many people came to the temple to worship God. People would bring money to the temple as an offering. Jesus watched the wealthy people drop their money into the collection containers. Their money made a loud noise as it dropped in the container. Jesus saw a poor widow drop in two small coins. The two coins hardly made a sound as they hit the bottom of the container. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. This widow, as poor as she is, has given the most money of all. The wealthy people gave only the extra money they had. She has given all that she has.”

LIVE IT OUT: As your child completes simple chores, pay her a small amount in pennies. Help her  count out the pennies in groups of ten. Set aside one coin from each set and place in a container as an offering to take to church. Talk with your child about how God provides for us and we can give back to Him by giving an offering to help our church.

KIDS

Exodus 35

THE POINT: “This is what God commands,” Moses told the Israelites. “Give offerings to God. Bring the things we need to build the tabernacle.” The people gave gold, silver, and bronze metals. The people gave colorful yarn and fabric. The people gave animal skins, wood, and oil for the lamps. People who were good at making things gave their time and talents to do the work. The people brought their offerings and placed them before Moses. The people gave their offerings for God’s tabernacle.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child understand that he is to give offerings from the things God has given him. Help him determine appropriate gifts (monetary or acts of service) he can joyfully give.

STUDENTS

2 Corinthians 8:1-9

THE POINT: Give to advance God’s kingdom.

• Have a discussion with your student about how to best give of your time, talents, and resources for God’s purpose.Have a conversation around this quote:

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
—Mother Teresa

LIVE IT OUT: Help your student think of ways to give of his or her time and talents for God’s purpose. Commit to giving of your time and talents along with your student. Help your students develop a plan to tithe. Be an example for your students by giving regularly.

1. “Mother Teresa Quotes,” Goodreads [cited 19 July 2013]. Available from the Internet: http://www.goodreads.com.

Conversation Starters: Humility in Conflict

IMG_9482Use these discussion starters to help foster a spiritual conversation with your family.

The Bible Meets Life: James wrote that we often find ourselves in the midst of conflict—fights, arguments, quarrels, or disputes. We feel the pressure of conflict every day. No matter what the issue is, the pressure it brings can lead us into conflict. James teaches us that by humbly submitting to Christ, we can resist the pressure of conflicts and quarrels in our lives.

Concept: Humility in Conflict 

PRESCHOOL

Luke 19:1-10

LIFE POINT: We should love others just as we love ourselves.

• What did Zacchaeus do because he wanted to see Jesus?

• Why did all the people dislike Zacchaeus?

• How did Jesus show kindness to Zacchaeus?

LIVE IT OUT: Help your preschooler think of someone at church who is hard for her to like. Talk about a way to show kindness to that person. Think of one kind thing to do.

KIDS

Luke 19:1-10

LIFE POINT: Love all people unconditionally.

• Why were people surprised and angry when Jesus went to Zacchaeus’s house?

• How can Jesus’ example help you to treat all people with kindness?

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your child to think of one person at school that it appears that no one likes. Challenge her to reach out in kindness to this person.

STUDENTS

James 4:1-10

THE POINT: Overcome the pressure of conflict by humbly submitting to Christ.

• Why is conflict so natural for us?

• How can we stop conflict before it arises?

• How can I pray for you this week?

Have a conversation around this quote:

Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” – Charles Swindoll

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities in the Personal Study Guide.

• Ask your student to share with you how he will draw
near to God this week.

• Encourage your student to set aside time to seek God.
If he chooses to complete What’s Your Motivation?:

• Ask your student if he needs help with a specific
conflict he is currently facing.

• Pray for your student to fight the pressure of conflict this week.

1. Zig Ziglar, Over the Top (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997).

Conversation Starters: Be Thankful

Use these discussion starters to help foster a spiritual conversation with your family.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: For most of us, giving thanks is something we tend to think about only around the holidays. When we are spending time with family and taking a break from the busyness of life, we remember all the good gifts God has given us. As believers, this idea of thankfulness should consume our lives throughout the year. Every good thing we have comes from Jesus. Our very breath and life are a gift from God. As a result, gratitude should be our natural response to Jesus.

Concept: Be Thankful

PRESCHOOL

John 6:1-13

LIFE POINT: Be thankful for everything God gives you.

Who shared his food with the people?

What was the first thing Jesus did before breaking apart the food and giving it to the people?

LIVE IT OUT: Provide paper and crayons. Encourage your child to draw pictures of things he is thankful for. Insert the pictures into ziplock bags, and seal them. Staple the bags together along one side to make a book. Read the book together this week.

KIDS

John 6:1-13

LIFE POINT: Be thankful for everything God gives you.

What was Jesus’ first action before He distributed the food?

What are some things you are thankful for?

Say the Life Verse: Psalm 100:4.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child think about all the blessings God has given him. Write an “I am thankful for … “ list together. Pray each day with your child, thanking God for all He has given you and your family.

STUDENTS

Psalm 100:1-5

THE POINT: Thankfulness should be our natural response to Jesus.

Why is it often easier to complain than to be thankful?

Have a conversation around this quote:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.1 —John F. Kennedy

LIVE IT OUT: Share about the things you are thankful for.

Let your student know that you are thankful for him or her.

1. President, “Proclamation 3560 Thanksgiving Day, 1963,” Code of Federal Regulation, title 3, (1959–1963).