Conversation Starters: Building Friendship

Posted on May 16, 2018 by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Love for others grows through the love of Jesus.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We are familiar with business contracts and marriage covenants, but we rarely think of our friendships in terms of a covenant. It’s not likely a formal agreement, but we often recognize a bond between friends that goes beyond just a shared interest or affinity. In the Book of 1 Samuel, David and Jonathan gave us an example of what such a covenant looks like.

Concept: Building Friendship

Preschool

Acts 9:19-31

LIFE POINT: Before Saul believed in Jesus, he wanted to hurt people who loved and obeyed Jesus. But Saul changed and believed that Jesus was God’s Son. Saul wanted others to believe in Jesus, too. Saul was with Jesus’ disciples in Damascus. He was telling people that Jesus was God’s Son. The people who heard Saul knew he had hurt people who believed in Jesus. They were afraid
of Saul, but Saul kept telling people about Jesus. Saul heard that some people were going to try to hurt him. The disciples helped Saul escape. At night, they put Saul in a large basket and lowered him through an opening in the city wall. Saul went to Jerusalem. Some people were still afraid of him. Barnabas became his friend. Barnabas told the people that Saul had changed and now he loved Jesus. Saul continued to tell people about Jesus. Many people decided to follow Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Briefly review the Bible story about Saul telling others about Jesus. Comment that Jesus helped Saul be able to tell others. Give your child paper and crayons. Ask her to draw a way that Jesus helps her.

Kids

Acts 9:19-31

LIFE POINT: In Damascus, Saul began preaching about Jesus. He told the people that Jesus was God’s Son. The Jewish leaders wanted to stop Saul. They wanted to kill him. The disciples rescued Saul. They hid Saul in a basket and lowered him through a large hole in a wall so that he escaped. Saul went to Jerusalem. He wanted to work with the disciples there, but they were afraid of him.
A disciple by the name of Barnabas took Saul to the apostles, and Saul described how he had talked to Jesus on the road to Damascus. Barnabas told the apostles how Saul began teaching in Damascus and how the Jewish leaders tried to kill him. The apostles helped Saul travel to many places to tell people about Jesus. He continued to teach people about what Jesus had done for him.

LIVE IT OUT: How have you seen Jesus helping your family? Talk to your child about what Jesus has done for her. Encourage her to add to her testimony by telling how being a Christian has changed her life. This is a critical part of sharing a testimony with another person.

Students

1 Samuel 18:1-4; 19:4-7; 20:10-13

THE POINT: Strong friendships grow because of shared commitment.
• What do you enjoy most about your friendships?
• What are some practical ways to demonstrate selflessness in our friendships?
• What risks do we take when we stand up for our friends?
• How do you typically respond when a friendship becomes complicated?
Discuss the following quote:

“They are rich who have true friends.”¹ —Thomas Fuller

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their culture:
• CHRIST: Spend time with your student discussing his or her relationship with Jesus. Take time to pray for the relationship to grow between your student and Jesus.
• COMMUNITY: Discuss with your student ways that he or she can promote unity and love in the church and student ministry.
• CULTURE: Help your student identify lost friends that need to hear the gospel and make a plan that can be put into action.

¹. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British (London: B. Barker, 1732), 215.


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Conversation Starters: Love Gives

Posted on May 9, 2018 by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Telling people about Jesus shows love for them.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Relationships can be fragile. Everything’s fine if two people are traveling down the same road, but what happens if those two people don’t see eye to eye—or open animosity is evident? The Christian’s role in a relationship—any relationship—is to love. When we live and dwell in the love of Christ, that same love seeps into all our relationships.

Concept: Love Gives

Preschool

Acts 8:26-40

LIFE POINT: Philip traveled from town to town, telling people about Jesus. One day an angel (a messenger from God) spoke to Philip. The angel told him to go to the desert road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza. Philip started walking down the road. He saw a man riding in a chariot. The Ethiopian man had been to Jerusalem to worship God. Philip heard the man reading from a Bible scroll. Philip asked the man, “Do you understand what you are reading?” “No,” the man said. “I need someone to explain the words to me.” So Philip sat beside him in the chariot and explained the
words. Philip told the man that the words in the Bible scroll were about Jesus. He told him the good news about Jesus. The man saw some water and asked to be baptized. Philip baptized him. The Ethiopian man went home very happy. Philip traveled to other places to tell people about Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child think of a family member or friend who needs to know about Jesus. Print “Jesus loves you” at the top of a piece of paper. Let your child draw a special picture for this person. Plan to give the picture to the person. Say a prayer together for this person beforehand.

Kids

Acts 8:26-40

LIFE POINT: Philip was one of the disciples. He told people about Jesus. An angel told Philip to go to the desert road from Jerusalem to Gaza. While Philip was walking down the road, he saw a man from Ethiopia sitting in a chariot while reading a Scripture passage. Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian said that he was not able to understand what he was reading because he had no one to help him understand it. The Ethiopian asked Philip to sit beside him in the chariot. Philip read explained that the Scripture was talking about Jesus. Philip explained to him all that Jesus had done. The Ethiopian believed everything that Philip told him about Jesus. The Ethiopian saw some water and asked Philip if he could be baptized. Philip told the Ethiopian, “If you believe with all of your heart, you may.” Philip baptized the man from Ethiopia.

LIVE IT OUT: Has your child ever shared his testimony with a friend? Remind him that God wants us to tell others the good news about Jesus. Help him think of a friend who needs to know about Jesus. Brainstorm ideas for helping that friend learn about Jesus.

Students

John 15:9-17

THE POINT: Center every relationship on the unconditional love of Christ.
• How has technology changed the way we relate to each other?
• How does obeying God’s commands demonstrate our love for Him?
• What does it look like to love others the way Jesus loves us?
• What keeps us from obeying Jesus’ commands in these verses?
Discuss the following quote:

“The world does not understand theology or dogma [doctrine], but it understands love.”¹ —Dwight L. Moody

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their culture:
• CHRIST: Take time to pray with your student ensuring that he or she is loving Jesus in the same way that He loves us.
• COMMUNITY: Encourage your student to show love to his camp friends this week, even if they live far away. Brainstorm a couple ways you could show love and then follow through.
• CULTURE: It is easy to love our friends and family, but Jesus calls us to love everyone including our enemies. Seeing you acting in love and doing good will help your student to act out that same love with others.

¹. Inspired Faith: 365 Days a Year: Daily


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Conversation Starters: Life on Mission

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Discipling people shows you love Christ.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We tend to define people by the demographics of our church and the circle of Christians we regularly encounter. People who match those characteristics certainly need Jesus, but so do people outside our circles. To share Christ with these other people requires us to take the gospel into their culture rather than expecting them to come into ours.

Concept: Life on Mission

Preschool

Acts 4:36; 9:26-31

LIFE POINT: Barnabas, a believer in Jesus, loved people and helped them. One time he sold a field and brought the money to give to people who needed help. Barnabas’ name meant “Son of Encouragement.” If you encourage people, you support them or cheer them up. One of the people Barnabas encouraged was a man named Saul. When Saul came to Jerusalem, the people in the church were afraid of him. Saul used to hurt people who loved Jesus. Barnabas told the people how Saul had changed. He told them that now Saul wanted to tell people about Jesus. The people believed what Barnabas said. They were not afraid of Saul anymore. People in the church found out that some people wanted to hurt Saul. They helped Saul leave Jerusalem so he would be safe. More people became part of the church.

LIVE IT OUT: Involve your child in helping at church. Include her in helping provide for a food pantry or a clothes closet. As you are serving and helping together, say the verse: “Help one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Kids

Acts 4:36; 9:26-31

LIFE POINT: Barnabas, a believer in Jesus, loved people and helped them. One time he sold a field and brought the money to give to people who needed help. Barnabas’ name meant “Son of Encouragement.” If you encourage people, you support them or cheer them up. One of the people Barnabas encouraged was a man named Saul. When Saul came to Jerusalem, the people in the church were afraid of him. Saul used to hurt people who loved Jesus. Barnabas told the people how Saul had changed. He told them that now Saul wanted to tell people about Jesus. The people believed what Barnabas said. They were not afraid of Saul anymore. People in the church found out that some people wanted to hurt Saul. They helped Saul leave Jerusalem so he would be safe. More people became part of the church.

LIVE IT OUT: God’s plan is for believers to tell others about Jesus and how to be saved. If your child is older and has been a Christian for a few years, she may be ready to learn how to share the plan of salvation with a friend. Help her practice on family members.

Students

1 Corinthians 9:19-27

THE POINT: We can better share the gospel when we step into the shoes of others.
• How can we walk in the shoes of others without compromising our values?

• What are some different approaches Christians use for sharing the gospel?

• What things might we need to set aside to run the race of faith well? See Hebrews 12:1-2 for further study
Discuss the following quote:

“If your Gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you!” ¹—Curry R. Blake

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their culture:
• CHRIST: Pray with your student seeking ways to feel closer to God even if it means sacrificing certain luxuries.

• COMMUNITY: Spend devotional time with your student this week teaching him or her good practices to use in his or her personal time with God.

• CULTURE: The gospel is something that we should desire to share with others. Make a list of people that you and your student can share the gospel with this week.

¹ Aaron Sams, I Want to be A.L.I.V.E. (Lulu, 2010) 185.


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Conversation Starters: Life in the Community

Posted on April 18, 2018 by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Serving people who can benefit us is not difficult. “Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” is a reality in the business world and even in many relationships. Serving, then, becomes about me, and not about the other person. That mindset is absent in Scripture and is to be absent in the church; in fact, believers are called to serve even those who have no means to repay a kindness.

Concept: Life in the Community

Preschool

Acts 6:1-7

LIFE POINT: More and more people were becoming part of the church in Jerusalem. The people in the church knew they should help one another. Some of the people did not have enough food to eat. Many of those people were widows, ladies whose husbands had died. The disciples were busy teaching about Jesus. They decided to choose seven men to be special helpers to help the widows and other people who needed help. They chose Stephen, Philip, and five other men. These men were wise and loved God. The disciples prayed for the seven men. The special helpers helped the widows and other people who needed food. The disciples were able to tell more and more people about Jesus. Many people became part of the church.

LIVE IT OUT: Talk with your child about the people who help and serve at your church or in your community. Explain to your child how each of these people’s jobs helps others learn more about God and Jesus.

Kids

Acts 6:1-7

LIFE POINT: More and more people were becoming part of the church every day. Some people noticed that there was a problem. There were widows who were being left out and not getting enough food. The disciples gathered together the other people from the church to talk about this problem. The disciples said that they were busy teaching others about Jesus. They needed some other people to help take care of those in need. The disciples told the people to choose seven men who were wise and full of the Holy Spirit to be helpers. The whole group was pleased with this decision. They chose Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus to be the helpers. The men met with the disciples and they prayed together. The Word of God continued to spread. The number of people who learned about Jesus in Jerusalem grew quickly.

LIVE IT OUT: Discuss the different jobs that pastors, missionaries, or camp staff have. Expand your discussion beyond just those that your child knows. Help your child learn how each person’s job furthers the kingdom of God and helps people know about Jesus.

Students

Matthew 25:31-40

THE POINT: Living for Christ means serving the needs of others.
• What do you like best about your community?
• How could looking to the end affect the way we see people?
• What keeps us from reaching out to those who need our help?
• With so many needs, how do we decide whom to help?
Discuss the following quote:

“Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.”¹— Charles Spurgeon

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their culture:
• CHRIST: Pray for the opportunities to serve alongside your student this week.
• COMMUNITY: Determine areas in your community that you and your student can minister and serve needy people together.
• CULTURE: Make a commitment with your student to serve the needy and seek those many would deem the least of these.

 

¹“Sheep Go In Flocks, and So Do God’s People, ”First Love Publications, 11 February 2016, [accessed 13 September 2013]. Available from the Internet: http://www.firstlovepublications.org/quotes/sheep-go-inflocks-and-so-do-gods-people.


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Conversation Starters: Life Reflected

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Share the love of Jesus everywhere.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Work is more than a paycheck. It is more than just a job. Whether we are the CEO of a large business or an intern on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder, our true work is to honor Christ and reflect Him in our work relationships, attitude, and productivity. Our day-to-day work might be forgotten next week, but the witness we give through our work can impact eternity.

Concept: Life Reflected

Preschool

Acts 3:1-4:21

LIFE POINT: One day Peter and John met a man at the temple (church) gate. The man could not walk. He asked Peter and John for help. Peter told him, “I don’t have any money, but I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus, get up and walk.” The man’s feet became strong. He was able to walk. The man went walking and jumping and thanking God. When the people saw the man walking, they were surprised. Some people were angry. They arrested Peter and John. The leaders asked Peter and John what happened. Peter and John said that the man was able to walk by the power of Jesus. The leaders told Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus. Peter and John said they would listen to God. They would not stop telling people about Jesus. Many people believed in Jesus, and the church grew bigger.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child name the people who tell him about Jesus—teachers, family members, and others he can name. If your preschooler is older, he can start telling friends what he knows about Jesus, or he could invite them to church.

Kids

Acts 3:1-4:21

LIFE POINT: Peter and John were going to the temple. Outside of the temple was a man who could not walk. He asked Peter and John for help. Peter told him to get up and walk. The man went began walking and jumping and thanking God. The people were amazed. Peter told the people about Jesus and that they needed follow Him. Some leaders didn’t like what Peter and John were saying. They put the men in jail. The next day, the leaders asked Peter and John about the man’s healing. Peter told them that the man was healed by the power of Jesus. The leaders warned the men to quit talking about Jesus. Peter and John said that they could not stop talking about what they had seen and heard. The leaders let them go because so many people were praising God because of what they heard.

LIVE IT OUT: Does your child tell others about Jesus? Help him think of one or two friends who need to know about Jesus. Practice what he could say to help his friends come to know the Savior of the world.

Students

Colossians 3:22-4:1

THE POINT: All work is a reflection of your relationship with Christ.
• What work are you most proud of?
• How can we maintain a Christlike attitude, even in work we don’t enjoy?
• How are the things you work at an opportunity to serve God?
• What steps might help you focus on Christ as you work?
Discuss the following quote:

“Read the Bible. Work hard and honestly. And don’t complain.”¹—Billy Graham

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their culture:
• CHRIST: Talk with your student about any personal struggles he or she may be facing, and pray for not only solutions but an attitude of peace while handling them.
• COMMUNITY: Pray with your student for his or her friends facing difficult situations, and create a community that is open and encouraging.
• CULTURE: Discuss with your student how the way Christians behave in challenging situations will look different from others in our culture.

¹“Billy Graham Quotes,” Brainy Quotes [online], [accessed 13 September 2016]. Available from the Internet: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/billygraha403083.html.


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