Conversation Starters: Jesus Transforms

Posted by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Our world is full of many “brands” of Christianity, because individuals and groups pick and choose the parts of the Bible they want to follow or interpret in their own way. Biblical Christianity, though, is just that—biblical—and calls us to obey the whole of Scripture. Jesus calls us to a higher standard, a standard not grounded in ourselves, but grounded in His loving commands meant to transform us from the inside out.

Concept: Jesus Transforms

Preschool

Matthew 2:1-12

LIFE POINT: Wise men watched the stars. They saw a new star shining brightly. This new star meant that God’s Son had been born. They wanted to see the special child and give Him gifts. The wise men followed the star to Jerusalem. They asked about the special baby. King Herod was not happy to hear about Jesus. The prophets wrote a long time ago that a special baby would be born in Bethlehem. King Herod told the wise men to go to Bethlehem. He told them to tell him where they found the baby, because he wanted to see Jesus, too. The wise men followed the star to the house where Jesus and His family lived. They bowed down and thanked God for sending Jesus. The wise men gave Jesus gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The wise men returned home a different way.

LIVE IT OUT: Remind your preschooler that the wise men knew that Jesus was a special child. With your child, talk about what makes Jesus special. Say the Bible Verse: “Thank You, God, for Jesus. Luke 2:38.”

Kids

Matthew 2:1-12

LIFE POINT: After Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the new King of the Jews? We saw His star. We want to worship Him.” King Herod called the priests and asked them where the Messiah would be born. The priests reported that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. King Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem. He said, “When you find the child, tell me. I want to worship Him.” The wise men followed the star until it stopped over the house where the child was. They were filled with joy! The wise men went in the house. They saw Mary and Jesus. They dropped to their knees in worship. Then the wise men gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Later, the wise men took a different way back to their country.

LIVE IT OUT: Does your family worship Jesus at home? The wise men worshiped Jesus by bowing down to Him and presenting Him gifts. Discuss with your child what gifts she could give to Jesus.

Students

Mark 7:5-15

THE POINT: Jesus calls us to a higher standard.
• What are a couple of your favorite family Christmas traditions?
• What are some factors that cause Christians today to neglect God’s commands?
• What might tempt people to twist God’s commands?
• How can we make sure our hearts are truly pure as opposed to only appearing to be pure? Discuss the following quote:

“You cannot make men good by law.”(1)—C. S. Lewis

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: Discuss with your student ways that you can each grow by showing a greater love for others this Christmas. Think beyond just actions and consider your heart, mind, and soul too.
• COMMUNITY: Loving God also means loving other people. Pray with your student for sincere hearts that love Jesus by serving others. Consider ways you can express his love to those in need this winter.
• CULTURE: God looks at our hearts. Discuss with your student ways that you can show lost people that pleasing God is a matter of the heart.

(1) C. S. Lewis, “C.S. Lewis Quote-Make Men Good,” Christian Quotes [online], [accessed 23 May 2017]. Available from the Internet: https://www.christianquotes.info/images/c-s-lewis-quote-makemengood/#axzz4iaobHv5i.


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Conversation Starters: Jesus Saves

Posted by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Jesus was born to help people know God.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: The story of Christmas—the birth of Jesus—is a familiar one to so many. Familiarity may cause many people to lose sight of what God accomplished with that event and the reason Jesus came. Unfortunately many people leave Jesus in the manger, and fail to look beyond His birth to discover that God came to earth to bring us to Himself.

Concept: Jesus Saves

Preschool

Luke 2:1-20

LIFE POINT: The leader of their country decided to count all the people in the land. While waiting for Jesus to be born, Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, to be counted. Bethlehem was crowded with people. Mary and Joseph could not find a place to stay. They found a place where they could rest. That night Jesus was born. Mary wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger. Nearby, shepherds were watching their sheep. An angel appeared and said, “Do not be afraid. I have good news for you! A baby was born in Bethlehem. He is God’s Son. You will find Him lying in a manger.” The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem. They found Baby Jesus lying in the manger, just as the angel had said. The shepherds told everyone what they had seen and heard. They thanked God for Baby Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child focus on Jesus during the Christmas season. Read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Read from children’s books, like The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones, about Jesus’ birth. God sent Jesus to earth, and Jesus was born.

Kids

Luke 2:1-20

LIFE POINT: Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to be counted. In Bethlehem, Baby Jesus was born. Mary wrapped Him in soft cloths. She laid Him in a manger, a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn. Nearby, shepherds watched their sheep. An angel of God appeared. They were afraid! The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I tell you good news for all people. Today a Savior has been born in Bethlehem. You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, many angels appeared. They praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth to those He favors!” The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem. They found Mary, Joseph, and the baby. The shepherds told others about the angel’s message. Everyone who heard it was amazed!

LIVE IT OUT: Jesus was born! Christmas is the day we celebrate that God sent Jesus. Because Jesus was born, died, and rose again, we can choose to believe in Jesus and have eternal life with God. Celebrate with your family by singing your favorite Christmas carols that are about the birth of the Savior.

Students

Luke 2:8-11, 15-18

THE POINT: Jesus was born to bring us into a relationship with God.
• What would you love to add to your celebration of Christmas?
• When have you experienced God’s perfect timing?
• What do these verses teach us about the purpose of Jesus’ birth?
• What steps can we take to glorify God during the Christmas season? Discuss the following quote:

“I want no Christmas without a burden for lost souls, a message for sinners, a heart to bring in the lost sheep so dear to the Shepherd.” (1) —John R. Rice

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: When the shepherds heard the news of Jesus, they went straight to see Him and shared the news with the world. How can your family share this same good news with the world today?
• COMMUNITY: During times of pursuing Jesus, how will you and your family share that passion with other believers?
• CULTURE: Challenge your student to consider how our Christmas celebrations should look different and how you can be lights in the darkness this season.

(1) John Rice, “36 John R. Rice Quotes,” Christian Quotes [online], [accessed 19 May 2017]. Available from the Internet: https://www.christianquotes.info/quotes-by-author/john-r-ricequotes/#axzz4hvckTNH7.


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Conversation Starters: Jesus Rules

Posted by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Jesus gives people hope for the future.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: If you’ve ever been in an area hit by a flood, tornado, or hurricane, you know you can only do so much to protect yourself. The forces of nature are powerful, but Jesus is more so—and He is present with His followers in everything they face. Mary, the mother of Jesus, also had to trust the Lord when her world turned upside down. During any storm, the Lord is with us, and He invites us to trust Him.

Concept: Jesus Rules

Preschool

Luke 1:39-56

LIFE POINT: An angel had told Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. Mary went to visit an older relative named Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary speak, Elizabeth knew something special was going to happen to Mary. Elizabeth told Mary how special she was because of the baby she was going to have. Mary sang a praise song to God. She sang, “You do great things. You are kind to all people. You keep your promises.” Mary thanked God for the promises He had given. Mary knew God would keep the promises He told her. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, and then she returned to her home in the town of Nazareth.

LIVE IT OUT: Christmas is a happy time to celebrate with your preschooler. Locate some happy Christmas songs you can sing with your child. Enjoy singing them together in the car or at home. Tell your child that Mary was happy and sang a song to God.

Kids

Luke 1:39-56

LIFE POINT: Mary traveled to see Elizabeth, part of her family. The angel Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth was going to have a baby, even though Elizabeth was old. Mary called out a greeting to Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard the sound, the baby inside her jumped! God’s Spirit filled Elizabeth. Elizabeth said to Mary, “You are the most blessed of all women. Your child will be blessed! How wonderful that the mother of my Lord has come to me! When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped for joy! You are blessed because God will do what He said!” Mary began to praise God. She told of the greatness of God. She told how God had been good to her. She thanked God for what He had already done and what He would do. Mary stayed for three months. Then Mary went home.

LIVE IT OUT: Does your family celebrate Jesus during Christmas? Discuss with your child ways to make Jesus the focus of all you do during the season. Read an Advent study together, like Kids Read Truth, or think of ways to show the love of Jesus to those less fortunate.

Students

Mark 4:35-41

THE POINT: You can trust Jesus in the storm.
• What’s the craziest weather you’ve ever experienced?
• Why are we often surprised when we encounter difficult circumstances?
• How do the trials of life compare and contrast with a physical storm?
• What lessons can we learn from Jesus’ calming of the storm? Discuss the following quote:

“God brings storms into your life to show His strength and to gain glory from His providence.” (1)—Paul Chappell

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: Challenge your student to name examples of how God has proven to be faithful to him or her in the past. Share some examples from your own life.
• COMMUNITY: Discuss with your student people who may be encouraging in his or her faith journey. If they do not have someone to fill this role, pray with your student for the right person to come along. Pray that your student would also fulfill this role for someone else and encourage others in their faith.
• CULTURE: How can you help your student clearly see the blessings of living by faith when surround by worldly concerns?

(1) Paul Chappell, “24 Paul Chappell Quotes,” Christian Quotes [online], [accessed 21 May 2017]. Available from the Internet: https://www.christianquotes.info/quotes-by-author/paul-chappellquotes/#axzz4hvckTNH7


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Conversation Starters: Jesus Teaches

Posted by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: Families are part of God’s plan for people.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: The Bible gets a lot of respect in America—at least superficial respect. Eighty percent of adults consider the Bible a holy book, but few read it. Even among Christians, only 11 percent read the Bible daily, and 34 percent rarely read it. Many of us pay lip service to the Bible but miss out on the joy and abundant life that comes from applying its truth to our lives.

Concept: Jesus Teaches

Preschool

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

LIFE POINT: Mary was a young woman who obeyed God. She was going to be married to Joseph. God sent an angel to talk to Mary. The angel said, “Do not be afraid. God has chosen you to be the mother of a special baby, God’s Son.” He told her that this was part of God’s plan. Mary did not understand. The angel said, “God can do things that people think are impossible.” Mary said, “I will do what God wants.” One night when Joseph was sleeping, God sent an angel to him in a dream. The angel said, “Do not be afraid to marry Mary. Her baby is God’s Son. You will name Him Jesus. He will love people and teach them about God.” Joseph remembered the dream when he woke up. He did as the angel said. Joseph married Mary. Joseph and Mary waited for the special baby, Jesus, to be born.

LIVE IT OUT: Remind your child that God chose Mary and Joseph to be Jesus’ family. Talk about your family and how members cares for others. Help your child make a book of family members by drawing on individual sheets of paper and stapling the pages together.

Kids

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

LIFE POINT: Mary, who lived in the town of Nazareth, was visited by an angel. “Be happy,” the angel said. “God is with you.” Mary wondered what kind of greeting this was. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. You will have a son and you will call Him Jesus. He will be God’s Son.” Mary wondered how this could happen. The angel said, “God’s Spirit will come to you. The one born to you will be the Son of God.” Mary answered that she would obey God. Joseph wondered what to do. He knew he was not the father of Mary’s baby. As he slept, an angel came to him. “Joseph, don’t be afraid to marry Mary. Her baby is God’s own Son. You are to name Him Jesus. He will save His people from their sins.” Joseph took Mary for his wife. When the baby was born, Joseph and Mary named Him Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child memorize the Bible verse, Matthew 1:21. This verse contains the angel’s words to Joseph. God committed Jesus to the family of Joseph. Help your child understand that God chose a family for Jesus because that is His plan for all children.

Students

Mark 4:1-9

THE POINT: Obeying Jesus’ teachings leads to productive living.
• What’s the best way for you to learn something new?
• What are the benefits and challenges of using stories to reveal truth?
• Where do you see each of these soils represented in our culture?
• What kinds of “fruit” should be evident in our lives when we obey Jesus’ teaching? Discuss the following quote:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.(1)—Robert Louis Stephenson

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 the time this week to ask your student how he or she is rooting out bad habits, while strengthening good habits to grow better in his or her relationship with Christ.
• COMMUNITY: Discuss ways you and your student can purposefully plant seeds of discipleship in your community this week.
• CULTURE: When spreading seeds of discipleship, we have to reach out to people around us and connect in ways that make sense to them. Discuss how you and your student can better relate to the culture around you and spread the gospel.

(1) Robert Louis Stephenson, “Robert Louis Stephenson Quotes,” Brainy Quote [online], [accessed 23 May 2017]. Available from the Internet: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/robertloui101230.html.


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Conversation Starters: Jesus Provides

Posted by Karah

CONNECTION POINT: The Bible tells about Jesus’s care for people.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Many people relegate Jesus to solely the spiritual realm—as though the spiritual life is separate from all other areas of life. Jesus saves the whole person. He seeks to help us and sustain us in every area of every life—and we can trust Him to do so. As Jesus meets our every need, we can be a conduit of His care in the lives of others.

Concept: Jesus Provides

Preschool

LIFE POINT: Josiah was 8 years old when he became king. He loved God and wanted to obey Him. Josiah became a man and wanted to obey God. The temple (church) needed to be cleaned and repaired. King Josiah told one of his helpers, “Give money to carpenters, builders, and stone masons to repair the temple.” The workers found a Bible scroll. The worker gave the scroll to the king’s helper. The helper read words from the Bible scroll. When Josiah heard the words, he was upset. “The words of this Bible scroll tell what God wants us to do,” Josiah said. “We have not been doing these things.” King Josiah called the people to the temple. The people listened to the words from the Bible scroll. Josiah promised he would do the things God said. The people promised God they would do what God said, too.

LIFE POINT: As Thanksgiving approaches, use this time to talk to your child about ways Jesus has provided for him or her. Use resources like the Jesus Storybook Bible to help guide your conversations while using Bible verses.

Kids

LIFE POINT: Josiah became king when he was eight years old. When Josiah was older, he told his helper, “Tell the priest give the money the people have given for the temple. Give money to the builders. Buy wood and stone for the repairs.” When the helper met the priest, the priest said, “I found the book of the law here in the temple!” He gave the it to the helper. King Josiah listened to what was written in the book. He was sad and tore his clothes! Josiah realized that he and the people had not obeyed God. King Josiah tore down the altars where people prayed to other gods. The law said the people must celebrate the Passover. This feast had not been done for many years! King Josiah led the Passover feast. He turned to God more than any other king before him.

LIVE IT OUT: Provide several different translations of the Bible and use them to read the verse, Psalm 136:1. Help your child memorize his favorite translation of the verse. Ask your child to list one thing each day this week that he or she is thankful for.

Students

Mark 6:34-44

THE POINT: Jesus cares and meets the needs in our lives.
• What was something provided for you as a child that you didn’t appreciate at the time?
• Where do you see evidence of God’s compassion in the world today?
• How do we balance the importance of meeting physical needs and spiritual needs?
• Where do we have opportunities to participate in God’s provision for others? Discuss the following quote:

“Hope is the poor man’s bread.”(1)—George Herbert

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 thanking God for the good things and the blessings He has provided.
• COMMUNITY: Begin by talking about ways God has used someone recently in your life to meet a need. Then consider ways you and your family can meet the needs of others in your community leading up to Thanksgiving.
• CULTURE: Discuss ways you may be trusting in others or even yourself above trusting in God to provide for your needs.

(1) George Herbert, “Entire Quotes Database,” Christian Quotes [online], [accessed 23 May 2017]. Available from the Internet: https://www.christianquotes.info/search-for-a-quote/?listpage=2&instance=2#participants-list-2.


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