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Lesson: Vision Matters

Icebreaker

What is the hottest summer day that you have ever experienced?

Prayer

Thank You, Father, for the lives You have given us.

Key Scripture

Proverbs 29:18 MSG: “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.”

The Big Idea

Every person has a purpose designed by God. When you understand that fact, you can begin to connect to that vision. God says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” The word knew could be translated “noticed.” Then He adds that His thoughts about you are good, even before you are formed. That is like a chef who, before he begins a recipe, imagines how well those ingredients are going to come together. God had good thoughts about you and what you would become, even before you were born!

Vision is clarity and purpose. You need direction for your life. You need vision for your marriage. You need vision for your finances. You need vision for your workplace. You need vision for your ministry.

Discussion

Have you ever wandered aimlessly, without knowing what to do with your life? Perhaps you changed majors in college as you tried to figure out your future. Share with the group.

God notices you. His thoughts about you are numerous, and they are good. Vision is having clarity. Depression can come from not having vision.

Trust God for direction because He promises to give it. Proverbs 3:6 (KJV) says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Discussion

Have you ever had to counsel someone who did not know which way to go in their life? How did you advise them?

Vision keeps you focused on your purpose and reminds you that you have only a short time to accomplish it. Stay focused on your vision so that you will stay encouraged.

In the game of golf, people respect a fellow golfer by remaining quiet as he focuses on his shot and hits the ball. Unfortunately, life is not like golf. It is more like basketball, where the people in the stands holler and wave to distract the player from making free throws. Don’t be distracted by others as you pursue your vision.

Discussion

Have you ever gotten distracted from your purpose? What brought you back to following your vision?

Application

Write a vision statement for your life.

Don’t try to carry out your vision alone. Connect with others who have vision.

Action Point

You may need someone to help guide you to receive your vision. The blind man had to find someone with vision to help him find the Pool of Siloam. Get connected to other group members to increase vision for your life.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.
Print Lesson

Lesson: 12 ways to raise Godly kids.

Icebreaker

When you were a kid, what was one of your favorite things to do with your family?

Prayer

Thank You, Father, for the children you have given us - spiritual and natural.

Key Scripture

Matthew 18:1-6 (ESV). “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

The Big Idea

Read Matthew 28:19-20 ESV. Making disciples is not only about sharing the gospel with people outside your family, but it starts right at home with your children. Here are twelve ways to raise godly kids.

Young children (0-4)

  1. Start soon. By age four, their character formation is complete.
  2. Win every battle. You must break their will without bruising their spirit. You are in charge, not the kids.
  3. Learn to listen.Your children need at least 15 minutes a day of quality time where you are focused totally on them and listening to their heart. They will not open up right away, but if you take the time to listen, they will talk to you.
  4. Keep your eyes on them. Pools, pals, phones, and predators-children must be watched!

Raising elementary children (5-10)

  1. Put their financial needs above your financial wants. Remember to invest financially in your children – school, sports, lessons, braces, etc. While you may want to buy a big boat or vacation home, it may be a better decision to put the money in savings for your child’s education.
  2. Teach them the Word. Read them a Bible story daily; take them to church. Your children will be influenced by school, friends and media; God’s Word provides the unwavering standard/truth we are to follow. Your children need you to teach them to read and learn the Word in order to know what the truth is.
  3. Make memories by taking them on family trips, even small, inexpensive ones can be memorable. Make Christmas and birthdays special with family traditions. Play catch, have a family game night.

Discussion: What are your current daily habits regarding the Word teaching your children?

Raising adolescents (11-18)

  1. Build their confidence by speaking positive words over them. Be personally involved in their lives. Give them feedback on work. Teach them life skills.
  2. Teach them finances like tithing, saving, giving. Show them that reward comes only by hard work; be an example of this. Start their retirement early. Go to college only to learn a marketable skill, and do it with no college debt.
  3. Reward your children with privileges for showing responsibility, not nagging, pouting, or manipulating.
  4. Assist your child in their search for a spouse. What is their background? How about their family? Are they a stable individual? Do they have a good work ethic?
  5. Honor/respect them as an adult. Honor their spouse. Encourage their new business or new job. Don’t try to control them.

Discussion: What life skills did your parents teach you that you feel really blessed to have learned from them? What life skills are you teaching your children?

Application

Read 1 Peter 3:15-16. Consider locating an apologetic book that you and your children can read together. It is increasingly important in this culture that frequently challenges all truth, it is imperative that you and your children know why the Word of God is truth.

Action Point

Review these twelve ways to raise godly kids. Pick out two at which you do not currently excel and make it a point to begin implementing them this week. Remember that in raising your children, you are making disciples.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

Lesson: Man of God

Icebreaker

Has the amount of rain this week affected your routine? If so, how?

Prayer

Lord, touch each member of the group.

Key Scripture

1 Timothy 6:11–12 NLT: “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

The Big Idea

The world promotes many types of men as being worthy of admiration. For example, sports figures and celebrities fascinate us. The Bible, however, gives us better guidelines as to what constitutes a true man of God. Let’s look today at the admirable traits that a man of God possesses.

A man of God is a man under authority. He is submitted to God and submitted to the spiritual authorities in his life. He is in touch with God, talking to and hearing from the Lord. His goal is to become like God and emulate His behavior. As a man of God, he must fight against some things and hold on to others. In particular, he pushes away worldly things; Elijah’s camel hair clothing and leather belt were enough for him.

Discussion

Who was a man of God you learned from? Share with the group.

A man of God runs from evil. Even though our sinful nature is drawn like a moth to a flame, to sin and sinful lusts, the man of God does not stay in dangerous situations. In prideful and greedy scenarios, he will turn from evil. Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife; in similar fashion, a man of God flees evil lusts, including online temptations. Some things a man of must run from and some things he must run to, and a man of God does both.

Discussion

Running from sinful temptations is a battle everyone fights. It is easier to do this with a support group. Do you have someone who speaks into your life in this regard, or do you feel alone? Share with the group.

A man of God runs after God and His ways. Elijah ran across a desert to hear the still, small voice of God, but it took him 40 days and nights just to get quiet enough. We need to unplug more in our lives to hear from the Lord.

Men of God also sprint after righteousness, a godly life, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Even Paul said he had not achieved these things fully: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14 NLT). Like him, we must press on to finish our race in Christ.

You can recognize a man of God by what he is pursuing.

Discussion

Obviously, none of us have achieved everything yet, but do you feel like you are diligently pursuing God in your life? Share with the group.

Discussion

As a man of God, what is one thing that you have pushed away? Share with the group.

Application

We are not serving a weak Jesus. We are serving a warrior king, a lion, a martyr. In the Old Testament, Elijah stood up to 450 prophets and called down fire. As men of God in this twenty-first-century world, we must learn what to run from and what to run towards.

Action Point

You inspire other men when you pursue God and flee from the things of the world. Make it a point this month to prioritize what matters most to you. Don’t be a man of the world, but be a man of God.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.

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“Stay devoted…If you stay devoted you won’t get distracted”
—-Jonathan Stockstill "How to Endure"