Blog Posts by Mike Meyers

Family Quest: A Heart of Wisdom, Lesson 4

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LESSON 4: WHAT ARE YOU STORING UP?

Guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. A guard has two functions. The first is to keep out anyone or anything that will cause harm or does not have the owners permission to enter. The second is to allow in those persons or things that the owner has authorized. Why is a guard on the heart so critical? We’ve all used the expression, “garbage in, garbage out,” and are familiar with its implications in any type of analytical task. It can be equally applied to our heart (the biblical center of the will and emotions). How about this positive version of the expression, “Jesus in, Jesus out”? Both are biblical principles are they not? Regulating what goes in to the heart is directly connected to what will come out.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. (Luke 6:45)

How does a person guard or protect their heart then? One would be correct to say, “Flee the evil desires of youth!” (2 Tim 2:22) However that is only half of the truth. We are taught by God’s word that lasting heart health can only be achieved when we flee FROM those things of lesser value and TO some One of infinitely greater value. The passage cited above continues, “and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.” Flee and pursue. How? We flee by creating distance between ourself and temptation, by turning our backs on the twisted values of the world. We pursue by “looking on” Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, by setting our hearts and minds on things above, by thinking about whatever is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.” Finally, this call to flee and pursue is meant to be carried out in community. Let’s look again at our passage in full, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Let us encourage the children to guard their hearts with us.

 

BIG IDEA: Wisdom guards my heart.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 4:20-27
2 Timothy 2:22
Philippians 4:6-8
Psalm 101:3
Colossians 3:1-2

SECTION VERSE:
Then you will understand what is  right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. – Proverbs 2:9-10

LESSON VERSE:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. – Luke 6:45

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Read Proverbs 4:20-27 out loud and discuss, verse by verse.
  • How can we help keep our heart clean?
  • Name some things that are not good to put in your heart. How about some good things?
  • How can you apply what you learned in Quest this week?

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: A Heart of Wisdom, Lesson 3

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LESSON 3: GOD IS A TRUSTWORTHY GUIDE

Spiritual G.P.S. The God Positioning System. Just like our geographical GPS requires three parts to function correctly, a satellite system, a receiver, and a reliable digital map, so does our spiritual GPS. It begins by having a connection to our heavenly Father through his Son, Jesus. The next piece is the indwelling Holy Spirit to quicken our conscience and open our spiritual eyes. Finally we need a reliable map; God’s living and powerful Word. With these 3 pieces our guidance system is complete.

Any GPS system is only useful if we have it turned on and actually follow the instructions given. However, while global positioning systems have gotten very sophisticated and much more reliable, they can still fail. Not so with our God guidance system. It is completely dependable and rejecting its guidance is the height of foolishness. Why you say? Let’s go back and look at its parts. The character of our heavenly Father, his all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, and all-loving nature make Him 100% reliable over and against our “own understanding” of our circumstances and the world around us. His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. Then there is the submissive obedience of the Spirit to the Father and Son. This reassures us that He will only provide the guidance that the Father has spoken. Because they are one in three persons there is no chance of a communication breakdown. Finally, the living and active Word of God, divinely inspired, infallible, and protected through the ages, is given to us as God’s primary means of transforming our hearts and renewing our minds into the image of the Son. We have a reliable road map.

This spiritual GPS is worthy of our complete trust. Don’t second guess it with your own “understanding.” Put it to the test and you will see that it is truly wise to place our faith (confide = with faith) in the guidance of our God. Better yet, encourage the children to do the same and you will have an impact on eternity!

 

BIG IDEA: Trust in God’s wisdom and He will guide you.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 3:1-12

SECTION VERSE:
Then you will understand what is  right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. – Proverbs 2:9-10

LESSON VERSE:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Read Proverbs 3:1-12 out loud and discuss, verse by verse.
  • What are we told to do with God’s words?
  • What does it mean to trust? Who is someone you trust? Why?
  • How can you apply what you learned in Quest this week?

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: A Heart of Wisdom, Lesson 2

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LESSON 2: DON’T BE A FOOL, LISTEN TO THE WISE

What is one of the most often lamented or joked about attributes of youthful thinking? We all know the old adage, “The older I get, the wiser my father becomes.” The foolishness of youth leads us to believe that we know everything and that our way is better. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” Sadly, this foolishness, if not lovingly corrected in our children, often continues on into
adulthood and creates ever increasing heartache along the way as the consequences of our foolishness grow more serious. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to
death” (Prov. 14:12).

How is this foolish tendency remedied? What is God’s plan for His children? There are two main parts; the content and the delivery mechanism. The first part, the content, is the revealed word of God. If a Christian ever hopes to share the mind and attitudes of Christ then they must immerse themselves in knowing Him. “Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who
meditates on his law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). The writer of Hebrews tells us we must be “transformed by the renewing of your mind,” in order to understand and share the mind of Christ.
This occurs through exposure to His Word. But there is a second piece of the puzzle.

“Turbulence ahead.” Have you ever wondered how pilots know ahead of time to have you buckle up in preparation for turbulence? The answer is simple. Pilots talk to one another. Pilots further along a flight path will report turbulence back to those who are following behind. In a very real sense they’ve been where the other pilots are heading. God places us in families, both biological and
spiritual, for many reasons. Not least of these is for the purpose of imparting wisdom to those following behind us. Those of us who are more wise and experienced are able to lovingly point out
the coming turbulence and, more importantly, the solution to life’s turbulence in the living Word of God. It is vital that we echo and magnify the Bibles’ exhortation to the young to “pay attention and turn your ears to the sayings of the wise.” Do not be discouraged. Though it will often seem like you are talking to an impenetrable wall, God’s word is “sharper than any two-edged sword,” and can be trusted to penetrate the heart of our kids if we are faithful and do not give up in our task of graciously and lovingly pointing them to the way, the truth, and the life.

 

BIG IDEA: Listen to the wise and wisdom will protect you.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 2:1-11
Proverbs 22:17-19
Proverbs 1:8-9
Psalm 1:1-3

SECTION VERSE:
Then you will understand what is  right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. – Proverbs 2:9-10

LESSON VERSE:
Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach. – Proverbs 22:17

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Read aloud Proverbs 2:1-11
  • What does God want us to do with His wisdom?
  • Where does wisdom come from? (verse 6)
  • What good things will wisdom bring us?
  • How can you apply what you learned in Quest this week?

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 5 (Lesson 3)

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SOUL SHERPA, LESSON 3: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR GUIDE

family-quest-the-rock“Already There” by Casting Crowns
(written by Bernie Herms and Mark Hall; Copyright: Songs Of Universal Inc., Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, G650 Music)

From where I’m standing
Lord it’s so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You’re leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can’t control

When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You’re already there
You’re already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there

From where You’re standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

Amen!

 

BIG IDEA: What God thinks and does is always BEST.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Isaiah 46:10
Isaiah 55:9
Deuteronomy 32:4
Jeremiah 29:11
James 1:5-7
Jeremiah 33:3

SECTION VERSE:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember Him. Then He will make your paths smooth and straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

LESSON VERSE:
The heavens are higher than the earth. And My ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9

PRAYER:
Thank God for the guidance He gives us in His Word and through His Spirit. Ask Him for the courage to trust Him and obey.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Who helps you make decisions at home? At school?
  • Why do you ask for their help?
  • If you had to fix a computer who would you ask? (an engineer)
  • What is it about God that makes Him our best teacher? Read James 1:5, Jeremiah 33:3.

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Read Mark 12:30, Ephesians 4:5-6, and Colossians 1:16. Talk about them together for next week.
  • Think of a way you can obey God’s guidance today and do it.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 5 (Lesson 2)

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SOUL SHERPA, LESSON 2: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR GUIDE

family-quest-the-rockMy mother is infamous for her sense of direction. Or should I say, lack there of. She once followed a car for some distance out of her way because, “they looked like they knew where they were going.” She has driven almost out of state before realizing she had taken a wrong turn. Mom was sure she was going in the right direction. She even thought she had recognized some landmarks. It took some time but Mom has learned to lean not on her own understanding when it comes to directions. Nowadays she makes sure she either rides with or follows someone who knows the right path.

How many times have you headed down a path that you were sure was right and wise only to find out that you were on a road to heartache? When we depend on our human discernment and worldly understanding they will fail us in the end. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

We can contrast two great men of scripture in this regard. Saul, the first anointed King over Israel, when pressed, did what he discerned to be the wise thing when Samuel was delayed and an attack seemed imminent. He took it upon himself to sacrifice to the Lord. It might seem to us, on the face of it, to be an intelligent move. Samuel hadn’t shown up on time, they were in great danger, and they needed God’s favor. But Saul had been told to wait. He did not inquire of the Lord and he did not trust the command he had been given by the man of God. He was leaning on his own understanding. By contrast his successor, King David, inquired of the Lord for almost every big decision he made, with the exception of a few that famously went badly for him. God has given us a trustworthy spiritual GPS system; his Word and his indwelling Holy Spirit, ever present to guide us. Inquire of the Lord and He will make your paths straight.

He is our trustworthy teacher and guide. This is a promise of God.

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

 

BIG IDEA: Depend on God and not on what you THINK you know.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 14:12
1 Corinthians 1:20
1 Samuel 13
1 Samuel 23:4

SECTION VERSE:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember Him. Then He will make your paths smooth and straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

LESSON VERSE:
But I will bless any man who trusts in me. I will show my favor to the one who depends on me. – Jeremiah 17:7

PRAYER:
Thank God the Father that Jesus laid down his glory, his power, and his life so that He could become one of us and show us what God is like. Ask
Him to help you make Jesus the center of your life every day.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Who do you trust? Why?
  • Do you trust God? Why/why not?
  • How can you learn to trust God? (knowledge + experience = trust)
  • How can we experience God’s will? (Read Romans 12:1-2)

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Read James 1:5, Jeremiah 33:3, and Isaiah 55:9. Talk about them together for next week.
  • Pray together. See the prayer focus.
  • Think of a way you can obey God’s guidance today and do it. Write it down and talk about the results together.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 5 (Lesson 1)

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SOUL SHERPA, LESSON 1: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR GUIDE

family-quest-the-rockThe work of the Holy Spirit – To manifest (make known, show) the active presence of God in the world and especially in the church.

Isn’t GPS a great thing? It amazes me that a satellite high above the earth can see me, and when combined with digital mapping software, can tell me how to get from point A to B in the quickest way possible. It amazes me even more to consider that this system can see if there is heavy traffic or an accident along my route and re-direct me around it. If I take a wrong turn, it quickly notifies me. “Rerouting.” But as amazing as this system is, it is only as good as its underlying data. How many times have you followed your GPS directions only to find out that its map data is incorrect and you are at a dead end or the address data is incomplete and you end up in a business park when you wanted to be at a friend’s house? Even when the data is good, it isn’t fool proof. An overcast day or poor cell coverage can knock your GPS out completely.

But there is a guidance system that is 100% trustworthy, 100% of the time. Its data is perfectly reliable. It works no matter how dark it gets because to it, “darkness is as light.” It is an integrated system that lights your path, turns your darkness to light, guides you on the best path possible, reroutes you when you make a wrong turn, and even provides roadside assistance when you break down along the highways of life.

That is our triune God. God’s living Word, breathed out by the Father through the Son is its database. It is empowered by his Holy Spirit whose job it is to make known the active presence of God in the world and especially in his children by guiding us into all truth. Our students need to learn early that they can depend, with ALL their hearts, on their failsafe guidance system. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

 

BIG IDEA: We can trust God to guide us.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 3:5-6
Isaiah 42:16
John 8:12
Psalm 119:105
Psalm 23:1-3

SECTION VERSE:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember Him. Then He will make your paths smooth and straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

LESSON VERSE:
Guide me in your truth. Teach me. You are God my Savior. I put my hope in you all day long. – Psalm 25:5

PRAYER:
Thank God that Jesus laid down his glory, his power, and his life so that He could become one of us and show us what God is like. Ask Him to help you make Jesus the center of your life every day.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What did you learn today?
  • From our memory verse, what 3 things should we do? What will God do in response?
  • Who is a leader you admire? What makes God the best leader?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Read Psalm 32:8, Romans 12:1-2, Jeremiah 17:7 and talk about them together
  • Commit to spending 15 minutes each day this week to just be quiet and think about God.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 4 (Lesson 4)

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SPOTTER, LESSON 4: GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE

family-quest-the-rock“Be imitators of GOD, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)

The Bible makes plain that, when we are reborn in Christ, we are called to be “imitators of GOD,” that is, imitators of his communicable character attributes, those attributes GOD “shares” with his adopted children. We can know the character of our GOD because it is clearly revealed in scripture. Among his many qualities we find that God is loving, patient, kind, good, joyful, faithful, righteous, generous, courageous, creative, and, not least of all, forgiving. These are traits we should strive to imitate. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Forgiveness is sweet and grace is a great virtue when we are on the receiving end. It is something to rejoice over. But how things change when we are the “offended” party. Suddenly justice takes center stage and we begin to entertain thoughts about whether the offender “deserves” our forgiveness. We focus on our wounds and wallow in our injuries. We think that the kind of forgiveness Jesus offered his enemies on the cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” is impossible for us to imitate. After all He is God. But this excuse falls apart when we look a few pages further on into the book of Acts and we see Stephen imitating his Lord in the face of a brutal death by stoning. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Can we hope to attain to this level of forgiveness? I’ll let Jesus answer that one. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” With God’s indwelling Holy Spirit all things are possible.

As we close out this section on forgiveness, we should seek to help the children understand that, on this side of heaven, we are striving to imitate Christ, knowing we will stumble and fall, trusting in his forgiveness when we do, and letting Him pick us up and urge us on to continue the climb He has called us to.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

 

BIG IDEA: Forgive others as God forgives you.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Ephesians 4:32
Ephesians 5:1
Matthew 6:8-14
Matthew 18: 21-35
Philippians 3-12-14

SECTION VERSE:
But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. – 1 John 1:9

LESSON VERSE:
Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done. – Ephesians 4:32

PRAYER:
Thank God that He is faithful to forgive us when we choose sin instead of Him. Ask Him to forgive you today for where you have fallen short of His standard. Thank Him for his abounding love for you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • During our study has God shown you any sin in your life? What should you do?
  • Share a time when someone was unkind or unfair to you. Your response?
  • Read and discuss Matthew 18:21-35.
  • What does it mean to imitate someone? How can we imitate Jesus?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Practice your memory verse (1 John 1:9).
  • Check with your family members to see if you need to forgive or be forgiven by anyone.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 4 (Lesson 3)

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SPOTTER, LESSON 3: GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE

family-quest-the-rockPropitiation (Greek – hilasmos, meaning an offering to appease an offended party.)

How can a God who hates sin so much just let it go unpunished? When He looks at his creation and sees how scarred and polluted sin has made it, He is greatly offended. How can He not pour out his anger on the guilty? How can God let wrongdoers go free? It doesn’t seem fair. Unless, of course, I am the wrongdoer and then my math changes dramatically and forgiveness seems a rather wonderful thing. But the questions are still valid. How is it just to leave sin unpunished?

The short answer is, it wouldn’t be just, if that is what God actually did. But sin has been punished. The sins of God’s people going all the way back to Adam accumulated and accumulated. All the while God in his great mercy withheld punishment, looking forward to a day when One would pay for it all and wipe out the debt once and for all for those who believed in his coming. “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” (Romans 3:25)

The best news is that, not only did Jesus receive the just wages of the sins of all who went before Him, He also made available that credit of righteousness to all who would believe and receive Him in faith in the future. He became our Passover Lamb. The Lamb was slain, that work is done. It is a historical fact that happened completely outside of us and was purely an act of God. The only question that matters now is have you, by faith, applied the blood of the Lamb to the doorposts of your life? Have your students?

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
(Elvina Hall)

 

BIG IDEA: Jesus’ death paid for all our sins and He can make us clean.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Romans 3
Psalm 86:5
Ephesians 1:7
Hebrews 10:12,17

SECTION VERSE:
But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. – 1 John 1:9

LESSON VERSE:
Lord, you are good. You are forgiving. You are full of love for all who call out to you. – Psalm 86:5

PRAYER:
Thank God that He is faithful to forgive us when we choose sin instead of Him. Ask Him to forgive you today for where you have fallen short of His standard. Thank Him for his abounding love for you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Read Psalm 86:5. How has God like this for you?
  • Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?
  • What does it mean to, “hate the sin and not the sinner?”
  • When God forgives your sin, what does He do with it?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Practice your memory verse (1 John 1:9).
  • Check with your family members to see if you need to forgive or be forgiven by anyone.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 4 (Lesson 2)

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SPOTTER, LESSON 2: GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE

family-quest-the-rockBen Franklin is quoted as saying, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” I think the same thing could be said about sin. If we attempt to hide sin, to cover it up, to “regard” it in our hearts, it is only a matter of time before it will begin to stink up the place. Numbers 32:23 tells us that we can be sure that our, “sin will be discovered. It will be brought out into the open.” In Hebrews 4:13 we are reminded that, “Nothing God created is hidden from Him. His eyes see everything. He will hold us accountable for everything we do.”

So how does sin begin to stink? King David, the subject of our case study, gives us detailed insight into the very real physical effects of un-confessed sin in the life of a believer.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3-4)

Only when David, after being confronted by Nathan, recognizes his sin for what it is and despises it as God does, does he find forgiveness.

Then I admitted my sin to you. I didn’t cover up the wrong I had done. I said, “I will admit my lawless acts to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)

Belonging to Christ involves a change of mind, the adoption of a new worldview in which sin is seen through the eyes of God for what it is. Confession begins with seeing and hating our sin. Don’t let sin be a guest in your house.

 

BIG IDEA: Confession begins with seeing and hating your sins.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Psalm 32:3-5
Psalm 38:18
Psalm 139:23-24
Numbers 32:23
Proverbs 28:13

SECTION VERSE:
But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. – 1 John 1:9

LESSON VERSE:
I admit that I have done wrong. I am troubled by my sin. – Psalm 38:18

PRAYER:
Thank God that He is faithful to forgive us when we choose sin instead of Him. Ask Him to forgive you today for where you have fallen short of His standard. Ask Him to help you see sin as He does.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What is your attitude toward sin?
  • How do you feel when you sin?
  • God says He will forgive you now matter what. How does that make you feel?
  • How do you feel when confronted with sin?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Practice your memory verse (1 John 1:9).
  • Read Psalm 19:12-13 and 139:23-24 as your own prayer.
  • As a family adopt an RBC missionary to pray for and encourage.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 4 (Lesson 1)

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SPOTTER, LESSON 1: GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE

family-quest-the-rockConfess – “to say the same thing about.” (Greek – homologéō) and “to make known, declare, tell.” (Hebrew – Yada)

To confess a sin is to uncover it and call it exactly what God calls it. Effective confession must be accompanied by the willingness and desire to turn away from it. Having a “change of mind” about the sin (repentance).

Case Study In Confession

The pattern we see with King David in his sin against God with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, the attempt at hiding those sins, the physical results of that attempt, and his subsequent confession in Psalm 51, serves as a case study for God’s promise of forgiveness.

Over the next several weeks we will walk with our students through the hard truth that even David, a “man after God’s own heart,” failed the test and sinned against heaven. Were it not for God’s promise of forgiveness, this reality could cause us to lose all hope of ever being useful in the hands of our Lord. But the truth is that our God is faithful to forgive for the sake of his own Name and, because He is, we can say to God, just as David did, “Let me hear you say, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Psalm 51:8)

 

BIG IDEA: God will forgive us when we confess our sins.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
1 John 1:5-10
Romans 7:7-25
Psalm 51

SECTION VERSE:
But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. – 1 John 1:9

LESSON VERSE:
Suppose we claim we are without sin. Then we are fooling ourselves. The truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8

PRAYER:
Thank God that He is faithful to forgive us when we choose sin instead of Him. Ask Him to forgive you today for where you have fallen short of His standard.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Do real Christians still sin?
  • Why do you think this is true if we are a “new creation”? (Clue: position in Christ at salvation vs. sanctification process)
  • What solution does God provide?
  • What else is promised along with forgiveness?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Practice your memory verse (1 John 1:9).
  • Think of someone who has done something to you that you didn’t like. Forgive them in your heart and, if it is OK with mom and dad, let them know.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 3 (Lesson 4)

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Free Climbing, LESSON 4: Victory Over Sin – God Is Faithful in the Time of Our Testing

family-quest-the-rockGod’s Word is our strength to resist temptation.

“It’s an open book test.” Those words can indeed be beautiful to hear in the face of a difficult exam. I remember clearly the first time I heard them in a high school chemistry class. At once my heart jumped because I had not studied well for the test. In fact I hadn’t studied well for the whole year in that class. I thought, “This is a gift!” Sadly, my joy turned to nervous sweat as I frantically thumbed pages and scoured the index of a book I had barely cracked all semester. I quickly learned that, without a good working knowledge of the book, an open book test isn’t much easier at all. I needed the answers now and there just wasn’t time to find them because I didn’t know where to look.

The temptations or tests that we face in our spiritual lives are “open book” tests too. “Your Word is like a lamp that shows me the way. It is like a light that guides me.” “How can a young person keep his life pure? By living in keeping with your Word.” The psalmist says that the one who meditates on the Word day and night is “blessed.”

When Jesus was tempted in the desert after forty days without food, his weapon of choice against the Devil was the Word. “It is written,” Jesus answered three times and Satan retreated. When Satan distorted the words of God, Jesus knew how to answer him. What if Jesus had, like Adam and Eve, simply listened to Satan’s lies and had no response? Rather than being hyper-vigilant and sheltering our children, we must exhort them to be prepared for what WILL come. And when they are tempted they will be able to say, “I have hidden your Word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you.”

It’s an open book test. Know the book.

 

BIG IDEA: Obey God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Psalm 119:9,11
1 John 5:4-5
Matthew 6:9,13
James 4:7

SECTION VERSE:
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

LESSON VERSE:
How can a young person keep his life pure? By living in keeping with your word. I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you. – Psalm 119:9,11

PRAYER:
Thank God for who He is and all He has done for you. Ask Him to grow your desire to know Him and love Him more each day.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What is your biggest temptation or struggle?
  • What way has God provided to help you stand up?
  • How well do you know God’s Word? Do you feel like you can use it to resist?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Practice your memory verse (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • Find a Bible verse that helps you remember you can resist temptation. Write it down & bring it to Quest next week to share.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 3 (Lesson 3)

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Free Climbing, LESSON 3: Victory Over Sin – God Is Faithful in the Time of Our Testing

family-quest-the-rockIf he could do it, it would be a personal best. 305 pounds. He had trained at slightly lighter weights and thought he could chest press that much one time, but now, looking up from the bench at all that weight, his confidence was slipping. He was about to get up from the bench and leave it for another day when a human mountain, an offensive lineman, who he had seen press this weight multiple times, stepped up to the bar and said, “Do you need a spot? Come on you got this.”

Our faith may fail. But God’s faithfulness never will. What does it mean to say God is faithful? Is it merely the textbook definition of faithfulness in human terms? Let us hope not. Faithfulness for a finite, limited creature is still, in the end only wishful thinking or a good intention. The fulfillment of man’s promises, even a very good man, is limited by his humanity. Faithfulness for Almighty God is not only a good intention but a FACT, a reality which can be depended upon without reservation or doubt. When God makes a promise there is no possible situation in which He would not be able to fulfill that promise. There are no extenuating circumstances capable of keeping God from fulfilling his faithfulness. It is his character.

The reality of God’s faithfulness becomes ever so important when we are tried, tested, or tempted. God allows testing and trials in our lives, just as He allowed Job to be tested, just as He allowed Peter to be tested. This testing is often a means to our spiritual growth. Just as a muscle will atrophy if it is not used and grow when it is pushed up to the edge of what it can bear, so it is with our faith. Faith that is never tested will never grow. God knows how much you can bear and has promised to never allow you to be tested beyond that. He will be your strength to stand up under it. He is standing with you saying, “I’m here. Come on, you got this.”

 

BIG IDEA: God is faithful in the time of our temptation.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Hebrews 4:14-16
Isaiah 41:10
Luke 22:31-32

SECTION VERSE:
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

LESSON VERSE:
But the Lord is faithful. He will strengthen you. He will guard you from the evil one. – 2 Thessalonians 3:3

PRAYER:
Thank God that we can use the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” to defeat temptation every day. Ask God to give you a desire to read his Word.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What will God do for you when you are tempted?
  • What does it mean that Jesus is our “Great High Priest” (see sacrificial system)?
  • What does it mean to be faithful? How has God been faithful to you?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Pick out a book of the Bible and begin reading a chapter a week with a parent (John is a good place to start).

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 3 (Lesson 2)

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Free Climbing, LESSON 2: Victory Over Sin – Anatomy of Temptation

family-quest-the-rockHelping our children understand the nature of temptation is an important step toward demystifying it and overcoming it using Biblical principles empowered by God’s Spirit. When preparing to face an opponent, whether in athletic endeavors, war, or any other arena, we should study their tactics. From which direction will they come? A close study of scripture reveals to us the sources of temptation.

It begins with a carnal thought pattern.

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:13-14).

It is stoked by a world-system that is in opposition to the will of God. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15).

Finally, it is grasped by Satan, the great tempter, to bring it to fruition by questioning God’s truthfulness, making the sin appear attractive and filling the heart with desire. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6).

“All the great temptations appear first in the region of the mind and can be fought and conquered there. We have been given the power to close the door of the mind. We can lose this power through disuse or increase it by use, by the daily discipline of the inner man in things which seem small and by reliance upon the word of the Spirit of truth.” – Amy Carmichael

 

BIG IDEA: Jesus was tempted in every way but never did the wrong thing.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
James 1:13-14
1 John 2:15
Genesis 3
1 Peter 5

SECTION VERSE:
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

LESSON VERSE:
We have a high priest who can feel it when we are weak and hurting. We have a high priest who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. But he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15

PRAYER:
Thank God that He will give us a way of escape from temptation. Ask Him to hold you up when you are tempted and help you see the way of escape. Praise Jesus because He understands our struggles.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • How can the world around us be tempting? Is feeling tempted wrong?
  • Where does temptation come from?
  • How does being tempted make you feel?
  • Matthew 4:1-11. Why do you think Jesus was tempted this way?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Set aside a time this week to worship together as a family in prayer and song.
  • Write out your memory verse a couple of words each on index cards and practice putting them in order.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 3 (Lesson 1)

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Free Climbing, LESSON 1: Victory Over Sin

family-quest-the-rock“The temptations in our high tech culture are so much worse than our parents had to deal with.”

This is in a sense true but in another very important sense it is not. While the Internet, a permissive culture, and a lot of other factors certainly facilitate sinful behavior, they have not created “new” temptations. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The temptations or enticements themselves are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The selfish desire for riches, power, physical pleasure, and fame are still the “sticky” places in our flesh that Satan uses to hook us into sin just as he has for millennia. The good news is that, just as the temptations are the same, the Bible’s answer to them continues to be effective.

Before we were saved and found “in” Christ we were “dead in our sins.” We were essentially slaves to our sinful or fallen nature. We operated within a closed system where sin had dominion. The Bible teaches us that something changed the day the light of Christ shined on us. We were freed from the rule of sin over our lives. “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). If we are freed from sin are we sin free or temptation free? Clearly not, but it does mean that we are no longer trapped in the closed circuit. We are free to choose the right path. Free to resist temptation. Free to pursue holiness in Christ. For the believer this makes life more complicated. Before Christ we sinned because that was our nature through and through. Once we were “rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son” we became a “new creation” called to be holy as God is holy. That can be a scary thought given that we are still living in mortal flesh, but God has given us his word that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, according to the grace given to us, and that when we are tempted He will always provide an escape route for us to take.

In the coming weeks we will be walking our young people through God’s promise to give us victory over sin in our lives because Christ defeated its power over us. There is great hope to be found in this truth. Christ, our great High Priest, does not command us to do that which He hasn’t already done and equipped us to do. Unencumbered by the sin that entangles us we are free to climb the peaks God has called us to in Christ.

 

BIG IDEA: All people are tempted to do wrong, but God gives his children a way to stand firm.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Ecclesiastes 1
Romans 6
Colossians 1
1 Corinthians 10:13
Hebrews 4:13-15
Matthew 4:1-11

SECTION VERSE:
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

LESSON VERSE:
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” – Philippians 4:6-7

PRAYER:
Thank God that He will give us a way of escape from temptation. Ask Him to hold you up when you are tempted and help you see the way of escape.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What is temptation? How are you tempted (tested, tried, enticed)?
  • Share a time when you were tempted and how you responded.
  • Read Matthew 4:1-11 and discuss how Jesus responded. What can we learn from that?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Make a list of all the ways you might be tempted and how you can say, “no.”
  • Read your memory verse together, write it out and hang in the kitchen.
  • Invite a friend to Quest.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 2 (Lesson 4)

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When our Internet connection or phone connection quality takes a dive we typically begin a process of troubleshooting.

family-quest-the-rockWe might start by rebooting. We then move to check all of our connections to confirm they are firmly in place. Then we confirm our settings and passwords. When that doesn’t work we’ll find a way to contact our service provider and pursue a solution until our connection is restored. What is our troubleshooting process when we sense that God is not hearing (by hearing I mean in the active sense of hearing and responding) our prayers?

Our owners’ manual gives us some things to check on. In Psalm 66:18-19 the psalmist gives us the first and easiest place to look for trouble. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” Is there some area of my life that I have intentionally held on to and not surrendered to Christ? Do I have some “pet sin” that I am trying to hang on to?

Maybe that’s not the problem. Perhaps I have some unresolved issue with a brother or sister in Christ? According to Matthew 5:24, we should first reconcile ourselves to our brothers before we come into communion with the Lord. Another place to look for trouble is in the heart behind the prayer. James the brother of Jesus tells us that sometimes we don’t receive what we have asked of the Lord because our motives are wrong. Why are we praying the way we are praying? Are we really praying in keeping with God’s will or for some other purpose? If all of these things check out we need to remember what God promises in regard to prayer. He promises an answer (yes, no, wait) and He promises peace. In Philippians 4:7 He says that when we present our requests to Him in thanksgiving we will receive his peace regardless of the answer.

Where God’s sovereignty and the prayers of his people meet and work together is a mystery, but of this we can be sure, prayer molds our relationship with God, prayer moves God to action and prayer changes things. This is the great privilege of the believer, to enter in to the presence of God and participate in the eternal purposes of God in prayer. “So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

 

BIG IDEA: No matter how God answers our prayers He promises to give us peace.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Philippians 4:6-7
Matthew 5:24
Psalm 66:18-19
James 4:3, 5:16

SECTION VERSE:
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask, and you will receive what you ask for. Then your joy will be complete. – John 16:24

LESSON VERSE:
Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to Him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds because you belong to
Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

PRAYER:
Go before God and praise Him. Admit to Him the ways you have not done what He wants. Thank Him for his forgiveness and for all the ways He has blessed you. Ask Him to care for you
and your family.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What did you learn about prayer in Quest?
  • What kinds of things might keep God from responding to your prayers? (see devotional)
  • No matter how God answers your prayers what does He promise to give you? (Peace)

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Make a list of things about God that you are thankful for.
  • Make a list of blessings you are thankful for.
  • Read Matthew 6:9-13 *together and pray.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.