Micah, Prophet to Judah | Micah 1–7

By | April 28, 2015

When you love and respect someone, the best way to show it is by trying to be more like him or her. For example, while you may get annoyed when your younger brother copies everything you do, it isn’t because he’s trying to annoy you (okay, maybe sometimes he is), it’s just that he thinks you’re so cool that he wants to be more like you.

God desires us to be like Him. He loves it when we copy Him. In fact, He purposely gives us examples of how He wants us to copy Him. In Micah 6:8, God gives us three ways that we can copy His example: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God is just when He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). God shows mercy when He does not abandon His people (Nehemiah 9:31). God showed humility when He sent His perfect Son, Jesus, to earth as a man to die in our place (Philippians 2:6–8).

Charles Caleb Colton, a 19th century cleric, penned the phrase, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” It is a way of showing adoration toward the one you are imitating; a desire for him or her to be your role model. Who are you trying to imitate; who do you want to be like? Phillipians 2:5 tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

 

Review: Last week we learned details about the promised Messiah. Isaiah described the pain and suffering the Messiah would suffer, but he also prophesied that the Messiah would be killed and then raised from the dead. Isaiah’s message was one of hope to an exiled people. God wanted them to know He had not forgotten about them and that He always keeps His promises.

As believers who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, what should we do with the message of the Messiah? We should be passing along the Good News to others who do not know Jesus.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.38.24 AMMemory Verse:  Zephaniah 3:17: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

 


 

Talk:

Micah was a prophet during the same time as the prophet Isaiah. In the first verse of the first chapter of Micah, we learn that Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah.

  • In Micah 6:1–5, God reminds Israel what He has done for them in the past. What are some of the ways God had saved them?
    • Delivered from slavery in Egypt; delivered from King Balak and the evil prophet, Balaam; showed His righteous acts in Gilgal.
  • Who does Micah say is responsible for the judgment being brought on Judah? (3:9–12) The leaders were leading the people astray. What does he say will happen to them?
    • They will be completely destroyed.
  • Micah is one of the few prophets who comes right out and explains why he has come. What two things does Micah explain about his message in Micah 3:8?
    • Micah is empowered by God’s Spirit and his message is to declare the sin of God’s people.
  • Verse 11 says that the leaders are under the false impression that God is still among them and that no harm will come to them. Read 2 Peter 1:5–10. How does it describe people who have forsaken righteousness and have instead chosen to do things their own way?
    • They have become nearsighted and blind. In this passage nearsighted means “to shut the eyes.” It is a willful choice. The leaders of Judah chose to shut their eyes to the truth of their sin and forget the God of their salvation. We are often like the leaders of Judah: we tell a “little white lie” and don’t confess it as sin; we call somebody a name; we don’t spend daily time with God. Each time we don’t acknowledge the truth of our sin, we become a little more nearsighted and forgetful of the God who cleansed us from our sin.
  • Micah 6:8 makes it clear how God expects His people to live. What are the three ways Micah mentions? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Can this description be used for the way we live? Do we act fairly? Do we show compassion and kindness to everyone around us? Do we walk carefully or wisely with our God, making Him and His commands more important than our own desires?
  • As with Isaiah, Micah gave a message of hope. What does he say in Micah 7:18–20?
    • God delights in showing mercy; He will have compassion again; He will hurl their iniquities into the sea; He will remain faithful to His covenant.

 

Pray:

Use 2 Peter 1:5–6 and Micah 6:8.

Ask God to increase righteous qualities in your life. Put your name in the verse, and mention the qualities by name. (For this very reason, I, (your name), will make every effort to . . . ) Commit to God that you will be imitators of Him; “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly” with Him.

 


Do:

Supplies: Bible Memory Verse for this unit

Use the following motions to teach this unit’s memory verse, or make up your own motions:

The Lord your God (point both hands to heaven)

Is with you (draw arms in to a hug)

He is mighty to save (raise both arms in strength)

He will take great delight in you (use fingers to draw a smile on your face) He will quiet you (use finger over mouth)

With His love (cross arms over heart)

He will rejoice over you with singing (jump up and down in celebration)

Isaiah Preached about Messiah

By | April 25, 2015

Prophets were people chosen by God to deliver a message from Him. The prophets we have already studied were sent to deliver messages of repentance and impending judgment. The prophet Isaiah gave a message of hope and encouragement. Israel needed to be reminded that God can be trusted. They had done things their own way for so long, they had forgotten about God and the character of God. Isaiah relayed the same message of trust to kings Ahaz and Hezekiah. Ahaz refused to believe the message, and Judah was defeated in battle by Assyria. Hezekiah believed the message, and Assyria was defeated by the Angel of God.

In today’s chapter, Isaiah was offering encouragement to a nation that was in exile. They had been forced to abandon everything and to live in a foreign land—everything they’d known was gone. They felt like God had forgotten about them. Isaiah reminded them that God keeps His promises and gave new information about the promised Messiah to come. Israel was being told to not give up hope, because God had not forgotten about them or about His promises to them.

God always keeps His promises. God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our faithfulness. The sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, is proof.

 

Review: Last week we learned about King Hezekiah. He was a faithful king who followed God and obeyed His commands. When Judah was under attack from Sennacherib, king of Assyria, Hezekiah prayed that God would deliver them. God answered Hezekiah’s prayer that same night.

How did God answer Hezekiah’s prayer? God sent an army to Assyria’s camp and killed 185,000 men. Sennacherib went home in disgrace.

 

Scripture Reading: Reading God’s Word is the most important part of family worship. If you don’t have time to do anything else, be sure to do this section.   Isaiah 53

Memory Verse: Isaiah 53:6: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 10.17.29 PM

 

TALK

Chapter 53 is one of the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah, and it reveals information about the promised Messiah. Isaiah prophesied what the Messiah would be willing to endure in order to make salvation possible for all who would believe.

  • Verses 1–7 describe some ways in which the Messiah would suffer. What are some negative words that describe how He would suffer?
    • Despised, rejected, stricken, smitten, afflicted, pierced, crushed, wounded, oppressed. 

 

  • Verse 4 states that because of the way He would die, like a criminal, people would think God was punishing Jesus for His sin. Verses 5–6 explain the real reason Jesus was going to suffer. Who is responsible for the suffering of Jesus?
    • We all are responsible.
    • What about us caused Jesus’ suffering?
      • Our iniquities; our transgressions. Habakkuk 1:13 says, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong-doing.” It was our evil that caused God to turn away from His own Son, Jesus.
  • How would you feel if you were in great pain, and your mom or dad just turned their back on you and ignored you
    • Parents, take time to explain how painful it would be for you to turn your back on your child, and discuss how hard it was for God to turn away from His Son. Discuss God’s enormous love for us. A great hymn to listen to or read together that helps describe God’s love is “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” by Stuart Townend. (Lyrics can be found by searching online.)
  • Verse 9 describes Jesus being put in a grave. How do you think Israel would have felt if this was the end of the chapter
    • They might have felt helpless thinking that there was no point in God sending a Messiah if He was just going to die.
  • Verses 11–12 joyfully explain that Jesus’ death is not the end of the story. What does this verse tell us will happen next?
    • He will see the light of life and be satisfied; He will be rewarded. Isaiah 53 describes Jesus, the Son of Almighty God, becoming a servant. He gave up everything for us, even when we rejected Him. Israel was to listen to Isaiah’s message and be encouraged.
  • What should we do with the message?
    • Acts 8:26–35 tells the story of Philip using Isaiah 53 to explain the Good News about Jesus to an Ethiopian man he met along the road. We should spread the Good News of Jesus, too.

 

PRAY

  • Adoration: “ . . . by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11). Praise God for His redeeming love.
  • Confession: “ . . . surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering” (Isaiah 53:4). Search your heart for any sin and confess it to God remembering the sacrifice made for your sin.
  • Thanksgiving: “ …the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Give thanks for not having to bear the penalty for your sin.
  • Supplication: We should have “the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5). Ask God to give you a Christ-like heart and passion to serve others and to share the Good News of the Gospel.

 

DO

Supplies: 10–20 dominoes (could also use Jenga blocks or self-standing books); table surface or hard floor; paper to fit on front of blocks or books; marker; tape.

Directions: Ahead of time, draw a happy stick figure on one piece of paper and tape it to a domino/block. Draw a sad stick figure on another piece of paper and tape it to another domino/block.

Explain the happy figure represents one who is a believer in Jesus as Savior and that the sad figure represents one who does not know about Jesus. Place the happy domino on one side of the table and the sad domino on the other side of the table, both standing up. Talk about how important it is for each Christian, including kids, to tell others the Good News of Jesus, even though it can seem like a big job. Imagine together what would happen if one kid told one kid and that kid told another kid (place a domino in line for each kid that tells another one about Jesus).

Keep placing dominoes in line until you reach your sad domino. Once that happens, push down your happy domino so all the others get knocked down. Explain that even though the first kid never even met the last one, he still had a part in sharing the Good News of Jesus with the last kid. Now your sad kid is no longer sad, and he can share the Good News with someone else to start the domino effect all over again, so the Good News is shared around the world.

 

(Vista Dublin lesson: April 26th, Vista Worthington: May 17th)

Modeling healthy self-esteem for your family

By | April 22, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 9.54.36 AMHave you seen the Dove Campaign’s new video called “Choose Beautiful”?

It’s a hidden-camera showcase of women choosing between two entrance doors – one labeled “Beautiful” and the other labeled “Average.”

We bet you can guess which door was most popular.

(Hint: research shows that only 4% of women think of themselves as beautiful.)

Unsurprisingly, most participants chose the latter, struggling through deflation and regret when they were interviewed afterwards. They wished they’d had the courage to see themselves in a better light.

Frankly, we can often relate to that feeling as parents.

None of us are experts in raising kids. We see our faults and sometimes don’t feel all that “beautiful” as moms and dads. Even “average” seems likes a stretch on some days.

But there’s good news: through God’s grace we can lay down our insecurities and choose to see the beauty in our best effort to love and lead our kids.

So go ahead, parents—pick the “beautiful door” and take your kids through it with you, too.

Let one of the greatest influencers of your kid’s self-esteem be your own healthy self-esteem.

 
LOVE BOLDLY | Model healthy self-esteem with these 5 personal challenges

  • No more performance-addiction: Genuine humility recognizes that we’re worth having relationships with—not because of achievement—but because of God’s love and grace. If you want your kids to own this, first own it yourself and then extend it to them.
  • No more comparing: Don’t let the lives, appearance, or personality of others determine who you feel you need to be. Celebrate what they’re doing well without feeling like you have to duplicate it. Practice saying, “Good for them, but that may not be for me.”
  • No more name-calling: We can spend years unlearning negative things we think about ourselves. Truth? You’re more than any label or name placed on you. Whenever you realize you’re putting yourself down (especially in front of your kids), stop and actually take the time to reverse it out loud. Say, “You know what? I may have that fault, but we’re more than our faults, aren’t we?”
  • No more cover-ups: Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’ve made a mistake. It’s okay to be imperfect, but don’t let that keep you from asking for forgiveness when you know mess up. Accepting your mistakes keeps you from being ashamed by them, and teaches your kids to do the same.
  • No more unloading: One of our challenges as parents is considering what’s appropriate to share with our kids, especially as they get older. Be honest, but resist the urge to treat your child as a therapist who’s role is to help you sort out your insecurities, and find an alternative outlet.

 

Hezekiah, Judah’s Faithful King

By | April 18, 2015

Israel was God’s chosen people, the only nation on earth that was directly under the leadership of God. Beginning with Moses, God chose leaders with whom He communicated messages to Israel. These leaders would consult God regarding decisions and await God’s verbal response before proceeding. This did not last, however, as the people of Israel became dissatisfied. They compared themselves to other nations and wanted to be like them. They wanted to have a king to rule them and fight for them. What a strange request as they already had the King of all Kings doing that for them!

Their pursuit for what they considered a “perfect” king began with Saul. Saul immediately began to do things his own way. His not-so-perfect reign ended with him falling on his own sword. King David was next, and although he sought after God, he, too, was imperfect. Many kings of Israel would come and go, some righteous and many wicked, but there was no perfect king to be found. They already had a perfect king under God’s leadership, but they were blinded by dissatisfaction and covetousness.

Their pursuit for a perfect king ended in hopelessness and despair. It was a futile pursuit, as there was no perfect earthly king. The only perfect king would be one with no sin. In Isaiah 9:6–7, God describes the perfect king

and a perfect kingdom: “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that tim

e on and forever.” Isaiah’s prophecy was referring to the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised

Messiah. He is the perfect King because He is perfect.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 10.04.13 PM

 

Review: Last week, we learned King Ahaz was confronted by the prophet Isaiah with a message from God. Ahaz was a wicked king who did not follow the ways of the Lord. Ahaz was terrified because Judah was threatened with an attack. Isaiah told Ahaz not to be afraid, but Ahaz did not believe. His faith was weak because he did not live right in the eyes of the Lord.

What sign did God give to Ahaz? God promised to send a Son who would be called Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”

Scripture Reading: Reading God’s Word is the most important part of family worship. If you don’t have time to do anything else, be sure to do this section.   2 Kings 18:3–6; 13–16; 19:14–19; 32–37.

Memory Verse: Isaiah 53:6: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”

TALK

Hezekiah was king to the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Hezekiah was a righteous king who kept the commands of the Lord. He led Judah back to worshipping the true God.

  • What does verse 7 say is the result of Hezekiah’s faithfulness to God?
    • The Lord was with him and he was successful in whatever he did.
      • If the Bible recorded your life, what would it say about you? Would you be listed among those who did right in the eyes of the Lord or among those who did not follow the ways of the Lord?
      • Following Hezekiah’s example, what can you do to be among those who follow God? What “false idols” in your life need to be destroyed?
  • In 2 Kings 18:3–6 we are introduced to King Hezekiah, son of Ahaz. How does the Bible describe Hezekiah?
    • He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord; destroyed false idols and high places of worship; he trusted in the Lord God of Israel; there was no other king of Judah like him.
  • Although Hezekiah was a righteous king, he was not perfect. What did Hezekiah do when the king of Assyria (Sennacherib) attacked and captured the fortified cities of Judah?
    • Hezekiah apologized to Sennacherib and offered him money to leave Judah alone. Sennacherib demanded a huge amount of money—more money than Hezekiah had.
  • What did Hezekiah do to get all the money?
    • He took all the silver and gold that was for the temple of the Lord; he even stripped off the gold that covered the doors and doorposts of the temple. Hezekiah allowed fear to control his decisions. He put his trust in himself instead of the Almighty God.

 

  • Hezekiah was confident that God would protect Judah from its enemies. He used successful strategies to encourage His people and to defeat the enemy:
    • Hezekiah humbled himself before the Lord (2 Kings 18:37–19:2).
    • Hezekiah sought godly counsel (2 Kings 19:2–4).
    • Hezekiah took his troubles to the Lord (2 Kings 19:14–19).
    • Hezekiah trusted God to defend him as He promised (2 Kings 19:34).

The same strategies used by Hezekiah can be used by those in God’s army today against the enemy, the Devil. In order to be a part of God’s army, you must first accept Jesus as your Savior (see Basics of Salvation page in back of this guide). God can be trusted to hear and answer our prayers according to His will. His answers are far greater than what we would expect or think possible.

PRAY

Humble yourself before the Lord acknowledging Him as the Almighty God

Bring any requests you have before God

Trust God to answer your requests in His way and His time

 

DO

Arm wrestle with your kids and other family members. Have fun but donʼt hurt anyone. Ask: “How easy was it to arm wrestle me? How easy do you think it would be if you

could arm wrestle God? Do you think I could win an arm-wrestling contest against God?”

Invite your family to think of things that are very strong. Make a list. Ask: “Is God stronger than all of these things?” Read John 10:27-29. Talk about Godʼs ability to keep those who love Him secure in His plan.

Recall the fact that Hezekiah was a king who understood that his sin separated him from God. Hezekiah became sorry for his sin, and God forgave Hezekiah. Hezekiah led the people of Judah to worship God like they were supposed to.

Spend some time worshiping God by singing and through prayer.

(Vista Dublin lesson: April 19th, Vista Worthington: May 3rd)

Vista Hilliard

By | April 14, 2015

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Vista Families,

In 5 short days the Hilliard Community will have their first gathering at Life Community Church (4400 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard 43026) starting at 6:30pm. I am beyond excited to see how God is moving at Vista. We are seeing leaders press out in missional ways to be apart of this opportunity on the Gospels Edge,  as others step in to fill the gaps. All while families will have the opportunity to worship in their community, given chances to invite their neighbors to our church!

As One Church in Multiple Locations living at the intersection of Jesus and real life – this is a step for all of us to be apart of.  Pastor Brian’s blog post last week helps us narrow in ways we can support this movement.

  • Pray  –  pray for those taking this step, pray for the community, pray for the leaders.
  • Disciple  –  continue to pour into, train and release leaders for Hilliard.
  • ​Step-up  –  as Hilliard leaders turn their focus to Hilliard, step into those spaces created by their absence.  If you see a need, fill it.
  • Repeat  –  as a missional church trying to live at the intersection of Jesus and real life, we’re always going to be in this mode of helping people establish a unique expression of the church in their community.  THIS is the Great Commission!  THIS is the church!

Hilliard, like Worthington and Dublin are just part of the greater Vista Community Church story. I pray that you will join us as we follow God’s lead into a new community. We are all in this Kingdom together! How will your family be apart of this mission?  Will it be praying for the leaders? Stepping into spaces in the absences of leaders? Or will you be apart of the Hilliard Community pressing into where God is leading.

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