Category: Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5-7

Josiah’s Reforms | 2 Chronicles 34–35

By | May 15, 2015

When you check out a book from the library, how many authors are credited with writing the book? Some books may list two or three authors, but the vast majority have just one. Imagine how difficult it would be to have several authors from different backgrounds each write a chapter of a book and still have the story make sense. Strangely enough, this is exactly what God chose to do.

The Bible is comprised of 66 books written by over 40 different people over a period of 1,500 years. The authors lived in different places, spoke different languages, and had different walks of life: kings, physicians, fishermen, tax collectors, priests, royal servants, and slaves. The Bible addresses many topics: faith, love, family, government, education, good vs. evil, money, and law. None of the authors knew what the other authors were writing, yet each book of the Bible points to one big story—God’s plan for mankind. In 2 Peter 1:21, we read, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God may have used various authors, but He orchestrated the whole thing. There is no part of Scripture that did not originate from heaven.

The priest, Hilkiah, ran with joy to tell Josiah that he had found the Book of the Law. God’s Word to His people had been found, and they wasted no time in having it read. Even though you may have multiple copies of the Bible in your house, it’s lost until you spend time reading it.


Review: Last week we learned about the prophet Micah and his message from God to Judah. The leaders of Judah were responsible for leading the people astray and worshipping false gods. They refused to believe they were guilty of sin and blindly expected God to save them from destruction. Micah gave Judah the formula to a righteous relationship with God.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.05.01 PMWhat three things did Micah say the people should do to live righteously? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 34-35

 

Memory 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.”

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)


TALK

Josiah is the third boy king. Joash became king when he was seven, and Manasseh became king when he was twelve. Joash started well, but ended terribly. Manasseh started terribly but repented and ended well.

  • How old was Josiah when he became king?
    • 8 years old.
  • In 2 Chronicles 33:22, how does the Bible describe Josiah’s father, Amon?
    • He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
  • How does the Bible describe Josiah?
    • He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. Since Josiah’s father was wicked, how do you think Josiah learned how to do what was right? How important is it to listen to godly teaching even when you are young?
  • When Josiah was only 12 years old, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem. What things did he do?
    • Took down the Asherah poles, idols, and cast images; tore down the altars of Baal; cut down the incense altars. Josiah could have thought that because he was so young he couldn’t make a difference. It would have been much easier for him to have just left things the way they were. Read 1 Timothy 4:12. What does it say about being young? Paul is encouraging Timothy that he can still be a godly example in spite of his young age. We, too, can be examples at any age in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. How can you be an example in these ways to family, classmates, or neighbors?
  • While Hilkiah, the high priest, was supervising the repair of the temple, he found something. What was it?
    • The Book of the Law. This was possibly the first five books of the Bible. The Bible says it was found, which means it had been lost. The actual book had not only been lost to the people, but the God of the book had been lost to them because they were not living according to His commands. The Book of the Law was just laying around somewhere collecting dust from lack of use. Where is your Bible? Is it on the shelf collecting dust, only to be brought out on Sunday? Whether or not we read God’s Word, whatever God said will still happen, because God’s Word is eternal. (Psalm 119:89)
  • What did Josiah do when the Book of the Law was read to him?
    • He tore his robes and sent Hilkiah to the prophet to interpret what was written in the Law.
  • What did the prophet say would happen?
    • The prophet told Hilkiah that judgment was coming to Judah because of their sins against God. This would not happen until after the death of Josiah because he humbled himself before God, and God promised to spare him the grief.
  • What event did Josiah celebrate?
    • The Passover. The Bible says that it had not been observed to such an extent since the days of Samuel; no other king celebrated the Passover as did Josiah. This brought the people back to the time when God had delivered them from Egypt; back to their covenant with God.

 


 

PRAY

Adoration: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). Give praise to God that He is unchanging and that His Word is forever.

Confession: “. . . they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:21). Confess to God specifically when you have not acted according to His Word.

Thanksgiving: “So at that time the entire service of the Lord was carried out for the celebration of the Passover . . .” (2 Chronicles 35:16). The Israelites celebrated what God had done for them when He delivered them from the Death Angel. Give thanks to God as a celebration of a specific time when He helped you.

Supplication: “The king renewed the covenant of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep His commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:31). Make a covenant with God to keep His commands. Ask God to give you the strength to keep your covenant.



DO

Supplies: Any set of blocks that can be used to stack and build; stopwatch Place the blocks in a pile on a hard surface.

Divide into 2 teams.

When you say “Go” the first person on Team 1 runs to the blocks and sets one up, then runs back to tag the next person in line. Continue the relay for one minute to build a tower as high as the team can. The second team now has one minute to take apart the tower one block at a time. Team 1 (the building team) now has 30 seconds to go back and rebuild as much of the tower as possible. Then Team 2 has 30 seconds to take apart the tower one block at a time. Team 1 rebuilds as much as possible in 15 seconds (one block at a time), then Team 2 has 15 seconds to take apart as much as they can one block at a time.

Use this activity to discuss the wicked and righteous kings of Judah. A wicked king would reign and build up the idols and altars to worship false gods. Then a righteous king would reign and tear down the altars. A wicked king would reign and build the altars again. A righteous king would again tear them down. The people of Judah were in a cycle which would eventually lead them into captivity.

Do you remember the kings Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Amon? Were they were wicked or righteous?

Hezekiah—righteous

Manasseh—wicked and then turned to God

Amon—wicked

 

(Lesson: May 17th)

Following Jesus – Foundational family prayer

By | July 23, 2012

Pastor Mike ended this series, Following Jesus, with a survey of  the Lord’s Prayer.  He suggested Jesus used this prayer to demonstrate simple heartfelt communication with God. Pastor Mike encouraged us to avoid  hypocrisy by opening our hearts truthfully before God in prayer. In an activity found in the Family Challenge from this series, Nancy Sutton also encouraged families to study simple heartfelt communication with God together using the Lord’s Prayer. Find that Family Challenge tool here: FC – Following Jesus 5:12.

Both Pastor Mike and Nancy Sutton (from Navpress) offer great insight into  the language of the Lord’s Prayer along with  practical tips from that prayer found in Matthew 6 that anyone can use in their personal prayer life.  The Lord’s prayer offers good discussion starters for families regarding the how and why of prayer. I wonder how many of our kids know that Jesus prayed? Just think what great conversations that truth alone could spark in our homes!

Pastor Mike gave these guidelines for how the Lord’s prayer can keep us following Jesus as we have been learning in this series. He tied all of the Following Jesus message themes together using the Lord’s Prayer as found in Matthew 6.

  • Matthew 6:9 Our Father… “Perfect Father of ours…we know now that you I’ve us like a daddy loves his little child…you reach for us…you love us…we’re the apple of your eye…and all in spite of our sinfulness let your name remind us of your perfection, your power, your protection… You are everything to us! “
  • Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come…“Keep transforming us…As we learned from the Beatitudes in chapters 5-7 “let us continue to evidence You by our transformed and transforming hearts.”
  • Matthew 6:11 Give us this day…“Give us what we need today or we’re not going to make it. We cannot make it without your merciful provisions to sustain us. Our hearts have been corrupt so long that our lives are a mess and to face the truth is too hard.”
  • Matthew 6:12 Forgive us..“Reconciliation all around for and keep us from hypocrisy. At the root of it all, Father, is our reconciliation with you that pours out into the world and brings us back again to our reconciliation with you.”
  • Matthew 6: 13-14 Lead us…”Lead us in your ways Jesus. Lead us away from the natural tendencies in our heart. In the Sermon on the Mount context, our tendency is toward self-interest, self-glorifying behavior and approval and away from  humble receiving of grace and faith in Jesus. how quickly we retreat, and regress back to old ways or run to “new” ways. You have taught us your ways…by your Spirit keep us there.”

The Sermon on the Mount ends with these words from Jesus found in Matthew 7: 24-27

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Using the truths learned from Matthew 5-7, covered in the Following Jesus series, we have an example of how to build wise families with solid faith foundations. The example of prayer given by Jesus in Matthew 6 teaches that honest and frequent communication with God is foundational to the Christian faith. It gives our homes a solid foundation in order to weather the situations or storms of life. Families can build solid homes of faith by following Jesus’ example of  prayer. God asks us to not just hear His words but to put them into practice. He instructs us to pray.

How are we building a strong foundation by practicing prayer in our homes? How is Vista encouraging families to do it together. Check out this video from you tube: find it here

Following Jesus – Conflict as accident or choice

By | June 16, 2012

Was it an accident or choice that caused conflict in our family? There are two different types of conflict that stem from our selfish actions or reactions – accidental conflict & deliberate conflict. In our house, most problems of conflict include both types

Pastor Mike spoke on June 10 about vengeance. He used several examples about personal heart issues and vengeance when teaching from Matthew 5: 38-42. It helps our kids when we admit our own failure to be righteous or respond in a righteous way. Talking about my own failure to bring peace, asking forgiveness from my kids, and asking for their prayer to help me respond better to conflict can be tangible way to following Jesus in my home.Great family talking points & questions to ask together in the car, at dinner or doing chores together:

1. Describe yourself.  What do you see?   How might others describe you?  If Jesus is your savior, how does he see you?

2. We have all had people hurt or offend us in innumerable ways.  Think about one of those occasions.  If you are comfortable, share one of those times.  What feelings surfaced then, and what feeling surface as you recall it now?  Revenge, justice, pity?

 3. How did you react then when it occurred?  Would you do anything different if it happened today.  Read these verses:  Proverbs 24:29, Proverbs 25:21, Romans 12:17, 21, 1 Thessalonians  5:15.  In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, is Jesus teaching anything new?  Whose job is it to repay evil?  (Deut. 32:41, Hebrews 10:30)

 4. Have you ever “turned the other cheek?” Who have you established a relationship with …that initially meant harm for you? How would life look if everyone in the church showered its enemies with love rather than revenge?

 5. Why does Jesus tell us to have a different “heart” attitude about the way we should act when offended?  (Read Peter 2:20-24) Mike said we should think faithfully, eternally and missionally about your responses.

 6. Now look at yourself as being the offender.  You just slapped Jesus across the face and instead of wiping you off the face of the earth, he holds out his hand to invite you to his home.  Does this change your perspective? Has Jesus changed your heart?  How?

Most of the time, we do not intentionally set out to harm someone else. Conflict caused by an accident can devolve further by bad choices by each party. Bumping into someone can cause them to respond in a way that brings conflict. What can be done in this situation to bring peace? Conflict can escalate out of control when responders continue to make bad retalitory choices involving tone, emphasis, blame, etc. Fruit from the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23 can stop this escalation. A heart centered or rooted in loving and pleasing God can overcome accidental conflict through this fruit. It puts us in right perspective with the conflict in order to think faithfully, eternally and missionally in our homes.
  1. Love: Unselfish concern for others & desire to do good
    • Example: choosing to play game with friend even though you don’t want to
  2. Patience: Ability to wait without grumbling or complaining
    • Example: choosing to wait your turn instead of demanding to go first.
  3. Kindness: interested in the well-being of others: considerate and helpful toward them
    • Example: choosing to befriend someone who is different instead of teasing them for it
  4. Gentleness: compassionate toward others with a gentle voice and actions
    • Example: choosing to speak kindly to someone who speaks angrily toward you.
What about deliberate choice conflict?
This one seems less frequent yet harder to effectively manage well in our home. It is often accompanied by “What were you thinking!
Corlette Sande says, “Good choices come from a heart that wants to please Jesus, while bad choices come from a heart intent on pleasing yourself .”
What is going on in a child or adult that is deliberately choosing to hurt others? This is an abusive heart and needs to be addressed as such. Typically in our house it is a sign of lack of attention or boredom. Luke 6:45 says “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.”
  1. Assess their behavior first by using HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
  2. Think through the following questions. What have they been watching, listening to, hearing or thinking that has caused these desires? Have we prayed through these desires? Has their been putting Truth in and defeating lies from satan? Are we spending time valuing each other and seeing each other as important and worthy?
  3. Pray through deeper issues of anger, violence and self-protection that may need professional help. Is there a greater physical, mental, emotional or spiritual issues here resulting in abusive behavior.
Practicals for getting to the root of emotion in the home:
1. Statements & Questions that probe the heart and validate emotions
We say these word in our house:
  • You may be angry, but you may not abuse others in your anger
  • You may be angry but you are holding us all hostage with your anger
  • You may be angry but you many not choose to harm us in your anger
  • You seem angry, but do you know the emotion that is causing your anger?
2. Being able to help children determine what is going on naming their emotions

Emotion chart: Very useful in trying to figure out what emotion in causing an angry reaction. Click here for an example. It is helpful to start with vocabulary to explain emotions. Find some help for that here.

 

Following Jesus – The root of peacemaking

By | June 2, 2012

I knew a woman whose  greatest desire was a peaceful and happy home. She really never cared how that peace was established nor what  transpired to achieve it. I never  understood if she just wanted peace and quiet or the true peace of addressing conflict on the heart level.

Pastor Mike talked on May 20th about deep longing stemming from an unfulfilled and discontented heart. He was speaking into lust, but we see from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7  that many selfish desires lead to discontent. The family challenge material this series focuses on our selfish and discontented hearts as the root of conflict in our relationships. You can see that material here:the-slippery-slope-of-conflict

True peacemakers step into conflict in healthy ways. They think about healthy ways to embrace their own longings and see another’s desires; they do not run from conflict or attack others because of it. We looked last week in the blog at the responses we have to conflict as peace-fakers, peace-breakers or peacemakers. This week we will look at the heart of conflict.

James 4:1-3 says “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

From Young Peacemakers by Corlette Sande

“Many of our conflicts happen because we want our own way  and make choices to get it. These choices come  from selfish desires that are rooted in our hearts…Sinful, self-serving desires often take control of our hearts. The heart is like a battlefield where our selfish desires are at war with what we know is right…When we give into them, we often end up in a conflict with someone.” p. 37

  • Selfishness = you want your own way
  • Self-pity = you feel sorry for yourself and you want others to feel sorry for you, too
  • Greed = you want more and you are not content with what you have
  • Pride = you think you are better than others
  • Fear of others = you are afraid of what others think of you– you want to be liked
All of these selfish desires bring us into conflict with others. Are we aware of which ones affect our relationships in our families, jobs and friendships? Are we aware of actions and reactions that give rise to conflict? People make choices on purpose; everyone is responsible for their own choices. Our choices can be:
  • good or poor
  • right or wrong
  • obedient or disobedient
  • respectful or disrespectful
  • wise or foolish
  • righteous or sinful
We are not condemned for making wrong choices. The death and resurrection of Jesus covers all our wrong choices, but God does require us to own those choices, see their effects on us and others, search our hearts for wrong desires and address the conflicts they cause. We can turn our hearts to His desires by filling ourselves with His presence. We take out wrong heart desires by confession and asking forgiveness. We put in new heart desires through reading the Bible, worshiping Him and prayer. It is not about having a home of peace and quiet. It is about working through the heart of family conflict for true peace with God and others.
Roman 12: 1-3 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Questions to talk about this older children:

see these pdf worksheets on choices good & bad choice wksht and consequences choices cycle

  1. What are you longing for in your heart  (your way, peace & quiet, a possession, a sexual encounter, etc…)?
  2. Discontent can cause longings to develop out of proportion and out of control and cause us to go after things we should not.
  3. What are you discontented with these days?
  4. What are you willing to do to get it?
  5. Has God failed to provide something you need in your life?  Does He have you a place that causing great discontent?
  6. How does wanting something or not getting what you want cause conflict in your home?
  7. What does Psalm 37:4-6 say about changing our hearts?
Good choice, Poor choice, Your Choice:

Use the language of  “Good Choice, Poor Choice, Your Choice” when you have a situation of conflict with children. Use the the word “choice” as it will develop personal responsibility for their behavior. It is their choice made by their heart that affects their behavior. We want them to develop personal responsibility for their choices as they grow older. We can then model positive affirmation or negative consequence based on their choices rooted in their heart. It will stop them from blame-shifting, whining and pouting actions in the future. Talk about good and poor choices of other people when you are reading books, watching others, or watching shows.

Respond with positive affirmation:

  • I like the good choice you just made ___________________ . Your choice was a good choice.
  • I like your choice to ___________ . Your choice was a good choice.

Respond with negative consequence:

  • You chose to __________ . Your choice to ____________ will cause __________________. Your choice was a poor choice
  • You chose to _________. Your choice was a poor choice. You will not be allowed to ______________ because of your choice

Following Jesus – Slippery Slope of Conflict

By | May 13, 2012

How does your family handle conflict? Are you a group of peace-fakers, peace-breakers or peacemakers?

In his book, Peacemaking for Families, Ken Sande writes that “we can be peace-fakers, denying that we have problems, always giving in, or becoming distant from family members. We can be peace-breakers, relying on manipulation, a sharp tongue and overt anger to compel others to give in to our wishes…The third option is to use the conflicts of family life to become peacemakers.”

In the Family Challenge worksheets FC – Following Jesus 5:12 , we are discussing the heart of conflict. The heart is naturally prone to conflict regarding all of our relationships. Pastor Mike talked about this in his April 29th teaching. Without Christ, we are not capable of any good or righteous thought, feeling, or action. The death and resurrection of Christ makes us righteous before God 100%. But if our righteousness is connected 100% to Christ, then what motivates us to continue striving to live righteously?

  • The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart motivated to work through conflict – Ezekiel 36:25-27
  • The Holy Spirit gives us the power to make choices that promote peace around us – Romans 12
  • The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom and strength to build strong homes – Matthew 7:24-29

Ken Sande goes on to say that motivated families can use healthy conflict management “drawing on God’s grace and practicing the powerful peacemaking principles He has given us in His Word.” They learn new habits that bring about peace

What are your responses to conflict in your family,  and what habits need to change for you to become a peacemaker?

  1. Escape conflict responders are mostly concerned with appearances – they are peace-fakers. They avoid  because it is easy, convent, and non-threatening. They live in denial of conflict by refusing to engage and resolve it. They manipulate by fleeing from the conflict mentally, emotionally,  and physically. They are focused primarily on their own feelings.
  2. Attack conflict responders are mostly concerned with being right – they are peace-breakers. They will sacrifice any relationship to win. They are primarily focused on others and ignore their own actions. They manipulate with verbal assaults like criticism, nagging, slander, angry words, cursing and threats. They try to murder another’s spirit through words and actions. They will use any means prove they are right.
  3. Healthy conflict responders are mostly concerned with healing and strengthening relationships – they are peacemakers. They are confident to overlook minor offenses and offer immediate forgiveness (Prov 12:16, 17:14, 19:11). They resolve bigger conflicts with discussion involving confession and loving confrontation (Matt 5:23-24, 7:3-5, 18:15). They settle disputes of money, property or individual rights by healthy negotiation toward a mutual solution (Phil 2:4).
Conflict lessons for young children: This video is hilarious! Sharing can be the start of most conflict with young children. We had great 2’s and 3’s classes in parent- equipping class the last two months talking all about conflict and toddlers. The most effective way to reinforce sharing is positive reinforcement and modeling over and over. If sharing toys or other things becomes a problem, then an effective negative consequence is putting that toy or thing in time out. This link explains general conflict resolution ideas in preschoolers.
Conflict lessons for older children: PDF Lesson for families on the slippery slope of conflict can be found here: the-slippery-slope-of-conflict

 

 

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