Join the Celebration

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Ask God to show you how to make choices that are pleasing to Him.

Read Luke 15:25-32 in your Bible. Then answer the questions below:

“But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’”—Luke 15:29-30

 

-Why was the older son angry at His father’s warm welcome of the younger brother?

 

-How did the older son describe his relationship to his father?

 

Skim over Luke 15:1-2. Pharisees and religious leaders believed they were righteous because they did everything commanded by the law. They didn’t think sinners deserved the same treatment as them in God’s kingdom. How is the older son like the Pharisees and religious leaders? Explain.

The father responded to his older son in verses 31 and 32. Read the verses and think about the father’s response. The father represents God in these verses. What does this tell you about God’s character? Explain.

How do you think the son responded to his father? In your journal, write the way you would respond, your initial reaction.

Respond

Self-righteousness is the belief that you are morally better than others. Do you ever act self-righteous, telling God all you’ve done for Him and how others are undeserving of His love? Write your answers in your journal. Examine your heart toward sinners. Use the questions below as a guide.

Be honest with God about the way you feel when someone doesn’t get what you think they deserve. Ask Him for a heart that rejoices in His mercy and grace.

Think about your family, school, or community. Who are the people who seem least likely to turn to Jesus for salvation and where do they hang out? Ask God to help you see ways you can be involved in His work in those places.

Behind the Story

Pharisees believed they had to live by the law to gain righteousness. Jesus immediately accepted sinners. To the Pharisees, this was unthinkable; they likely felt angry that sinners who received Jesus were immediately covered by His righteousness without having to perfectly keep the law. The Pharisees focused more on works, whereas Jesus focused on celebrating a repentant heart.[1]

The Point

No one deserves God’s gracious salvation. Knowing this we should celebrate when anyone comes to Christ.

 

[1] Robert H. Stein, New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1992), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 407.

 


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Welcome Home

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Take a minute to think of all the good things about your home and family. Think of at least five ways you’re thankful for each one, and then thank God for it.

Think about the longest amount of time you spent away from home? Was it camp? Where did you go? How did it feel to come home? Record your thoughts in your journal.

Read Luke 15:17-24 in your Bible.

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight . . . but while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.” —Luke 15:18b,20

Take a look at verse 18. Highlight the phrase, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.” How did the son’s words represent a repentant heart? Explain.

The younger son represents those who rebel against God. Because you are a sinner, the younger son represents you. The Father represents God. Why is it important to understand God welcomes us back when we repent?

Circle the father’s actions in verses 20 and 21. What do the father’s actions reveal about his character? His love for his son? His desire for his son to return to Him?

Think of the father’s character. How does this parable help you understand the love and compassion of the Father? Explain.

Respond

Repentance means you realize your sin, confess it to God, and completely turn away from it to follow Him.

-Complete the following: I am like the rebellious child because I ________. God is like the loving Father because He ______________.

-Think about your answers to the statement above. Grab your journal and list the son’s characteristics from Luke 15:11-20. Do you have any of those same characteristics? What steps can you take to get your heart right with God?

-What does this parable teach you about salvation and the nature of God’s redemption? What does it teach you about His eagerness to accept repentant outcasts?

-Have you repented and decided to follow God? If not, talk to your parents, a pastor, or even a camp counselor about the Gospel.

Behind the Story

The phrase “came to his senses” in verse 17 was often used to describe someone recovering from being mentally unstable. It also implies repentance.

The son came to a place where he could think more clearly about his situation, but also a place of repentance and renewal.[1]

The Point

Though we rebel against God, He welcomes repentant children home with joy.

 

 

[1] Robert H. Stein, New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1992), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 407.

 


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A Letter to Scout (MadLib Edition)

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Grace Arant

Dear Scout,

I have a new friend that I want you to meet! His/her name is _________, (name of dog from home) he/she is very _________. (adjective) You’d like him/her a lot. He/She is so _____________! (adjective) He/She loves to _________ (verb) and will make anyone ___________. (verb) His/her favorite village would definitely be the __________ (Crestridge village) village because he/she is so ___________. (adjective) He/she would spend all of his/her time there in/at the ___________. (place at camp)

His/her favorite activity of the day would be ____________. (activity at camp) because he/she loves to __________ (verb) with the __________. (noun plural)

One time, he/she accidentally ______________ (past-tense verb). It was a disaster!! ____________ (person) had to _____________ (verb) in order to fix the chaos, but there were too many ____________ (noun plural). All we could do was ___________! (verb) So everybody had to _____________ (adverb) ______________ (verb). It was crazy!

I love him/her and I know you would, too! Wish I could bring him/her to Camp, but I can’t wait to __________ (verb) with you this summer!

Love,

______________ (your name)


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The Power of Persistence

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Think of what you’ve learned about Jesus and His character the past few weeks. Praise Him for the ways He has displayed those characteristics in your life.

“Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” —Luke 15:8-10

Read Luke 15:8-10 in your Bible.

Read verse 8 again. When the woman realized she lost her coin, what did she do? Underline her three actions.

Ten coins may not sound like much to you, but it was almost an entire day’s pay for this woman. Think of a time when you lost something valuable. Did you drop everything to find it? What did you do to look for it?

Read verse 9 again. The woman made a request to her friends when she found her coin. In the verse, find her request and circle it. Why do you think she wanted to celebrate? Explain.

What is the similarity between the woman’s joy over finding the coin and God’s joy when a sinner repents?

What do the woman’s actions teach you about God’s persistence in pursuing you?

Respond

The woman did not give up until she found her missing coin. She was persistent. Persistence means you continue in an action until it is complete, no matter what circumstances you face.

How did God pursue you? How did you come to trust Jesus as your Savior? Grab your journal and write about it.

As a Christian, God continues to pursue you throughout life. How has this helped you grow in your relationship with Him? Explain.

For further study, read John the Baptist’s teachings about repentance in Matthew 3:1-12.

Behind the Story

Why was this one coin so important to the woman? In her day, one silver coin was valued at about 50 cents in today’s currency. The coin was called a drachma. Ten drachma equaled close to $1.50. That may seem like a small amount, but it was probably all this woman had. That is why she rejoiced when she found the lost coin.

The Point

God persistently pursues sinners, desiring their redemption.


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Just One Sheep

Posted on April 25, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Find a quiet place. Ask God to help you understand what He has to teach you in His Word.

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’”

Luke 15:4-6

Just as the shepherd valued each sheep, God values each person.

Read Luke 15:1-7 in your Bible. Answer these questions:

In this parable, the shepherd represents Jesus. What does the story reveal about His character? About His love for you? About His desire to have a relationship with you?

In verse 5, the image of the shepherd putting the sheep on his shoulders meant the sheep was likely injured or weak. What does this tell you about the shepherd’s love for the sheep? Explain.

According to verse 7, how do you think you should react when someone repents?

Respond

Remember each person has value to God, including you and me. Consider how much the Good Shepherd loves you. Take time to think Him for His great love.

In your journal, list the names of a few people you struggle to love. Leave space beneath each name. Pray and ask God to guide you as you write at least one good quality about each person.

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life. Repent today knowing all of heaven celebrates with you.

For further study, read Jeremiah 34:15 and Hosea 14:2

Behind the Story

Luke 15:1-2 sets the tone for the parables we’ll look at over the next few weeks. Jesus spent time with “tax collectors and sinners” (v. 1). The tax collectors were known for being dishonest and unkind. Sinners were those who did not acknowledge or obey God. Jesus spent time hanging out with them, because He loved them and didn’t mind going against the so-called social norms to bring people to repentance. The Pharisees were upset. They didn’t want to associate with or be near people who didn’t obey the law, so they thought Jesus shouldn’t, either. But Jesus knew His calling was to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Repent v.= Turning from sin to God.

The Point

A repentant sinner is cause for great joy and celebration.


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