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Showing posts from December, 2019

I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: Giving the Best Gifts

Icebreaker: What was your favorite gift this Christmas? What gift are you returning? Overview: We caught a bit of Dolly Parton’s “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” on TV this week. Based on Dolly’s life, it tells the story of a particularly hard winter and a special Christmas gift. Spoiler Alert!) Dolly still believes she was visited by her guardian angel that Christmas. Perhaps we miss receiving the best gifts because we are not waiting and watching for them. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. -- Matthew 2:10b-11 ESV. No matter who we are – wise man, country music icon or a humble writer – we are born to worship and bring glory to Him through the gifts we give. Discussion: Read Matthew 2:1-12. What made the wise men (and the shepherds) so determined? When has God pursued you? W


Icebreakers: How did you test the boundaries set by your parents? Where did you travel when celebrating Christmas with family? Overview: In the hysterically funny, Christmas movie, “Elf,” Buddy realizes he is not like the other elves and leaves the North Pole and Papa Elf in search of his real father. His father tries to turn Buddy into a corporate businessman like himself. In return, Buddy teaches his father how to love. “I planned out our whole day. First, we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.” –  Buddy Jesus left Heaven and His Father to come to earth as a human baby to learn from Joseph, His earthly father. The story of the adolescent Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem to remain in the temple shows us that Jesus had to learn how to be a human boy through obedience to his earthly parents. The balancing act we pare


Icebreaker: What is your favorite Christmas movie? What is your favorite Christmas movie quote? Overview: In the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” angel Clarence Odbody is forced to lovingly deliver some tough love when George wishes he had never been born. Clarence grants his wish lamenting that there must be an easier way to get his wings. After George has a frightening experience of what life would have been like had he never been born, Clarence says, “ Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?” In the end, George realizes how wonderful his life truly is despite its difficulties. Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.   -- Warren W. Wiersbe God loved us so much that He sent His Son as the Baby Jesus to redeem us. He has placed preachers, teachers and a church in our lives to give us direction so we can mature in our faith. He disciplines us wi


Icebreaker: Who was your protector growing up? What is the biggest threat to your children? Overview: A family who leaves an eight-year old boy home alone while they go on a Christmas vacation are certainly not providing the child with a safe home. It makes for a funny Christmas movie though since Kevin is not your normal eight-year old and is well able to defend his home when it is attacked by criminals. Kevin says, “This is my house, I have to defend it.” He is so good at it that Hollywood made FIVE Home Alone movies. It seems his parents never learned. People change when they hurt enough that they have to change, learn enough that they want to change, receive enough that they are able to change. – John Maxwell Joseph, Jesus’ earthly dad, did a much better job of providing a safe home for his son. He sensitively listened and followed God’s guidance even when it meant uprooting his life to protect Jesus from danger. We have Joseph to thank for providing a saf