L.i.F.T Conversations

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What is LiFT? 

Living in Faith Together is a monthly faith-full series of conversations and activities for all ages to grow their connection with God and with others.  We’re encouraging you to gather the second Sunday of each month, but you can choose any day.  Just be intentional (so you don't put it off--it happens to the best of us!).   

Who do I LiFT with? 

Anyone and everyone!  LiFT at home with your kids or grandkids, or a spouse (or both!).  Invite grown kids over or talk with them on the phone/online.  Gather a few friends or neighbors over a snack.  Join a small group after worship the second Sunday of the month.   Conversations and activities are divided by age, but you can do any of them.

Jump to a Specific Month:   

November  |  October

NOVEMBER LiFT

LiFT with Children

Read the story together in the Bible:

  • Spark Story Bible:  The Widow’s Offering, pages 342-345 

  • The Action Bible:  Money Troubles, pages 681-684 
    This Bible has been revised, so your page numbers may be slightly different.

 

Ask each other some or all of these questions:

  • Why do you think the widow shares her money with God and others?  Why do you think the rich man does?  Why might you want to share?  What’s the impact on others?  On yourself?

  • Can you name 10 things and people you are thankful for?  15?  20?  One starting with each letter of the alphabet?

  • What kinds of gifts can we give that don’t cost any money?  Who can you share with?

  • Talk about organizations, causes, and people your family contributes to.  What do you give?  Why?  How does your family decide how much to give?   How does it make you feel when you give?  How can your kids help contribute?

Read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein:

If you have the book, read it together.  If you don’t, listen and look at the pictures on YouTube with this video.

Then, discuss the following:  

  • What did the giving tree give to the boy?  Why do you think the giving tree gave so much? 

  • What did the giving tree have to give by the end of the story? 

  • Is there someone who is a giving tree to you? 

  • Who can you be a giving tree to? 

 

Choose a few activities that fit you:

  • Find items you have that you aren’t using or enjoying anymore to share with someone else.  Fill a box together, or one for each person.  Give it to another family that might appreciate it, or donate the items to the Hillcrest Hope Thrift Store.  Reflecting on how you enjoyed these things in the past, how do you think they will make someone else feel?  [Parents, this is a great way to make room before the holidays!]

  • Give Art.  Find out who in your congregation or community could use some joy. Work on an art project, such as a sculpture or painting. Give it to that person as a special way of sharing your talent. Tell that person the story of the widow’s offering or ask them to share a favorite story with you.

  • Hold a coin toss! Place several small boxes, cups, or bowls together on the floor. Have members of your family stand five to ten feet away and try to toss coins into the containers. On Sunday morning, take the coins that made it into the containers and give them as an offering.

  • Take this time to teach your kids how to manage money.  Consider a jar system, using an app like FamZoo to track allowances and spending, playing the Savings Spree app, or find resources online that fit your kids (such as this article from Parents Magazine).  
    A great model for kids is 10-10-80:  share the first 10%, save the next 10%, and spend the remaining 80% (that’s a lot!)

  • Choose one (or more) meals to make as inexpensively as you can. Shop as a family and calculate how much you saved compared to another meal you might have had. Cook together. Give the money you saved to charity. Before you eat, pray for the charity and the people you helped.

  • Learn about how money is made.  Check out this video on YouTube.  If you give your last penny to help someone else, it can mean more than giving all the money in the video!

  • Fill out the Time and Talent survey.  Help your kids fill out the Time and Talent Survey (use the kids’ version) that came in the stewardship letter and turn it in to the offering plate.  Or, fill it out now online.  

 

Pray together this or a prayer you make up:

Give us grateful and generous hearts, O God.  You give us all we need.  Help us to share all that we have like the widow.  
In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Keep Thinking:

Keep looking around for opportunities to be grateful.  Help kids value what they have whenever you see them really enjoying something by naming out loud what a joy it is.  Keep looking for opportunities to turn thanks into giving.

LiFT with Teens/Adults

Read the story...

Mark 12:38-44 - The Widow’s Offering

Discuss these questions:

  • Why do you think the widow shares her money with God and others?  Why do you think the rich man does?   What is your motivation for giving?  If it’s not where you’d like to be, be honest about it and consider how to alter your mindset.  

  • What do you think the widow’s offering accomplishes when she gives to God?  Is it just institution-building?  What does God do with what you give to church and charities?

Read another passage...

2 Corinthians 9:16 - Cheerful Giving

Discuss these questions:

  • Name 20 things and people you are thankful for.

  • Talk about the organizations, causes, and people you support.  What do you give?  Why?  How does you decide how much to give? How does it make you feel when you give?  

  • How do you feel when you give to help others?  How do you think it makes them feel (be specific about the causes you support)?  What difference does our mindset make when giving?

Read another passage...

Luke 12:22-24 - Where our treasure is

Discuss these questions:

  • We usually think about giving where our heart is.  However, Jesus says the opposite:  “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where are you investing your treasure, and how is that impacting your heart?

  • It’s tempting to want to maintain control when we give to the church or charities.  What might it be like to give trusting that God will use it as needed?

Read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein:

If you have the book, read it together.  If you don’t, listen and look at the pictures on YouTube with this video.

Then, discuss the following:  

  • What did the giving tree give to the boy?  Why do you think the giving tree gave so much? 

  • What did the giving tree have to give by the end of the story? 

  • Is there someone who is a giving tree to you? 

  • Who can you be a giving tree to? 

Choose a few activities that fit you:

  • Find out what percent of each dollar given to your favorite charities actually goes toward their actual programs versus how much is considered “overhead.”  A great resource for this is a website called Charity Navigator.

  • Fill out your Hosanna! pledge and the Time and Talent survey.  You can use the paper copy that came in your fall stewardship letter and turn it in to the offering plate.  Or, fill it out now online.  

  • Find items you have that you aren’t using or enjoying anymore to share with someone else.  Give them to another family that might appreciate it, or donate the items to the Hillcrest Hope Thrift Store or Goodwill.  While you’re there, ask about what your donations support.  Reflecting on how you enjoyed these things in the past, how do you think they will make someone else feel?  

  • Learn about how money is made.  Check out this video on YouTube that describes the process.  If you give your last penny to help someone else, it can mean more than giving all the money in the video!

Pray together this or a prayer you make up:

Give us grateful and generous hearts, O God.  You give us all we need.  Help us to share all that we have like the widow.  
In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Keep Thinking:

Keep looking around for opportunities to be grateful.  Help kids value what they have whenever you see them really enjoying something by naming out loud what a joy it is.  Keep looking for opportunities to turn thanks into giving.

Next LiFT...  December 11

God has given us an abundance of blessings.  We find joy in thanking God, and in sharing our bounty. 


Mark 12:38-44 - The Widow’s Offering

Theme and Scripture

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OCTOBER LiFT

LiFT with Children

Read the story together in the Bible:

  • Spark Story Bible:  The Burning Bush and Free from Slavery, pages 72-79 

  • The Action Bible:  A Burning Bush! and Spokesmen for God, pages 121-128

 

Ask each other some or all of these questions:

  • How do you act when you don’t want to do something you’ve been asked to do? 

  • How does God call you to help carry out his plan for our world? 

  • God commanded Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground by the burning bush. Why do you think this act was so important? Can you think of times in our world we might do something similar, such as when we pray or sing the national anthem? 

  • Take turns rolling a die and listing that number of people you know (or know of) who have been called by God to do something in our world. Think of Bible heroes, people in your community, family members, friends, and characters from history, even if what they do is everyday stuff.

 

Choose a few activities that fit you:

  • Place drops of red, orange, and yellow fingerpaint on paper. Use a straw to blow the paint to make a burning bush. 

  • Hang this on your refrigerator to remind you of this story! 

  • Search for some voice recordings that you think might sound like God’s voice. Is God’s voice high or low? Fast or slow? Intense or calm? Quiet or loud? Put together an audio collage of different voices that might sound like God’s voice and share it with your family. 

  • Talk to your family members about some things they’ve felt God calling them to do. If those things were difficult, ask them to talk about how they knew that God was with them, helping them. 

  • Act out this story outside. Grab some sandals and a flashlight. One person shines the flashlight through a bush and talks like God. The other person wears the sandals and pretends to be Moses. What do God and Moses talk about?

  • God issues a challenge to Moses through the burning bush. Is there a family challenge you can come up with: to raise money for your church or a special charity? To enter a walk-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for the hungry? To plan a neighborhood block party? God loves big ideas!

  • God used an amazing burning bush to get Moses’ attention. With adult supervision, light your own burning bush — a candle — at dinner. Gather around the glowing light and talk about how God gets your attention. Does God use nature, the Bible, loved ones, or strangers?

  • God told Moses that the Israelites would be rescued from the Egyptians. Moses would lead them into a land flowing with milk and honey. As a family, make some honey muffins and serve with milk.

  • Have you ever thought about how much music impacts our mood? Have every family member pick out a couple of their favorite songs. Sit down together and take turns sharing your songs. Listen to what you really like about each other’s music and how it makes you feel.

  • Listen to the different voices around you — voices in your family, on the radio, at school — and talk about what God’s voice might sound like. 

Pray together this or a prayer you make up:

Thank you, God, for working with us and through us, and sometimes in spite of us! Help us to hear your call to our family to do what needs to be done in the world. AMEN. 

 

Keep Thinking:

Next time you’re around a fire, remember this amazing story of the Burning Bush when the bush burned but did not burn up! 

LiFT with Teens/Adults

 

Read the story... Part 1

Moses Flees - Exodus 2:11-25

 

Discuss these questions:

  • Eventually Moses will bring the Hebrew people out of slavery.  What impact do you think this experience with the Egyptian beating a Hebrew had on him?  How have experiences in your past (even bad ones) brought you to where you are today?  

  • Instead of confrontation, Moses runs.  When have you run away from hard things?  How has God helped you face it at a later time?  

 

Read the story... Part 2

At the Burning Bush - Exodus 3:1-12

 

Discuss these questions:

  • Why do you think God begins with, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”?  What difference does it make knowing your history?

  • God speaks to Moses through a burning bush.  How does God speak to you?  How easy or hard is it to resist God?  

  • God says, “I have observed the misery of my people . . . I have heard their cry . . . I know their sufferings.”  Do you think God sees you?  Hears your cries?  Knows your sufferings?  If so, what’s God doing about it?  Who is the “Moses” God is preparing to send you?

 

Read the story... Part 3

The Divine Name - Exodus 3:13-22

 

Discuss these questions:

  • God tells Moses to say, “I AM has sent me to you.”  The Hebrew words God uses for “I AM” more literally translate to English as “the One who causes to be.”  God identifies as One who does stuff.   What kind of stuff does God do in the world and (more importantly) in your life?  What name would you give God based on that action?

  • God also unveils a rather specific plan.  How would you feel if God came to you with a plan like that?  How do you feel when God’s plan for you doesn’t fit your plan for you?  

Read the story... Part 4

Miraculous Power - Exodus 4:1-17

 

Discuss these questions:

  • God performs a bunch of miracles for Moses as a way of convincing people.  Sometimes we yearn for miracles or signs like the kind Moses gets.  However, later in the story when they get performed before Pharaoh, they shock and awe, but they don’t change his mind.  What is more likely to convince you or others of God’s liberating love than miracles or signs?

  • For Moses’ third excuse for why he can’t do this, he says he’s a terrible public speaker.  What is God’s answer to this?  Who does else does it involve?

 

Take a moment to think on these topics and then share them with those with you:

  • Identify something challenging you’ve had to do that ended up being life-giving to you or to someone else.  

  • What was your first reaction to doing it?

  • Did you have a perfect plan or know everything to expect going into it?  If you didn’t (and it’s pretty likely you didn’t), how did you manage it?  How was God involved in that?

  • What does this experience teach you about challenging experiences still ahead of you?  

  • If you were to find a bush on fire in your backyard today, and God spoke to you through it, what do you think God would be calling you to do

 

Choose a few activities that fit you:

  • Light a candle or sit by a fire. Take off your shoes, sit down, and listen for God to talk.  Watch the flames closely to help you clear your mind and focus.

  • Make an origami bush to remind you of this story.  Learn how to do it on YouTube.

  • Research the Protestant Reformation online or at a library.

  • Read, listen to, or watch online the “I have a dream” speech (the whole thing) by Martin Luther King Jr.  Then ponder what God was calling him to do, and who he was called to liberate.  What impact did it have?  What did it cost him?  

  • Think about the power of simple changes with this puzzle... 

    • Instructions:  Change one word into another by altering only one letter at a time to make a common English word at each step. No letters may be scrambled from one step to the next. 

    • For example:  to change “BELL” to “BEAR” in three steps, you could write BELL - BELT - BEAT - BEAR.

    • Now you try it, each in 3 steps:

      • CAST to FAME 

      • ROLE to MOOD 

      • BELT to MUST 

      • DIVE to NAME 

      • TREE to FLED 

    • Click here for the answers.

Pray together this or a prayer you make up:

Thank you, God, for working with us and through us, and sometimes in spite of us!  Help us to hear your call to do what needs to be done in for the people around use and for the sake of the world. AMEN. 

 

Keep Thinking:

Next time you’re around a fire, remember this story.  Consider what God is calling you to do in that moment.

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God calls us to do big things, and sometimes that involves change and reformation. 

Exodus 2:11-4:17 - Moses and the Burning Bush

Theme and Scripture