We spend a lot of time with our kids helping them to do their best in the day to day—helping them do well with this semester’s grades, this season’s sports, this week’s behavioral challenges. We want them to succeed now and to learn the skills for succeeding later.
When they get into high school, we start to help them begin to think about what they might do with their lives. The big decisions are the same ones we faced: college, relationships, majors, marriage, and “the future.”
This week, though, we’re encouraging conversations about an even bigger view of life, zooming the map even further out to talk about our big “P” purposes as followers of Christ. Wherever they go, whatever they do with their lives, we can help them now to begin to see how their small existence is super-powered by God’s Spirit to fit into in His big plans for the universe.
We’ll be pulling our talking points from Acts 1:1-11, where the disciples heard the resurrected Jesus’ cryptic words about power and purpose then watched Him leave the scene as they tried to figure out what He wanted from them next.
- If you think of your life like an online map zoomed all the way in, what is going on with you right this second? What’s the most immediate thing you are going to do next?
- If you zoom out a little, what would you say are the three most important things you need to do this week?
- Zoom out a little more. What are your three biggest goals for this semester or year?
- Zoom out quite a bit more. Any idea what you’ll do with the rest of your life? Who you’ll marry? Where you’ll live? [Parent: Encourage your child to be okay with NOT knowing the answers to these questions at their age. What fun would that be?]
- Okay, now, zoom the map of your life all the way out. What would you say are your most important purposes in life as a follower of Jesus? Whatever you do, wherever you go, what do you think God wants from you overall? [Parent: There might not be one, stock answer to this question; let this be a great conversation. Let the question linger as you talk about different ideas that might include loving God with all we’ve got, witnessing about Jesus to others, using our spiritual gifts to serve the church, or even just being faithful to Him in the next step we take.]
- Forty days after Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, He disappeared into the sky and left His disciples on earth with two instructions: “Wait for power” and then “be my witnesses.”
- As a Christian, do you think of yourself as having real power through God’s Holy Spirit to do whatever He wants you to do with your life? If so, what have you used that power for so far? [Parent: This could be a hard question, but don’t let it go too quickly. We need God’s power to do anything truly worth doing with our lives. That includes obeying and honoring parents, talking to God and understanding His Word, serving other Christians, and representing Him to unbelievers.]
- Do you believe that God has asked you to be a witness for Christ in your world? If so, how have you done that or how do you see yourself doing that in the future?
- How do we as a family witness for Christ? How could we do that better?
- Do you have to become a professional Christian like a missionary or pastor to be a witness for Christ wherever you go? Who are some of the best witnesses for the power of Christ that you have seen? How do they do that?
- Is representing Christ in your life no matter what you do, where you go, or who you marry a good purpose for your life? Can you imagine yourself doing that as you get older and go through different stages of your life? Why or why not?
- Now zoom back in slowly on the map of your life. As your get closer and closer to this year, this month, this day, do you see any new ways you can be a witness for Christ in your life? How could you—how could we as a family—do a better job at making that our purpose . . . on purpose?