Just Try It . . .

Yesterday we launched into Home, which is both a sermon series and a Radical Impact Project.  You can read more about it here.

And the first message came from the concluding words of Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount:

24 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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Working backwards through that particular text, we landed together at the day’s bottom line:  Too many homes have Jesus as decoration and not as foundation.

And to give people some concrete tools to help them build a home where Jesus is foundation, we handed out a Sermon On The Mount Reading Plan.  The Plan includes not only daily reading and questions for reflection, but also a daily children’s activity

The idea is that entire households would read through this timeless sermon together and then engage in age-appropriate response to the words they have encountered.

Part of my sermon invited even those people who aren’t sure where they stand with Jesus — folks who may have been dragged to church by a friend or those who came simply because it was their New Year’s Resolution — to just try it.  For one week.  See if reading, embracing, and living the words of Jesus end up making a difference in how life works.

I’m eager to hear how the experiment works in the homes of Good Shepherd.

I’m also including the Reading Plan here for you as well. For you to . . . just try it.

(Thanks to Chris Thayer, Director of Discipleship, and Ryan Gordon, Director of Children’s Ministries, for preparing what is below.)


Did you know?:

The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ best known teaching. Its core teaching is that the invasion of the Kingdom of God is different from the religious traditions Israel had inherited.


Day 1

Read: Matthew 5:1-20

1)   Who would you think is blessed? Is it movie stars, athletes, powerful politicians, or somebody else?

2)      How do Jesus’ words challenge or affirm your perception?

Kid’s Corner:

Being blessed is not just about having a lot of toys or things, but about how we act around others too. In verses 4 and 9, Jesus talks about comforting those who are sad and being a peacemaker. What are some situations that people around you might be sad? How can you help them feel better? When you get in an argument with your brother, sister, or friend, how can you be the peacemaker?


Day 2

Read:           Matthew 5:21-37

1)        If your thoughts were the same as your actions, would other people see you as being faithful to God?

2)      What are some areas of your thought life you need to give to God?

Kid’s Corner:

We are faced with different choices every day. Make a quick list of some choices you have in a typical school day. Then, write down one good and one bad consequence of each choice. Circle the BEST choice a follower of Jesus would do in each circumstance. Pray and ask God to help you make the wise choice all the time!

Day 3

Read:           Matthew 5:38-6:15

1)        What is your motivation for loving and serving others? Is it because you are putting them above yourself, or is it because you gain something by your actions?

2)      What selfless act can you do today to practice what you read?

Kid’s Corner:

Get out the following supplies: 1 piece of paper per person and 1 set of crayons or markers for the whole group (not 1 set per person). Your goal is to draw a picture of the front of your house. Here is the catch: when you choose a crayon or marker from the pile, you need to offer your color choice to another person before you can use it yourself. If they want your color you have to choose another and ask the same question again. Once all the pictures are completed, talk about how you felt when you had to put others first in this activity. What are some ways you can put others first during your day tomorrow?


Day 4

Read:           Matthew 6:16—7:12

1)        How do you handle money? Do you hoard it, chase after more of it, worry about it, or do you hold it loosely with generous hands and trust God’s provision?

2)      What does Jesus say “sums up the Law and the Prophets”?

Kid’s Corner:

Give each person a penny. Say: You all have some money. Is money bad? Say: It’s okay to have money but we must remember to always make God more important to us than anything, even money. We can use money to buy food and toys but God must always be more important to us. Let everyone keep the pennies as a reminder to keep God first!


Day 5

Read:           Matthew 7:13-7:29

1)        As you look back on your life, have your footsteps been on the narrow path or the wide path?

2)      What are some areas of your life you need to “change roads” or make sure you don’t leave the narrow path on?

Kid’s Corner:

“Vile” means gross, disgusting, and evil. That means we have to be very careful about what we watch and listen to. So, the next time you notice something vile, whether on TV, in a movie, in a book or song, or anywhere else, get away from it! Then it will be a lot easier to stay on the “narrow path” that leads to godliness, and THAT’S where we want to be! (Depending on age of child, discuss what would be appropriate and not appropriate (vile) things that might be on some of the TV shows they watch.)