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Contents How to Use this Book Week 1: The Importance of God’s Kingdom How Do We Understand Jesus’ Teaching? Week 2: The Upside-Down Kingdom Time-Out Word Scramble Week 3: Competing with God’s Kingdom Parables: Not Just Your Average Story Week 4: Responding to God’s Kingdom Stress Heads on Holiday Week 5: God’s Kingdom for the Lost Week 6: Prayer and the Kingdom Deconstructing Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer My Very Own Prayer Journal Prayer Page Week 7: Questioning the Kingdom Week 8: The Kingdom Now, But Not Yet Grandpa’s Dictionary of the Internets Week 9: God’s Promised King Revealed Time-Out Sudoku Week 10: The Kingdom Defeated? Creativity Page: What Jesus’ Death Means for Me Week 11: The Kingdom Victorious Sudoku Answers

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WEEK 1: The Importance of God’s Kingdom THINK ABOUT IT

DA Y 1 Mark 1:1–15 1

What message did John proclaim?

_______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

2

What was Jesus’ message (verse 15)?

_______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

3

Think: Jesus calls for an instant reaction. Are you ready to repent and believe the good news? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

Be honest—what is the most important thing in the world to you? (Another way to think about it: What’s the one thing that you would be absolutely gutted to lose?)

THE BUZZ Have you ever been to a big stadium concert? You usually wait patiently while the supporting bands play their hearts out. Then the lights go down and everyone knows what’s coming: thumping music, backing singers and the beginning of a song you know really well. The lightshow builds and then, in a flash, the singer you’ve been waiting to see comes on! John the Baptiser was like Jesus’ support act (though he never wanted to be the headline). It was his job to get everyone ready for the main event. People flocked to him but his message was clear: ‘Someone better than me is coming. Get ready for him’. And then, Jesus arrived. His message was clear too: it’s time! God’s here for you. Are you ready? What do you think about God’s ‘main event’? Pray that God would help you to understand what his kingdom means, and how you can be a part of it.

_______________________________________ _______________________________________ 5

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DA Y 2 Matthew 13:44–46

DA Y 3 Matthew 5:1–12

1 Jesus compared God’s kingdom to valuable treasure. How valuable is God’s kingdom?

1 Jesus talked about how the kingdom of heaven belongs to certain people. Looking at his list, what do you think these people are like?

_______________________________________ _______________________________________

2

What did both men do when they found the treasure/pearl? What actions show that they wanted to own the treasure properly, rather than steal it? _______________________________________ _______________________________________

3

What do these parables tell us about how important it is to be a part of God’s kingdom? _______________________________________ _______________________________________

_______________________________________ _______________________________________

2

Think: Being ‘poor in spirit’ means that we understand how much we need God’s help and salvation. How could it be a good thing to recognise our need? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

3 Being a follower of Jesus can be tough. What hope for the future can you see in these verses? _______________________________________

THE BUZZ

_______________________________________ _______________________________________

You might have seen people camp out for hours to get a glimpse of a celebrity. Some people are willing to do almost anything for what they value. But while it might be fun to go totally wild over certain touring artists, Jesus tells us that God’s kingdom is the most valuable thing ever. It’s more exciting than meeting a real-life celebrity. It’s more valuable than having the best phone for texting your friends. It’s way more important than … well … anything! In Jesus’ parables, the two men found something so valuable that they were happy to part with everything they owned. We don’t need to sell everything to join God’s kingdom, but following Jesus is worth more than anything we could ever own or know.

God’s kingdom is an upside-down place. The world idolises the beautiful and the strong. But the people who have a place in God’s kingdom are those who recognise their need for God (the ‘poor in spirit’). You don’t have to be beautiful to be a part of God’s family. You don’t have to be strong, smart or fast, or even cool. You just need to know that you need God, and that you need him to forgive you through Jesus. Jesus welcomes everyone who knows they need him!

How important is Jesus to you? Pray that God would help you to see how important he is in your life.

Read through Jesus’ list of people again. How can we reflect Jesus’ priorities in our lives?

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THE BUZZ

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DA Y 4 Matthew 5:13–16

DA Y 5 Matthew 5:17–20

1 What does it mean to be ‘the salt of the earth’?

1 Think: How do you feel about the Old Testament? (Tick one response.)

_______________________________________ _______________________________________

2

If salt loses its ‘saltiness’, it loses its taste and power to preserve. What danger is there for us as Christians if we aren’t ‘Christian’ in the way we live and love others? _______________________________________

It’s a bunch of stories that I remember from Kids’ Church. Kind of irrelevant. I’m not quite sure why we have it. It’s all a bit weird and scary. God seems to destroy stuff a lot.

_______________________________________

I keep finding Psalms every time I randomly open my Bible.

3 What is the purpose of light? How can Christians be a light to the world?

It’s pretty cool. Some of the prophecies in Isaiah are exciting.

_______________________________________

Other:____________________________

_______________________________________

_________________________________

_______________________________________

2 When Jesus referred to the ‘Law or the Prophets’, he was referring to the Old Testament as a whole. So what was he saying about the Old Testament (verse 17)?

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

4

Jesus wants us to do ‘good deeds’ (verse 16). Why?

_______________________________________

THE BUZZ A small amount of light can make a huge difference in a dark room and a pinch of salt can make a large meal taste great. In the same way, Jesus’ followers can also make a difference. In fact, our whole purpose is to point people to Jesus by the way we live, love and serve Christ. What good is it if we act just as selfishly as the people around us? When we’re living Jesus’ way, we should stand out— not as loud, judgemental people but as people who point to God by how we treat others. How can you make a difference in your world? Pray that God would help you today.

_______________________________________

3 What does it mean to have ‘righteousness that surpasses the Pharisees’? Who’s the only one to have that righteousness? (Hint: It’s not us!) _______________________________________ _______________________________________

4 If Jesus is the only one whose righteousness is greater than the Pharisees, what does that mean for you, if you have faith in Jesus? (Hint: Check out Romans 3:21–24.) _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 7

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THE BUZZ Have you ever wondered how the Old Testament fits in with the New? Do we ignore it totally, or should we still have temple festivals and avoid certain foods? Jesus explained how it works. In a nutshell, he fulfilled the entire Old Testament. This was not just the prophecies that said, ‘The king is coming!’ but everything. The Exodus—fulfilled by Jesus. The kings— fulfilled by Jesus. The Old Testament sacrifices and priests—fulfilled by Jesus. The Old Testament is not just interesting stories about the nation of Israel. Everything points forward to Jesus because Jesus is the focus of the whole Old Testament. That means we definitely need Jesus. Our ‘righteousness’ won’t get us into God’s kingdom, but Jesus will. Read Romans 3:21–24 again and spend some time thanking God for sending Jesus to be our righteousness.

Notes

DA Y 6 Matthew 5:21–26 1 Imagine you were bushwalking one day, and came across a safety fence with the warning: ‘Don’t cross this line!’ How would you react? I’d want to see how close I could get to the fence without crossing it. I’d get angry and think, ‘I’ll be fine’ and totally ignore the fence, just because I wanted to. I’d get all worried that I was going to get in trouble, so I’d try to stay as far away from the fence as possible. Other:____________________________ _________________________________

2 What ‘safety fence’ was Jesus talking about in this passage? How does he blow away our concept of ‘being good enough’? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

3

Jesus changed direction in verse 23. Instead of how we feel about other people, what was he talking about in this verse? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

4 Why are forgiveness and reconciliation so important? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

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THE BUZZ Before the cross: In a world full of sin and rebellion, how do you get right with God? A rule-based religion tells us that, as long as we don’t cross the line or break the rules, we can get as close as possible to the edge and we’re still ‘good’. ‘Do not murder’? Sure, we haven’t killed anyone so we must be OK. But what about attitudes like thinking, ‘You’re an idiot’? Jesus gives us a reality check: following religious rules won’t fix our relationship with God, because our heart attitudes matter too. So calling someone an idiot is just as bad as killing them! At the cross: This is where we realise that we really need Jesus to save us. If we’re trying to get into God’s kingdom by following rules, we’ll never be good enough. Isn’t it fantastic that, through Jesus, we can be forgiven by God? God’s kingdom is impossible to reach through our own efforts. That’s why Jesus had to die on the cross, so that we could be right with God and acceptable to him. After the cross: God is still God. We are forgiven, but the God who forgives doesn’t want us to live hating and condemning others. He wants us to work towards reconciliation and forgiveness. How is your attitude towards other people? Ask God to help you be a peacemaker, not a hater.

HOLD IN YA HEAD In the same way, let your light shine in front of others. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will praise your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NIrV)

PRAYER Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to tell us about your kingdom. Thank you that, even now, Jesus is the reigning king who has conquered death and sin. Thank you that, even though I could never make myself right with you by my own efforts, you sent Jesus so that I could be forgiven and become one of your people. Please help me to be a part of your kingdom and to understand how I can live as one of your followers this week. Amen.

Prayer Points

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