Welcome to FaithBuilders!
FaithBuilders is an exciting way for people and for families to connect with each other at the end of each day, to share what is happening in their lives with each other, and to build bridges between their faith and what’s happening in their lives. FaithBuilders is a way for people of all ages to move through the Bible and to think about stories from the Bible that have been a part of the Christian faith for thousands of years. FaithBuilders is something that we can easily incorporate into our daily routines, and it is a daily faith practice that encourages us to talk with each other, to pray with each other about what’s happening in our lives, and to bless each other at the end of each day.
We are going to begin our journey, this year, by spending some time learning about the life of Jesus Christ. This is a great way to learn more about Jesus if you don’t know much about Him right now, and it’s also a great way for parents to introduce stories about Jesus to their children and teenagers. We’re going to be focusing upon only one story each week. And throughout the week, we are going to be pondering several questions that can help us to think more about what we believe more deeply and apply what we believe to our daily lives. If you get off-track, don’t worry about it! Just pick up with the next story when you get started again. This is about learning and growing with people who are an important part of your life.
You might want to use these FaithBuilders steps to help you get started: (1) take a few moments to simply “connect” with another person, or with your children, as bedtime approaches, to simply see how the day went; (2) spend a few minutes reading the story that’s been chosen for the week and talking about one (or more) of the questions that have been provided (or you might want to talk about something else that came into your mind as you read the story); (3) spend a few moments picking something (or even a few things) that you can pray about together; and then, (4) end your time together with a short blessing – realizing that your blessing is one of the most important things that you can offer to another person.
May God richly bless you as you make FaithBuilders a part of your daily routine, and as you continue your journey of faith toward wherever God is leading you.
Week 1 – Luke 1:26-38
• Do you think that God still has a special plan for our lives, and for the lives of the people that we know and love?
• If God has a special plan for our lives, how do we know what that plan is? (After all, God doesn’t always send angels that speak to us, right?)
• Mary was told that she was going to bring Jesus into the world. How have you brought Jesus into the world this week?
• It’s sometimes scary to do what you think God wants you to do. Where can you find strength and courage to do it?
• Why do you think the angel told Mary about Elizabeth?
Week 2 – Luke 2:1-7
• We all follow rules and laws that have been written by other people. Who writes the rules and laws that you obey?
• Rules and laws aren’t always easy to follow. It wasn’t easy for Mary and Joseph to obey the law and travel through the desert when Mary was ready to have a baby. Can you think of a time when it was hard for you to follow a rule or law? What was that like?
• At Christmas, we sometimes see manger scenes in homes, in churches and even in other public places. Why do people put up manger scenes at Christmas?
• The king told lots of people to go to Bethlehem. Can you think of a time when you were in a place with a lot of other people, when you needed to stand in line for a long time, or when you had to remain standing because there weren’t any seats left? What was that like?
• Lots of different things happen at Christmas: shopping, parties, decorating, singing, etc. How can you make sure that there is room for Jesus in your life and in your home this Christmas?
Week 3 – Luke 2:8-20
• Luke’s Gospel tells us that the shepherds “were filled with great fear” (Luke 2:9). What is something that you are afraid of? What does it feel like to be afraid?
• The angels told the shepherds, “Fear not!” (Luke 2:10) How can knowing that God is with you help you in times when you are afraid?
• We often call Jesus our “Savior.” What is something that you need to be saved from, right now?
• What is something that you can do on Christmas morning to help you to remember that Christmas is about Jesus? (FaithBuilders Idea: What would it be like to start the day on Christmas by reading Luke 2:1-20 as a family?)
• Why do you think the shepherds returned to their places of work “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20)? How will you return to school, or to work in the days following Christmas, this year?
Week 4 – Matthew 2:1-12
• Have you ever taken trip where you needed to sit in a car or an airplane for a long period of time? How do you think the person who was driving the car (or flying the airplane) knew where to go?
• Can you think of a way that God pointed you in the right direction one day? What was that like?
• Why do you think King Herod was “troubled” when he heard that a child, who was going to be the “King of the Jews,” was born?
• How do you think the Wise Men felt after they had been traveling for a long time and finally got to the place where they wanted to be?
• Why do you think King Herod wanted to know where the baby that the Wise Men were seeking could be found?
• Why do you think the Wise Men left “by another road”?
Week 5 – Luke 2:22-40
• How did your parents choose your name?
• Many people in the Lutheran Church are baptized when they are still babies. Why did your parents want to have you baptized? What are some things that your parents promised to do on the day you were baptized?
• What was it like to wait for Christmas this year? Why is it harder to wait for something “really big” (like the summer break from school – or a family vacation) than it is to wait for something that’s not “really big”?
• How does it feel when something happens that you’ve wanted to see happen for a long time? How do you think Simeon felt when he saw Jesus?
• Why do you think people come to worship? Why do you think Anna spent so much time praying?
Week 6 – Matthew 2:13-23
• Do you think God still talks to people and tells them what God wants them to do?
• If you believe that God still talks to people, what do you think the voice of God sounds like? How do you know that you’re really hearing a message from God?
• Why do you think that King Herod was so upset when he heard that another King had been born?
• Do you think people with a lot of power are sometimes afraid of other people who have a lot of power? Why?
• Why do you think bad things happen to good people? Do you think God decides to “zap” people from Heaven? Do you think people suffer because other people decide to do things that hurt them?
• What is something that you could do this week to help people to suffer less?
Week 7 – Luke 2:41-52
• What is the Feast of the Passover? (This is a great week to review the story of the Exodus – Exodus 10:1—12:14)
• Why do you think it’s important for parents to help their children learn about and come to know God?
• Martin Luther began his Small Catechism with the words: “As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his/[her] household.” How can FaithBuilders help parents fulfill the promises that they made on the day that their child/children was/were baptized?
• Why do you think that 12-year-old Jesus was listening and asking questions in the Temple? How can listening and asking questions help us to learn about God? What questions about God would you like to ask?
• Big parts of the life of Jesus are missing in the Bible. We, first, meet Jesus as an infant. We see Jesus when He is 12 years old. Then, Jesus appears, at about the age of 30, and begins His ministry. Why do you think that parts of Jesus’ life are missing from the Bible?
Week 8 – Matthew 3:1-12
• John the Baptizer was a rather scary and gruff man who called people to change the ways they act and behave. Why do you think John told people that they need to change the way they act and behave?
• The Church talks a lot about something called “sin.” How would you define the word “sin”? Why is it so hard for us to admit when we’ve done something wrong?
• John the Baptizer called some people who believed that they were doing everything “right” a bunch of snakes. Why do you think that some religious people believe that they are better than people who aren’t religious?
• John the Baptizer told people that Jesus would come into the world with a “winnowing fork in His hands.” What is a winnowing fork? Why do people use a winnowing fork?
• What is “chaff”? Why would farmers want to separate the grains of wheat from the chaff before storing it in a barn? Does chaff have a useful purpose? If so, what is it?
Week 9 – John 1:29-34
• John the Baptizer told other people that Jesus was a part of God’s plan and that Jesus was doing something very important. What is something that you are doing that is important? What makes it important?
• John was, also, a person who encouraged Jesus in His ministry. Can you name someone who encourages you?
• A lot of people need to be encouraged these days. Can you think of someone who needs to be encouraged by you? How could you encourage that person?
• God has a special plan for all of our lives. Can you think of a way that God is working in your life right now?
• One of the ways that we can encourage others and help them to see that they’re doing something important is to simply say, “Thank you.” How often do you say, “Thank you’? Who could you say “Thank you” to tomorrow?
• Take a moment to read: Hebrews 10:24. What is being said in this verse of the Bible? How can we do that?
Week 10 – Luke 4:1-13
• What does the word “temptation” mean? Who are some people who are encouraging you to do bad things?
• God filled Jesus with the Holy Spirit before the devil tries to get Him to do bad things. How do you think God helps you to make good decisions and choices?
• Jesus quotes the Bible three different times while He is being tempted to do the wrong thing. How can reading and learning more about the Bible help you when you’re being led in the wrong direction?
• In this week’s reading, we’re reminded that the devil (and other people) can twist what the Bible says when they want to lead us in the wrong direction. What are some things you can do to make sure that that doesn’t happen to you? Who is helping you understand the Bible?
• This week’s reading ends with the words: “and when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” What does that mean? Do you think that we can be tempted to do the wrong thing more than once? (You may want to explore: Luke 22:39-46)
Week 11 – John 1:35-51
- John the Baptizer was one of the first people to figure out that Jesus was special. Why do you think that John called Jesus the “Lamb of God”?
- In the story of Great Passover (Exodus 12:1-13), Moses tells the people that when God sees the blood of a lamb on their doorpost, the Angel of Death will “pass over” their home. Jesus died on a cross, so that God will pass over (forgive) the things we do wrong. What similarities do you see between these two stories?
- This week’s story is filled with people who point others toward Jesus. John points people toward Jesus. Andrew points Peter to Jesus, and then Philip points Nathaniel to Jesus. Who are some people who are pointing you toward Jesus right now? Take a moment to say a prayer for those people today.
- People were told to “come and see” Jesus. What are some ways that we can invite others to “come and see” Jesus today? (You might want to talk about the fact that 88% of those who visit a church for the first time are brought there by someone that they know.)
Week 12 – John 2:1-11
- Have you ever been to a wedding reception? What are some things that you remember about it?
- How do you think someone who invited a lot of people to a birthday party would feel if all of the food was eaten by the guests before the party was over?
- Jesus tells His mother, “What concern is that to you and to Me? My hour has not yet come.” What do you think Jesus means when He says that? When is Jesus’ hour?
- The steward at the wedding in Cana of Galilee said, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” What do you think the steward means when he talks about the water that Jesus turned into wine in that way?
- In the story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus turns something ordinary into something really good. What is something that Jesus could to turn into something really good in your life? Maybe you could pray about that and ask Jesus to help.
Week 13 – Luke 4:13-30
- Jesus went to a synagogue on the Sabbath. Synagogues are places where people come each week to learn about God. Name three reasons why people come to Sunday School and worship on Sundays.
- Jesus said that He came to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom to captives and to bring a message of freedom to those who are hurt by people who are more powerful than they are. What are some of the ways that our church is doing that today?
- Why do you think people who were listening to Jesus got mad when He talked about God helping people that they didn’t think are as “good” as they are? (verses 25-28)
- What do you think Jesus meant when He told people: “No prophet is acceptable in his own hometown”?
- We usually think of Jesus as a man who was kind and loving. Why would people want to throw a person like that off the top a cliff?
Week 14 – Mark 1:21-34
- Have you ever stood up to a bully (or to someone else) who was making another person’s life difficult? Why do you think Jesus tells the impure spirit to be quiet? Would you ever be that brave?
- Jesus told an impure spirit to leave a person who was being troubled by it and the impure spirit listened to Him. What do you think this says about Jesus’ power? Can you think of a place in your life (or in someone else’s life) where Jesus’ power is needed today? Take some time to pray about that.
- Have you ever been sick? We see Simon taking care of someone who is very sick in this reading. Who helps take care of you when you are sick? How do other people help you to get better? Take some time to pray for someone who helps take care of you today.
- Jesus healed many people who were sick and whose lives were being ruined by impure spirits. Do you think it’s fair that some people were healed and others were not? How do you think Jesus decided who to help?
- Can you think of a few people who need Jesus to heal them today? Take some time to prayer for those people.
Week 15 – John 3:1-21
- Nicodemus came to talk to Jesus “at night.” Why do you think Nicodemus didn’t just come to talk with Jesus in the middle of the day?
- Have you ever had a time when you really liked someone and wanted to be his/her friend but were afraid to be that person’s friend because you were afraid that your other friends wouldn’t like you anymore?
- Jesus tells Nicodemus that people need to be born again. If mothers do all of the hard work to give birth to children and babies do nothing at all, why do you think so many people believe that being “born again” is about making a choice or doing something for ourselves?
- Take a few moments to read Numbers 21:4-9. How can this unusual story from the Old Testament help you to understand why Jesus died on the Cross?
- This week’s story tells us that God did not send Jesus into our world to condemn it. God sent Jesus into our world to save it. What are some things that we need to be saved from today? Take some time to pray that.
Week 16 – John 4:4-42
- What do you think it would be like to live in a place where you need to walk many miles every time you need water?
- Sometimes, when we have a lot of something and are not afraid that what we have will run out, we can become very wasteful. Can you think of a way that you waste water? How could you stop doing that?
- Our church provides equipment and supplies that people need to dig wells in a place called Madagascar. Can you find Madagascar on a map? Why do you think our church is digging wells for people in other countries?
- Have you ever been really thirsty? What does it feel like when you’re thirsty? How do you feel after you drink a large glass of cold water?
- What do you think Jesus means when He tells a woman that He’ll give her “living water”? What is “living water”?
- Can you think of any ways God is providing something you need? What if God never made water for us?
- Can you think of something God gives to you that will last forever? What is it? How does it make you feel when you think about what God has given to you?
What is “Eternal Life”? Where does it come from?
Week 17 – Matthew 8:5-13
- Have you ever prayed for another person? Why do you think people pray for others when they’re going through hard times? Is there someone you could pray for today?
- A centurion is a Roman soldier who commands a group of 100 soldiers. Centurions tell other people what to do. Why do you think that the centurion did not simply tell Jesus what to do? Have you ever tried to tell God what to do? Did it work?
- Sometimes when we pray, we tell God what we want God to do. What can we learn from this story about prayer and about how to pray for other people?
- We don’t know if the centurion’s servant knew that he went to Jesus to ask for help, or not. Have you ever prayed for someone secretly? Can you name some people in your life who might be praying for you without letting you know?
- Make a list of people that you can pray for this week. And then, divide your list into seven groups. Pray for one of the groups of people each night before you go to bed.
Week 18 – Matthew 8:23-27
- Have you ever been in a boat? What are some things you remember about being in a boat (Did it rock back and forth? Did it make your stomach feel weird? How did it feel when you got out of the boat and started to walk on the land again?)?
- A great storm arose on the sea and the disciples were afraid. What are some things that scare you? What does it feel like when you are scared?
- The disciples were very scared when the storm arose, but Jesus was asleep. Have you ever slept through a storm? Have you ever been unable to go to sleep because of a storm? If you couldn’t go to sleep during a storm, why couldn’t you do it?
- After the disciples awakened Jesus, He said to them: “Why are you afraid? Don’t you have faith?” How can trusting in the fact that God is going to take care of you help you when you are afraid? If you’re scared about something right now, take a few moments to say a little prayer and to talk with God about it.
- Why do you think the disciples were amazed when Jesus calmed the storm? Can you think of a time when Jesus took away something that was scaring you? How can remembering that God was with you help you to face other scary times?
Week 19 – Coming Soon!