Crossroads: Preparing for the Task

Matthew 4:1-11

My Story

We have been working on our basement. After some water damage last year, we finally got the basement dry and have stopped water from coming inside. Now, the task has become putting the basement back together. Lately, we have spent a lot of time building frames for new walls, putting up sheetrock and paneling, running the electrical wires to the appropriate locations, and installing trim work.

In doing this work, I have been reminded of an important lesson: “Preparing for the task is critical!” In the past few weeks, I have built walls that were too big, drilled holes where they were not supposed to be, and cut boards too short. I have created extra work for myself every time I started something without first preparing for the task with the right tools and thoughtful plan of action.

Your Story

Tell a story about a time in your life when you needed to prepare for an upcoming event or task.

• How did you feel about the time of preparation? Were you nervous about what you were preparing to do? Were you excited about it?
• Is preparing for something easy or difficult? Are there times when we want to begin instead of taking time to prepare? Why or why not?
• Have you ever done something when you were not prepared? What happened? How did it feel to try something when you were not prepared for it?
• If possible, let each family member share stories about being prepared or being unprepared. Use these stories as opportunities to talk about why preparation is important.

The Bible Story

In our text for today, Jesus is preparing himself for his ministry. John the Baptist had just baptized him, and now Jesus goes to the wilderness to prepare himself for the task God has given him. In the wilderness, Jesus encounters the Devil and experiences several temptations. Each of these experiences helps to prepare him for the ministry he will soon begin.

Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season of preparation. It is a period of time—40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays—in which we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Like Jesus in the wilderness, this week we are beginning a time of spiritual preparation.

Discussion Questions

• How do you think Jesus felt out in the wilderness all by himself?
• Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days. What do you think he did during his time?
• Why did Jesus not eat or drink? How would it feel to go several days without eating any food or drinking any water?
• Have you ever been hungry but couldn’t eat or thirsty and couldn’t drink? What did you do to make yourself feel better?
• How did this time in the wilderness help to prepare Jesus for his ministry? Would his ministry have been different without this experience? If so, how?

Prayer and Action

• Thank God for the examples Jesus gave us as he spent time in the wilderness.
• Ask God to help you make this season of Lent meaningful.
• Talk as a family about what each of you can do, and possibly what you can do together as a family, to make Lent a time of preparation for you (for example— you could pray together each day, decide to skip a meal once a week, or give up something to remind you of Jesus’ sacrifice).

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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