Here's an at-home bible study to do with your household or friends. Many of the questions are accessible to all ages. Plus there's a household activity at the end.
1) Have you ever seen God? Have you ever had a powerful feeling that God was present with you? How did you respond to being in God's presence?
2) How did people in the Old Testament often respond to the presence of God? Read Genesis 3:8-9, Genesis 18:13-15, Exodus 3:6, Exodus 20:20-21 for the answer.
3) How did people in the Christmas story respond to the presence of angels? Read Luke 1:11-12, Luke 1:26-29, and Luke 2:8-9 for the answer.
4) How did Elizabeth and her baby (John the Baptist) respond to the presence of Jesus? Read Luke 1:39-45 for the answer.
5) How did the shepherds respond to the presence of Jesus? What did they do when they arrived and what did they do after they left? Read Luke 2:15-20 for the answer.
6) How did the wise men respond to the presence of Jesus, both right before they arrived and when they are in Jesus' presence? Read Matthew 2:10-12 for the answer.
7) What changed about how people responded to God when Jesus (God incarnate) entered the world?
8) When or where do you think you most regularly encounter Jesus' presence?
9) Read Matthew 18:1-5 and Matthew 25:34-40. When and where are we most likely to encounter Jesus?
10) Based on the previous question and your own knowledge of the Bible, where do you think you're most likely to encounter Jesus in any given week?
I bet you thought the place we most regularly encounter Jesus' presence was at worship. We definitely do encounter Jesus during worship, but Jesus seems to think it's important that we encounter him out in the world.
So what's the purpose of worship? One of the things we do in worship is praise God. But to praise God, we need a reason first, don't we? Of course, there's lots of reasons to praise God, but as Christians our #1 reason is always Jesus. Did you notice how being in Jesus' presence caused people people to jump in joy and praise God (often by talking excitedly nonstop)?
Here's your challenge: Bring a reason to praise God because of Jesus with you to worship. Every week for at least a month, purposefully meet Jesus out in the world in the places he said he'd be. Then tell those at worship why you're praising God this week (if no one asks you to say something, feel free to interrupt the service to do it).
Did you know that in the early history of the Church, when people wanted to be baptized, the pastor would ask them, "Do you know Jesus?" What was their answer? "Yes. Every week I go out and meet Jesus in the world in one of the places he said he'd be present." The test of faith in the first few centuries of the Church wasn't how much you worshiped nor how much you knew about the Bible (even though both of those were important) but how often you spent time with the people Jesus said he'd be present in.