Peter freed from jail

Hi all! Today’s story is from Acts 12. You can see our lesson and craft from last year HERE.

This story takes place after Jesus died, rose and went back to heaven. The new church was busy teaching everyone about Jesus and King Herod arrested some of these people and he was mean to them and even killed some of them! When he saw this made the crowds happy, he put Peter in jail too. (Remember Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples and friends and he LOVED to tell people all about Jesus. So they put him in prison and put guards around to watch him.)

While Peter was kept in jail the church was praying to God for him, to keep him safe and that Herod would set him free.

The night before Herod was going to bring him out and put him on trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, and his arms were chained to the wall. All of a sudden an angel of God came. He bonked Peter in the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell right off Peter’s arms!

The angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Put your coat on and follow me,” the angel told him.  Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was dreaming! They passed by all the guards and came to the big iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them all by itself, and they went right through it! When they had walked just a bit further, the angel left.

Then Peter realized it WASN’T a dream and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me!”

Then he quickly went to the house where he knew a lot of people were praying for him. Peter knocked on the door and a servant came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so excited she ran back without opening it and yelled, “Peter is at the door!”

“No way!” they told her.

But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed! Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and he told them all about how God had brought him out of jail. He told the people at the house to let all the disciples know what had happened and that he was ok! Then he left to hide somewhere else. (The Bible does not tell us where he went…but later he would travel around to tell more people about Jesus).

In the morning, the soldiers were SO confused about where Peter was?! Herod the King was so angry he killed the guards that were supposed to be watching Peter! But everyone who loved Jesus and heard about how God had saved Peter was so happy and some of them even  became more brave to tell people about Jesus! Peter was hiding for a while, but when they saw God taking care of His people, that made them brave to go out and tell people about Jesus just like Peter had!

For our craft today we drew pictures of the story and used toothpicks to help illustrate the jail.

 

Thanks for joining us today! Love to you all!

Peter’s Vision: God loves EVERYBODY!

Hi all! Today’s story comes from Acts 10. Our lesson and craft from last year on this story can be found HERE.

In a city called Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a Roman soldier. He and all his family loved God, even though they were not Israelites (God’s “chosen” people). He was generous (helped people and gave them things they needed) and he prayed to God. One day he had a vision (like a dream). He saw an angel who said, “Cornelius! God has heard your prayers and seen your gifts to the poor. God wants you to send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Peter.” (Do you remember Peter? He was Jesus’ disciple and friend. He walked on the water with Jesus, and he pretended he didn’t know Jesus the night He died. But when he found out Jesus was alive again, he jumped out of his boat and swam to hug Him! And now he was busy telling everyone about Jesus!)

Cornelius was scared! But he called three of his helpers and he told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

At lunchtime the next day Peter  went up on the roof of a house to pray. He was very hungry and wanted something to eat, so while lunch was being made, he prayed and had a dream. He saw a large sheet coming down and it had all kinds of animals on it, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill these animals and eat them.”

“No way, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” (Back then God’s people were not supposed to eat certain animals. This was for two reasons. The first reason is some of these animals are not very healthy for people to eat and especially back then when they didn’t know much about germs and cooking germs out of food. God was protecting His people from the yucky foods. But, the second and more important reason is that God’s people were supposed to be different from everyone else. He chose some animals to be “clean”…clean and good for eating and ALSO for sacrifices. These animals were used to make up for the peoples’ sins. God was using this as a reminder that some things are Holy (set apart). He wants His people to be clean and pure in their hearts like the good, clean food. God’s people had been different from everyone else, just like some of the animals were set apart and good to eat.) Peter has always obeyed God’s rules about eating and didn’t want to be unclean in God’s eyes by eating bad food.

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything bad that God has made clean.”

This happened three times, and then the sheet and the animals were taken back to heaven.

Peter was confused about the meaning of the dream and was thinking about it when the men sent by Cornelius came to the house. They yelled, asking if Peter was staying there.

While Peter was still thinking about the dream, God’s Spirit said to him, “Peter, three men are looking for you. Go downstairs. Do not be afraid to go with them, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went and the next day Peter and some other people who loved God went with the three men to Cornelius’ house. When they arrived, Cornelius was waiting for them and had invited a lot of people to his house to hear Peter talk about God. Peter now knew what his dream meant.

Peter went inside and said to them: “You all know that it is against our law for a Jew (all Jews are Israelites from Israel, but not everyone who was living in Israel was a Jew–one of God’s chosen people from Judah) to visit a Gentile (someone who is not a Jew.) But God has shown me that I should not call anyone unclean. May I ask why you sent for me?”

Cornelius answered: “I had a dream and God told me to send for you. It was good of you to come see us! Now we are all here to listen to everything God has commanded you to tell us.”

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but loves anybody who trusts Him and obeys Him. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know how God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who need it, because God was with Him. We saw everything He did. They killed him by hanging him on a cross,  but God raised Him from the dead on the third day. He told us to teach and to say that Jesus is the one whom God chose and everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit came into the hearts of everybody there. The Jewish believers who had come with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit had been given out even on Gentiles. The new believers were baptized and God welcomed them as His children, just like He does for us!

Before the Israelites had been God’s chosen people…but God sent Jesus for ALL of us. He loves EVERYBODY and wants us all to know Him and love Him. No matter what we look like, sound like, even what we act like. Before God’s people had been the “clean ones” but now God was showing Peter that he shouldn’t call other people “unclean.” God wants to love EVERYONE! Even people who make bad choices…God loves them too. (Which is everyone. We all sin sometimes!) God wants to know us and forgive us. Isn’t that the BEST news?! That is called the Gospel. God sent His son to die for all of us, not just a few…for ALL of us. He loves us and wants us to choose Him. God loves everyone!

For our craft today we made heart people. We took a full piece of construction paper and cut out a heart. Then we cut out three long strips of paper (and cut one in half). These became the legs and the 1/2 pieces became the arms. We fan folded them and taped them on. Then we added a face and the text: God loves EVERYBODY! Acts 10

This video is posted by Kids Apps and is told storybook style.

This video is from Gracelink and is posted by Sabbath School (we always enjoy their videos).

Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!

 

Don’t try to fight God!

Hi all! Welcome back! Today’s story is from Acts 5:17-42.

Today we made puppets to help tell the story. We used two paint stir sticks and 4 pieces of construction paper. I started by taping two of the pieces together and tracing a head, then the kids cut through both pieces to essentially make two heads. We decorated them (one to look old, one to look younger). Then we glued them back to back on the paint stick.

The older side we labeled Gamaliel and the younger side we labeled Peter.

Then we again taped two pieces of construction paper together and cut out the shape of three heads together. We added googly eyes on (one side is angry, one is happy.)

The happy side is the crowd and the angry side is the angry leaders.

 

And here is the story:

The high priest and all his friends, were very jealous because Jesus’ disciples were teaching about Jesus and the people loved it! (THEY wanted to be the most important people). So they put the disciples in jail. But that night an angel of God opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go back to the temple,” he said, “and tell the people all about Jesus and what He has done.”

So in the morning, they went to the temple and began to teach the people.

When the leaders got up, they asked the jail captain to send for the disciples, but the guards found out they weren’t there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail perfectly locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, there was no one inside.”

Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” With that, the leaders went and brought the disciples…(but they did it nicely so the people wouldn’t get mad and try to stop them.)

“We told you Not to teach in Jesus’ name,” the high priest said. “But you have told everyone in Jerusalem all about Jesus and now they are all going to think it’s OUR fault Jesus died.”

Peter and the other disciples said: “We have to obey God more than people! He wants us to tell EVERYONE about Jesus! God raised Jesus from the dead…the same Jesus you killed on the cross. God made Him Prince and Savior and He brings us back to God and forgives our sins.We have seen these things, and have been given God’s Holy Spirit, which He gives to everyone who obeys Him.”

When they heard this, the leaders were VERY angry and wanted to kill them.  BUT a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was honored by all the people (everyone thought he was really great!), stood up in the court and said: “Men of Israel, think carefully what you plan to do to these guys. You know sometimes people say they are somebody important and it all comes to nothing. When these people who pretend to be important get killed or run away, their followers leave too. So, with these men, I think we should leave them alone! Let them go! If they are just pretending to know God, or pretending that Jesus was someone really important…no one will care and they will all soon go away. But if Jesus really IS God’s son and they are telling the truth, you will not be able to stop them; you will just be fighting against God.”

They all thought that was a good idea. So they called the disciples in and beat them up! and then ordered them not to talk about Jesus anymore, and let them go.

And do you know how the disciples felt? They were happy! They were SO glad to tell people about Jesus and they were even happy when they got hurt for Jesus because they loved Him so much. Every day in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and telling everyone the good news that Jesus is the Messiah, God’s son.

 

In this story you can see not all the Pharisees were bad. Gamaliel was very wise and he knew it wasn’t good to make trouble. If Peter and the other disciples were making it all up, then eventually the stories would stop and people wouldn’t care. BUT, if they said was true, then trying to stop them would be like trying to stop God (and is that EVER going to happen???)

Peter and the disciples KNEW they had to obey God. Even when the people in charge said “NO.” It can be hard to do the right thing when other people are being mean to you. God will always help us obey Him if we ask. The disciples knew obeying God was more important than obeying the leaders…even if meant they would be hurt. It’s more important to do the right thing on God’s side, than the popular thing on peoples’ side. Gamaliel knew that too. He said “You don’t want to fight against God!” Be on God’s side. Obey Him. Tell others about Him and trust Him to help you make the right choices.

 

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!

Ananias and Sapphira

Hi all! Today’s story is from Acts 5 (and the end of Acts 4).

So all the people who believed in Jesus were meeting together (like church). they lived together and shared everything they had. They all helped take care of each other so they could tell other people about God.

One man sold some of his land and brought all the money to the disciples to share with everyone.

Now a man named Ananias, and his wife Sapphira (can you say those names?) also sold a piece of property.  Ananias made a bad choice (and his wife’s knew about it). He kept some of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet and he pretended that was ALL the money.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why have you lied to the Holy Spirit and kept for yourself some of the money you received? It was YOUR money?! You could have kept as much as you wanted…but you pretended this was ALL the money. What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to us but to GOD.”

When Ananias heard this, do you know what happened? He fell down and died. And everybody watching was VERY afraid.

Later that day, his wife came in, not knowing Ananias was dead. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this all the money you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is all the money.”

Peter said to her, “How could you ALSO lie to God?”

At that moment SHE fell down at his feet and died. Everybody who heard about these events was very afraid.

Do we always die right away when we lie? No. But God was showing His new followers that you can not try to trick Him. We can not lie to God. He always knows. And He takes us obeying Him seriously. He tells us to always tell the truth (say exactly what happened.) He made an example of Ananias and Sapphira to show all the people they must obey Him and that it’s impossible to lie to God.

If they had just said, “We made a lot of money and kept some…but here is the rest.” It would have been ok. But instead they tried to trick God.

 

This video is a “tim burton style” version of this story posted by Dan Stevers. (It is more appropriate for middle/older elementary than preschool as it’s a bit dark…but nice artistry and good storytelling.)

This video by LC LifeKids is a bit more for preschoolers.

 

For our craft today, we cut out a basic shape of a man and a woman with a bag of money in the middle. We drew Xs on their eyes and glued some sparkly money to the bag.

Our text reads: Ananias and Sapphira Acts 5, Don’t lie to God!

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Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Peter heals a crippled man

Hey all! Today’s Bible story is from Acts 3.

Remember, Jesus had died on the cross, lived again, and God’s Spirit came to live in the believers’ hearts.

One day Peter and John (two of Jesus’ disciples) were going to the temple (the church) at the time of prayer. There was a man who was crippled (he couldn’t walk) and he had been that way his whole life. Every day he would sit and beg for money from the people going into the temple courts. (Because he couldn’t walk, he couldn’t really work…so he just had to hope that people would be nice and share some money with him.) When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for money. Peter and John looked at him. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get some money from them.

Then Peter said, “I do not have money, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ, WALK.” He took the man by the hand, helped him up, and right away the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they knew him as the same man who used to sit begging and they were so surprised to see  what had happened to him.

When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Why does this surprise you? We didn’t make this man walk by our OWN power?! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has sent His Son Jesus. You had him killed, but God raised him from the dead. We saw Him alive again. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has healed this man. Now its your turn to turn to God, so that your sins may be forgiven, and you too can receive God’s spirit.”

But there are always going to be people who don’t want to hear about Jesus. Isn’t that sad? Some of the people didn’t like that they were teaching about Jesus.

We know God can do anything! The people shouldn’t have been too surprised to hear Peter say they could do these things by Jesus’ power, but they were. God even surprises grown ups sometimes by the wonderful things He does! And the most wonderful He has done, is sending His Son Jesus to die for us and His Spirit to live in our hearts.

We drew pictures of the story today. (Time for my disclaimer that I’m a big fan of child-made art…we don’t do a lot of pre-made stuff…so it usually looks like 3-5 year old work…I believe it helps them retain the story better when THEY make it and have some creative freedom with it.)

Our text reads: Why are you surprised? God can do ANYTHING! Acts 3

 

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!

Peter Denies Jesus

Hi all. This week we are learning the story of Easter. The part of the story for today can be found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18.

When Jesus was eating His last supper with His disciples He told them they would all soon leave Him. But Peter said, “Never Jesus! I will NEVER leave you!”

But Jesus said, “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will pretend THREE times that you don’t know me.”

When they came to arrest Jesus they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Most of the disciples ran away scared, but Peter followed close by to see what would happen to Jesus. Some other people at the high priest’s house made a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together. Peter sat down with them to warm up. A servant girl saw him seated there. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with Jesus.”

But he denied it. “I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of His disciples.”

“I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another person said, “For sure this man was with Jesus!”

Peter replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the words He had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and cried and cried and cried.

 

When Jesus was taken away and the people were being mean to Him, Peter did NOT PROUDLY say, “YES! I know Jesus! He is God’s son! He is good, He is Lord, He is King, He can do ANYTHING and He loves YOU!”

Instead He got scared and pretended he never even knew Jesus. We should ALWAYS trust God’s plan and NEVER EVER be afraid to tell other people about Him. Peter cried and cried because he felt so bad about pretending he didn’t know Jesus. He felt very sorry and wished he HAD told the people he knew Jesus.

(Jesus said it’s important we tell other people about Him and that we love Him and how much He loves us. And Jesus will go before God and tell Him that “YES! I died for them and they love us! I have forgiven their sins and they can be Your children and live with us in heaven forever.” If we don’t obey God or pretend we don’t know Him, then He will say, “No. I do not know them. They are not your children. They can not stay with us in heaven.”)

 

Later in the Bible story, Peter will say sorry to Jesus and Jesus will forgive him for pretending he didn’t know Him. But this day was a very sad day for Peter. Sometimes even people who love Jesus very much can make bad choices…but He will forgive us when we ask, just like He will forgive Peter later.

For today’s craft we made roosters using one sheet of brown, one sheet of black and a 1/2 sheet of red construction paper.

Our “pattern pieces” are below:

We cut the pieces and glued them together to make our roosters. Our text reads:

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. We should ALWAYS tell people about Jesus! Luke 22

 

Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Jesus is Arrested

Hi all! This week we are learning the story of Jesus dying for our sins. Today’s story can be found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18.

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Olive_Trees_-_Google_Art_Project

(Van Gogh -Oliver Trees-The Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives)

After their last meal together, Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, which is a garden, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter, James and John, and he began to be very sad and upset. He said to them, “My heart is overwhelmed with sadness. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He knew that Judas was about to do something very bad and that He was about to die in a very ouch way.

Going a little farther, He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” That means “If this can happen any other way, please let’s do that. But if this the only way to save the people, then ok. I will do whatever YOU want, God.”

He went back to His disciples and found them sleeping! “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.“Watch and pray!”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. If the only way to save the people from their sins is for me to die, then I will do it.” Remember, Jesus is God’s son, and He knew what was about to happen, but He was also a REAL person and was very scared because He knew it would be painful.

When he came back, He again found His disciples sleeping. So he left them and went away once more and prayed a third time.

Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping ? Look, the time has come, and I will be given over to the sinners. Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

While he was still speaking, Judas, (one of His disciples) arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the leaders who didn’t like Jesus. Judas had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is Jesus; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi (teacher)!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Jesus knew exactly what Judas was doing and still called him friend.

The men stepped forward, took Jesus and arrested him. With that, Peter reached for his sword, took it out and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant.

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him. “Do you think I can’t call on my Father God, and He will at once send thousands of angels to help Me? But the words of God (the Scriptures) say it must happen in this way.” Peter wanted for help and fight for Jesus, but Jesus said, “No. We don’t hurt others just because they are mean to us. If I wanted, I could ask God and He would send thousands of angels to help me. But I’m not going to do that, because this HAS to happen.”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But I want you to know, this has all taken place just like prophets in the old testament have said it would.” Then all the disciples all got scared that THEY would be arrested too and they all ran away.

 

This is a sad part of the story, isn’t it? All of Jesus’ friends left Him. When hard things happen to us, we can remember to stick.with.Jesus. Even if we are scared, we know He is God and He is in control. The disciples did not trust Jesus’ plan.

In the Bible in the old testament the prophets talked about Jesus and how He would come and save us and how He would die. Everything happened just like they said. God’s words are ALWAYS true. We can trust what we read in the Bible.

 

We didn’t do a craft today, but we did watch The Beginner’s Bible Story of Easter.

 

Thanks for joining us. We’ll have more of the story tomorrow. Love to you all!