Growing Together

Hi all, today’s story comes from Acts 18.

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Paul was traveling all around teaching people about Jesus and next he went to a city called Corinth. There he met a man named Aquila and his wife Priscilla. They were tent makers and so was Paul so he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath (church day) he talked in the synagogue (like a church) teaching everyone about Jesus.

His friends Silas and Timothy had been teaching other places but they came to help and then Paul stopped working on tents and spent all his time preaching, telling everyone Jesus was the Messiah. Some of the Jews (God’s chosen people) didn’t like hearing that God loves EVERYONE and that He sent Jesus to die for EVERYONE! They thought it should only be for them! So they kicked Paul out of the synagogue.

But God told Paul to stay and keep teaching and lots of people came to know about Jesus.

Paul stayed on in Corinth a long time then he left and took a boat to Syria; Priscilla and Aquila went with him. Paul kept traveling, but Priscilla and Aquila stayed in a place called Ephesus.

There they met a Jew named Apollos. He knew a lot of the Bible and loved teaching people about God. But he hadn’t learned a lot about Jesus yet. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him teach, they invited him to their house and taught him even more about Jesus and God’s plan to save everyone.

Apollos then began going around and helping OTHER people know more about Jesus and he traveled a long way and was very good at teaching and helping people know God.

I think this is a fun story because Silas and Timothy helped Paul so he could teach Priscilla and Aquila, they taught Apollos and he taught lots of other people!

In a book of the Bible called 2 Peter (written by Peter, Jesus’ disciple and friend), he says “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Bible talks a lot about growing. You can grow older, bigger, and stronger. You can also get to know people more and grow a friendship. The Bible tells us to grow in how much we know about God. We can also grow in how much we trust Him and how much we worship Him and serve Him (the things we do to show other people His love.)

Paul wrote a letter to the people of Colossia. In Colossians 3:16 he says, “Let God’s words live in your heart, teach and admonish (that means help each other when you make bad choices) one another with all wisdom, and sing psalms and songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

It’s important to grow in how much we know God and how we serve Him…but we can’t do it alone. We need parents, teachers, pastors, worship leaders…anyone who knows God can help someone else know Him better. Even you! Even though you may be small now, you can still help tell other people the things you know about God! Just like Apollos still had things to learn, you probably do too! (And let’s be honest, adults do too!) But you can help sing songs to God and tell other people about Jesus. We can all help each other grow just like Paul, Silas, Timothy, Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos did!

Paul and Silas in Jail

Welcome back! Today’s story is from Acts 16. HERE is our lesson from last year.

If you remember from last week, Peter was put in jail for teaching about Jesus, but God saved him by sending an angel to help.

But Paul and his friend Silas were also put in jail for teaching about Jesus. They were chained to the wall and a guard watched over them. But that didn’t stop them from loving God! In the middle of the night, Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a big earthquake that the walls and floors of the prison were shaking!  All the jail doors flew open, and everyone’s chains fell off. The guard woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he was SOOOO upset because he thought the prisoners had escaped and he would be in BIG trouble! But Paul shouted, “Don’t worry! We are all here!”

The guard fell shaking before Paul and Silas. He had heard them praying and singing to God before and he asked them, “What do I have to do to be saved by your God?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” They taught him and his family all about God. He was so happy, he invited them to dinner at his house and he helped clean them up. (They had been beat up some by the leaders before they were put in jail and jail was a very dirty place back then.)

Paul and Silas trusted God and did not get angry when they were put in jail, but instead they praised God! They still loved God and told people about Him. Then, when they had a chance to escape, they didn’t. They stayed. They did the right thing.

The Bible says that people will know we are God’s children (His followers) by the choices we make and the love we show others. Paul and Silas showed love to the people in jail and even the guard and they did the right thing. The guard and his whole family came to know and love Jesus because Paul and Silas trusted God and showed His love. We can do that too! We can show God’s love, praise Him no matter what and make good choices and then other people might come to know God too because of our example!

 

For our craft today we made chains. We drew lines on a piece of paper like this:

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(Makes two big strips and 6 small strips) we cut those out and looped them together with tape. The big strips are the handcuff part on the end and the small loops are the middle chain links.

 

Our text reads: Paul and Silas in jail, Acts 16

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Thanks for for joining us! Love to you all!

Lydia believes in Jesus

HI all! Welcome back! Today’s story is from Acts 16.

Paul and his friends were traveling around telling people about Jesus. One day they decided to pray by a river. Some ladies were there and Paul began talking to them. One of the women was name Lydia. She sold fancy purple fabric and she loved God.

She didn’t know about Jesus yet though and when she heard Paul tech about Jesus, she believed right away! She loved God and knew Him and the Bible so well that right away she knew Jesus had to be the Savior the Bible talked about. She got baptized in the river and then invited the disciples into her home for dinner, sharing God’s love.

 

For our craft today we drew crosses and then glued all kinds of purple fabric inside. Our text reads: Lydia believes in Jesus.

 

Thanks for joining us again! Love to you all!

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!

 

God changes Saul’s heart

Hi all! Welcome back! Today’s story is from Acts 9. (You can read our lesson/see our craft from last year HERE.)

 

If you remember from our last story about Stephen, when all the people were throwing rocks at Stephen to kill him (because he was teaching about Jesus), they all put down their coats by a man named Saul who was happy to see Stephen die.

Saul wanted to kill all of Jesus’ disciples. He went to the high priest and got permission to go to a city called Damascus where he could find any of Jesus’ followers and take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you being mean to me and my people?”

“Who are you?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting (being mean to),” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and then you will be told what to do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone?! What was going on!? Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him into Damascus. For three days he was blind (couldn’t see), and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. (This is not the same Ananias who tried to lie to God. Do you have any friends that have the same name? Well sometimes people in the Bible had the same name too. So this is a different Ananias.)

God said to him, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

God told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man named Saul…he is praying. In a dream he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

“Lord!” Ananias answered, “I have heard lots of bad things about this man and all the terrible things he has done to Your people in Jerusalem. Now he has come here with permission from the chief priests to arrest anyone who calls on your name!”

But God said to Ananias, “Go! I have chosen this man to tell EVERYONE about me…to the Israelites and even people who are not Israelites (gentiles).”

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. He put his hands on Saul, and said, “Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately, Saul could see again. He got up and was baptized, then he ate some food.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. He started to preach in the churches that Jesus is the Son of God. All the people who heard him were SO surprised and said, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Whoa.

Isn’t this the same guy who was being SO mean in Jerusalem to those who love Jesus? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners?” They couldn’t believe it! Saul confused everyone living in Damascus by teaching and proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

Soon the people in Damascus who didn’t like Jesus started to plan to kill Saul. (Isn’t it funny that Saul used to kill people who loved Jesus and now he was about to be killed for loving Jesus!?) But some of his friends helped him escape the city and he went back to Jerusalem.

The disciples there were all afraid of him, and didn’t believe that he really had a changed heart. But one them, named Barnabas, took Saul and brought him to the disciples. He told them how Saul had seen God and that Jesus had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had taught without any fear in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and began teaching in the name of Jesus. And he even got a new name, Paul.

Then the church grew and grew and lots of people came to know Jesus.

 

Isn’t it AMAZING that God can take someone so set against Him and change their heart? There is no one that God does not love and no one that God can not reach. If you can think of the grumpiest, grouchiest, worst person you know…remember that God loves even them and He wants them to know Him! And because God can do anything…He can change their heart. Why don’t you pray for that person right now that God would help change their heart.

God used Saul…an average person who didn’t even like Him. He changed Saul’s heart and used Saul to tell SO SO many people about Him and to share His love with other people. God’s love changes an angry heart to a loving heart.

 

For our craft today we started with a brown piece of construction paper and drew a basic man shape like this one:IMG_3521

Then we took 1/2 piece of black and 1/2 piece of white paper and folded them in half. (I tape them together when i need my kids to cut out two papers at once). Then I drew a heart and they cut it out.

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Next we cut a box out of the middle of the man’s tummy. To do this, we folded him in half and cut out a 1/2 box (big enough to fit the heart from step 2).

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Then we opened the paper up and turned it over the back. On the back we taped a string in between the two hearts and taped the string top and bottom to the man (as pictured below).

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(Above: Being silly)

Then we drew on a face and wrote on the white side of our heart “God changed Saul’s heart! Acts 9”

(You can now spin the heart from the black side to the white side as you remember that God can change an angry, sad heart to a heart full of His love.)

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This is a cute video version of the story posted by Teaching Kids About Jesus.

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all.

Stephen

Hi again. Today’s story is form Acts 6 and 7.

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Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to help make sure everyone had enough food. He had God’s Holy Spirit in his heart and he did great wonders and miracles. Some people didn’t like him though and started arguing with him, trying to trick him. But they could not stand up against the words the Spirit gave him as he spoke.

So they secretly told some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak bad words about Moses and about God.”

They got everyone to believe Stephen was a bad guy, saying bad things about God. They took Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin (the court). They had fake witnesses, who said, “This man never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. We heard him say that this Jesus will destroy this place and change everything Moses told us.”

All who were sitting in the court looked at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Is what these people say true? Do you speak against Moses and against God?”

Stephen had God’s Spirit and he was filled with courage and and he answered. He told everyone the story from Abraham to King Solomon and reminded them that even though they had been given the law from Moses, they didn’t really follow it. They knew everything God wanted them to do, but they didn’t do it! He told them they were always mean to people who reminded them what God said and they were especially mean to people who talked about Jesus, they even killed Jesus. Do you think the leaders liked Stephen saying these things? (They WERE true…the people DIDN’T obey God and they WERE mean to people who talked about Jesus…but they didn’t like Stephen telling them they were wrong!)

*****Elongated version: Stephen replied: “Listen to me! Remember God told Abraham ‘Leave your country and your people and go to the land I will show you.’ So he left and God sent him to this land where you are now living. God promised him that he and his descendants (children and grandchildren and great grandchildren) would own this land, even though at that time Abraham had no children. God said: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be salves and be treated badly. But afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ Then Abraham became the father of Isaac and later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of twelve boys, the tribes of Israel.

Because 11 of the brothers were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. Then a famine struck and our ancestors could not find food.  Joseph sent for his whole family and they all lived in Egypt together.

After that, the number of our people in Egypt was growing and growing. Then a new king came to power in Egypt.  He was mean to our people and killed all the baby boys. That’s when Moses was born. Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son so Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians and he was very powerful.

When Moses was a grown up, God came to him in the flames of a burning bush in the desert. Through the burning bush God said, ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I have seen the way my people suffer in Egypt. I will send you to set them free. The people at first did not accept Moses, but God used him in amazing ways and he led them out of Egypt and performed miracles and signs in Egypt and in the wilderness. Moses was with God in the wilderness, he was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and God gave him words to pass on to us. But our people did not obey him. So God turned away from them for a while.

Our people were given the tabernacle and the ark which held God’s covenant law. (God’s promise to always be with them and love them.) Joshua led the people and they brought it with them when they took back this land. It stayed in the tabernacle until the time of King David, who wanted to build a real church for God, but it was Solomon who built a house for him.
You people! You always resist the Holy Spirit!  Was there ever a leader you weren’t mean to? Your ancestors (grandparents and great grandparents) even killed those who talked about the coming of the Righteous One, Jesus. And now you have betrayed and murdered Him! You have been given the law but have not obeyed it.”****
When the people in the court heard this, they were furious. They didn’t want Stephen to tell them the bad things they were doing. They covered their ears and, yelled at the top of their voices, then they all ran toward him, dragged him out of the city and started throwing rocks at him. They took off their coats and put them down in front of a man named Saul who was happy Stephen was being hurt.

While they were throwing rocks at him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, forgive them.” Then he died.

The people had so forgotten God’s words. They knew all about God, but they didn’t love Him and they didn’t love other people.

This seems like a very sad story, but God will use it for Good. One of the people that day would come to love God and do great things for Him. Sometimes when we tell people about God, they won’t want to hear it and that’s very sad. But we still need to try. We can still tell God’s story and we can show God’s love. Even though the people weren’t being nice to Stephen, he trusted God and he even asked God to forgive the people.

 

Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!