Archive for April, 2015

New Believers

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The Promised Holy Spirit is Poured Out  

Key Verse:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”

Romans 15:13

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 2:42-47) The disciples had already witnessed and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Afterwards, everyone felt a sense of awe and many wonders and signs occurred. The believers began to share everything they had among each other, and really felt had a great sense of unity and community. The Holy Spirit was working in the believers which allowed them to witness all over the world. Jesus always told his disciples that they would do greater things than he did. Peter showed a good example of this when he preached a sermon and over 3000 people were saved! Jesus knew they would do greater things because of the Holy Spirit. It’s great to know that we, as present believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us as well.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?

The behavior of the very first converts in the book of Acts shows us the fruit of the gospel through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. These people were transformed from being mockers of Christ. In fact, some of them were probably in the crowd who had demanded that Jesus be crucified. Yet now, we see them selling their possessions to share with other Christians who had need. Peter, affected by this first dramatic gospel transformation, went on to exhort all new believers to reject their sinful past and live holy, upright lives (see 1 Peter 1:14–15).

The gospel takes someone’s worldly self-focus and turns their heart heavenward. The first converts went from hating Jesus to loving him. They served others and worshiped God through Christ. Only the Spirit of God can change hearts this way. The gospel continued to transform lives as more new converts were added each day.

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Pentecost

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The Promised Holy Spirit is Poured Out  

Key Verse: “But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 14:26

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 1:15 – 2:12) After Jesus ascended into heaven the disciples followed his instructions and stayed in Jerusalem. While they were all in one place they heard a noise like a violent wind, and suddenly they saw what appeared to be tongues of fire resting on each of them. Now this may seem like a scary scenario, but they had peace during this event. This is because what they felt and witnessed was the Holy Spirit, exactly what Jesus promised them. As they talked they heard each other in their own native language, even though they all spoke different languages. This was God showing them that they are to spread the gospel to all nations.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?

In the Old Testament, the feast of Pentecost was called the Feast of Harvest or day of the firstfruits (Exodus 23:16; Numbers 28:26–30). On this day, bulls, lambs, and a goat were sacrificed, in addition to the regular offering, to make atonement.

Now that Jesus has been sacrificed upon the cross and salvation has come to the people of Israel, there is no longer need to kill the goat of atonement. In addition, the promised blessing to Abraham has been fulfilled. With the arrival of the Spirit of God, the disciples were free to begin the advance of the gospel to people of every tribe, language, and nation.


The Ascension

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus left the Earth, but He will come again

Key Verse: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you”
John 14:20

Read:
Jesus had stayed on Earth for forty days after he was resurrected. His disciples thought for sure that Jesus was ready to restore the Kingdom. They figured Jesus was there to overthrow the Roman authorities. However, Jesus had a different plan. He wanted his disciples to spread the gospel “to the ends of the Earth”. After he said this he ascended into heaven. Now we all wait for the day for when Jesus will return, in just the same way that he ascended.

The Jesus Connection:
If there were any lingering doubts that Jesus was God, they were silenced at his ascension. During the forty days before the ascension, Jesus had appeared on a number of occasions to the disciples. Each time he was met with doubters (Matthew 28:17). This time, doubt and fear are not mentioned. What a tender moment it was as the Lord said goodbye. For three years these men had lived with the Lord. They had learned much and were arguably the most privileged men on earth. They not only saw the Lord, but they also walked with him, laughed with him, were afraid with him and for him, watched him die, and then saw him rise again.

Jesus blessed them and was taken up into heaven. Their last act was to worship the man they had come to believe was God. From there, they went to the temple, where they praised God continually. Likely the curtain, torn in two at the death of Christ, was sewn together again. These men, however, now understood the gospel. Never again would another sacrifice for sin be needed. Jesus, the Lamb of God, had been slain—for them and for us.

Doubting Thomas

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus calls to faith all who are His

Key Verse: Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child John 20:19-31) Thomas wasn’t around when Jesus visited the other disciples after his resurrection. So naturally, when Thomas heard about Jesus he wanted proof. He said unless I see and touch him I will not believe. Eventually Thomas was face to face with Jesus, and shouted, “My Lord, my God!” Jesus did not rebuke Him but instead encouraged him to believe. Jesus says blessed are those who have not seen but yet believe. This would be us, we believe because we have heard the Word and God has opened our hearts and minds. Now we can tell others so they too can believe in the savior.

The Jesus Connection:
After his resurrection, Jesus opened the minds of his disciples to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). Jesus explained that he himself was the central theme of Scripture. Yet, Thomas, who was absent, did not believe. He was in need of gospel truth. Jesus knew what Thomas needed and reappearing in his presence, showed him his nail-scarred hands. Jesus called Thomas to faith and opened his mind. Thomas immediately responded by addressing Jesus as God. Thomas doubted, but when confronted with the risen Lord who was slain for his sins, Thomas believed. For us, although we have not seen, we have heard the Word and when God opens our minds, we too can believe.