Posts Tagged ‘Next Generation’

Josiah, the Eight-Year-Old King

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God’s Word Will Never Pass Away  

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.
Psalm 119:9

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child 2 Chronicles 34:1—35:19) Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of Judah, and at that time (when they had about 39 kings among the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah) he was arguably the best. He followed God because he wanted to follow in the ways of his father David. At the age of sixteen he began to destroy all the idols in Judah, and then ten years later he began to restore the temple. It was then that they found the book of the law. When Josiah read it, he was aware on how bad God’s people have become. Josiah spent his life bringing the people of Judah back to God. The word of God will last forever, and no matter what our actions are of how bad we become, God will always pursue us and His word will always be with us.

The Jesus Connection:
Read Matthew 5:17–20. Though Amon forgot the Word of the Lord and it was lost for a season, God ensured that it would not be lost for good. It was God’s mercy to allow Amon to be killed and young Josiah to be made king. It was God who gave Josiah a heart for righteousness, and it was God who led him to preserve the Word of God and the promise of a coming deliverer, Jesus. Jesus is called “the Word” in the Gospel of John. God in his faithfulness would not let his Word pass away because his Word is all about his Son, Jesus. The Word of God describes the sinfulness of man and the promise of redemption by God through Jesus. Not the smallest portion of God’s Word will pass away until it is accomplished.

Jacob’s Wrestling Match

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God protects, disciplines, and blesses his chosen ones

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Proverbs 30:5

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Genesis 32:1-32) Jacob was heading back home to face his brother Esau. This made him very fearful because he had stolen Esau’s birthright and blessing. One night while he was still on his journey, he met a man who began to wrestle with him. They wrestled all night until Jacob realized that he was wrestling God. With one touch God threw Jacob’s hip out of joint, but Jacob would not let go until he was blessed. We all struggle and wrestle with God because of sin, but when we keep holding on we are blessed with the gift that God gave us when he sent down his son in the form of man. After this Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “one who wrestles with God”

The Jesus Connection:
Read John 12:13. Can you imagine what Jacob must have thought when in the middle of the night a stranger appeared and began to wrestle with him? Jacob may have thought it was a robber or one of Esau’s men. They wrestled all night, but Jacob did not give in. Then, toward morning, the man put Jacob’s hip out of joint with one small touch. Suddenly Jacob realized he had been wrestling with God. Despite the pain, Jacob held on and refused to let go until God blessed him. So God blessed Jacob and gave him a very special name: Israel. From that time on, God’s people would be known as the people of Israel. When Jesus came riding into Jerusalem just before going to the cross, the crowds waved palm branches and shouted, “Blessed is … the King of Israel.”

Saul is knocked to the ground

Our hope is for our kids to know that: No one can resist the calling of God

“No one can come to me, unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person on the last day”
John 6:44

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 9:1-19) Saul was a Pharisee who was persecuting followers of Jesus. He did not believe that Jesus was the son of God. One day, on his way to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him and blinded him. For three days he was blind until God sent Ananias to pray for him and to let him know that he was chosen by God to spread the Word to the Gentiles. It took Ananias awhile to be convinced because he was afraid of Saul, but once he went to Saul and prayed for him Saul’s sight was restored. Saul then became Paul and began preaching in the name of Jesus. God has called all of us to spread his Word and make disciples.

The Jesus Connection:
Saul heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). He did not know who was speaking, so he asked, “Who are you, Lord?” To his amazement the response was, “I am Jesus.” Saul knew that Jesus had been a teacher, and that he had died on the cross. But Saul did not yet know and believe that Jesus was Lord, the Son of God, raised in power! We, like Saul, are sinners who do not know Jesus. Our experience in coming to know Jesus is similar to Paul’s. While we are sinners God takes the initiative to move us toward himself. Saul was on his way to kill more Christians when Jesus revealed himself to him. Saul immediately realized that the stories of Jesus’ resurrection were true. Jesus was, and is, alive!

The Lame Beggar Walks

Our hope is for our kids to know that: There is power in the name of Jesus

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”
(Revelation 19:1B)

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 3:1 – 4:31) One day as Peter and John were on their way to the temple they saw a crippled man begging for money. This man was in an opportune spot because many of those on the way to the temple would give. Peter however told the man to walk. Peter remembered the words that Jesus spoke to him, saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:12–13). The man stood up and began to walk. The name of Jesus has power, even after His death, burial, and resurrection. The Holy Spirit was working in the believers, which they received at Pentecost.

The Jesus Connection:
It was in the name of Jesus that the beggar was healed, and it was the name and gospel of Christ that Peter brought to the crowd and the religious rulers. After healing the crippled beggar, Peter was not going to miss an opportunity to share the gospel. Peter explained that if they repented and believed in Jesus, their sins would be forgiven. He appealed to them from the words of the prophets, and he quoted Moses (Acts 3:22–23). Peter ended his appeal by reminding them of Jesus’ call for them to abandon their wicked ways. This story is the gospel from start to finish.

New Believers

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The message of the gospel is effective to save and change sinful hearts  

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 2:42 – 47) The disciples were now filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ had told them to make disciples of all nations after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, so now that time has come. Jesus told the disciples that they would do greater things than Him, and we witness this at the day of Pentecost. We see that 3000 people responded to Peter’s message and were saved. Peter was filled with the spirit and we see the awesome results. This response to the gospel message began the local church. We see that they all began to fellowship together and share everything they had with each other so that no one was in need. People began to see this and join them daily.

The Jesus Connection:
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.

Pentecost

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The promised Holy Spirit is poured out  

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:8

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 1:15 – 2:12) Jesus told the disciples that they need to wait in Jerusalem for a gift. After receiving this gift, they were supposed to spread the news of Christ and make disciples all over the world. In this passage we see that the gift Jesus was referring to was the Holy Spirit. As they were gathered together tongues of fire settled upon each of them, and a violent wind shook the entire place. They each began to speak in other tongues (languages) because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. People from all nations were there, and they each heard the disciples speaking in their own language. They wondered how this could be? This was God plan in showing that the gospel was for every nation, every tongue, and every person.

The Jesus Connection:
In the Old Testament, the feast of Pentecost was called the Feast of Harvest or day of the first fruits (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 kids to know that: Jesus left the Earth, but He will come again

21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Acts 3:21

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 1:1-14) Jesus had accomplished his mission that He set out to do on Earth. He conquered death, sin, and the devil. The disciples wanted to know if He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. However, Jesus had different plans that were bigger than that. Jesus told them to wait for the gift that He had promised them (the Holy Spirit) and then they were to spread the gospel to all nations. This is what God told Abraham years ago, that they were to spread the word to the entire world. After this Jesus ascended into heaven with the disciples staring up in the sky at him. While they were staring, two men in white told him that Jesus would be back again, even though it is not for us to know the day or the time. We are to pray for His return.

The Jesus Connection:
The Great Commission of Matthew 28:16–20 is not found in the other Gospels, but has a companion passage in Luke. Jesus had earlier commissioned the disciples to spread the message of his death and resurrection (Luke 24:47). Both passages tell us that the gospel is to be preached to all nations. The salvation of Jesus Christ is not limited to the Jews, but is to go to all nations and all peoples. Matthew records that those who receive the message are to be baptized. That baptism, Paul later explains, is an identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus in the life of the individual believer (Romans 6:3–4).