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Youth Lesson: Witness!

While we are unable to meet for Sunday School, I will post an adaptation of the youth Sunday School lesson every Wednesday.  Think of the lesson as a guide to discuss a passage of Scripture as a family.  Each lesson will include some introductory material, a Scripture reading, questions for discussion, and a short prayer.  I encourage you to take just 15 minutes every week over dinner, at the end of the day, or whenever best fits your family schedule to actively engage your students in this opportunity to grow together as a family in faith. 

Introduction:

This lesson picks up halfway through the second chapter of Acts.  Big things have happened right beforehand.  This story takes place just 50 days after Easter.  In less than 2 months’ time, the disciples have watched Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into Heaven. 

Our story today takes place on Pentecost. Pentecost is the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We will talk more about Pentecost in several weeks, but you may remember that Pentecost is the day that it looked like tongues of fire descended on the disciples and they began to speak in different languages.  The disciples were able to share the good news about Jesus to people from all over the world in their own languages.  Our story today is part of a message that Peter delivers on Pentecost. 

Read:

Acts 2:22-32

Discussion: 

  • Have each person share something from the passage that seems to be one of the most important ideas. Write each idea down.
  • Take each of these ideas and together write one sentence that states the meaning of the passage and incorporates each of the ideas.
  • Read your main idea sentence together. Have each person share something they feel that this main idea calls them to do.

 Additional Information:

Before Jesus’ death, there was a lot of disagreement about who he was.  Even his closest disciples didn’t really understand who Jesus was or what he had come to do.  After his death and resurrection, though, they were better able to see that he was the promised Messiah, the Christ.

Peter’s impromptu sermon at Pentecost proclaims the power of the resurrection to those who didn’t really know anything about Jesus as well as to those who just weren’t really sure who Jesus was.  Peter wants everyone to understand what he knows to be true – that the world changed with the wonder of Jesus’ resurrection.  Through the resurrection, Peter understands and wants everyone to know that death no longer has the final word and that in Jesus all things – including us – are made new.

 Application Questions:

  • What makes it hard to tell other people about your faith or God’s love?
  • What difference does your faith make in your life that you would want others to know?
  • What can you say or do to share your faith with others?

Prayer:

Dear God, we give you thanks for the people who have walked this faith journey ahead of us – for family, for friends, and for those whose faith stories we can only read about.  We ask you to guide us as we figure out our own paths on our journeys of faith.  Help us to bear witness to your life-changing love in what we say and in what

Posted by Sam Oakley

Children's Lesson: Jesus Appears to the Disciples

While we are unable to meet for Sunday School, I will post an adaptation of the children's Sunday School lesson every Monday.  Think of the lesson as a guide to discuss a story from the Bible together.  Each lesson will include some introductory material, a Scripture reading, questions for review and discussion, an activity suggestion, a short prayer, and a memory verse.  I encourage you to take just 10-15 minutes every week to actively engage your children or grandchildren in this opportunity to grow together in your faith!

Introduction:

Share some background information before reading the story together.

We celebrated Easter a week ago.  Remember, on Easter we celebrate that Jesus came back to life.  But before Jesus could come back to life, he had to die.  There were many people who did not like Jesus.  They thought that he might be trying to take over.  They arrested Jesus, and they had him put to death on the cross.  Many of Jesus’ followers were scared that something bad would happen to them, too.

At the beginning of the story, they were hiding together in someone’s house.  They were hiding from the people who had Jesus put to death. They were locked inside.  They were sad because Jesus had been killed, and they were probably talking to each other about what they should do now.

Read:

Read the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples.  You can read the story from the Bible or the simplified version of the story from the Spark Story Bible below.

John 20:19-31

The Story:

The disciples were hiding in a house the night Jesus rose from the dead. They were afraid. Bam! They locked all the doors. Jesus came and stood by them.

“Peace be with you,” he said. The disciples looked up in surprise! Jesus showed them his hands and his side so that they would know it was him.  The disciples were very happy! Again, Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. God has sent me to you.  Now it is your turn to go tell the rest of the world about me.”

Jesus breathed on them in a very special way. He said, “With this breath, I will always be in your hearts, even when I am in heaven. You now have the power to do the things I’ve asked you to do.”

Thomas was the only disciple not there that night. When he got back, the others excitedly told him about Jesus’ visit.

“I don’t believe you!” Thomas said. “I’ll believe when I can touch Jesus’ wounds.”

A week later, Thomas and the other disciples were in the same house. Jesus came again and stood with them. “Peace be with you,” he said to them.

“Thomas,” Jesus commanded. “Come here! Give me your hands. Put your finger on the wounds in my hand. Put your hand by the wound in my side. Do not doubt anymore. It’s time for you to believe.”

Thomas’ eyes popped. “My Lord and my God!” he exclaimed.

Jesus answered him, “You believe because I’m here with you and you’ve seen me. Think of those who have not seen me, but believe in me anyway. You should believe, even when you cannot see it for yourself.”

Review Questions:

  • Who appeared in the house with the disciples?
  • What did Jesus say to them?
  • Which disciple wasn’t there?
  • What did Jesus tell Thomas?

Discussion Questions:

  • Why do you think Jesus said, “Peace be with you!”? Remember, the last time they saw Jesus he was dying on a cross.  How did he come back to life? How did he get in the house? Also, the disciples were scared about what might happen to them. Talk about what it means to have peace.
  • Jesus tells his disciples to go and tell the rest of the world about him. How can you share Jesus’ message of peace with others?
  • Our memory verse this week says, “Do not doubt but believe.” What does it mean to doubt? What do we believe about Jesus? Examples of things you can talk about: We believe that Jesus is God’s Son.  We believe that Jesus forgives us when we do things that make God sad.  We believe that Jesus wants to be our friend and loves us always.

Activity:

There are many people in our families, church, and community who could use a reminder of the peace that God can give us when we are scared.  Make a list of people who you can call this week, or make cards that say, “Peace be with You!” to send to other people.

Pray:

Dear God, thank you for always being with us.  Thank you for forgiving us when we make bad choices.  Help us feel your peace when we are scared.  Help us bring peace to other people.  Amen.

Memory Verse:

Do not doubt but believe. John 20:27c

 

Posted by Sam Oakley

Good Friday Meditation

Good Friday At-Home Devotional

Begin by lighting a candle in your worship area.

Reflect on the words of this Spiritual

            They crucified my Lord, and he never said a mumbalin’ word,

            They crucified my Lord, and he never said a mumbalin’ word,

            Not a word, not a word, not a word.

            They nailed him to a tree, and he never said a mumbalin’ word.

            Not a word, not a word, not a word.

            They pierced him in the side, and he never said a mumbalin’ word.

            Not a word, not a word, not a word.

            He bowed his head and died, and he never said a mumbalin’ word.

            Not a word, not a word, not a word.

Read this Reflection:

Silence can be underrated.  In today’s culture, words win the day.  Words on TV, coronavirus updates and press conferences, words in magazines, words on Twitter or Facebook, words on blogs, the war of words.  Who is the loudest with words is often heard, but in the pause and space between the words there is the break, the silence.  It is often overlooked and not heard, the music of silence.  Words come out of silence and return to silence.  If there was only noise, we wouldn’t know what silence was, nor could we distinguish it from noise and words.  Sometimes we need to be silent,

Jesus demonstrates this at such a tragic time.  He’s being nailed to a tree, pierced in his side, and he eventually died.  He could have said a lot of things to his oppressors, but “he never said a mumbalin’ word” to them.  Never.  “Like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7).  Not a word, not a word, not a word.  Sometimes not saying a word is the best thing to say; words can be weapons, and as the saying goes, silence can be golden.  Jesus was just present to the moment.  He didn’t say it with his mouth but said it all with his body. “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke22:19).  That’s what was said in the silence.  You could see Jesus, the Living Word, speaking this without saying any word whatsoever.  Sometimes we may underestimate the role of silence in the spiritual life, but it can be constructive and helpful and the most appropriate response.  It was for Jesus.  How about you?

Adapted from Were You There?, Luke A. Powery

 Read together Psalm 39:1-4, 7-9

 Pray:  Lord Christ, Living Word of God, help me to know when to speak and when to stay silent before the mystery of your love.

 Extinguish your candle and observe some moments of silence in your home.

Posted by Ron Glover

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