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Children's Lesson: The Holy Spirit

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.

Last week, we talked about Jesus’ final days on earth after he rose from the dead. He had told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised them that they would receive power when they received the Holy Spirit and that they should go out into the world to tell others about Jesus. This week’s story also comes from Acts.  Remember, Acts tells us about the things that happened after Jesus rose from the dead.

The disciples didn’t really know what would happen or what it even really meant to receive the Holy Spirit, but they did what Jesus told them to do.  They stayed in Jerusalem.  People from all over the ancient world – Africa, Asia, and Europe – were all coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. It was a harvest celebration where faithful Jews brought an offering of part of their crops to God. The food would be sold to support the church or given away to feed the hungry. This holiday is a celebration of God giving the Torah, our first five books of the Bible. They had no idea what would happen!

On this day that they had come together to celebrate the giving of God’s Word, they were about to receive the Holy Spirit. We call this day Pentecost, and we think of it as the beginning of the church. There would be mighty winds, a loud noise, and tongues of fire. That might not even be the craziest part.  God gave the disciples the ability to speak and understand other languages so that people from all over the world could hear the good news about Jesus in their own language. 

 Read:

 Read the story of Pentecost this week. You can read the story from the Bible or the simplified version of the story from the Spark Story Bible below.

Acts 2:1-21

The Story:

Jesus’ disciples were celebrating a festival called Pentecost when suddenly a strong wind blew through the house. Everyone’s hair lifted up and there was an amazing noise! They looked at each other. It looked like each disciple had a flame of fire touching him, but no one was burned. The Holy Spirit had come, just as Jesus promised! The disciples began to speak in different languages! Languages they’d never learned! Stranger yet – they could understand each other!

Peter stood up. “I want to tell you about Jesus.” He reminded everyone what Jesus taught them. He told them how Jesus died and lives again. “It’s time for us to begin a new life with God’s Spirit guiding us,” Peter said. The disciples were excited to live differently, guided by God’s Spirit. This was the very beginning of the Christian church.

Review Questions:

  • What were some of the things that happened on Pentecost?
  • What were the disciples suddenly able to do?
  • What did the disciples want to tell everyone about?
  • What was Pentecost the beginning of?

Discussion Questions:

  • The disciples have experienced so many big and unexpected things, and everything that happened at Pentecost was also big an unexpected. What do you think the disciples were thinking/feeling when they heard the loud sound, felt the mighty wind, saw the tongues of fire, and heard themselves speaking languages they had never learned?
  • The Holy Spirit gave them the power to speak in other languages to tell other people about Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us power to tell others about Jesus.  How could the Holy Spirit give you power to tell others about Jesus? Be brave, help us know the right words, help us meet people who need to know about Jesus, etc.
  • God wants everyone to know about his love for them. We can share God’s love in the words we say and in what we do.  How can you share God’s love to others in what you do?

Activity:

God gave the disciples the ability to speak in other languages.  Read and practice saying these translations of “May God bless us.”

  • Bwana Awabariki (Swahili)
  • Puo il dio benedirlo (Italian)
  • Puede dios bendecirnos (Spanish)
  • Peut Dieu nous benir (French)
  • Kan Gud valsignar oss (Swedish)
  • Kez Buh zehna nam (Czech)
  • May Diyos basbasan sa amin (Filipino)
  • Jumala siunatkoon meita (Finnish)

As you pray this week, think about the people all over the world who speak these and other languages. Pray that everyone can hear the good news about God’s love for them in their own language.

Pray:

Dear God, thank you for making all of us unique and different. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit. Help us share the good news about your love with others. Amen.

Memory Verse:

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21

Posted by Sam Oakley

Children's Lesson: The Ascension

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.

Last week, we learned about Jesus’ promise to the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come, be with them always, and would guide and comfort them. Jesus gave them this promise of the Holy Spirit because he knew what was about to happen – that he would be arrested, die on the cross, and then come back to life. He knew his disciples would be sad and scared, and he wanted them to know that God would never leave them.

Our story this week is found in the beginning of the book of Acts. The book of Acts tells us about the things that happened after Jesus rose from the dead. After Jesus rose from the dead, he spent 40 days on earth. During those 40 days, Jesus continued to teach his disciples. He told them that they needed to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. This happens in Acts 2, and we get to learn more about that next week!

The disciples did what Jesus told them to do. They stayed in Jerusalem and waited for the Holy Spirit. He tells them that they will receive power when they receive the Holy Spirit. After they receive the Holy Spirit, they should not wait in Jerusalem anymore. They should go out into the world to tell everyone about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be their guide.

Read:

Read the story of Jesus’ ascension this week. You can read the story from the Bible or the simplified version of the story from the Spark Story Bible below.

 Acts 1:6-14

The Story:

After Jesus died and rose again, he and his disciples got together near Jerusalem. Jesus had some instructions for them.

“As you know, God is doing amazing things in the world,” he said. “And your help is needed! We need you to go tell stories about me! Tell your friends and family and everyone you meet what you’ve learned by following me! Be my witness in the world!”

Then suddenly Jesus was rising – up in the air! What was going on?! He was being lifted up into a cloud!

Jesus’ friends looked around. Two men in white robes had joined them. The men said, “Why are you just standing around looking up toward heaven? Don’t worry, Jesus will come back some day.”

“Right!” said one of Jesus’ disciples, “Meanwhile, we have some work to do! Let’s get going!”

Review Questions:

  • What instructions did Jesus give his disciples?
  • What happened to Jesus after he gave them these instructions?
  • Who did the disciples see after Jesus went up to heaven?
  • What did the men in white robes tell the disciples?

Discussion Questions:

  • The disciples have experienced so many changes over the last couple of months. Jesus has been arrested, put on trial, killed on the cross, rose from the dead, and now he has been carried up to heaven by a cloud. What kind of changes have you experienced in your life? Changing schools, moving, staying home from school, a new brother/sister, etc. How did those changes make you feel?
  • Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will always be with us, to help us get through tough stuff. How can the Holy Spirit help us get through tough stuff?  
  • Jesus gave his followers a big job – to be his witnesses all over the world. As followers of Jesus, we should do the same thing!  What does it mean to be his witness? How can we tell others about Jesus?

 Activity:

Jesus tells us that we are supposed to be his witnesses, to tell others about Jesus. To prepare ourselves for this important job, we should know what we would say about Jesus.  Have everyone in the family share answers to the following questions.

  • What is one way (or even one word) you would use to describe Jesus?
  • What is one good thing Jesus has done for you?
  • What is one reason you want other people to know about Jesus?

Put your answers together into a few sentences to be prepared to be Jesus’ witnesses. Example: Jesus is loving. Jesus forgives me. I want everyone to know about Jesus, so they can be his friends forever.

Pray:

Dear God, thank you for the people who tell us about you. Thank you for the Holy Spirit to be with us and to guide us. Thank you for loving us all of the time, even when other things change. Help us tell others about you. Amen.

 Memory Verse:

“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8b

Posted by Sam Oakley

Children's Lesson: The Promise of the Holy Spirit

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.

This week’s story is a continuation of last week’s story (remember, I said Jesus spends a LONG time talking to his disciples after that dinner).  As a reminder, though, this story takes place just before Jesus is arrested and crucified. Jesus is together with his disciples celebrating Passover, a Jewish holiday that celebrates how God freed the Israelite slaves in Egypt. This would be the last meal Jesus would have with his disciples before he died, so we often call it the Last Supper.

Jesus knows what is about to happen – that he will be arrested, crucified, but also that he will come back to life.  He also knows that Judas, his disciple and friend, will be the one to betray him. He knows that his disciples will be sad, scared, and confused.  He talks to them to try to prepare them and bring them some comfort.

He talks to them about loving him, hearing his word, keeping his commandments, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Last week, we talked about how Jesus is preparing a place for us with God and that there’s room for everyone! Jesus wants them to understand that loving Jesus means following his commandments. Jesus wants them to love God and love others. God gives us the Holy Spirit to walk with us, help us, and sustain us as we follow God.  Jesus’ words helped the disciples know what to do and comforted them, and his words can do the same for us!

Read:

Read some of Jesus’ last words to his disciples in our Scripture passage for this week. You can read the story from the Bible or the simplified version of the story from the Spark Story Bible below.

John 14:15-21

The Story:

Jesus loved his disciples. He knew he was going to heaven soon and wanted to make sure they weren’t afraid. Jesus and his friends sat down on the soft grass. Jesus said, “It’s important to remember all I’ve taught you. Love God. Love other people. Help each other. Remember, God is most important. God will always love you.”

Jesus looked at each of his friends’ faces. He cared so much for each of them! “I promise I’ll always love you and everyone who comes after you. I won’t be here much longer. But don’t worry! God’s Holy Spirit will be with you always. The Holy Spirit will help you and God’s children forever.” The disciples trusted Jesus and the promise he made.

Review Questions:

  • What commands did Jesus give his disciples? If you read the story from the Bible, go back and read John 13:34-35 (an earlier part of Jesus’ speech). Love God. Love other people. Help each other.
  • What promises does Jesus give his disciples? Jesus loves them. God’s Holy Spirit will be with them and help them always.

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think it means to “keep Jesus’ commandments”? It means to “hold them dear” or “remember their importance.” We all mess up sometimes, and God knows that!  Keeping God’s commandments just means that we try our best to follow them.
  • Jesus wants us to love God and love others. What can we do to show God we love Him? What can we do to show others love?
  • Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would always be with us to help us. What’s something you can do to help you remember that the Holy Spirit is always with you?

Activity:

Our story today reminds us that our faith leads us to love others. Each person in the family should think of one thing that they can do on their own for someone else. Share your ideas with one another. As a family, come up with one (or more!) things you can do this week to love or help someone outside of your family.

Pray:

Dear God, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit to always be with us. We love you. Help us follow your commands and love others. Amen.

Memory Verse:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

 

Posted by Sam Oakley

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