Summer is one of those times of the year when you hope to escape your normal day-to-day and head off on a family vacation. Perhaps you have a passport and hope to fill it with stamps and visas from around the world or maybe you keep albums filled with photos from the places you’ve seen and the people you’ve met along the way.
But when you think about it, these aren’t just passport stamps and travel photos, they are stories capturing moments we lived. As we travel the world and experience the different landscapes and cultures, often we can’t help but notice that no matter where in the world we are, God is already there and up to something amazing.
The prophet Isaiah writes, “The whole earth is filled with God’s glory.” And that glory was made real when 2000-some years ago a REAL human was born, lived a perfect life, died, and rose again. Of course, that man is Jesus. And throughout the past 2,000 years since, His story—His LIFE—has been changing the world.
This summer we’re excited for kids to experience that life-changing story of Jesus first hand and put their faith in Him.
We’ll talk about faith like this:
Believing that what Jesus did can change me.
Our hope is that kids discover that no matter where they are in the world, the story of Jesus can change them, too.
This summer, we get to view the story of Jesus through a man whose life was radically changed when he encountered the story of Jesus. He went from a person who did whatever it took to stop the message of Jesus from spreading to one who ended up writing most of the New Testament of the Bible and dying for his faith in Jesus. This man, as you may have already guessed, is Paul. He went all over the known world preaching the Story of Jesus. We’ll explore where in the world Paul was and how we fit into his story, too.
We’ll kick off the summer with an overview of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We want kids to understand that the Story of Jesus is not just a bunch of stories in the Bible; rather it’s a message of salvation He came to give the world. We’ll go through an overview of the Life of Jesus, discover why He needed to come, and discuss what putting our faith in Jesus means for us 2,000 years later after He walked on our planet.
Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes everything. The most important moment in all of history was when Jesus lived on planet earth. What He taught, how He lived, died and rose again changed the course of humanity. We pray that kids will come to realize that Jesus isn’t just a story in an old book, but a real person who can change their life, too.
Our Memory Verse is Hebrews 11:1 (NIrV), “Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see.” This verse gives us a great definition for what it means to have faith. As kids learn this verse, we want them to remember that the beauty they see around them in the world can point them to God and His plan to send us Jesus.
We’ll see what happened in Acts 9:1-25 when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul was on his way to stop the message of Jesus from spreading. But Jesus had different plans for Paul. Paul was about to become the one to take the story of Jesus to the rest of the world. This encounter with Jesus completely changed Paul’s life.
Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I see him. When we encounter the Jesus of the Bible we realize that he is not just a character in a storybook—but a real human being who lived and died and rose again.
We’ll continue Paul’s story in Acts 9:26-31, as we find out what happens when he goes to join up with the other Jesus followers he was known for persecuting. As you can imagine, they were probably a bit frightened to trust Paul. But Barnabus convinced the rest of the disciples that Paul could be trusted. He stood up for Paul who used to be his enemy.
Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I see others. When Jesus enters our life and starts changing us from the inside out, we’ll start to see others how He sees them.
We’ll finish up June with passages in Acts 11 and 13. Paul and Barnabus head to Antioch as they discover that the message of Jesus is starting to spread to people outside of the Jewish community. Many of these new followers of Jesus are in need. The rest of the disciples send Paul and Barnabus on a journey to collect money that will be a huge help to those Jesus followers.
Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I help others. Jesus said that people would know we are His followers by the way we show love to one another. Putting our faith in Jesus into action will change the way we take initiative to help others in need.