Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story picks up with Paul’s third missionary journey. Paul traveled from place to place, teaching about Jesus and encouraging the believers. Luke, the writer of Acts, records that a major disturbance arose in Ephesus concerning Christians. Ephesus was a large city in Asia Minor. It was a central location for politics, religions, and business.

Some men there made their living by making silver shrines for false gods, like the goddess Artemis. If people started to believe what Paul was saying, they could lose their livelihood! The men started a riot. Paul wanted to speak to the people, but the disciples would not let him. They feared for Paul’s life. After the uproar was over, Paul left for Macedonia.

In Troas, a city in Macedonia, Paul spoke about Jesus late into the night. One young man named Eutychus (YOO tih kuhs) was sitting on a window sill, listening, when he fell asleep. He fell out the window from the third story and died. But Paul—through the power of God—brought him back to life.

Sometime later, Paul decided to go back to Jerusalem. Along the way, a prophet named Agabus came to Paul. He took Paul’s belt and tied his own feet and hands. Then he said that the Jews in Jerusalem would bind Paul’s hands and feet in the same way. Paul’s friends begged him not to go. But Paul was not afraid to be arrested—or even to die—for the name of Jesus, so Paul kept going toward Jerusalem.

Paul told about Jesus even when he was in danger. Paul shared the gospel with people who didn’t know Jesus. He told people to turn from their sins and trust in Jesus, and he encouraged believers in the church to keep loving Jesus. God changed the people’s hearts, and they turned away from their sin. The good news about Jesus is powerful and life-giving.

Read Acts 21:10-14 to your family. Talk about Paul’s willingness to suffer and even die for the good news about Jesus. Talk about some ways Christians in your neighborhood, city, or country face trouble for being disciples of Jesus. Pray for Christians all around the world to be encouraged.

Dear Parents,

The first time Paul and Silas set foot on European soil they get a fine initial welcome from God-fearing Lydia. But then things turn ugly.

Paul and Silas free a slave girl from an evil spirit. That runs them into deep trouble with the girl’s owners, who had profited handsomely from her misery. Angry about their loss of revenue, they take revenge by having the missionaries flogged and thrown into jail. Paul and Silas must stand uprights throughout the long night with their feet painfully secured in stocks.

Despite their agony God gives them the power to endure and to turn this calamity into an opportunity to spread the gospel. They keep on “praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” That the Spirit gives them such power of faithful endurance is miracle enough. But then God sends a violent earthquake that throws open the prison doors and frees the prisoners from their chains. The jailer goes into a panic. If his prisoners escape, he knows he will be publicly humiliated, tortured, and executed—along with his family. To forestall those horrors, he’s about to take his own life.

Paul intervenes. Looking beyond his own agony, he reaches out to the desperately lost soul. Paul reassures the Philippian jailer that the prisoners have not escaped. This leads the jailer to ask the question: “What must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas show him how to escape not just the wrath of earthly authorities but also the judgment of eternal God.

Hearing the gospel, the jailer believes and is baptized, along with his whole household. He’s instantly transformed. Before his conversion he was a needlessly cruel “host.” He gave Paul and Silas a very rude welcome. But now the jailer treats them with genuine hospitality. Incredibly, this new and surprising way of living pops up in someone who has been a believer for less than ten minutes! From there it can only get better.

Here’s your chance to practice worshiping God anywhere, just like Paul and Silas did! Wherever you go this week, challenge each other to worship God. Start up a song and your family members will likely join you. You can memorize this simple phrase: In song and prayer, God is there.

Dear Parents, Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story focuses on Paul’s second missionary journey that he took to follow up with churches he had planted on his first journey. Paul wanted to see how the new believers were doing. Paul and his companion Silas traveled through […]

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us along with Paul on his first missionary journey. Paul’s first missionary journey began in Antioch of Syria—the third-largest city in the Roman empire, after Rome and Alexandria. The Holy Spirit was working in the Antioch church. The Spirit led the believers there to send out Paul and Barnabas on a journey to preach. The church obeyed, and Paul and Barnabas went out.

Remember that at one time Paul had devotedly persecuted Christians, but now Paul was a missionary. A missionary is someone who obeys God’s call to go and tell others the good news about Jesus. Paul and Barnabas traveled to several cities and all over the island of Cyprus, telling everyone about Jesus.

In each city, they went first into the synagogues. They told the Jews about Jesus. Some of the Jews believed, but some of them were angry at Paul and Barnabas. They rejected the truth about Jesus. In some places, the Jews made plans to kill Paul! So Paul and Barnabas went to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. This was the purpose to which God had called Paul. (See Acts 9:15.) When the Gentiles heard the gospel, many of them believed. The gospel is not for a select group of people; it is for everyone! If Paul had not taken the gospel to the Gentiles, many of us would probably not be believers today.

Paul obeyed the Holy Spirit’s call to tell the world about Jesus. Many of the Jews rejected Christ, so Paul shared the gospel with the non-Jews. Many of them believed in Jesus. God uses people to tell others about Jesus so that people all over the world can be saved from their sin by trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

If you have a road map of your state or an electronic map app, mark your city. Mark the farthest city north, south, east, or west of your town. Talk about how long the car ride would be to one of those cities. Briefly review Paul’s first missionary journey. Invite your kids to think about ways to tell people in your city about Jesus.

Dear Parents,

King Herod has begun to persecute Christ’s church by picking off its leaders one by one.  James, the brother of John, has already been executed.  Now, it’s Peter’s turn.  Herod has him thrown into prison, placing a guard of sixteen soldiers around him to prevent any escape or rescue.  A small body of believers huddles together in fear.  They are helpless.  Deeply anxious about Peter, they can only pray.

But praying is a lot.  The prayers of the righteous have power that the Herods of this world know nothing about.  They can touch the heart of our all-powerful God.

During the night God sends an angel to do what no earthly power can do.  The angel enters the cell, wakes Peter up, drops the chains from his wrists, and tells him to get dressed.  Then the angel walks the groggy apostle right past the guards, out of the prison, and through the city gate falling open before them.

Suddenly left alone, it finally dawns on Peter that is rescue is no dream.  When he finds Mary’s house and knocks, the servant girl recognizes his voice.  But she’s so excited that she just leaves him standing out in the dark street as she darts off to tell the others.  The gathered believers are incredulous: “You’re out of your mind” they told her.  When Peter keeps knocking, they’re astonished to see him.

Now why would that be?  Why are they so surprised that God can and does do exactly what they’re asking for?  Do they have faith?

In all fairness, their surprise didn’t mean they lacked faith in God.  It’s just that, as we all experience, God sometimes tells us yes, sometimes no, and sometimes wait.  They knew that whether Peter was rescued or not was a matter of God’s providence and grace.  Prayer allows us to converse with God about what we’d really like.  But in faith we rest with God’s decision, trusting that he knows better than we do what should happen next.  The power of prayer is not impersonal and automatic, like some kind of mindless incantation.  The power of prayer is that we can catch the ear of an all-knowing, all-powerful God who will answer us according to what best.  No doubt these same believers prayer for James just as fervently.  Yet no angel was sent for him.

Like Peter’s friends, we too have learned to rest in God’s will when God says no.  But we should also keep on asking because God still does amazing things.  Whenever we pray for stuff that’s good for us, not even the Herods of this world can stay God’s gracious hand.

Give children several slips of paper that are about 8 ½ x 2 inches. Tell them to write on them things they are thankful for and to tape them together in circles to form one large chain that contains everyone’s thanks. As you pray you might also want to specifically mention some of the things for which you were thankful.