Key Passage: Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation.”

Big Picture Question: Did anything stop Paul from telling people about Jesus? No, Paul told about Jesus even when he was in danger.

Christ Connection: Paul told so many people about Jesus, and he encouraged people who believed in Jesus to keep loving Him. God changed people’s hearts, and they turned away from their sin. The good news about Jesus is powerful.

Dear Parents,
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.

Family Activity: 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 for being disciples of Jesus. Pray for Christians all around the world to be encouraged.

Key Passage: Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation.”

Big Picture Question: Who deserves our worship? Only God deserves our worship.

Christ Connection: Paul taught the people in Athens about the one true God. He told them that Jesus died on the cross and is alive! People can know God because Jesus brings us into God’s family.

Dear Parents,
In today’s Bible story, Paul and Silas traveled to Thessalonica and began preaching in the synagogue about Jesus. Some became believers, but others wanted to attack them. Paul and Silas escaped and went to Berea. The Jews in Berea studied the Scriptures to make sure Paul was telling the truth. Many of them believed! But when the Jews in Thessalonica heard what was happening in Berea, they hurried there and caused trouble. So Paul and Silas went to Athens.

The city of Athens was a cultural center. People in Athens loved to hear about and study the latest ideas. Paul spoke with the Jews and the philosophers in the city. Athens was also full of idols to every kind of god. There was even an altar to an unknown god.

Paul began preaching, telling the people that they worshiped a god they did not know. But people can know the Lord God! The one true God made the world and everything in it! God was not like their idols. “We ought not to think that God is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man,” Paul said. Paul told the people that God wanted them to turn away from their sins. Then Paul told them about Jesus and how He was raised from the dead. Some people made fun of Paul, but others believed.

From Athens, Paul went to Corinth. He tried to persuade the Jews in the synagogue that Jesus is the Christ, but they would not listen. Paul spoke to the Gentiles, and many of them believed and were baptized. God continued working through Paul.

The men of Athens worshiped many false gods. Paul explained to them God’s plan of salvation. He said that only God should be worshiped. Paul talked about Jesus and the resurrection. People can know God because Jesus took the punishment for sin that separates people from God. Only the Lord—the one true God—deserves our worship.

Family Activity: Read to your kids Paul’s description of the one true God in Acts 17:24-31. Invite your family members to think of someone at school or in the community who might believe something different about God, or who might believe that there is no God. Set aside time this week to pray for the opportunity to share with that person the good news about Jesus.

Key Passage: Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation.”

Big Picture Question: What did Paul and his friends teach as they traveled? Paul and his friends taught about Jesus.

Christ Connection: Lydia, the jailer, and many others believed in Jesus and were saved from their sin. We do not have to work to be saved. Jesus did all the work when He died on the cross. We are called to turn from our sin and trust in Jesus.

Dear Parents,
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 Syria and Cilicia, encouraging believers and strengthening churches. The numbers of believers in the churches increased daily.

One night, while Paul and Silas were in Troas, the Lord called Paul to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel to the people. So Paul and Silas obeyed. They sailed to Macedonia, staying in the city of Philippi for several days.

Two major events happened while Paul was in Macedonia. First, a woman named Lydia became a believer. God opened Lydia’s heart to the good news of the gospel. She believed and was baptized. Then she invited Paul and Silas to stay at her house.

Then, Paul and Silas were thrown into prison after Paul commanded a fortune-telling spirit to come out of a slave girl. Late at night, an earthquake rocked the prison, flung open the doors, and shucked off the shackles. The prisoners could have jumped up and escaped, but they stayed where they were. The jailer asked Paul and Silas how to be saved. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” they said. The man believed and was baptized.

Lydia, the jailer, and many others were saved because they believed in Jesus. Jesus offers us salvation as a gift. He did all the work to save us by dying on the cross. We do not need to earn salvation; we can just receive it by repenting and trusting in Jesus.

Family Activity: Hold an impromptu scavenger hunt. Invite family members to search the house for something purple and bring it to the group. Read Acts 16:9-15. Paul told Lydia, a woman who sold purple cloth, about Jesus. Lydia and everyone in her household trusted in Jesus. Think of someone who has not trusted in Jesus as Savior and pray for the opportunity to share the gospel.

Key Passage: Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation.”

Big Picture Question: What does a missionary do? A missionary goes and tells people about Jesus.

Christ Connection: The Holy Spirit told Paul to tell the world about Jesus. Paul obeyed. Paul told the good news about Jesus to anyone who would listen. We can obey God and tell others about Jesus so they can be saved from their sins.

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.

Family Activity: 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.

Key Passage: Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation.”

Big Picture Question: What happened when Saul heard Jesus? Saul loved Jesus and told others about Him.

Christ Connection: Saul had hated Jesus and His followers, but then he met Jesus. Jesus came to earth to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus changed Saul’s life! Saul, also known as Paul, spent the rest of his life telling people the good news about Jesus.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next six weeks, kids will learn about Paul’s life-changing encounter with Jesus. Saul was a devout Jew who was born in Tarsus (Phil. 3:5) and inherited his Roman citizenship from his father. (His Roman name was Paul; his Hebrew name was Saul.) So when people began talking about this man named Jesus and claiming that He was the promised Messiah, Saul took notice.

Saul believed strongly in the Jewish faith of his ancestors. He violently persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. (Gal. 1:13-14) He dragged believers from their houses and put them in prison. He approved of the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Saul thought he was doing the right thing by defending Judaism, but God’s purposes could not be stopped.

As Saul was on his way to arrest believers in Damascus, the Lord stopped him in his tracks. Jesus revealed Himself to Saul, and Saul was never the same. Saul was convinced that Jesus is Lord. Saul later described the experience as being like dying and receiving a new life. (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17) God had a purpose and a plan for Saul. He had set Saul apart before Saul was even born. (Gal. 1:15) God said, “This man is My chosen instrument to take My name to the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15).

Salvation, sometimes called conversion, happens when a person recognizes his sin, repents, believes in Jesus, and confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus changes a person’s heart, and as a result, his or her life is changed too. Jesus appeared to Saul and changed him inside and out. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. (1 Tim. 1:15) Jesus called Saul, who was once an enemy of Christians, to spend the rest of his life telling people the gospel and leading them to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Family Activity: Pop some popcorn and talk about how the heat source causes the popcorn kernels to change. Eat the popcorn together as you open your Bible to Acts 9 and briefly review Paul’s conversion. Talk about how Paul’s life was very different. Talk about how God changes Christians from the inside out to be more like His Son, Jesus.

Key Passage: Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”

Big Picture Question: Why did the people hurt Stephen? They wanted Stephen to stop telling people about Jesus.

Christ Connection: People hurt Stephen because he followed Jesus. Jesus told His friends that people would hurt them for loving Him. (Mark 13:9-13; John 16:2) When people are mean to us because we love Jesus, we can be brave because people also hurt Jesus. Jesus died on a cross and is alive!

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story is about the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to serve as leaders in the early church at Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-7.) God blessed Stephen, and God gave him power to do wonders and miracles like some of the apostles.

Some of the Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and dragged him to the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish leaders that acted as a legal council. Stephen addressed the group. He drew from the Old Testament, which the leaders in the Sanhedrin would have known well. He reminded them of Abraham’s faith in God and of Joseph’s plight in Egypt. He talked about Moses and the Israelites who rejected God’s plan. But God did not give up on them.

Stephen also showed how the Old Testament pointed to a coming Savior and how that Savior was Jesus. Stephen pointed out that the Jews’ ancestors had rejected God’s prophets. And they were just like their fathers; they rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Not only did they reject Jesus, they killed Him!

The Jewish leaders rushed at Stephen. The Holy Spirit filled Stephen, and he looked into heaven. He saw God’s glory, and Jesus was standing at God’s right hand. The Jews forced Stephen out of the city, and they stoned him. As he died, Stephen called out, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!”

Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. (Mark 13:9-13; John 16:2) Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) Stephen was not afraid to die because he saw Jesus waiting for him in heaven. We can face suffering in this life because we know great joy is waiting for us in heaven.

Family Activity: Open your Bible to Acts 7 and review some of the Bible stories your kids learned that Stephen mentioned in his address. Stephen reminded the Jews of all that God had done for them, including sending His Son, Jesus, to save people from their sins. Make a list of things God has done for your family. Then pray, thanking God for the items on your list.

Key Passage: Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”

Big Picture Question: Who can help at church? Everyone can help at church.

Christ Connection: Jesus’ friends believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God’s people and help spread the gospel. Jesus wants us to serve others so that people all over the world can hear and believe the news of His death and resurrection.

Dear Parents,
This week, our journey takes us to Jerusalem where the early church was booming with growth. There were two groups of Jews in the first church: Jews who spoke Greek and Jews who spoke Hebrew. The Greek-speaking Jews were from foreign countries, and the Hebrew-speaking Jews had been born in Israel. Tension existed between the two groups. The Greek-speaking Jews complained that their widows were not being cared for properly.

The Old Testament law was clear that God commanded His people to care for the orphans and widows. (See Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18.) The early church continued this Jewish custom, but the Greek-speaking Jews claimed their widows were not getting their share of the daily distributions.

The twelve apostles were quick to address the issue. They gathered all the believers together. The apostles explained that God had called them to preaching and teaching. They were not above handling problems among the people, but they wisely led the church to choose seven leaders to oversee such duties.

The church did not choose just anyone to serve; the men were reputable, full of the Spirit, and wise. The chosen seven were Stephen, Philip, Prochorus (PRAHK uh ruhs), Nicanor (nigh KAY nawr), Timon (TIGH mahn), Parmenas (PAHR mih nuhs), and Nicolaus (nik uh LAY uhs). Now the apostles were free to devote themselves to prayer and preaching, and the widows were properly cared for.

Everyone in the church has a role in God’s work. The apostles believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God’s people and help spread the gospel. The seven men who were chosen used their abilities to take care of others. Jesus wants us to serve others so that the message of His death and resurrection can be heard and believed all over the world.

Family Activity: Read Acts 6:1-7. Talk about how seven men were chosen to help take care of widows, women whose husbands had died. Think about an elderly person you know who may have recently lost a spouse or loved one. Talk about skills God has given your family members. Talk about ways they might serve and choose to do one of the suggestions this week.

Key Passage: Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”

Big Picture Question: How did Peter help the man who could not walk? In Jesus’ name, Peter healed the man who could not walk.

Christ Connection: The Holy Spirit gave the disciples power to tell people about Jesus. He gave Peter power to heal a man who could not walk. People who believe in Jesus shred what they had so that no one needed anything. The Holy Spirit helps believers today so we can tell others about Jesus and help them too.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next three weeks, kids will be learning about the early church. After the Holy Spirit came and the disciples began preaching the gospel, more and more people believed in Jesus. They met together and shared what they had like one big family. God blessed them, and the church grew. (See Acts 2.)

Peter and John were among Jesus’ first disciples. They were fishermen, and when Jesus called them, Peter and John immediately left their work and followed Him. (Matt. 4:18-22) Peter and John still followed Christ after His ascension. Though Jesus was no longer with them physically, the Holy Spirit empowered them to do God’s work.

One day, Peter and John encountered a man at the temple gate. The man was lame from birth, and he depended on the generosity of passersby. When the man looked at Peter and John, he likely hoped for or expected money. Gold or silver would have provided food or clothing, but Peter gave him something even more valuable. “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6) Peter reached out and helped the man to his feet. He was healed! Not by Peter’s power, but by the power of Jesus working through him.

After Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples power to keep working. Peter healed a man who was lame with the power of Jesus’ name. God was working in the early church. They lived very differently from the people around them. God gives the Holy Spirit to believers today so the church can tell others about Jesus and show them His love.

Family Activity: Read Acts 2:40-47 with your kids. Talk about how the members of the early church lived a lot like one big family. Plan a special meal with another family in your church. During the meal, devote yourself to the apostle’s teaching (reading the Bible), breaking the bread (eating), fellowship (enjoying time together), and prayer.

Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.

Christ Connection: God sent the Holy Spirit just as He promised. Now Jesus’ friends had everything they needed to make more followers of Jesus! God gives the Holy spirit to those of us who trust in Jesus and let Him be in charge of our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us do God’s work and changes us to be more like Jesus.

Dear Parents,
Today’s Bible story is found in Acts 2:1-42. We studied about the time when the Holy Spirit came to God’s people.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals His will (John 16:13), helps believers tell others about Jesus, and helps them live holy lives. The Holy Spirit lives within those who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. (John 14:17) Jesus told His disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit to teach them. (John 14:25-26)

Fifty days after Passover was another major Jewish festival called Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. (See Ex. 34:22; Num. 28:26-31; Lev. 23:15-21.) All males had to appear at the temple for Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of the Tabernacle. Once again, Jerusalem would be packed with Jews from all over the Roman Empire.

The disciples were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, they heard a sound like a violent, rushing wind that came from heaven and filled the entire room. The Holy Spirit filled them and they were able to speak in foreign languages. They went out into the city and began to preach.

A crowd of Jews from all over the world was astonished. Weren’t the disciples Jews from Galilee? How were they able to speak in specific dialects? (See Acts 2:6-12.) Some people thought the disciples were drunk. The prophet Joel had prophesied that God would pour out His Spirit on all people, Peter said, “Then everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:14-21).

The Holy Spirit helped Peter teach about the Messiah: Jesus is the Messiah because Jesus was killed, but He is alive! (Acts 2:22-36) The Holy Spirit convicted the crowd and they asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2:37-38). That day, 3,000 people received salvation!

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could share the gospel with the entire world. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

Family Activity: Discuss a time when you broke a promise or someone broke a promise to you. Read Acts 2:1-42. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with us. We can trust that Jesus will always do what He promises! He has never broken a promise before and He never will! The Holy Spirit lives within all who love and trust Jesus and helps us tell others about God and live a life that pleases Him. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work.

Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: Where is Jesus today? Jesus is alive and in heaven.

Christ Connection: Jesus left earth and returned to heaven, but He did not leave us alone. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us do God’s work on earth while we wait for Jesus to come back and make everything new!
Dear Parents,
This week’s Bible story comes from Acts 1:3-11 and centers on Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus showed His followers that He is alive. (Matt. 28:9-10; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:16-17,19-20,26-27; 21:14) Jesus taught them about Himself and about God’s kingdom. (Luke 24:25-27,44-48) Jesus told them that He would soon return to the Father. (John 20:17)

Jesus directed the Eleven to go a mountain. When they arrived, Jesus appeared. Some of them worshiped Jesus, but some of them doubted. (Matt. 28:17) Some of them wondered if Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman government and set up His kingdom on earth. “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” they asked. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). Jesus also told them to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Father’s promise—the Holy Spirit. Those who repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) The Holy Spirit would give them power to live holy lives and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

After Jesus told the disciples these things, Jesus was taken up into the sky—right in front of their eyes! (Acts 1:9) Suddenly two men stood on the mountain next to the disciples. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven?” they asked. They said Jesus would return the same way. (Acts 1:11) Until Jesus returns, His followers need to work faithfully.

Jesus is alive in heaven, waiting to return for His people. Jesus told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them, and when we die, we will be with the Lord in heaven. (John 14:1-3) In the meantime, Jesus has not left us alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work. One day Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

Family Activity: Ask your family members to tell about a time when they felt lonely. Read Acts 1:3-11. Jesus’ disciples were probably sad that Jesus would not be with them any longer, but Jesus told them that He’d send Someone who would be with them forever. Jesus didn’t leave us alone. When we love and trust Him, the Holy Spirit comes to be with us and help us do God’s work. We don’t have to be lonely when we remember that God’s Spirit is always with us!