Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, guide us and make us into the people you would have us be. As we hear your Word today, help us to grow in faith. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 24:5-16
[A lawyer named Tertullus, and several other leaders, went to the governor to present a case against Paul]: “This man has been found to be a real pest and troublemaker for Jews all over the world. He is also a leader of a group called Nazarenes. When he tried to disgrace the temple, we arrested him. If you question him, you will find out for yourself that our charges are true.” The Jewish crowd spoke up and agreed with what Tertullus had said.

The governor motioned for Paul to speak, and he began: “I know that you have judged the people of our nation for many years, and I am glad to defend myself in your court. It was no more than twelve days ago that I went to worship in Jerusalem. You can find this out easily enough. Never once did the Jews find me arguing with anyone in the temple. I didn’t cause trouble in the Jewish meeting places or in the city itself. There is no way that they can prove these charges that they are now bringing against me.

"I admit that their leaders think that the Lord’s Way which I follow is based on wrong beliefs. But I still worship the same God that my ancestors worshiped. And I believe everything written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets. I am just as sure as these people are that God will raise from death everyone who is good or evil. And because I am sure, I try my best to have a clear conscience in whatever I do for God or for people.” (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: The community leaders wanted Paul to stop talking about Jesus. What does it feel like when a whole group is against you? Has that ever happened to you?

Child: When things go against us, how does trusting in God help us not to lose hope?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, be with those Christians around the world who are treated unfairly or even jailed for their faith. Strengthen them, free them, and let them know that they are not forgotten. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you fearlessly share your faith! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, life can be difficult. But with you by our side, we can face anything that comes along. Be with us now, and open our minds to understand your Word. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 21:27-33
When the period of seven days for the ceremony was almost over, some of the Jewish people from Asia saw Paul in the temple [in Jerusalem]. They got a large crowd together and started attacking him. They were shouting, “Friends, help us! This man goes around everywhere, saying bad things about our nation and about the Law of Moses and about this temple. He has even brought shame to this holy temple by bringing in Gentiles.” Some of them thought that Paul had brought Trophimus from Ephesus into the temple, because they had seen them together in the city.

The whole city was in an uproar, and the people turned into a mob. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Then suddenly the doors were shut. The people were about to kill Paul when the Roman army commander heard that all Jerusalem was starting to riot. So he quickly took some soldiers and officers and ran to where the crowd had gathered. As soon as the mob saw the commander and soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. The army commander went over and arrested him and had him bound with two chains. Then he tried to find out who Paul was and what he had done. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: In today’s story, people were saying untrue things about Paul. How do you think he felt?  Do you think Paul’s relationship with God helped him deal with this?

Child: The Bible tells us that “the people turned into a mob” and went after Paul. Have you ever gone along with a group that was being mean, and regretted it later? What happened, and what did you learn?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, it’s hard to be the target of cruel words. And it’s also hard to stand up when we’re in a group that is being mean. Help us when we are in these situations. Give us wisdom, and courage, so we know what to do.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you be brave enough to stand up for what is right. Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, as we read our Bible story today, show us the many ways you work in our world. Inspire us by your Word, and help us to trust you more each day. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 20:7-12
On the first day of the week we met to break bread together. Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. A young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead.

Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, “Don’t worry! He’s alive.”  After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: Have you ever done anything that you later realized was dangerous, like Eutychus did? How did God help you?

Child: Some people are afraid of heights. Some are scared of other things. What frightens you? How do you trust God with this fear?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, sometimes bad things happen, and we don’t understand why. Be with us in such times, and help us to remember that you can bring good out of everything, even if we can’t see it at first. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you know that God is always working for good. Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, turn our hearts to you. Give us understanding, so that we may know how you would have us live. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Listen carefully as the Bible story for the week is read aloud.

Acts 19:23-31
At that time there was serious trouble because of the Lord’s Way. A silversmith named Demetrius had a business that made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who worked for him earned a lot of money. Demetrius brought together everyone who was in the same business and said:

“Friends, you know that we make a good living at this. But you have surely seen and heard how this man Paul is upsetting a lot of people, not only in Ephesus, but almost everywhere in Asia. He claims that the gods we humans make are not really gods at all. Everyone will start saying terrible things about our business. They will stop respecting the temple of the goddess Artemis, who is worshiped in Asia and all over the world. Our great goddess will be forgotten!”

When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, “Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held. Paul wanted to go out and speak to the people, but the Lord’s followers would not let him. A few of the local officials were friendly to Paul, and they sent someone to warn him not to go. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: Why were the people in today’s story angry at Paul? What were they afraid they might lose?

Child: Have you ever worried about money? When? How did God take care of you?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, sometimes we get so focused on the things we want that we put those things first in our lives. Help us to stop doing that, and remind us that our relationship with you is our greatest gift.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you put God first, above all else. Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, make us wise. Help us to know when to listen, when to speak, and when to be silent. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Listen carefully as the Bible story for the week is read aloud.

Acts 18:1-11
Paul left Athens and went to Corinth, where he met Aquila, a Jewish man from Pontus. Not long before this, Aquila had come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Emperor Claudius had ordered the Jewish people to leave Rome. Paul went to see Aquila and Priscilla and found out that they were tent makers. Paul was a tent maker too. So he stayed with them, and they worked together.

Every Sabbath, Paul went to the Jewish meeting place. He spoke to Jews and Gentiles and tried to win them over. But after Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, he spent all his time preaching to the Jews about Jesus the Messiah. Finally, they turned against him and insulted him. So he shook the dust from his clothes and told them, “Whatever happens to you will be your own fault! I am not to blame. From now on I am going to preach to the Gentiles.”

Paul then moved into the house of a man named Titius Justus, who worshiped God and lived next door to the Jewish meeting place. Crispus was the leader of the meeting place. He and everyone in his family put their faith in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard the message, and all the people who had faith in the Lord were baptized. One night, Paul had a vision, and in it the Lord said, “Don’t be afraid to keep on preaching. Don’t stop! I am with you, and you won’t be harmed. Many people in this city belong to me.” Paul stayed on in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching God’s message to the people. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: What is the most interesting trip you ever took? How did people treat you in that place?

Child: Paul travelled all over, and preached about Jesus wherever he went. Have you ever talked about Jesus to someone you didn’t know well? Why can that be a  hard thing to do?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, it can be hard for us to talk about our faith. Help us to share the good news of your love with others, and to do so bravely.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you trust God to lead you, wherever you go. Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, help us to listen when you speak. Give us the faith to believe your Word, and to be changed by it. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Listen carefully as the Bible story for the week is read aloud.

Acts 17:16-21; 32-34
While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was upset to see all the idols in the city. He went to the Jewish meeting place to speak to the Jews and to anyone who worshiped with them. Day after day he also spoke to everyone he met in the market. Some of them were Epicureans and some were Stoics, and they started arguing with him. People were asking, “What is this know-it-all trying to say?”

Some even said, “Paul must be preaching about foreign gods! That’s what he means when he talks about Jesus and about people rising from death.” They brought Paul before a council called the Areopagus, and said, “Tell us what your new teaching is all about. We have heard you say some strange things, and we want to know what you mean.” More than anything else the people of Athens and the foreigners living there loved to hear and to talk about anything new.

As soon as the people heard Paul say that a man had been raised from death, some of them started laughing. Others said, “We will hear you talk about this some other time.” When Paul left the council meeting, some of the men put their faith in the Lord and went with Paul. One of them was a council member named Dionysius. A woman named Damaris and several others also put their faith in the Lord. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: What is an “idol”? Why was Paul upset when he saw all the idols in Athens?

Child: Do you think we have any idols in our culture today? What are they?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, we can so easily focus on the wrong things in life. Help us to put you first in everything, and to take time to talk to you every day.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you put God first in your life. Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord God, open our ears to hear your Word, so that as we hear, we may believe; and as we believe, we may grow ever closer to you. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Listen carefully as the Bible story for the week is read aloud.

Acts 17: 10 -15
That same night the Lord’s followers sent Paul and Silas on to Berea, and after they arrived, they went to the Jewish meeting place. The people in Berea were much nicer than those in Thessalonica, and they gladly accepted the message. Day after day they studied the Scriptures to see if these things were true. Many of them put their faith in the Lord, including some important Greek women and several men.
When the Jewish leaders in Thessalonica heard that Paul had been preaching God’s message in Berea, they went there and caused trouble by turning the crowds against Paul. Right away the followers sent Paul down to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. Some men went with Paul as far as Athens, and then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: Paul and Silas were traveling from town to town. Have you ever been on a long cross-country trip? What do you like, or not like, about traveling?

Child:  The word “hospitality” means “welcoming strangers.” Who showed hospitality to Paul and Silas in this story? How do you think that made them feel?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, we ask that you would watch over us, especially when we go to places we have never been before. Guide us like you did for Paul and Silas, so that we would be of service to you wherever we go.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you show hospitality by welcoming others in Jesus’ name. Amen.