ELEMENTARY KIDS & FAMILIES date
IT’S THE STRENGTH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT ENABLES ME TO RELEASE MY SON INTO THE HANDS OF SURGEONS. Inspire (for parents) “God never makes mistakes.” These were the exact words spoken by my friend Carlene as she looked lovingly into the eyes of her two-year-old son. Jeff was born with Down syndrome. He cuddled up against her as she talked about his continual health problems and the serious heart operation scheduled for the following week. I looked at Carlene with great respect. In my mind, she was a hero. I had been a Christian for just a few years, and I truly admired her optimism and strength. I could not help but ask her, “How do you do it? How do you go from one operation to the next with such courage?”
two years God has given us everything we’ve needed to care for him. We know we can’t raise Jeff in our own strength, but we definitely can with the strength of the Holy Spirit.” I looked at Jeff, and my heart melted. I also thought of my own children and knew that I too would need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to raise them. Carlene and I have remained friends for 20 years. Jeff’s journey has not been easy, but his life has brought great blessings to his family and ours. And to this very day, Carlene still refers to Jeff as her “joyous gift from God.”
by Sue Funkhouser “It’s not my courage, Sue,” Carlene told me. “I don’t take my baby in for any operation under my own strength. It’s the strength of the Holy 1—2 irit) Scripture: Acts Spirit that enables me to ceive the Holy Sp (The Disciples Re release my son into the th ce of Our Streng Spirit Is the Sour hands of surgeons.” d’s Go t: in Po n ai M ve your family to ha signed to allow de . I couldn’t say anything ch is ur ce ch ur so nd re te This ur children at yo re fo be d y or ar W im as my eyes welled up with time in God’s be the spiritual pr n is for parents to you grow tears. Carlene continued, as at th Because God’s pla ow kn children’s faith, we “God gave Bob and me nurturers of their ually as well. ren will grow spirit ild ch ur yo , lly ua this beautiful son. Jeff is a spirit joyous gift, and over the last
Equip (for parents) Equip is additional background information that will help you introduce this Scripture passage to your children this week. Jesus’ disciples relied on God’s Spirit to be their strength as they experienced their fair share of ups and downs while following Him during His earthly ministry. In the Gospels, we read that the disciples were sometimes petty, selfish, and, at the end of Jesus’ life, fearful and confused. Although Jesus predicted His death and resurrection several times, the disciples failed to understand what Jesus promised (Luke 9:22; 9:43–45;18:34). Even after Jesus had risen and the women testified that they saw Him, the disciples were still puzzled (Luke 24:11). Yet, the book of Acts records these same disciples preaching boldly, performing miracles, and declaring their intent to die for the sake of the gospel! What accounts for this dramatic transformation? This transformation started when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, when He opened “their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). It continued when He blessed them and promised to send the Holy Spirit as He ascended into heaven. Finally, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the upper room in the form of “tongues of fire” and filled their hearts with His presence and strength. After receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples miraculously began to spread the good news of Christ in the languages of the nations. On that day, Peter, the one who denied Christ, preached a sermon that unpacked the entire Old Testament. Because we have had the opportunity to read about the disciples’ transformation, we
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can clearly see that God’s Spirit was the Source of their strength. On their own, they were lost and confused, but in His strength, they were transformed into the courageous first leaders and evangelists of the church.
Support (for parents & kids) JUST FOR FUN, this week talk with your children about how many different languages exist in the world. (Some estimates are as high as 6,700!) Discuss how difficult it would be to communicate if you couldn’t understand what someone was trying to tell you. Then, gather your family and read Acts 2:1–12 by candlelight. After reading this part of The Big God Story, ask your children why they think it was important for the Holy Spirit to cause people to speak in different languages. Discuss how it must have felt to hear “the wonders of God” in their own language. Remind your children that what they just heard is true and part of The Big God Story. Tell them they will learn more at church this week about how the Holy Spirit gives us power to tell others about Jesus.
© 2013 David C. Cook. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children’s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.