ELEMENTARY KIDS & FAMILIES date
AS I COMFORTED MY SON, I KNEW THIS WOULD BE ONE OF THOSE HARD LIFE LESSONS. Inspire (for parents) During one of our adventures at the neighborhood park, my oldest son, Steven, saw two of his preschool buddies playing on the slide. He ran excitedly to greet them. But within minutes he ran back with tears streaming down his face. “They said I couldn’t play with them,” Steven cried. “They said I wasn’t on their team and can’t be their friend. Why can’t I be on their team? Why don’t they like me?”
treat each other that way. God doesn’t ‘play favorites,’ and He doesn’t want us to either. This is hard to do without Jesus living inside us. It’s the Holy Spirit who helps us do the right thing.” I diverted his attention to the other side of the park for another adventure. I felt sad that my son had been treated unkindly but grateful for the teachable moment. A seed had been planted. In the years ahead, Steven would come to understand just how instrumental the Holy Spirit is in guiding our thoughts and actions and breaking down the barriers that cause disunity among all God’s children.
These were not easy “why” questions to answer. As I comforted my son, I knew this would be one of those hard life lessons. People both young and old will discriminate and build barriers based on pride and by Sue Funkhouser superior attitudes. How could I explain this to a hurt and angry four year old? 10—11 entiles) Scripture: Acts “Steven, sometimes kids Gospel to the G r and Cornelius— te Pe ( won’t include you, and
I understand that really hurts,” I told him. “But do you know who is also hurt?” Steven shook his head, puzzled by my question. “God is hurt,” I said. “It hurts Him to see children
Down Barriers Holy Spirit Breaks e Th t: in Po n ai M e in family to have tim ned to allow your sig use de is ca ce Be . ur ch so ur re This ren attend ch ild ch ur yo re re fo iritual nurtu rs God’s Word be be the primary sp to s nt re lly, pa r fo is you grow spiritua God’s plan , we know that as ith fa n’s re ild ch of their well. grow spiritually as your children will
Equip (for parents) Equip is additional background information that will help you introduce this Scripture passage to your children this week. God’s Holy Spirit was breaking down barriers when Peter entered the house of the Gentile centurion named Cornelius. “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile,” Peter said in Acts 10:28. “But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” At the time of this encounter between Peter and Cornelius, most Jews assumed that Gentiles had to convert to Judaism in order to be a part of the faith community. This was an understandable assumption: the Old Testament restricted contact with Gentiles, and Jesus had said His ministry was for the Jews. For hundreds of years Gentiles had dominated the Jews and scattered them about their empires. The Gentiles had even destroyed their temple. To counteract this threat to their culture, Jews created hundreds of social, religious, and cultural boundaries. Though most of Jewish separatism and its rules were of divine origin, God had, through the death and resurrection of His Son, inaugurated a new day when barriers between “clean” and “unclean” people were no longer necessary— and blocked the spread of the gospel. So God set about breaking down these barriers. God gave Peter a vision and declared clean not only the food the Gentiles ate but also the Gentiles themselves. Later, God proved this declaration by filling the Gentile believers with the same gift of the Spirit that He gave to the apostles. God showed, through Jesus’ sacrifice, that He had broken down age-old barriers. He wants everyone to be a part of His faith community.
EME “Let MB rule the pe ER VERS E as m in your ace of C you embe hearts hrist rs o wer , sin f And e called one bo ce be to p dy eace Colo than k ssia . ns 3 ful.” :15
Support (for parents & kids) This week, JUST FOR FUN, look for opportunities during your drive time to point out barriers of different kinds to your children. Some examples might include railroad crossings, fences or gates, railings, even mountains—anything that bars passage. When you return home, gather your family and read Acts 10:1–38. Share with your children that because of laws that were in place, Jewish people could not have contact with Gentiles. Those laws created barriers that prohibited Gentiles from hearing the good news about Jesus. Ask your children how the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter and Cornelius. Then talk together about what a “vision” is. How did both Peter and Cornelius know the vision came from God’s Spirit? Then have them share with you what happened when the Gentiles heard what God’s Spirit told Peter to tell them. Remind your children that what they just heard is a part of The Big God Story in the Bible. Tell them they will hear more at church this week about how God’s Spirit breaks down barriers. Pray together, asking God to give you opportunities to share His good news with someone new this week.
© 2012 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.