Peter and Paul

The next few weeks in Sunday School we will take time to review the book of Acts by watching the movie Peter and Paul.  These two men were very important men in bringing God’s message of salvation to people in Jerusalem and places beyond.  This gospel message was not only for the Jewish people, who were the ones that first heard from Jesus, but for the Gentiles and others all around the world.

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Peter and Paul

Peter told his story to John Mark, Barnabas’ cousin who started out on the first journey with Saul.  When Jesus told Peter he called to be a fisher of men, Peter did that until the end of his life. We can be thankful that Mark wrote down these stories that were told to him by Peter which we now call the gospel of Mark.

Paul will take 4 missionary journeys traveling at least as far as Rome and possibly further.  On these journeys he would encounter many differ sorts of people.  People who were eager to hear about Jesus, the Son of God, and people opposed to that message.  There were people who worshiped other gods in places like Lystra, Ephesus, Athens, and Rome.

Paul would encounter many hardships along the way as well.  Difficult roads to travel on, storms at sea, sickness in addition to the people who wanted to hurt them and persecute them.

While we take a few weeks to look back at where we’ve been, I will take a few weeks off from updating on this blog.  But I hope you will come on Sunday and be ready to see where God takes these men as they go in faith, ready to follow where He leads them.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

“Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”

I hope you know the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!

Mrs. Bess

Fun with maps : )

As an “old” Social Studies teacher I love anything to do with maps and geography. On Sunday we will do some more map studies related to Saul (who we will begin to call Paul) as he heads off in a new direction with the gospel.

Our lesson comes from Acts 13 and 14.

I found a neat video that shows the different towns and places that Paul and Barnabas go on the FIRST missionary journey.  They are sent out by the church in Antioch (of Syria) and end up going to the island of Cyprus, and to small towns along the northwestern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Map journey trail

Acts 13:2 is what starts it all off!

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

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We can be so thankful that Saul and Barnabas and the Christians at Antioch were seeking the Lord’s will that day.  The Gospel was taken to new places (and beyond!) because of their obedience to  where the Lord was leading them!

With a grateful heart!

Mrs. Bess

Straight Street in Damascus

Damascus Street Scene

Last week you were introduced to Saul, a Jewish lawyer who persecuted the followers of the Way—those who believed Jesus was the Messiah.  Saul was blinded by a light and taken to Damascus where he met Ananias and turned from persecuting believers to becoming one himself!

What we see as we make our way through Acts is how far the gospel is spreading.  Starting in Jerusalem, then Judea and coastal cities on the Mediterranean, and on to Syria which is where Damascus is located.  In our lesson this week, we see it spreading into Turkey.

The video I put at the beginning was of a typical street scene in Damascus.  I love how this clip shows how modern and vibrant the city is with all its people and noises, yet how traditional it is as vendors sell olives on the street.  My guess is it was probably like that during the time of Saul. Here’s a quick geography lesson about Damascus and Straight Street…

Straight Street (or in Latin, Via Recta), is the Roman street that runs from east to west in the old city of Damascus. This is where Ananias came to see Saul as recorded in Acts 9.

Under the Greeks, the old city of Damascus was designed after the grid pattern designed by Hippodamus. Under Roman rule, the Via Recta was widened and became a colonnaded thoroughfare (cardo). These columns can still be seen today.

Past this colonnade and all the way to the western end, the street is called Suq Madhat Pasha, and is lined with shops selling textiles, cotton, domestic articles, spices, imported objects and other interesting items.

About 450 meters from the western entrance is a small mosque with a balcony in the form of a pulpit that serves as a minaret. It is here that the Christian tradition locates the house of Judas, the place where Saul remained for three days without eating or drinking and was baptized at the hands of Ananias (Acts 9:9).

At the west end of Straight Street is St. Paul’s Chapel, said to be where Paul fled by being dropped in a basket through a window in the wall.

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Paul escapes from Damascus.

Info borrowed from http://www.sacred-destinations.com/syria/damascus-straight-street-via-recta

I hope you enjoyed this little social studies lesson today.  Come on Sunday and we’ll see where the Lord leads Saul to next!

With great anticipation,

Mrs. Bess

Blinded by the Light

We’ve covered a lot of ground in Acts.  The church in Jerusalem had exploded due to the teaching of the Apostles.  The various regions surrounding Jerusalem were receiving the gospel message.  Many people were coming to faith as  result of prayers, healings and preaching.  The Gentiles had been accepted into the church when the Holy Spirit came in power to Cornelius and his household.

The church is also undergoing great persecution.  James, the brother of John, one of the disciples who was very close to Jesus has been put to death by King Herod.  Peter has been imprisoned numerous times.  Yet the church is standing strong.  They have come to know and believe in the power of God to save them through the death of Jesus on the cross.

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One of the persecutors of the church who we read about back in Acts 7:58 was a man named Saul.  He was a well-educated Jew who had studied the Mosaic Law.  He was very opposed to those who professed that Jesus was the Messiah.  We have to go back a few chapters in Acts to see what God does to bring him to salvation.  Acts 9 is the chapter where we read about the remarkable circumstances that lead Saul to profess that Jesus was his Savior.

Here’s a short preview of Saul’s salvation story…

It was all God’s doing!  God is the One who calls each of us into relationship with Him.  Each believer has an equally remarkable story of how we came to know Jesus as Savior.  One day I hope you will be able to declare as Paul did in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

I agree!  Amen!

Mrs. Bess

Peter’s Prison Release

Onward we go through Acts.  We have come to Acts 12 and one last story on Peter before we turn to our study of Paul.  As we’ve talked about many times, Peter was one of the main leaders of the Early Church.  He was one of Jesus’ closest disciples and he was very bold in sharing the gospel and teaching others about Jesus.

King Herod decided he wanted to put a stop to the church.  Herod had already killed James, one of the other disciples.  He thought it might hurt the church more to have a public trial of Peter, so he has him arrested.  Peter is carefully guarded by several guards.  Herod wanted to make sure Peter stayed in prison!

But God had other plans.

Here’s a video about what happened after Peter was arrested…

Peter in Jail – Teaching Kids about Jesus

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There’s a hymn we sing from time to time at SAPC.  It’s called “And Can It Be” by Charles Wesley who was one of the greatest hymn writers of all time.  Here are the words to the 4th verse:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

I pray that you will know that God’s power is the same today as it was when He freed Peter from that prison.  Just as God freed Peter from his chains, He can free you from the sin that is in your life.  Just be ready to follow Him when He calls!

Love and prayers-

Mrs. Bess

Fishing for People

The book of Acts is about the Early Church.  It is about how the disciples of Jesus went about telling other people about Jesus.  They were doing what Jesus called them to do when he asked them to follow Him.  They were fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus gave to them before he returned to heaven.  They were given power by the Holy Spirit to preach boldly in the name of Jesus.

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This Sunday special guests will be here to talk with us about some creative ways to share the gospel with people in our own town!  They are fishing for people just like Jesus’ disciples did.  I can’t wait for you to hear more about how they do that.

Here’s a “quiz” I found based on the story in Luke 5 when Jesus calls his disciples.  Take the quiz and check your answers with the answers below.  Hope you get a 100!

Fishing for People- Multiple Choice Quiz

See you Sunday!

Love, Mrs. Bess

(Quiz Answers: 1. A        2. D        3. A        4. D        5. A        6. C        7. B        8. C  )

Jews and Gentiles

Have you ever felt left out of a group?

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Maybe there’s a club at school that likes to do special art projects.  And maybe you can’t join because you don’t paint like they do, but you do like to make things out of colored paper.  You would like to learn how to do their kind of painting, but you don’t know how to get into their group so that you can learn. How do you find out more?  How do you get invited to join them?

Our story on Sunday is about someone who has a similar experience.  It’s about a man named Cornelius and about the Apostle Peter.  And it’s about how they meet and Cornelius comes to hear the good news about Jesus and is saved.  There was great rejoicing on this day!

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“And they glorified God saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” Acts 11:18

I will rejoice to see you Sunday!

With love,

Mrs. Bess

PS- In the meantime, see how you do at solving this puzzle : )

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