We have a nagging tendency to equate “good” with “easy” and “bad” with “difficult.” If something is easy and comfortable, we see it as good. But if something is difficult and uncomfortable, we see it as bad.
Seeing Good and Bad More Clearly
While there are times when easy is indeed good and difficult is indeed bad, there are plenty of times when they are not. Two simple examples might suffice.
Simple Example 1: Strenuous, difficult exercise is good. Comfortable, relaxed exercise is bad. We all need to remember this when we exercise. It is tempting to go easy, so we have to be reminded that if we want to experience the health benefits, we have to experience difficulty. If we are investing an hour into exercising, we may as well make it worth it, right?
Simple Example 2: Pre-packaged, processed foods are easy, but they aren’t good (in taste and quality as well as health benefits). Homemade foods can be difficult, but they are good.
These examples are simple ones. But let’s move beyond that to a couple of weighty ones.
Weighty Example 1: This week’s session provides an important example of when difficult things are good. Few people would not acknowledge that Paul’s arrest and imprisonment were difficult. Even if he were treated somewhat well, he lost his freedom and upon his arrest, he was at risk for long-term imprisonment or worse. But when we see this event in the context of Paul’s life, we see that it was actually quite good. Paul’s arrest by the Romans protected him from an angry Jewish mob that may have killed him. And as we will see coming up, this was an important step to take Paul to Rome as Christ had promised, on Rome’s dime. As you teach this week, be sure that your kids see the upside down (or right side up) nature of this event.
Weighty Example 2: The best example of bad things being good is, of course, the cross. No one would claim that the cross was an easy and good event. It was brutal. A great evil—greater than any other evil ever. But we know that God brought forth the greatest good from this greatest evil.
As we seek to live out the gospel and teach our kids the gospel, let’s be sure to orient our thinking about “good” and “bad” on truth, and not on our perception. Let’s seek to live in faith, with joy, not pursuing hardships, but welcoming them when they come as we recognize that God may be bringing something incredibly good into our lives.
*Devo from Pastor Brian, from The Gospel Project.
#JesusJams for today!
---> And here's this week's story!!
Christ Connection: Even when others wanted to hurt Paul, Paul trusted God. God showed His love for the world by sendingJesus, and Paul believed God would help him through hard times. Like Paul, we can obey God no matter what because we know God loves us and takes care o f us.
If you have a bible at your house, you'll be turning to Act 21-23 . If you don't have a Bible, that's okay! CLICK HERE!
OPTION 1: Enjoy a snack Post an allergy alert. Toast a frozen round waffle for each preschooler. Give each child a small cup of chocolate chips. Encourage them to use the chips to make eyes, a nose, and a mouth on the waffle to resemble a happy or angry face. SAY • Some people were happy to see Paul telling about Jesus in Jerusalem. Others were angry. They did not like what Paul taught, but God protected Paul. Even when others wanted to hurt Paul, Paul trusted God.
OPTION 2: Get to Rome! Write Jerusalem and Rome on individual sheets of paper. Post the signs on opposite sides of the room. Use yarn to make a winding path between the two signs. Invite preschoolers to take turns following the yarn path. Consider allowing preschoolers to take turns adjusting the path.
SAY • God protected Paul when Paul was arrested in Jerusalem. Then the Lord told Paul that he would tell people in Rome about Jesus just as he had told people in Jerusalem.
OPTION 2: Play "What's Missing?" Place several items, including a person figure to represent Paul, on a tray or table. Invite preschoolers to close and cover their eyes while you remove and hide one of the items. Invite children to open their eyes and guess the missing item. Remove the Paul figure last. SAY • I wonder what the Jews did the next day when they found out Paul was gone. God showed His love for the world by sending Jesus, and Paul believed God would help him through hard times. God protected Paul and stopped the Jews? evil plan.
THE GOSPEL PRESENTATION: