The Bible is filled with stories about God’s love for His people. This past year we’ve been through a lot of those stories. We’ve learned about Elijah and Elisha, Jonah and Daniel, Esther and Nehemiah, Nicodemus and Zacchaeus, Paul and Timothy. We’ve looked at the Christmas story and the Easter story. Each one shows us more and more about the incredible love of God. But the story is far from over. It continues on to this day – through the lives of the men, women, and children who follow Jesus.
There have been times in my life when I knew God was leading me to do something. Unfortunately, I did not understand how He expected me to accomplish it. Have you ever felt that way? How are we to proceed when the task seems so insurmountable and our resources are limited? The truth is we cannot, but God can!
Has your child, or someone else’s, ever said something so profound that you could only stare on in amazement? The best part, they weren’t even trying to be profound.
Everyone has weaknesses, but we tend to downplay those weaknesses and boast about our strengths. The Bible, however, tells us that God actually works most powerfully through our weaknesses – not our strengths. That’s because when we are strong, we tend to rely on ourselves; but when we are weak, we must rely on Him. And His strength is infinitely greater than ours! Paul experienced this firsthand when he was shipwrecked and totally helpless. This weekend we’re exploring how God’s power was on display when Paul was at his weakest.
“You can do that when you’re older.” How often did you hear that growing up? All the time, right? Children often feel there’s more they CAN’T do than they CAN do. But age has never stopped God. He can and does do big things through young people. This weekend we’re looking at one such young man – Timothy – and the encouragement he received from Paul to set an example for others in the way he lived.
Why is it that doing the right thing can sometimes be so hard? If it is God’s will, shouldn’t it be easy? Shouldn’t all the pieces just fall into place?
There are times in our lives when we look around and have to wonder, “how in the world did I end up here!?!” Sometimes that is a good thing, but often it is a place we never wanted to be.
Stephen was a faithful follower of Jesus. But the religious leaders didn’t like Jesus and so they arrested Stephen. They tried to get Stephen to turn away from Jesus by threatening to kill him. But Stephen refused. And, so, they stoned him. Stephen became the first Christian martyr – but certainly not the last. How did he do it? How did Stephen stand up for his faith in Jesus in the face of certain death? That’s what we’re exploring this weekend!
Have you ever had one of those days where you knew what you should do but instead you did what you knew you should not do? Or instead of it being just for a day, was it a week, a month… longer?
One of the earliest followers of Jesus was a man named Joseph. Only nobody called him that. He was always building others up, so his friends nicknamed him Barnabas – which means “son of encouragement.” Isn’t that a great nickname to have? When others were in need, Barnabas gave generously. When others were struggling, Barnabas jumped in to help. When others were feeling discourages, Barnabas was ready with an encouraging word. The church needed – and still needs – men and women like Barnabas!