Hello 🙋♀️ Hope your week has been a good one and if your child/ren have gone back to school, the emotions on all sides haven’t been too overwhelming. It could take a few weeks for routines to settle so I’ll still be praying for you all.
This week we are looking at Acts Chapter 13:1-12, the start of Saul being referred to as Paul and his journey as an evangelist with Barnabas. 😊
What would you pack? If you were going on a trip to a different country to tell others about Jesus, what would you take? See if you can go through each letter of the alphabet and come up with something pack! E.g A= Adapter for the different plug sockets! B=Bible C= Charger D=Dictionary for the language of that country E= Ear plugs to help me sleep if it’s a noisy place!
Can you get something for every letter?
In the passage we are looking at today, Saul, who starts to use his Roman name Paul more, and Barnabas start their journeys going to different places to tell others about Jesus. Do you think they packed the same things as you? 😉
Here is the passage from the International Children’s Bible:
Acts Chapter 13:1-12
Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen
‘In the church at Antioch there were these prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (also called Niger), Lucius (from the city of Cyrene), Manaen (who had grown up with Herod, the ruler) and Saul. 2 They were all worshiping the Lord and giving up eating. The Holy Spirit said to them, “Give Barnabas and Saul to me to do a special work. I have chosen them for it.”
3 So they gave up eating and prayed. They laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them out.
Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus
4 Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went to the city of Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus. 5 When they came to Salamis, they preached the Good News of God in the Jewish synagogues. John Mark was with them to help.
6 They went across the whole island to Paphos. In Paphos they met a Jew who was a magician. His name was Bar-Jesus. He was a false prophet, 7 who always stayed close to Sergius Paulus, the governor. Sergius Paulus was a smart man. He asked Barnabas and Saul to come to him, because he wanted to hear the message of God. 8 But Elymas, the magician (that is what his name means), was against them. He tried to stop the governor from believing in Jesus. 9 But Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Saul’s other name was Paul.) He looked straight at Elymas 10 and said, “You son of the devil! You are an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of evil tricks and lies. You are always trying to change the Lord’s truths into lies! 11 Now the Lord will touch you, and you will be blind. For a time you will not be able to see anything—not even the light from the sun.”
Then everything became dark for Elymas. He walked around, trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the governor saw this, he believed. He was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.’
I searched for quite a while to try and find a video for this passage and it was tough to find a good one! Obviously, feel free to see if you find one you like, but here is what I found…
This one from Saddleback Kids gives an overview of Saul and Barnabas’ story. It mentions Saul’s conversion and basically tells us that Barnabas and Saul were sent out as evangelists. It’s a good overview of their mission, but doesn’t mention the encounter with Bar-Jesus/Elymas or any other detail from this week’s passage:
These two are with puppets and have more of the detail of this week’s passage and covers the bit with Elymas
You might want to stop the video at 2:25 where it says ‘Pause the Video for Storyteller’, as this is where it stops for the bit we are looking at and jumps to Chapter 14 v8! (Spoiler alert…)
Age 3-7s: You’ll probably want to retell the story in your own way, explaining that Saul and Barnabas had just been to Jerusalem to take the gifts there and now had come back. You might want to explain what fasting means.
After retelling the story, consider asking the following:
- Would you like to visit a new place or country?
- God told Saul and Barnabas that He wanted them to go to different places to tell others about Jesus. Do you think they ever felt a bit nervous about going somewhere new?
- What could they do if they felt afraid of the new job God had asked them to do? (Pray and remember God has said He will never leave us on our own.)
- What would you like God to help you with this week? Maybe you want some help in being a good friend back at school. Ask Him 😊
Age 7-11s: After reading together, or retelling ask:
- Yep, what stands out? Any questions or thoughts?
- What does fasting mean? (To stop doing something for a time to spend time with God. Eg, not eating, watching TV, playing video games. People fast so that they can focus more clearly on God with more dedication.)
- Notice that through the prayer and fasting of the church, they hear the Holy Spirit tell them that God wants Saul and Barnabas to do a particular job. They pray and fast some more before Saul and Barnabas are sent out on their journey. Have you ever really wanted God to tell you something as clearly as we hear about here? Have you ever heard God or the Holy Spirit clearly? We can always ask to hear from God. Sometimes we might not be sure if what we’ve heard came from God or just from ourselves, but the Holy Spirit will only ever tell us things that keep us focused on Jesus and doing things that He would want. If you hear a voice saying ‘It’s ok to tell that lie because no one will find out.’, we know that’s definitely not the voice of the Holy Spirit. We should always test what we believe God might be saying to us by asking if it would follow His ways and truths.
- Which verse tells us Saul’s other name? (9)
- Read verses 6-12 again. What do we learn about Bar-Jesus? He was also called Elymas which means ‘magician’. (He was a Jew, he told lies about God, he didn’t want Saul and Barnabas to tell Sergius Paulus about Jesus or for him to believe, Saul filled with the Holy Spirit sees right through him and calls him the son of the devil, he goes blind.)
- What do you think when you read those verses again?
- Whenever we are doing God’s work and telling others about Jesus, there is always a chance that someone isn’t going to like it. The enemy is happy when people are living in darkness and don’t know Jesus as their saviour. Reading the passage today, Elymas did his best on behalf of the enemy to stop Sergius Paulus hearing and believing in Jesus. But. We see again, the power of the Holy Spirit giving Saul/Paul the words and courage to call him out and then God’s power in blinding him; enough for Sergius Paulus to see who is the most powerful and the truth of Jesus’ salvation.
- In this passage Saul and Barnabas get a clear call to what job God wants them to do: go and tell others about Jesus. God has a job for each of us, and we should all do our best to tell those around us about Jesus but we won’t all be called to travel to do it. Have a think and pray about what job God wants you to do-how can you help with the work of helping others know about Jesus? We read how important being filled with the Holy Spirit is and this not only helped the church know that God wanted Saul and Barnabas to go to Cyprus, but also gave them the courage to tell others.
- Here’s a colouring sheet of Saul and Barnabus.
- Print out (or draw your own) the map of the areas we are reading about. See if you can find the places named in the passage (Starting with Antioch in Syria) and draw a line to show the journey Saul and Barnabas made. Keep this map for future weeks as there a more places to add to next week! 😊
- Have a go at making the boat using the print out. (Instructions are here) You can use the men too, if you like and choose who is Saul and who is Barnabas and the others! Keep your boat for future journeys! It should look something like this, if you add some netting from a fruit bag:
- How about a craft for your name? In the passage today, we hear lots of names and what they mean. Why not get creative and use whatever you can to make a plaque or name card for yourself? You could write what it means underneath or, if you have a nickname or something you’re know for, write that too! It could look like: