Children love fantasy. And it is hard even for those in early elementary grades to distinguish the difference between Mickey Mouse and Paul of Taurus. So in Bible lessons, tell them “this is REAL.”
Here is the story (for adults too)
Jesus died and rose up into heaven right in front of a lot of people. T hen, fifteen or so years later, Paul, a missionary, went to a country that was not his own. He could speak their language, Greek. Some exciting things happened in this town of Philippi, in Macedonia.
Paul and some friends (Luke, Silas, Timothy) went to Philippi after dreaming a man called to them, asking for help. God used this way of telling Paul to go to Europe instead of to Asia. World history would have been a lot different if they had gone to Asia as planned. Sometimes God changes our plans.
Paul and his friends met some women down by the river, praying. One lady, Lydia, was a wealthy business woman in town to make some money. She was so happy to hear that there was a way for her to be saved from her sin. She and her family all believed what Paul taught about Jesus being the One who died so they could know God and be close to Him.
A young slave girl was controlled by an evil spirit. Paul said to the demon, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her!” And it did. But now the girl couldn’t tell the future anymore, so her owners dragged Paul and Silas to the judge. They were mad and lied, saying Paul and Silas were teaching others to disobey the law. The lie spread around town until a mob formed and began beating Paul and Silas right there in front of the judge. The judge threw them in prison to keep them safe from the mob. They were chained way deep inside the prison. Paul and Silas sang and prayed together.
It gets even more exciting. An earthquake struck. Their chains fell off. The prison doors opened. But, neither Paul or any of the other prisoners left. I guess they were asking Paul questions or something. The jailer was really scared because he knew the Roman Judge would have his neck for this big escape. They told him to calm down, and then told him all about Jesus’ life, death, and going into heaven. All to pay the price for this jailer’s sins. He cleaned up their wounds (remember, they had been beaten by the mob) and then asked to be baptized as a sign of his sins being washed away. Everyone in his family believed also. Just like Lydia’s .
Now these two families and some other people became the church in Philippi. They stayed friends with Paul and helped him plant churches in Greece and helped the Jewish Christians during a bad time. Paul would visit them 2 more times, and then write them a letter from prison in Rome. They helped bring the gospel to Europe. Later, Europeans would sail across the Atlantic, bringing the good news of Christ to America.
This is a wonderful story about how God showed Paul where to go, then helped him with an earthquake, and saved two families and a slave girl and helped a new church get started which then would help send the gospel along into the Roman Empire and Western Europe. We never know what God will do! (See Acts 16 for details)
Always Apply the story:
Do you go to church? Do you have more than two families there? Do you believe Jesus died for your sins? Are you sorry for your sins? Do you ever tell others about Jesus? Have you ever been in an earthquake? Isn’t it wonderful to know God saves people–some rich like Lydia, some slaves like this girl, some working folks like this prison guard? It doesn’t matter what our family is like, He can save anyone!