Last week, besides celebrating Mr. Lei's birthday, what birthday did we celebrate?
But at that time, to say "there is now a church" meant something different than it does today. Nowadays, you can see that some people are Christians
stick cross labels on some kids
while others are Jews
stick Star of David labels on others
But at that time, the Christians didn't think of themselves as separate from the Jews.
stick both labels on all kids except lame-man-to-be, & stars on all adults.
The believers would go to each others' homes and pray and share together, and eat "the Lord's supper" to remember Jesus' death.
a couple of kids "visit" a couple of others, they eat some crackers, drink some juice together
But they still thought of themselves as good Jews—they just thought they understood the real meaning of their religion better. So they disciples would go to the temple just like before to worship God with the other Jews.
all kids & adults join together & sing "Isn't God Wonderful" then all sit down.
So, today two disciples, Peter and John, are going to the temple together.
choose two to be P & J, have them walk one round of room
As they got there, they encountered a man being carried to the entrance of the temple. This 40-something man had been lame since birth. So every day he sat by the entrance of the temple begging for charity.
two larger kids (or adults) carry smaller child, carrying tin cup, & sit him on pillow on floor.
When he saw Peter & John, he hoped they would give him money.
holds out cup to P & J
But they didn't have any money. The man was very disappointed.
ask them if they have money, have them check their pockets
But Peter got his attention and said, look, I don't have any money, but what I have is even better: In the name of Jesus Christ, I say to you, get up and walk!
he looks at P & J. They grab his hands & have him stand up.
Was he happy? Boy, was he happy!
He went walking around, and jumping, and dancing—Peter and John danced along with him for the joy of it!
he jumps around, all three dance
Together they went into the temple. A lot of people recognized the man, and were amazed. They knew that Jesus had miraculously healed people, but Jesus was gone now. They asked Peter & John, did YOU heal this man?
they ask P & J
They said no, it wasn't really us. We're nobodies. We just trust in Jesus; it's in His name that this man was healed.
So do you think the people were happy to hear that?
Actually they were a bit scared! If Jesus' power is so great that He could heal this man when He wasn't even there, would He use it to punish the people who hadn't believed in Him? But Peter & John said, don't worry! As soon as you admit your sin, it is completely fortiven and you are right with God. Oh! Now that made the people happy!
after speech, all look happy
That day, many people confessed their sin and trusted Jesus as their Savior. Can you remember how many people believed in last week's story?
Today, it's up to…
write 5000 on board & ask one to read
As I introduced this story, I'd forgotten that last Sunday evening most of us had gone to an evening feast for the 15th anniversary of the mother church. So when I asked what birthday we'd celebrated (I'm thinking Pentecost), they said: "The Gospel Center"! Well, yes, that too!
We'd already done different "jumping for joy" games on different occasions, and I wanted something new. Finally came up with Tiddlywinks, which I made by cutting plastic circles out of an ice-cream carton. None of the adults or kids had played with them before, so that was fun.
For our craft, we made paper men with springy legs made from folding two long strips of paper together.