Thursday, August 10, 2017

To Rome By the Way of Malta

Will Paul EVER get to Rome? 

While Paul was in the Jerusalem jail, Jesus appeared to him and said, "Do not be afraid.  Just as you witness for me in Jerusalem, so you will witness for me in Rome."  Paul just couldn't ask the guard to free him so that he could travel to Rome.  So how was God going to keep his promise to Paul?  

Well last week, we heard how Paul ended up in Caesarea for his trials.  That is a little closer to Rome, but not much.  At the end of Paul's trial with Governor Festus, Paul appealed to Caesar.  Paul wanted the Roman emperor to decided his case.  So Festus made arrangements for Paul to be sent to Rome!

In time Paul was loaded onto a ship.  The guard in charge of him and the other prisoners was a Roman centurion named Julius.  This ship wasn't going to Rome, but to the region of Lyconia-Asia.  Still this was closer to Rome than Jerusalem.  When they reached port, they changed ships.  This ship had come from Egypt and WAS going to Rome.  There were 276 people aboard this ship.  This included the sailors, soldiers/guards, prisoners and other travelers.  Because the winds were against them, they had great difficulty making it to the island of Crete.  But finally they arrived at Fair Havens on the east side of the island.  By now it was the winter, not a good time to be traveling in the Mediterranean.  Paul urged Julius to remain in Fair Havens because God had told him if they continue there will be great lost (of ship and goods), but the sailors wanted to try to reach Phoenix on the other side of the island.  Phoenix was a better harbor.  Julius choose to listen to the sailors rather than Paul. 

Was Julius choice going to prevent Paul from getting to Rome?  Nothing we or anyone else does will prevent God from keeping his promises.  He promised Paul that he would get to Rome.  God never fails.  He ALWAYS keeps his promises.  

Almost as soon as they set sail, a northeaster came on them.  Rain. Wind. Darkness.  It was a horrible storm.  And who was right in the middle of it on a ship?  PAUL!  God never promises that those who love him will not have storms in their lives.  But He does promised He will never leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5).  Even in this horrible storm, God was with Paul.   But one night in the midst of the storm, an angel of God visited Paul.  

"Paul, you will get to Rome.  And God will even spare the lives of the 275 people you are traveling with.  But the ship will be destroyed."  The angel told Paul.  

Paul shared this hope with the 275 people on board the ship.  Still the storm continues.  The sailors threw overboard everything they didn't need.  Soon they even threw overboard the ship's tackle.  Finally, they realized they were approaching land.  They didn't know where they were.  But when the sailors were convinced that land was nearby, they tried to sneak off the boat in the life boats.  But Paul told Julius about it.  Julius had the soldiers cut the lifeboats loose before anyone could use them.
On the 14th day, Paul encouraged everyone to eat.  He reminded them that God had told him that none of them will die.  Only the ship will be destroyed.  Then he gave thanks to God and ate bread.  When everyone else saw Paul eat, they also ate.

The next morning, they saw the approaching island had a beach.  The captain tried to make a run for the beach, but hit a reef instead.  Soon the ship was sinking.  Julius prevented the soldiers from killing all the prisoners.  He gave the orders for everyone to swim (or hold onto some wood & paddle) to shore.

ALL 276 people made it alive!  They had landed on Malta.  The natives helped them make a fire to dry off.  While Paul was putting wood onto the fire a snake came out of the pile and bit him.  The natives thought he was a murderer.  "This man has escape from the sea, but now the gods are punishing him."  they said.  But when he didn't die they decided "he must be one of the gods."

After three months on Malta, a ship was leaving for Rome.  Paul and Julius were on that Ship.  Finally Paul reached Rome just as God had promised him.  God never fails.  He always keeps His promises.

Our last week of club began with rain!  So Backyard Bible Club became Basement Bible Club.  In spite of the rain 38 kids arrived.  One great thing about being in the basement was the singing was GREAT!  For games we played "Mouse Trap" and "Pass the Pig".  The kids enjoyed "Mouse Trap" so much I played the same game for my Tuesday and Thursday clubs.  We also played with Hula Hoops.  Jinger and I even got a small hoop to role through a large hoop!

We had a really good last week of club.  The kids spent TONS of Bible Bucks they had saved until this week. In fact I had to go to the store for more candy on Wednesday so that my last two clubs would have something to buy!  Almost 30 kids learned all eight verses of the Roman Road.  Each of these kids chose a book from the book box.  It really has been a great summer following Paul throughout the Roman empire.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017


This week, we traveled with Paul to Caesarea.  Governor Felix has agreed to listen to Paul's case.  The Jewish leaders accuse Paul of three things.  First, they claim he has caused riots all over the Roman empire.  Secondly, Paul is accused of being disrespectful of the temple and the Jewish religion.  Thirdly, he is a leader of the people who follow Jesus of Nazarene.  Paul defends himself by stating that he had come down to Jerusalem 12 days prior.  While in Jerusalem, he brought money to give to the poor and he was worshipping God according to the Jewish laws.  At no time did he instigate a riot.  But Paul did agree with the Jews that he is a follower of Jesus of Nazarene who died and rose again.  Although Governor Felix realizes Paul is not guilty of any Roman law, he doesn't want to offend the Jews so he decided to make no judgement until the Roman captain who sent Paul to him arrives as give his statement.  So Paul is sent to jail.  

One day Governor Felix and his wife Drusilla invites Paul to talk to them.  Paul shared the Gospel (the good news about Jesus) with them.  He preaches righteousness, self-control and the judgement.  Governor Felix is NOT righteous.  He is a corrupt ruler.  In fact he hopes that Paul will give him a bribe for his release.  He does not have self-control.  Drusilla is Governor Felix's third wife.  He stole her from her first husband.  So when Paul talks about the coming judgement for sinners, Governor Felix quickly dismisses Paul.                                                                                                                      As far as we know, Felix and Drusilla never put their trust in Jesus.  Does that mean Paul was a bad witness for Jesus?  No!  God had told Paul that he would witness to Rome just as he had witness to Jerusalem.  Paul was obedient.  He told Felix and Drusilla about what he had seen and heard about Jesus.  The result of Paul's witness/testimony is up to God.
After two years, a new governor was appointed.  Governor Festus visited Jerusalem soon after he arrived in the area.  Immediately the Jewish leaders talked to him about Paul.  They wanted Paul to be brought back to Jerusalem for his trial.  They were planning to ambush him and kill him before he arrived at Jerusalem.  But Governor Festus told them he would oversee the trial in Caesarea because that was were Paul was in prison and that was where he was headed to next.  
The day after Governor Festus arrived in Caesarea, he heard the complains against Paul.  Upon realizing that the Jews were angry over Paul due to some religious argument, he asked Paul if he wanted to go to Jerusalem for his trial.  Paul said "No, I appeal to Caesar."  Since Paul was a Roman citizen he had the right to ask to be tried in the highest Roman court in Rome.  Governor Festus said, "To Caesar you will go."  
But before Governor Festus could arrange for Paul to be sent to Rome, he had visitors.  King Agrippa and his sister came to Caesarea.  Festus told King Agrippa about Paul.  King Agrippa wanted to hear Paul.  So the next day, Festus, King Agrippa, his sister and all the leading men of the region gathered to hear Paul speak.  Immediately, Paul shared his story of how he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He told them that Jesus commanded him to be His witness to the Jews and Gentiles.  Then he pointed out to King Agrippa that the Jews were looking forward to the Messiah.  Their Scripture told them that the Messiah would suffer and die.  This is what Jesus had done.  

"King Agrippa, don't you believe the prophets?  I know that you do!"  Paul said.
"What do you think in such a short time you will make me a Jesus follower."  King Agrippa asked.
"Short or long.  I pray that everyone who is listening will become as I am - a Jesus follower - except for these chains."  Paul states.
Quickly King Agrippa stands and leaves.  Everyone else follows.  But as the King is leaving, he said, "This man would have been set free except that he has appealed to Caesar."  

We have seen Paul was obedient in being God's witness to the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), to the poor lame man and to King Agrippa.  He took every opportunity to share Jesus with others.  We need to do the same.  

For crafts this week, the kids made a Gospel Flipper Flapper.  They were challenged to share the Gospel with the Flipper Flapper with someone this week.  The Gold circle reminds us of God, who has no beginning and end.  The circle also reminds us that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 5:8).  The gold color is a symbol of Heaven, God's home.

The next flap is a dirty heart.  There is one thing that can't be in Heaven - sin.  Unfortunately we all are sinners (Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:12, 6:23).  The Punishment for sin is eternal death - Hell.

The next flap is a red cross.  Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in this while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."  Romans 6:23 tells us eternal life is a gift from God.  Jesus, God the Son, died for the sins of the world and rose again to show death's curse is broken.

The final flap is a clean heart.  Romans 10:9, 13 tells us that we need to declare, believe and call to be saved from eternal death.  Declare - to make a commitment to let Jesus be in control of your life.  Believe - to be convinced that Jesus truly died and rose again.  Call - to ask Jesus to save you from eternal death.  If we do these things, then we are promised salvation (saved from eternal punishment).  Have you declared, believed and called on Jesus?  You can do that right now.

 Here are some pictures of week 6:  My husband gave me a bunch of pool noodles for Christmas.  I made them into huge Lincoln Logs.  This kids enjoyed playing with then.  After a while the building turned into a full war with them throwing and hitting each other with the noodles.  It is a good thing the noodles are soft!

Our game of the week was Pool Noodle Hockey.

We played a matching game for our review game.  After a child answered a question correctly, he had a chance to find the different gospel symbols and match them.

Friday, July 28, 2017


 This week, Paul is finishing his third missionary journey.  Instead of returning to Antioch, Paul is headed to Jerusalem.  As he is traveling toward Jerusalem, he is stopped by a man named Agabus.  He took Paul's belt and tied up his hands and feet with it.  Agabus announced, "God, the Holy Spirit, says that Paul will be tied up like this.  The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will send Paul to the non-Jews/Gentiles in chains.  All of Paul's friends beg him not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul is convinced that God wants him in Jerusalem in spite of the knowledge that he will be captured.

Once Paul reaches Jerusalem, he goes to the church leaders.  He shared all that he has done on this three missionary journeys.  The church leaders praise God over the gospel being taken to the entire world.  Yet they also warn Paul about the lies that some of the Jews have spread about him in Jerusalem.  The church leaders suggest that Paul take four men, who have made a special promise to God, and pay for whatever they need to complete their special promise.  They are hoping when the Jewish leaders wee Paul obeying the law the God gave Moses, they will realize that what they had heard about Paul was a lie.  Paul agrees.

Seven days later, when Paul entered the temple, some Jews from Asia accused him of breaking the law by brining a non-Jew/Gentile into the temple.  The angry mob grabs Paul and takes him outside the temple.  They began to beat Paul.  They were trying to kill him.

Suddenly a Roman captain is there.  He has his soldiers arrest Paul.  He asks the people what Paul had done.  Some people shout one thing.  Others say something different.  So the Roman captain decided to take Paul to the barracks so that he can investing better this incident.  The crowd follows yelling, "Get rid of Him!"

Right before they enter the barracks, Paul asks if he can talk to the angry mob.  The Roman captain agrees.  As Paul talks to the crowd in Hebrew, they become quiet.  Paul tells them about himself. - where he was born, where he grew up, who he studied under, how he had persecuted the people who followed Jesus, etc.  Then Paul tells they about what happened to him on the road to Damascus.  He told them that Jesus, God the Son, had told him that He was sending Paul to the non-Jews/Gentiles.

The crowd listened until that point.  Then they yelled, "Get rid of him!  Kill him!"  When the Roman captain saw the crowd's anger, he quickly took Paul into the barracks.  He commanded his soldiers to flog Paul.  When the soldier was ready to flog Paul, Paul asked, "Is it lawful to flog a Roman citizen without being found guilty?"  The answer to this question was NO.  Quickly the soldier got the Roman captain.  When the captain discovered that he had put a Roman citizen in chains he was worried.  He had a problem.  Why were the Jews trying to kill a Jewish Roman citizen?

So the next morning, he brought Paul to the Jewish leaders.  He had to know what the Jews were blaming Paul for doing.  Paul declared that he was on trial become he believe the dead will come back to life again.  This quickly divided the Jewish leader.  Some believed in a resurrection, but others did not.  The fussing was quickly getting out of control.  So the Roman captain had Paul taken back to the barracks.

That night Jesus came to Paul.  He said, "Paul be brave.  You have told people in Jerusalem about Me.  Now you are going to Rome to tell the people there about Me."

Now the next day, more than 40 Jews made a promise not to eat or drink until Paul is dead.  They planned to ambush him while he was brought back to the Jewish leaders for more questioning.  Their plot was overheard by Paul's nephew.  This nephew told Paul and the Roman captain.  Quickly the Roman captain called soldiers to take Paul to Caesarea to Governor Felix.

Through all the time the mob threatened Paul, Paul had peace.  Why?  Because He trusted that God was in control of the situation.  Peace in not depended on what is happening around us.  Peace is trusting the God of the universe who made us is in control.  Jesus in John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I don't give to you as the world gives.  Don't let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  Do you have true peace?  If not, place your trust in the One who controls the universe.

Here are some pictures of Week 5 of BBC:

The kids are signing in for the morning.  So many said their Bible verses, that I ran out of 1 Bible Bucks!  So I had to ask if anyone had five 1 Bible Bucks they could exchange for a 5 Bible Buck! 

 I just love that smile!

Because of the Lebanon Area Fair some of my kids attended a different club than they normally do.  This tells me they love Backyard Bible Club!

These kids are quickly reviewing their Bible Verses before they have to say them.

We made beaded cross necklaces for the craft.  I loved how colorful the table look.

I had so many beads, some of the kids found  it difficult to choose which ones to use on their necklaces.  My vast quantity of beads were donated from the ladies at Hebron United Methodist Sewing Group.  Thank you ladies!

We played games with the parachute. I taught them a new game called NASCAR Races.  See the smiles!  They favorite parachute game was Popcorn.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Do you know that you are in a spiritual battle?  Satan, God's enemy, doesn't want you to follow God.  At times the battle is fierce.  But God is always in control.  Sometimes God will put a shield around you so that nothing can hurt you.  He did this for Paul after he first accepted Jesus as his Savior (i.e. when Paul's new friends lowered him in a basket to escape from Damascus).  Sometimes God will fight the actual battle through you.  Paul's confrontation with Elymas are an example of this (see Acts 13).  And other times God will simply tell you to hold your position, stand steady and watch Him fight for you.  In this week's Bible lesson, God fought for Paul through an unlikely source.  

After spending time in Antioch, Paul sets out on his third missionary journey.  This time, he heads for the fourth larges city in the Roman Empire - Ephesus.  First he spends three months talking to his people, the Jews.  When they reject Jesus, Paul rents space in the school of Tyrannus.  For two years, Paul teaches anyone who is interested about Jesus.  In this time, he also healed many who were sick or were possessed by an evil spirit.  He didn't even have to physically be present to heal them.  Many were healed only by touching Paul's headband, handkerchief or even work apron. 
Seven Jewish brothers decided to try to mimic Paul.  "Let's use Paul's name and His God to cast out evil spirits."  they decided.  So one day, a man controlled by an evil spirit came to them.  "By the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches about, we command you evil spirit to come out!" they said. 

The evil spirit answered, "Jesus I know.  Paul I know, but who are you?"  Then the man who was controlled by the evil spirit beat the seven brothers up.  They were wounded.  They barely escaped.  And when they did, they left all their clothing behind!  

Satan is always stronger than you and me.  These seven Jewish brothers were trying to battle Satan by their own power.   They lost.  But in Matthew 28:19, Jesus says, "All power in heaven and earth are given to Me."  Jesus is more powerful than Satan is.  Paul was only able to cast out evil spirits and heal people through Jesus' power.  

When the people of Ephesus heard what happened to these seven brothers, they feared the name of Jesus.  Many who had followed Satan, turned to Jesus.  When they did, they realized that they need to destroy anything that Satan could use to turn them away from following Jesus.  So they had a huge bonfire.  In the fire they threw their books about witchcraft, and special charms. Jesus had broken Satan's grip on many lives.  He showed that He is more powerful than Satan is.

But Satan was not going to give up without a fight.  He was going to use a man named Demetrius.    The temple of Artemas was in Ephesus.  Many people all over the Roman Empire would come to Ephesus just to worship at this temple. Demetrius was a silversmith who made a lot of money making replicas of the temple of the false goddess Artemas.  He realized that when someone put their trust in Jesus, they stopped worshiping idols like Artemas.  If people no longer worshiped Artemas and purchase his silver idols, then he was going to not make any money.  So he gathered a large group of his buddies. They decided to stop Paul.  They grabbed two of his friends and rushed them to the area.  Many people followed them.  There was confusion in the area.  Some were yelling one thing.  Others were yelling something else.  Some people didn't even know why they were there.  Finally,  one phrase was heard over the rest.  "Great is Artemas of the Ephesus."  Over and over again the mob yelled these words for TWO hours!  
Paul wanted to go speak to the mob.  But friends convinced him to not go.  They were sure the mob would tear Paul to pieces.  Paul was finally convinced to let God battle for him.
After two hours, a town clerk, who didn't believe in Jesus, stood up and told the crowd that Paul and his friends have done nothing wrong.  If Demetrius and his friends have an issue against Paul, then they should go to the courts about it.  Everyone else in the area are disturbing the peace.  If they don't go home peacefully, then he would have to arrest them.  The mob listened and went home.
God used this unbelieving town clerk to defend Paul.  Once again Satan was defeated! 

Here are some pictures of Week 4!

Many of the students earned 10 Bible Bucks for turning in a picture of last week's lesson. I loved seeing their drawing of Paul and Silas in jail.

This week, the kids made travel logs.

Wet 'n Wild was the theme of the games this week.  We played the sponge relay.

Some groups had to pick up 25 marbles with their toes and transfer them into a bucket.  The Campbelltown kids were really good at this.  They told me it is because this game they play EVERY year at Field Day.

Leaky Pipe was a huge success.  The kids quickly discovered that putting one in charge and then listening to that person really made this activity a piece of cake.

Over-Under-Over relay was a lot of fun!


The kids did a fantastic job listening to the Bible lesson. 

Friday, July 14, 2017


Well, Paul is off on another trip.  But this trip has more terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days then terrific, wonderful, very good days!  Before the trip even began, Paul and Barnabas had a HUGE argument.  Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them.  But Paul said John Mark lost his chance when he deserted them on the last missions trip.  So Barnabas took John Mark and sailed for the island of Cyprus.  Now Paul needed to find a new partner.  He chose a man named Silas.

Paul wanted to visit the new Christians in the cities he had previously visited, so they set off for Derbe and Lystra.  When they got to Lystra, Paul met a young man named Timothy who was a believer.  Paul was so impressed with this young man, he asked him to join them on their trip.  Timothy agreed.

After encouraging the Christians in Iconomia and Pisidian Antioch, Paul decided to go to the region of Asia.  But God, the Holy Spirit, told Paul, "NO!"  Next Paul tried to go north.  Again the Holy Spirit told Paul, "NO!"  By this time they had run out of land.  But at night, Paul had a dream of a man begging them to come to Macedonia.  When Paul shared his dream with Silas and Timothy, they all agreed that God wanted them in Macedonia.  So they boarded a boat.

Once they arrived in Macedonia, they traveled to Philippi, the leading city in the area.  Here they found NO synagogue.  (This meant there were very few Jews living in this city.)  But they did hear that people would gather at the river to pray.  So on the Sabbath, they went to the river and found . . . only some women.  Although Paul must have been disappointed, he shared the Gospel (good news of Jesus) with them.  Lydia, a business women, believed their message and put her trust in Jesus.  She then invited them to stay at her home while they were in Philippi.

So far, Philippi had been a disappointment.  Yet, Paul and Silas continued to share the Gospel with whoever would listen.  Soon, wherever they would go a slave girl would follow them.  This slave girl was controlled by a demon (a follower of Satan, God's enemy).  This demon allowed the slave girl to tell people their fortune.  She earned A LOT of money for her masters in this way.  Anyway,  she began to follow Paul and Silas.  As she followed she would yell, "THESE MEN FOLLOW THE MOST HIGH GOD.  THEY CAN TELL YOU HOW TO BE SAVED."

After days of this, Paul got annoyed and commanded the evil spirit to leave the girl in Jesus' name.  Immediately the spirit left.  But the day just got worst for Paul and Silas.  When the slave girls masters discovered she could no longer tell people their fortune.  They grabbed Paul and Silas and accused them of teaching against the Roman law.  Soon a mob joined them.

The town officials decided to beat Paul and Silas and cast them into jail.    The jailer put them into the center most cell and put their hands and feet into chains.  Paul and Silas was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!

Yet Paul and Silas remembered all that God had done for them.  He directed them to Philippi.  He loved them so much that He sent Jesus to die for their sins.  He was even with them in that cell.  So Paul and Silas spent the evening and night praying and singing praised to God.  They were so loud in their praises that all the other prisoners could hear them.

Suddenly at midnight, there was an earthquake.  The prison's doors flew open and everyone's chains fell off.  Yet, no one ran to freedom.  The jailer seeing the prison's doors open assumed everyone had fled.  He know he would be killed for letting the prisoners escape.  So he decided to kill himself.   Paul and Silas stop him and inform him that everyone is still there.  When the jailer sees that all the prisoners are accounted for, he asked them, "What must I do to be saved?"

"Believe on the Lord Jesus."  they answered.  Immediately, the Jailer (and his family) believed.  Paul and Silas baptized them.  Then the jailer took care of Paul and Silas' wounds and fed them.

Later that morning, the town officials sent a message telling the jailer to release Paul and Silas.  They realized that they had not broken any Roman law.  Before Paul, Silas and Timothy left Philippi, they went to Lydia's house and encouraged them to live for Jesus.

If you have believed in Jesus as your Savior, you too can rejoice in your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days AND on your wonderful, magnificent, very good days!  Just remember who God is and what He has done for you in the past.  Then rejoice!

The pictures of Week 3 are few.  My photographer (Joy) is on a mission's trip in Mexico.  But here is what I have!

 This week for crafts, we made Paul's traveling Buddies out of bead, straws and pipe cleaners.  They could choose to make either a Mohawk Boy and a Colorful Haired Girl. 

One girl came into my Newmanstown group excited to make a Traveling Buddy.  Apparently, she was meet with a friend who comes to my Campbelltown group.  She saw what we made in Campbelltown and couldn't wait to make one herself! 

We learned a new song this week.

We played more gaga ball.  I am so sore from playing this game.  This game was definately NOT made for adults.  It was so hot on Wednesday evenings that at one point only us four adults were playing.  All the kids were laying on the grass under the shade. 

We also played Octopus Tag and Tail Tag.  Since ii rained AGAIN on Thursday evening, we played Mennonite Madness and Tenzie instead of a tag game.