Christians often wonder how to work out if something that happens or something they or the Church want to do is what God wants too. A man named Gamaliel in our story this week says that an activity that is not from God will fail but that we can’t stop something that is from God. Sometimes we have to start something and put effort into it before we know for certain that it is what God wants us to do. We trust that God will find a way to tell us if it is right or not.
Reverend Mary and the Collective Worship Team have produced some more drama for us to watch. Last week was about how excited the Apostles were by the Good News they had to share. This week it is how determined they were to tell everyone. Watch the stories here or read them for yourself in your Bible in Acts 4.1-31 and Acts 5.17-42.
The Apostles were excited by all they had seen and heard and determined to share with other people. What might that have looked like? Use the boxes to explore how someone can tell when you are excited – for holidays, your birthday or the visit of someone you love perhaps – and when you are determined to get something done.
We can have good intentions to get something done for ourselves or for someone else. Jesus told a parable about 2 sons whose father asked them to go and work in the vineyard. One says that he won’t but changes his mind later and goes to the vineyard, the other says yes of course, but he doesn’t go. Jesus asks which of them does what his father wants him to do. Did the second son have good intentions to do what was asked but something got in the way? There are lots of reasons and excuses for us not doing what we have said we will. Which of these have stopped you? Are there others that we haven’t thought of?
Try the planning stepping stones for a big project you need to complete for school or something else – it could be sport, performance, DIY...
In Acts 4, Peter and John are commanded not to speak about Jesus and his teachings any more but they respond “we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard”.
Challenge yourself not to speak for a length of time. Choose how long it should last for you. It will be different for everyone - make it a challenge but not too difficult. Make sure the people around you know what is happening or they might be worried! Afterwards, think about the things that were the most difficult not to say. Was it when the conversation was interesting and you had an opinion? Was it when someone said something wrong or teased you? Was it when you were happy and wanted to sing?
The Apostles could not keep quiet about Jesus. They wanted everyone to know what they had seen and heard. Difficult things happened to them and they went back to the rest of the group to discuss and pray together. They were certain that they were doing what God wanted them to do and they did not fail.
We could use this prayer to end our activities this week:
Help us to do our best in every situation, putting our faith in you for the difficult times and rejoicing with you in our successes.
What are you determined to do? Remember that it will take effort from you and maybe help from other people.
Alison and Angie