What does the expression “Shazam” have to do with Pentecost Sunday? (which by the way is today!)
Let’s look at the meaning of “SHAZAM” The expression can mean an introduction to an extraordinary deed, story or transformation
Example: You are placed in left field during baseball tryouts. You are nervous because you’re not the greatest in outfield. You pray with all your might that this will be the day you are on your game. The batter swings and the ball flies high into left field. You keep your eye on it, gauge the distance between where you are and where the ball will land. You move forward, tense your arms, glove high … and SHAZAM, you ‘ve got the ball nestled in your glove; you feel a huge surge of strength, relief and joy all mixed together!
Our Bible story today is about the first Pentecost after Jesus had risen and gone to Heaven. That day had some SHAZAM moments that you need to hear about.
The day started off great for the thousands of people who had come to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate the festival of Pentecost which to many was a sort of Spring Harvest thanksgiving. There was dancing in the street and shouts of excitement as people visited and feasted.
Not the disciples. Peter and others were gathered in a house waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised to give them. It had been ten days since Jesus had gone to Heaven and here they were – nervous and confused about how they could bring God’s message to the world while huddled together waiting for Jesus to follow through!
Suddenly a noise from Heaven like the sound of a mighty wind filled the house! Then the disciples saw what looked like dancing fiery flames.
It seems like some SHAZAM moments are coming. Can you find them in the following poem about our story? (You have to be ready to say “SHAZAM” whenever you think a surprise happens suddenly!)
Pentecost Jesus’ friends were in a room, Rather anxious, full of gloom, Waiting, waiting far too long, For Jesus’ gift to make them strong. A gift to ease their fears and doubts For teaching what God is all about. Seven weeks since Eastertide, Crowds of people meet outside, To welcome the harvest and celebrate, While confused disciples sit and wait. A sudden noise of mighty wind Set Jesus’ friends into a spin, And fiery sparks above them glow Now the apostles finally know. Their hearts are filled with Godly love, They are speaking languages unheard of… “It’s time to leave this house, let’s clear it! For we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit!” Peter spoke to those of every race Who listened with amazing grace! “God forgives your sin when you admit it. And you can receive His Holy Spirit!” Three thousand believers baptized that day Returned to countries far away, Around the world the message grew, “New life in God is here for you.” The Church was born that Pentecost, With loving hearts and hands Reaching out to share the news About the great “I AM”
Did you find some SHAZAM moments in the poem?
Dear God, help me to experience your awesome power that the disciples felt on Pentecost. Help us to be brave in our actions and words as we spread the good news of your love. Amen
Enjoy the story of Pentecost in this video…
God’s Story: Peter Preaches
This is a fun one to watch…
Kid Bible Story: The Pentecost
You will find little pieces of God in surprising ways…
Before we begin another Bible Adventure with Paul, let’s talk about “baskets”. You will find out “The Why” (are we talking about baskets…) in a moment.
The definition of basket in the dictionary goes like this: basket: a vessel (or container) made of twigs twisted together. We know a basket can hold things. For instance we know what these baskets hold: a wastepaper basket, a laundry basket, an Easter egg basket, a fruit basket, a picnic basket, a Paul basket. Excuse me? What does a Paul basket hold? Paul?
You are exactly right and now we’ll begin our story:
From last week’s story check-in you might remember that Paul, formerly Saul, had been a really nasty, mean man who despised followers of Jesus. His main mission in life was to seek out Christians, arrest them and get rid of them. Paul got stopped in his tracks by Jesus, on the road to the city of Damascus. A blinding light threw Paul to his knees. Jesus point-blank asked Paul why he was being so awful to Him.
After 3 days of not seeing, Paul changed his ways. He became a true follower of Jesus by telling others that he believed Jesus was risen and how his whole life was changed from a non-believer in Christ, to a believer. Many people who had known or heard of Paul did not trust him. Was this guy joking? Paul’s goal in life was to throw Christians in jail and here he was asking everyone who would listen to him to follow in Jesus’ ways. Now, Paul’s so-called friends, many of them temple leaders, wanted Paul GONE!!
Here’s the best news. If Paul’s mission became dangerous for him to tell others about Jesus, will this be “Mission Impossible”? Here is the answer: With God’s help, nothing is impossible.
One night in Damascus, Paul was in big trouble. The guards were out looking for him, to arrest Paul and likely kill him. Paul’s new Christian friends were trying to help him escape the city. The wall around the city was too high to jump from. His friends found a large basket and decided to lower the basket with Paul in it, using ropes!
This sounds like that scary Drop Zone Ride! You will see from the story video how really risky this escape plan was!
Before you give up altogether on Paul, think about this: we have lots of scary times in our lives, maybe not being lowered in a flimsy basket from a high wall, but there are times when we feel anxious – maybe right now with the virus lockdown, or times when we feel bullied, or times when we are having trouble with a school subject. We might feel worried and scared! Paul and his friends were not afraid because they knew God would never leave them and would help them in His own way and time. When you think about it, Jesus stuck by Paul on that road to Damascus even when Paul was at his nasty-best! We can feel the same way during our scary times. Talking to God through prayer, especially when we are anxious, impatient and even cross, really helps bring God closer and when He fills us with His Holy Spirit we feel calmer and stronger! Those same kind of feelings happen when we are helping others in Jesus’ name. Paul’s friends were in as much danger as Paul but they stuck together, became stronger and helped their friend.
Spoiler Alert: Paul got away!
See the video story to catch all the excitement:
Paul Escapes Damascus in a Basket
Dear God, thank you for always being by our side. Please help us, through our prayers, to guide us wisely when we feel alone and afraid. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
Heart touching video of humanity:
Start Helping Others
This dog cries for help.
Dog Stuck in Icy Lake
*****Remember: The above videos talk about the effects of reaching out to help others, with God close by us.
God’s wisdom and guidance
We know God is with us by the way we CAR.; God also gives us grace to ACT WISELY. God watches us patiently through every situation we face. And when we feel there isn’t any hope, He comes to us.
We might see a friend in need or an animal in need – act wisely.
We might think, “Well I can share my lunch with that boy”, but check with the teacher first to find out if the friend who has no lunch is allergic to a certain food.
If we see an animal in danger, think first of the consequences of trying to save the creature on our own. The animal might be so frightened it could attack us, or we could get hurt during the “save” and couldn’t help anyone. Find an adult you trust as quickly as possible, explain the situation, and go from there, with help!
And do not try the “rope and basket save” from a high place just for fun with friends, thinking, “WELL, GOD WON’T LET US GET HURT”. God is our Heavenly Father, and, just like our parents, He wants us to be a rational, wise person. Placing our friends in danger is not what our parents would want, including God.
Perhaps the best thought we can have is that God will support us if we are always to strong, mindful and caring people. And when all hope is lost, He will be there for us.
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