Crossroads: Ascension

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Acts 1:1-11

Your Story

Tell your children about the first time you left them in the church nursery or with a babysitter when they were infants. Talk about ways you tried to make it easier for them, and how happy you both were when you returned.

My Story and the Bible Story

When I went away to college, I only moved to the other side of town. But even though I was still in the same town, my mother still had to leave me at Mercer. After we finished getting my stuff unpacked, there came a time when she had to go and I had to stay. She gave me a big hug and left me. She knew that it would be hard for me, though, so she sent me a letter every few days to encourage me. She knew that I would be happy and that this was a new chapter in my life, but she also knew that it would be hard in the beginning.

New chapters are exciting, but also a bit scary. Moving to college was an important step for me, and it was part of being able to do things on my own. The disciples face a new chapter of their own that begins in the book of Acts.

Read Acts 1:1-11 as a family. From the NIV: In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’”

Jesus knew that the disciples needed to start this new chapter: it was time for him to leave. But he also knew how hard it would be for the disciples. Jesus’ death was very hard for the disciples, and they were so excited to have him back after he rose from the dead. But now he had to go back to God. But as we read in Acts, he didn’t leave them alone. He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to them. We know that the Holy Spirit would give them everything they needed to keep going, to start this new chapter and spread the good news of Jesus. But at the time, it was probably pretty scary for the disciples. They knew they would have to keep going without Jesus, and they really didn’t want to.

There are times when we have to keep going without our safety nets. When your parents drop you off at day care, school, etc., you have to go through your day without them. But you trust that eventually they will come back and you will have your safety net. And as you grow older and eventually go to college or get a job, you will start a new chapter where you do things for yourself. But they don’t leave us alone; your parents will be there to encourage you and give advice. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to encourage the disciples and help them know what to do. And the Holy Spirit is still with us today, leading and guiding us. New chapters don’t have to be scary, because we, like the disciples, have the Holy Spirit beside us.

Discussion

• Ask your children to talk about how it feels to be left at a new place (school, activity, etc.). Then ask them how it feels after they’ve been there for a few weeks.
• Talk about how the disciples must have felt when Jesus left them (unsure, scared, excited about a new chapter, etc.).
• Talk about ways the Holy Spirit helps us (know the right thing to do, comfort us when we are scared, give us peace when we are worried, etc.)

Prayer

Thank God for the Holy Spirit and all the Spirit does in our lives. Ask God for help in listening for what the Holy Spirit tells us to do.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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