Paul's Second Journey
I don’t know about you, but I have found that there is a fine line between a routine and a rut. If I am not careful, I can drift from being in a good groove of life where things are clicking along with liveliness and excitement to being almost apathetically stagnant in what feels like a minute. This can happen in my work life, my personal life, in marriage, in parenting, and even in ministry. When I’m in the groove, there is momentum, and I seem to be sensitive to what God is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me. But when I’m in a rut, I’m just going through the motions of each task, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, without much thought to anyone else. A rut like this is a tough place to be.
What I find particularly depressing about being in a rut like this is how out of touch I am with the people around me. There are people with needs I could meet. There are people who need a kind word I could encourage. There are all sorts of good works that could be done. And there are people who need Jesus with whom I could share the gospel. But when I’m in a rut, I don’t see any of that.
As we catch up with Paul and Silas this week in Acts 16, I am so thankful that they were not having “one of those days” of being in a rut like I sometimes find myself in. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they were astute and engaging with the people they encountered in Philippi.
There is a lot happening in this passage in which Paul and Silas encounter three very different people. First, they encounter a group of women by the river. Then they are followed by a slave girl who is caught up in a dangerous business. Finally, they are put under the care of a jailer who came face to face with a difficult decision. Three very distinct people in three very distinct situations. But they all had one thing in common: They all needed Jesus.
As you prepare this week, consider the diversity of the kids you serve. They have different backgrounds and things going on at home. They may have different cultures or even come from different parts of the world. Simply put, each kid is different, but they all have the same need: Jesus.
As you lead your kids this week, encourage them to start thinking about the people around them at school, on their sports teams, in their neighborhoods, and even at home. Everywhere we go, there are people who need to hear the gospel. No matter who they are, they need to hear: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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Jeremy Carroll (@jermpc) is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.