Welcome to April – one of my favorite months of the year. We are starting a new unit on PERSEVERANCE. Here’s some thoughts from Dan Scott, our curriculum editor on this month’s theme:
I’ve never been much of a long distance runner. I like sprints—quick and fast, finished in less than 10 seconds. In fact, the one time I did compete in a long distance race, I ended up sick on the side of the track. I know a ton of people who’ve run marathons. They put in the hard work, build up the stamina, and finish the race. They may not win, but they finish—and for a marathon that is a huge accomplishment.
On the other hand, one of my friends is on another level. He races in triathlons. He started a few years ago with this goal: compete in the Ironman Kona triathlon. This race is hard core. It starts out with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 miles on a bike, and to top it all off, a full 26.2 mile marathon.
Only the best of the best compete at Kona, meaning you can’t just sign up for this, you have to qualify for it. That goal set my friend on a journey of years of training, multiple triathlons, and a team of doctors and athletic trainers who got him in tip-top shape to make competing in Kona even a remote possibility.
And believe it or not, his perseverance paid off. Not only did he qualify for Kona, he came in first and WON his division. He had what it took to swim, bike, and run the distance.
Just like runners show perseverance on the track, Christians often have to show perseverance in their faith. Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy. In fact, He said quite the opposite. “In this world you will have trouble.” But in the next breath He encourages His disciple with these words. “But have no fear, I have won the battle over the world.”
Jesus won the battle over the world as He persevered through the worst: rejection, violence, heartache, even death itself—all to rescue us. This is why the author of Hebrews told us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.”
In fact, the author of Hebrews has a lot to say to his audience about perseverance. See, life was very difficult for these early Christian as they were persecuted for their faith. They were forced into hiding. They met secretly in fear of violence. By simply continuing to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, the early Christians were seen as outcasts. So, the book of Hebrews was written to remind those Christians to refuse to give up. Even though life had gotten hard, they needed to keep doing what they knew was best for them to do.
This month, we’ll spend most of our time in the book of Hebrews where we’ll discover more about what the Bible says about perseverance. We define perseverance as refusing to give up when life gets hard. We have the chance to lean in to them and say: “Don’t give up. Persevere in your faith. Trust God no matter what.”
Throughout Scripture, the writers continually point people of faith to continue their journey relying not on their own strength, but God’s supernatural power. Take our memory verse for example. Isaiah 40:31 (NIrV), “But those who trust in the Lord will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak.”
Isaiah offers hope to those who persevere and trust in God. They will find strength even when they feel like giving up. Going through those tough times will teach us that God is always there.
When it comes down to it, we all have experienced things that we would have never experienced if we didn’t push through the difficult times. When you get to the other side, you’ll see something that you would have never seen before—if you just believe in what God can do and what God can do in you.
For our elementary kids:
We start off our month on perseverance with Jesus’ last words before He ascends back to heaven. In Matthew 28:20, we have the huge task Jesus gave His disciples to share His story throughout the world. In Acts 1-2, we discover how Jesus’ sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to help the disciples accomplish that task.
Bottom Line:When life gets hard, remember God is with you. Because of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God is always with us. No matter what happens, we can continue to persevere because God can give us the strength we need to continue.
For our preschoolers:
“Love God. Love People.” It’s the greatest commandment in a nutshell. Your actions should show others that you love God and love people. As children get older, they come to realize that by loving others and serving them, they ARE loving God. And, sharing His love with those around her. It’s been a fantastic development to watch, and it’s one we pray will happen in every preschooler we touch with this month’s curriculum.
We ended March with Easter Sunday and we begin April with learning about the early church. Our preschoolers will learn that the early church wasn’t about a building, but about a group of people meeting together to worship and share life with one another. They will learn that they can be just like those people in the early church. They can share and help each other and worship God together.
This week’s lessons: