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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Week 1 - Acts 17:24-25

Click Here to download or print this post in pdf format.

[Please note: Because this is our first week, you will find additional explanations of how the Sow Little Seeds posts are designed, which will not normally be found on our weekly memory verse posts. The detailed explanations may also be read on our "getting started" page. Please reference this page as often as you need to.]

Before reading this post with your children, we suggest you review it yourself and then discuss with them some words they may not understand. If you are teaching very young children, you may want to limit your vocabulary discussion to just a few words [2-7 words, depending on their comprehension level]. We have linked to definitions, pictures and/or other information about the "Words to Know" below, in the "Notes to Parents" section of the post for your convenience.


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  The God Who Made Us 

“The God who made the world and everything in it
is the Lord of heaven and earth
and does not live in temples built by hands.
And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything,
because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”
– Acts 17:24-25

source: albertmangus.org
When Paul was in Athens he took note of the many idols and objects which were worshipped by the Athenians. He even noticed an altar with the inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Paul stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and began to tell the men of Athens about the GOD they did not yet know: the Lord who made them.

Paul was a Jewish man who had zealously worshipped God – or so he thought. Paul was very religious and did everything he thought he should to serve God faithfully. But at one time, Paul did not understand who God really was. 

Paul was on his way to a place called Damascus to imprison Christian men and women because of their faith. While he was on his way there, God spoke to him. When Paul realized that he was wrong about who God was, he stopped doing the things he had been doing and began to teach others about who God is, what God had done for them and how others could love and serve God the right way.

When he was visiting the city of Athens, Paul noticed that the people there were religious, just like he was, but that they did not yet know about the one true God – just like he did not understand God before. So, he began to tell them about Him.


source: gardenofpraise.com
 He said, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”

The people of Athens worshipped things that they had made with their own hands and called these things “gods”, but Paul explained that instead of us making “gods”, God made us – and everything around us. He made the earth and everything in it. He is the Lord and we belong to Him. He does not need anything from us, but we depend on Him for everything. He provides us with air to breathe, food to supply energy and nourishment for our bodies and everything else that we have – it comes from Him. He designed our bodies and He is the author of life. Life is a gift that God gives us.

Paul went on to explain that God determined when we would be born and exactly where we should live. God did all these things for us because He loves us and desires for us to seek Him. But God is not far from any of us. He is the one who made us and it is because of Him that we can live, do things and be who we are. We belong to Him. We are His workmanship, we reflect who He is.

When you draw a picture or write a story, your art tells others a little bit about who you are and what you are like. Many famous artists can be recognized by their artwork. People who study art can sometimes tell who made a painting or sculpture just by looking at it, because that piece shows the artist's style and technique. In a similar way, because God made you, you display His artwork everywhere you go…you reveal a little bit of His style and technique; you are a testimony of His love and His wisdom and His power.

The human body is so amazing. It is such a complex machine that scientists still do not understand everything about how we work. God is a very intelligent maker – He created our bodies.

source: weather.gov
Think about the powerful displays we see in the natural world such as lightning storms, hurricanes or the heat of the sun - which warms us from 93 million miles away! God holds the world in His hands. He is more powerful than all of these things. Our God is strong and mighty [Psalm 93, Psalm 147:4-5].

This God who is stronger than a hurricane and brilliant enough to design the whole world cares about you. He planned when and where you would be born, he knows all about you – better than you even know yourself. God’s love is different than any other love we can feel. God’s love is perfect.

Paul’s life was changed when he met Jesus and understood who God really was. Paul wanted to tell the people in Athens so that they could know God too. God gave us the Bible so that we could read about who He is and know Him.

Many people have different ideas about who God is, but there is only one true God. It is important for us to learn who God is and what he wants us to do. Before Paul really knew God, he did many bad things, but he thought what he was doing was good. We can become confused about who God is if we do not know the truth. We can learn the truth about God from the book He gave us to learn about Him – the Bible.

source: bmius.org
This is why we are studying and memorizing the Bible, because it is God’s Word to us to teach us who He is and what He made us to do. We do not need to be like the people in Athens who made their own “gods”. We do not worship an “UNKNOWN GOD”. We can learn the truth about who God is and worship the true God, who made us and who loves us. This is good news!


           Notes to parents:         


Words to know:

Athens, idols, worship, altar, inscription, Aeropagus, zealous, Jewish, religious [also see James 1:27],  Damascus, Christian, realize,
faith [also see Hebrews 11:1], Lord, temple, depend, energy, nourishment, design, author, reflect, perfect, artist, sculpture, technique, hurricane, memorize, testimony, complex, scientist, intelligent
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Below are some ideas of questions to spark family discussion and investigation into different topics related to this week's memory verse. These are simply suggestions - you may decide to discuss this verse from a different perspective, or invite your children to ask their own questions. However you start the dialog is up to you.

We think it is beneficial for the whole family to engage in conversations about the verses they are learning and hope that you will make time to encourage your children to consider the verse[s] they are learning and help them process any questions that arise. In the "Additional Resources" section below, you may find Bible verses to help direct you as your family talks about these questions and seeks out answers together.

As always, we are happy to help if we are able to. You are welcome to e-mail the Sow Little Seeds team at sowlittleseeds@hotmail.com with any questions your family has and we will gladly provide Biblical answers or help you research the topic. Check out our "Branching Out" section on our Grow Little Seeds blog for a list of resources we suggest. 

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Discussion Questions:

- What kinds of things did God make?

- How can we know who God is and what He is like?

- Did God really make the world?
   If He created the world, where does evolution fit in?

- God made us. What are the implications of this? [Who do I belong to?]

- God "is not served by human hands as if He needed anything from us".
   Why does He involve people in His work?

- God "does not live in temples built by human hands".
   Where does God live?

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In this next section you will find a list of additional reading materials, links to helpful websites and information on topics specific to this week's verse. Often, you will find additional Bible verses to assist you as you explore answers to the discussion questions provided in the previous section.

You may find more resources and activities for this week on our companion blog, Grow Little Seeds.

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Additional Resources:

- Read the context of this week's verse. Here is the story of Paul in Athens: Acts 17:16-34

- Seeds Family Worship is an excellent resource for Bible memorization. Their Scripture music is fun for kids, AND enjoyable for parents to listen to as well. This is a great tool to teach your family God's Word. You can listen to their songs and purchase CDs online [and in various Christian bookstores]. Read about their vision for sharing CDs - we think this awesome! You may select "Seeds of Purpose [Vol. 4]" in the drop down menu on their media page to listen to track 1, "Life and Breath" [Acts 17:24-25].

- Learn more about Paul [who was first called, Saul]. Read Acts 6:8-7:1, Acts 7:51-8:3 [The end of Stephen's lengthy response and Saul's participation in Stephen's death.] These verses will give a background story of Saul as he was involved with the stoning of Stephen and began to persecute the Christian church in Jerusalem. Then read Acts 9:1-31. This is the story of Saul's conversion and the change in his actions after he learned who Jesus was.

- Read the account of creation in Genesis. This may be helpful in answering the question: What kinds of things did God make? Read Genesis 1:1-2:3. You can also read more verses about God's creation: Nehemiah 9:6, Jeremiah 10:12, and Isaiah 45:18-22.

-While the information presented in this film does not share a Biblical perspective, the Planet Earth video series, produced by BBC can be a fantastic resource in exploring the wonders of God's creation. These videos are full of breathtaking footage of God's creation. We strongly suggest previewing and/or watching these videos with your children. Some natural scenes are intense, suspenseful and/or graphic and you may want to guide your children as they weigh what the narrator says against what God's Word teaches us. In the videos you will see images of spectacular events and incredible creatures that most people will never have the opportunity to personally witness.

-Answers in Genesis is a site that offers much information on the subjects of creation and evolution.  Click on "Get Answers" to access a wide variety of articles related to Creation and the Bible. This site also offers a new section called Kids Answers which provides fun articles, videos, and activities for children. 

-You may also find useful information regarding creation and evolution in these articles, written by Don Stewart on the Blue Letter Bible website. The articles address such questions as:
     - "Does Genesis provide any scientific information regarding the formation of the universe?",
     - "Does the Genesis creation account allow for the theory of evolution?" and
     - "Are there mythological elements in the genesis creation account?"

- Here are some verses that may be helpful in answering the question: How can we know who God is and what He is like? Read Romans 1:19-20, Acts 10:43, 1 John 5:9, Psalm 103, and 2 Timothy 3:14-16.

- Here are a few verses that may help you as you explore this question: God "does not live in temples built by human hands". Where does God live? Read 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16 and Revelation 21 [especially verses 1 and 22-27].

-You may want to watch some fun videos on the subject of creation vs. evolution: Incredible creatures that defy evolution by Exploration Films. These can be viewed online: herehere and here.

- These verses may help you answer question #4: God made us. What are the implications of this? Read Psalm 100:3, Psalm 24:1-2 and Psalm 95:3-5.

- Explore God's world this year with the fun and simple My Calendar Book, by Christian Light Publications. This coloring and activity book, intended for elementary age children, provides a new activity each month to be completed each day [such as observing the weather or recording the shape of the moon]. You can purchase this book or view sample pages here. You may also be interested in Christian Light Publications' Science Workbooks, which are written from a Biblical perspective.

- Visit our companion site, Grow Little Seeds, for more activities, ideas and free printable materials as you study Acts 17:24-25. Take a nature walk. Choose a bug-themed craft to complete with your kids. Make stand-up paper animals. View videos on the subject of creation. Choose from several earth-themed activities.

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