ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
Thomas A. Carder
You should ask mom or dad to read this story with you to help you through some of the hard stuff. The large letter blue words are for you. The smaller letter black words are for mom and dad. You may read the small letter words, but you probably won't know what some of them say.
The first time your children read this story, you should consider reading it with them. Read it with them one paragraph at a time, discussing each paragraph to determine whether your child understands the material. Some areas are abstract and may require your maturity. If your children read this story alone, they might be confused. A good technique to maximize youthful absorption and retention is to control the scrolling. Keep pictures hidden below the screen until the text refers to them. If you have questions about the story, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to copy this story. We hope that you will include copyright information and will consider offering us a gift of financial support to offset the cost of providing this service. Information on where to send gifts is provided at the end of this story.
For a long time I have believed the story of Jesus. I believe Jesus died to make a path for me to live forever with God in heaven. But it has been hard for me to explain how Jesus' death gave us a path to life with God. One day Jesus planted a thought in my mind. This story is what grew from that thought.
God is so pure and good. He lives in heaven. He loves every one of us very, very much. When God is done with us on Earth He wants us to come to live with Him in heaven. But God is so pure and good that He cannot allow sin to come into heaven. So, God cannot let people who sin into heaven unless He has forgiven them of their sins. When God forgives you He washes away ALL your sins.
You sin when you break God's rules. Since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, people have been sinners. Everyone sins...everyone! God knew He must make a way for people to be forgiven of their sins. God knew He must build a bridge across the sin that separates man from God.
In this story, pretend you are on the left side of the canyon in Picture 1. Pretend God is on the other side. The devil lives at the bottom of the canyon with sin and all kinds of bad stuff.
Your job is to find a way to God, but there are several rules you must obey.
- If you go into the canyon of sin you will get sin all over you. Remember that God cannot let sin into heaven.
- You may use the ladder to get out of the canyon of sin if you fall in. BUT THE LADDER CANNOT BE MOVED, BROKEN, OR TAKEN APART.
- You cannot climb up the right side of the canyon wall and you may not walk around the canyon to the other side.
- You have no aircraft, no springs, no log, no transporter, no catapult: nothing but what you see in the picture.
- You will fall in the canyon if you try to jump across it.
God saw that people could not get across the canyon of sin. God decided to make a bridge across it. So, God took some of Himself and made Jesus, His Son. God then sent Jesus to the earth to build the bridge across the canyon of sin. God ruled that people must use the bridge Jesus built to get to heaven.
In the time Jesus spent with people on the Earth, He taught people to love each other. He told people of greatness and reward in heaven. He also told us how we may live forever with God in heaven.
Jesus performed miracles. He was able to make blind people see. He was able to make lame people walk. Jesus was even able to bring dead people back to life!
Many, many people heard Jesus' teachings and saw His miracles. The people started to follow Jesus. They started to pass on to others what they had seen and learned from Jesus. An evil king saw that the people would no longer serve him but would serve Jesus instead. This made the evil king mad.
So, Jesus' teachings and miracles were a threat to the power of the evil king. Soldiers of the evil king were sent to put Jesus to death. They made Jesus hang on a cross made of wood just like the cross in Picture 2.
The evil people nailed Jesus to the Cross then stood it up in a hole in the ground. Jesus the man died on that Holy Cross of wood.* In His last moments, Jesus asked God in heaven to forgive every one of us: everyone who has lived, who is living, and who will live. Because Jesus asked the Father, God to forgive as all, God forgives all who ask forgiveness believing in Jesus. Even the people who nailed His Son Jesus to the Cross if they asked.
* Mom/Dad: Explain to your children that Jesus was both a man and God. Jesus the man died on the Cross. God in Jesus did not die.
When Jesus died, people lifted the Cross with Jesus on it out of the hole to take Jesus' body to a tomb. On the third day after His death, Jesus came back to life and returned to heaven. Jesus has been alive since then and will be alive forever, answering prayers and helping people from the right hand of God!
Imagine the Cross of Jesus was laid across the canyon of sin between people and God as shown in Picture 3. Praise Jesus! Now there is a bridge to God over the canyon of sin just like God said He would build. A bridge that cannot break or rot or fall and cannot be moved. And the bridge is there because of Jesus!
Nothing you could do on your own could get you across the canyon of sin to life with God in heaven. You could not cross the canyon of sin if it were not for Jesus!
A New Rule: Once you are on the Cross of Jesus, God forgives you of your sins!!! But if you step off of the Cross before you get to heaven, you will fall off into sin. Remember, God cannot let sin onto heaven.
Good things you do and say are blessings to your parents. Bad things are sins against them and against God. Don't worry about whether Mom and Dad are right or wrong. You must answer to your parents but they must answer to God. Take a short break for a soda or snack and talk with your mom and dad about things that are good and things that are bad.
Take a Short Break
The straight and narrow path to God on the Cross of Jesus is full of wonderful things. But many times along the path, the devil will try to get you to do bad things -- he will place temptation in your path. Temptation is that feeling you get inside to do or say things you know are bad or wrong. Temptation comes from the devil. God will never tempt you to do bad or wrong things!
Think of a temptation as a crossroad in a path. At a crossroad, you have a choice to go on straight ahead, to turn left, to turn right, or to go backwards. You know you are supposed to go on straight ahead, but you would really really like to see what is down the left or right path. The desire to go down the left or right path, even though you know it would be wrong, is temptation.
Can you see in Picture 4 where the two boards meet in the Cross of Jesus over the canyon of sin? Think of the two crossed boards as a crossroad in your walk to God.
Remember that if you were to turn left or right at the crossroad on the bridge, you would fall off into the canyon of sin.
In the canyon, you would get sin all over you again. Then you would have to climb the ladder out of the canyon and start your walk on the Cross of Jesus all over again. And if you were to stop and turn back you would be walking away from God. That, too, would be a sin! The devil always tries to get you to take the left or right or backwards paths away from God and into sin.
BUT...if you stay on the straight and narrow path across the canyon of sin, you will get to God in heaven as shown in Picture 5.
Even if you do take the left or right path and fall off the Cross into the canyon of sin, God put the ladder there so you can climb out of the canyon and start your walk on the Cross of Jesus all over again. God has said that if you ask Him to forgive you and believe in your heart that Jesus died to build the bridge over the canyon of sin, God will forgive you. No matter how many times you fall off into sin, and no matter how bad the sin, you may use the ladder* to climb out of the canyon of sin. But you must use the bridge built by Jesus, the holy Cross, to get to God.
* Mom/Dad: Explain how the ladder may be thought of as the Bible.
The straight and narrow path may seem to be an easy path, but it is not. There will be many times along your path to God that you will be tempted by the devil. Sometimes the left and right paths will seem very, very nice. Sometimes the left or right path will seem to be the correct path. Sometimes you will want to take the left or right path just to see what it is like. God will never tempt you to take any path other than the straight and narrow path to Him. He will even give you strength, knowledge, and wisdom to know which path is the correct path.
You will sometimes be confused about which path is the correct path, about which is right and which is wrong. At those times, it is really really really important to talk to your mom and dad, your Sunday school teacher, or your Minister of Youth. If no one seems to be able to help or if you are alone, ask Jesus. He will never fail to help you. You may even talk to Jesus before you talk to anyone else. Jesus doesn't talk to you like mom or dad or the Pastor talks to you. He talks to you in your heart. He makes you feel what is the right way. Say to Jesus:
"Dear Jesus. I love you and I need you to help me make the correct choices. I want your promise of help whenever I ask for it. Please Jesus, lead me in the path to life with God. In your holy name. Amen.
|Think of Picture 1 that showed you on one side of a canyon and God on the other side. Then think of Picture 3 that showed the Cross of Jesus across the canyon of sin. The Cross of Jesus formed a bridge across the canyon of sin. The message of this story is that you can get to God in heaven but only by Jesus! |
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