Listen. Listen to the pre-recorded Children’s Message together. 

You can find it at


Pastor Nate talked about “happy” and “joy” in the children’s message.  

How is “happy” different from “joy”? [Hint to parents: remember from the children’s message that happiness comes and goes because it is a reaction to what happens to us. Joy stays all the time.]

Let’s find out why joy can stay with us no matter what happens.


We are going to read together from the letter of  James. James was  Jesus’ half-brother, the son of Mary and Joseph. James was the pastor of the first church in Jerusalem.  Times were sad for his church. They were poor.  Many people were going hungry because there wasn’t enough food.  On top of that, people were being mean to them and some people in his church were put in prison.  

Is this “happy” or “not happy”?  

Let’s find out what James says about this time. Listen for the word  “joy”. 

Read James 1:2 together.

We know that the hard things that were happening to James’ church were “not happy”

Does James say that these hard things are “joy” or “not joy”?

Let’s find out why these hard, not happy things are joy. Read James 1:3-4 together.

What good things happen to us when we go through hard, not happy things (trials)? [Hint  to parents: Essentially what James is saying is that the hard times make us stronger until we grow up into the full-grown people God made us to be (mature and complete, some translations perfect)]

[Activity to help explain why  struggles make us grow up strong.]

Here’s a video of a monarch  butterfly coming out of a chrysalis: watch video 

Watch the video with your kids and explain to them that the butterfly would not be strong enough to fly without the struggle it had coming out of the chrysalis. God uses our hard, “not happy” times to make us stronger. God is using these sad things to help us grow.

“Happy” depends on what is happening. That is why it comes and goes.

“Joy” is rooted in God’s promise to make us grow up big and strong and to live forever with him NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. That is why joy stays even when things are not happy.

Respond. Take a piece of paper and draw a line to divide it in half. One one side, have your family come up with a list of happy things that have happened to your family and write them down. On the other side of the paper write down the “not happy” things that have happened to your family.

Ask the kids to pray and thank God for the happy things that have happened to your family.

Now talk about the “not happy” things.

How can God make us stronger and better through the “not happy” things that happened to our family?

Ask the kids to pray and thank God for the good that God can bring from our not happy things and that we can have joy no matter what.

Share. What is one simple thing that you learned today that you can share with others? Make a plan to share what you learned with this person.


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