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Tweeeet! The whistle blew and Pastor Jenkins announced, “Thank you all for coming to our church picnic today. To start out, it’s time to grab your partner and line up for the three-legged race!”
“Let’s go, Jessie,” said Emily. The two cousins stood at the starting line while Jessie’s mom tied Emily’s left leg to Jessie’s right leg with a ribbon. When the whistle blew, Jessie and Emily ran and hopped together as fast as they could.
“Wait for me!” shouted Emily, trying to keep up with Jessie.
“Watch out!” Jessie yelled as she felt herself suddenly hit the ground. Emily tumbled down on top of Jessie. “Get off, let’s go—quick!”
The girls scrambled back to their feet and raced on. They could hear people shouting and cheering from the sidelines.
“We’re almost there!” Emily said breathlessly as she and Jessie stumbled over the finish line. “Hooray!”
“And the winners are Jessie and Emily!” announced the pastor. “Great job, girls.”
“Jessie!” Justin ran toward his friend. “Are you going to do the pie-eating contest?”
“No, thanks,” Jessie replied.
“Ask my brother, Jeremy,” Emily suggested. “He can eat anything.”
Justin found Jeremy and the two of them took their places at the picnic table full of chocolate and whipped cream pies. “Yum! I’m hungry,” said Justin.
“Ready? Set? Go!” The whistle blew and Justin picked up his pie and took an enormous bite right out of the top. Whipped cream oozed down his chin as he chewed as fast as he could.
Jeremy didn’t bother to pick up his pie; he dove face-first and munched his way down through the middle—chomp, chomp, chomp! It wasn’t long before Jeremy’s pie was all gone. Jeremy stood up.
“I’m finished!” he shouted.
Everyone clapped and laughed at the globs of chocolate and whipped cream all over Jeremy’s face.
After more games and races, it was time for lunch. Everyone gathered around the tables piled high with food. Pastor Jenkins prayed then the church families began filling their plates with everything from fried chicken and hot dogs to corn on the cob and peach pie.
After the meal, the kids were all given slices of watermelon for a seed-spitting contest. They lined up together and started eating their watermelon, but whenever they came to a seed, they would spit the seed as far as they could. Pa-tooey! Jessie’s seed shot out into the grass.
“Whoa! That was a good one,” Justin said. “Let me try.”
Justin chewed on some watermelon then pursed his lips and spit not one but two seeds at the same time—tooey, pa-tooey! One seed fell straight down and stuck to Justin’s shirt. But the other seed flew way out farther than anyone else’s.
“We’ve got a winner!” Pastor Jenkins announced. He ran to Justin and lifted his arm in victory. “For your prize, Justin, you can take home the biggest watermelon.” Pastor Jenkins lifted a huge round watermelon and gave it to Justin.
“Yikes!” Justin laughed as he took the watermelon. It was so big, he could barely stand up with it.
“Justin, it’s almost as big as you,” Jessie exclaimed.
Justin could barely walk as he carried the huge melon, looking for his parents. He waddled along like a duck until his dad spotted him.
“Would you like me to rescue you from that watermelon, Justin?” he asked.
“Yes, please!” Justin said as he handed it over and sank to the ground by his family. “I’m all tired out from carrying that thing.”
“It’s a watermelon,” said Justin’s little sister, Ellie. “I like watermelons. They taste yummy.” She chattered as she drummed her hands on the melon.
“Well, you can sit and rest a while, Justin,” said his mom. “We’re going to listen to the pastor speak.”
Justin turned to his mom. “You mean like church?”
“Yes,” Mom replied.
“But we’re not in the church. We’re outside sitting in the grass,” Justin replied, feeling a little confused.
“So? We don’t have to be in a building to worship God,” said Mom.
“I thought we were supposed to be all clean and in our good clothes.”
“Well,” Justin’s dad joined the conversation, “our family likes to clean up and look our best to make Sunday mornings special. But we don’t have to wait until Sunday to worship God.”
“You mean we can worship God right here in the park?” Justin asked.
“Yes. God wants us to worship him all the time,” Mom replied.
“But what about our church? Don’t we have to be in that special building to worship God?”
“No, we don’t. The church building is a meeting place where we can go to worship and learn from God’s Word,” Dad explained.
“The Bible tells us that the church is God’s people, not a building,” Mom added.
Justin thought for a minute. “So we can worship with the church whether we’re in a building or at the park. That’s pretty cool.”
“That’s right, Kiddo,” said Dad as picked up his camping chair and moved to join the others gathering in a wide open spot. “Let’s go listen to Pastor Jenkins with the rest of the church.”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.