After greeting the children I began by pulling an apple from the bag and asking how many liked to eat apples- which most of them, of course, liked apples. But I asked if there was something that was made from apples that they might like better than just a plain apple. To this the children answered- apple pie, apple juice.... I had 1 little one who said "no- I just like apples." Well I then asked the adults if any of them liked apple pies, apple cider, apple crisp or apple dumplings better than a plain apple. As I mentioned the items the adults were raising their hands and agreeing that these other apple items were better than a plain apple. I then explained that we don't just get an apple pie from a whole apple. The apple needed to change a little bit. So I pulled out the apple peeler and asked if any of them knew what this thing even was- few had ever seen such a contraption. I set it up on a stool and showed them how to place the apple on the peeler and had 1 little boy come and peel the apple for me. As he was peeling, I asked what the apple was feeling. The kids answered -"ouchy", and "pain", but I explained that it might be feeling pressure. The pressure of the sharp edge cutting off the skin- it takes pressure to take that skin off.
Then I pulled out my picture of the cider press. And I explained that when this machine worked that the apples would feel the pressure of the chopper when it was cut or ground into little pieces, but then it felt the pressure of the plate when it was squeezed.
But what do apples under pressure have to do with anything? Well here is what I shared, that in James 1:2 it says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of you faith develops perseverance."
So what does that mean? What is a trial? Well a trial is a problem - so the Bible is saying "Be happy if you have problems?" Yep "Because God is making you better once the problems are over." This is much like the apple- The plain apple is good, but after pressure or some trouble- most would look at an apple pie or apple cider as much better than a plain apple.
This is much like things at school. Maybe you are having problems with spelling and you are feeling the pressure of trying to learn those words. Well that pressure will make you a much better speller and will save you time from having to look up those words. OR maybe you are learning you math facts- the pressure to learn those will make a world of difference when you are adding or figure numbers out. Not all pressure is good- sometimes we have pressure to do things that are wrong, and this is pressure that we want to stay away from. But the good pressure is where God will work to make us more like he wants us to be. And we closed in prayer.