Do you love shoes? Most girls do. Which shoes are your favorites? Boots, tennies, flip-flops…slippers? The shoes you like best probably tell a little about your personality—what you like to do and how you like to feel while you are doing it. That’s a good thing! God created us all unique—shoe taste and all.
The Good News shoes series is all about shoes. Twelve year-old Riley Mae Hart loves them too—particularly sports shoes—so when she is offered a contract to be a spokesmodel for an outdoor shoe company, she is super excited. Well, she’s excited at first, when she receives all the shoes. But then she becomes discouraged when the responsibility grows to the point where she can’t participate in other activities, like hanging out with her friends and playing her favorite sport—softball.
Have you ever committed to doing something that seemed like it would be fun at first, but then it becomes difficult?
- What did you do?
- Did you want to quit?
Riley Mae sure wants to. But her parents gently remind her that signing a contract is a serious thing and she is obligated to see it through.
So the discomfort begins. Riley’s best friend becomes annoyed with her when another girl has to replace Riley as shortstop on the softball team. Then Riley finds out that the shoes with her name on them are expensive, so some girls are disappointed that they can’t afford them. Every week there’s work on a new photo shoot, and one even requires flying to Arizona where Riley innocently gives too much information to a reporter.
And then there’s the Jesus thing. Not one of her co-workers is interested, and new shortstop Rusty doesn’t seem to even know about him! All of a sudden, Riley realizes that her life of faith—which involves attending church every week, praying with her family and going to God for everything—is not something that everyone else experiences.
Have you ever heard the term, “living in a Christian bubble?”
It means just what it sounds like. You’re in a bubble, and everything inside that bubble with you is Christian. You can picture it, right? Christian music, Christian school, Christian camp, Christian t-shirts, even Christian donuts in your Sunday school class. It’s a fun world full of hope and joy where everyone speaks the same language and knows the same Bible verses. But one day—and it comes for everyone—the bubble pops, and you find yourself in a different environment, where no one around you knows about any of that stuff. It can be confusing and a little shocking.
But it’s all going to be okay! When this happens, we can put on a different type of shoes! In this series, they are called The Good News Shoes. In the Bible, in the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul teaches believers about different pieces of clothing, or “armor” that they can put on so that when they go out in the world they can be strong in the Lord. You can read about all those different parts of the armor in Ephesians 6. But in Ephesians 6:15, Paul talks about shoes:
“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” NLT
Another version says it this way:
“For shoes, put on the readiness to preach the Good News of peace with God.”
This is what Riley Mae Hart’s story is really all about. She has Good News to tell the world (and so do you if you’re a Faithgirl!). Jesus came to earth to live a perfect life and to die in our place on a cross so our sins can be forgiven and we can have peace with God! What news is better than that?
Riley Mae’s challenge in the series is learning how to be ready to share that good news, wherever she is, in whatever shoes she is wearing. It also means learning to love people who aren’t exactly like her, and then opening her mouth to let God use her in remarkable ways. It’s something that she can only experience by being “popped out of her bubble” and into some crazy adventures with the Swiftriver Shoe company.
How about you? Are there some places you go where you feel like you have been popped out of your bubble? Maybe it’s at school or on one of your sports teams. Maybe it’s at a dance studio or a 4H meeting or some other club. Maybe it’s when you get together with your extended family during a holiday. Or maybe it’s right there, under your own roof, with an unbelieving parent or sibling. No worries. Just put on that peace that comes from the Good News, and you’ll be fully prepared, whether you think you are or not!
If you want to know more about wearing the Good News Shoes, join Riley Mae on her adventures in Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids, and then travel with Riley Mae to Africa in Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari. Riley. Now that’s really out of her bubble!
Questions to ponder:
- Have you asked Jesus to forgive your sins, and to be the Lord of your life? Have you put on your own Good News Shoes yet? Why or why not? Do you still have questions or doubts about God’s love for you? If so, feel free to email about any of those things. I would be happy to help you sort things out!
- What kinds of shoes do you love? If they are softball cleats, then you must be on a team. If they’re riding boots, you probably hang around with horse people. Are they ballet shoes? Then you have very graceful friends! Is there anyone you come in contact with during these activities who doesn’t know about Jesus yet? How can you begin to tell them about him?
- Are you in a Christian bubble? (Be honest!) It’s not a bad thing to be around those who love Jesus, just as long as we don’t forget that there are hurting people in the world who need him too. Do you have one or two Christian friends who can join with you to pray for your unbelieving friends or help someone in need?
- What are some things that you are really good at? Is it writing or drawing? Is it singing or playing an instrument? Are you super organized? Are you outgoing? Are you athletic, like Riley Mae? How can you use these talents to help spread the Good News of Jesus?
- Have you ever considered going on a mission trip? Does the thought of traveling to strange places make you uncomfortable? Think of a place somewhere in the world that interests you. Could you begin to find out everything you can about that place, and start a change jar to save up money to visit someday? You never know when God will open up an opportunity to go. It could be soon, so you’ll want to be prepared!