Family Resources - October 4
Can you believe that tomorrow will be October already?!?! Although it may look different than Octobers in the past, there is still so much to be thankful for. The leaves will still change into glorious colors at some point this month, and there will still be pumpkins and apples to be found! I’m so thankful that God made autumn!!
We wanted to share with you some highlights from our curriculum, so that your child will be able to follow along with the lessons they are being taught in Children’s Ministry. This blog post contains information about this week’s lesson from our Gospel Story curriculum, which is being taught to 3 & 4 year olds, up through 3rd grade, as well as this week’s lesson from our New City Catechism that is being taught to 4th-5th graders. May it brighten your week and bless you!
The lesson for this week from the Gospel Story Curriculum is about when the People of Israel Complain. The biblical passage for this lesson can be found in Numbers 11. If you would like to read the child-friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you may click here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
One thing you can do to help make this lesson more real to your kids is to purchase some of the foods that the Israelites remembered from Egypt: an onion, a melon, a cucumber, a leek, and a clove of garlic. Cut them all in half and let your kids smell them. This flavorful food is what the Israelites were missing. And, to be fair, these foods are very delicious, and are a gift from God for us to enjoy. But would you want to have to be slaves and have your baby boys killed, just so you could eat them?!? Or would you rather trust in God, who had promised to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. Allow your children to eat a snack of milk and bread with honey. God's provision for us is always good, even when we can't see it.
An activity you can do is to scatter little hole punches of paper on the ground and have your child pick them up, pretending the hole punches are manna. You could even give them a basket to gather them in. While they do this the first time, have them pretend to be like the Israelites and complain about having to pick it up. Scatter the manna again and let your children pick it up a second time, but with grateful hearts. Teach them this poem to say while they're gathering it:
Manna, manna, bread from heaven. A gift from God for us to eat.
Manna, manna, God's provision. The Bread of Life is such a treat.
Manna, manna, Jesus is manna. Our food for all eternity.
If you have a child who likes peanut butter and jelly, use this lesson to help them see that too much of a good thing is not very good anymore. Make them a half sandwich of PB&J and let them enjoy it. Make them another half sandwich, this time with 3 times as much peanut butter and jelly on it. Make them a third half sandwich, with huge gobs of peanut butter and jelly, so that it's oozing out the sides. God didn't just give the people quail meat to eat, He gave them so much of it that they got sick of it. He is able to provide for His people in any way that He chooses, but when we complain and demand our own way, it's not usually a very good way for us. Like if you wanted to eat only candy all day long. It might sound nice to you, but before the day was done, you'd be feeling pretty sick. Instead of complaining, we need to trust in God's provision, that He is giving us what is best.
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your children as you go through this story. First of all, God has been faithful, yet Israel complains. By this time, the Israelites have been in the wilderness for about 2 years. They've seen in that time how God has provided them with food for every day. They've seen how He has made springs of water where there hadn't been any, in order that His people would not have to be thirsty. They've seen Him go with them each day in a pillar of cloud/pillar of fire. So what makes them suddenly decide to not trust God? To no longer be happy with what God is giving them? The same thing that causes us to complain against God and our parents, they weren't getting what they thought they wanted. God knows what is best for us, our parents know what is best for us, but we often think we know what is best for us and complain when we don't get it. Another good point to remember is that God provides both blessing and judgement. God grants the people's request, even though they didn't ask very nicely. He gives them meat; a LOT of meat! This is a blessing. But God was also angry with the people, rightly so, for their complaining and distrust of Him, of their longing for Egypt, as if being slaves in Egypt was better than being God's free people. So a plague came, a sickness that lots of people got. Some people died from the sickness. Sin always leads to death. But thanks be to God for His mercy in Jesus Christ, who's blood cleanses us from sin!
Since we are in a new month, we have a new Sword Bible Memory Verse. Our October verse comes from Philippians 4. For preschoolers, they are learning Philippians 4:6. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Philippians 4:6-8. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Philippians 4:4-9. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #10.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #10 - “What does God require in the fourth and fifth commandments?” Answer - “Fourth, that on the Sabbath day we spend time in worship of God. Fifth, that we love and honor our father and our mother.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Exodus 20:1-17. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Leviticus 19:3.
There is a great resource for this lesson that you can find by clicking here. It is a code breaker sheet. Let your child work out the code and try to discover the 2 sentences that have been hidden. For your convenience, I will tell you the correct answers, so that you can help your child. They are: 1-That on the Sabbath day we spend time in worship of God, and 2-That we love and honor our father and mother.
The Sabbath can be a difficult concept to teach, since we do not observe it in the same way that the Old Testament Jews did. Here is an excerpt from the teaching portion of this lesson, that may be helpful to you as you teach this concept to your child:
Explain to the children that the Sabbath is a day that God has set apart for worship and rest. From the time of Moses until Jesus, the Jews kept the Sabbath on Saturday. Tell the children that after Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, His followers started observing that day as the Sabbath. God declares in His word that people should work for 6 days and then rest on the 7th day. Make the link back to the pattern of creation for the children: God worked for 6 days, then rested on the 7th. Clarify for the children that the Sabbath is not a day for lying in bed or going to the mall! But it is a day where Christians can spend more time resting, delighting in and worshipping God, and enjoying the company of God’s people. Point out to the children that the language God uses in the 4th commandment is that the people are to remember. Ask the children why they think the word remember is included in the Ten Commandments. Explain that people are inclined to forget to rest and spend focused time with God.
A great activity for teaching the fifth commandment is to give your child a piece of paper with the word LOVE written on it vertically. Have them think of ways they can honor their father and mother, that start with the letters of LOVE. For example, they could Listen to them, Obey them, Volunteer to serve and help them, and Eat my food with a cheerful attitude. Or whatever else they come up with.
If you’re looking for other resources for ideas and activities you can do with your children to help them use their time to invest in God’s kingdom, here are some we recommend:
https://g.co/kgs/HyptL2 (Some pictures and a brief description of what a quail is)
https://youtu.be/zEYrEgnbgAw (An oldie, but goodie, scripture song about not complaining)
This is one I used to use with elementary age kids when I taught in an afterschool care program:
“What ways do our parents show us that they love us? Make a list with your class (with your kids). Now, what ways do we show them that we love them back? Make some love coupons for your parents that describe ways you are going to show them love.”