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Family Resources - March 19

These are hard times, with fear for health and safety, fear of economic hardships, and social distancing.  But we as a church want you to know that we support you as parents, as families, and want to help provide faith building activities you can do with your kids during this time, to help them learn to turn their eyes upon Jesus, whose faithful love never fails and whose mercies are new every morning.  

With that in mind, we thought we’d share some highlights from our curriculum, so that your children will be able to follow along with the lessons they have been 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 from our Gospel Story curriculum for this week is about how God rescued Lot.  You can find the biblical account of this story in Genesis 19:1-3, and also verses 12-29 (verses 4-11 of this passage have been omitted due to the mature nature of the sexual encounter described).  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 coloring sheet for this week, click here, then scroll to the bottom page.

One really good object lesson this week for younger ages involves showing your child a cookie jar and an iron.  Bring out the cookie jar first, and ask them what it is. If your mom told you not to eat any cookies, then she went into her room for something, what would you do?  Should you go closer to the cookie jar, so you might be tempted to sneak a cookie? Or should you stay far away from it, so you won't be tempted to sneak a cookie and get in trouble?  The Bible tells us to flee temptation, which means to stay far away from it! Have your child come up and practice being near the cookie jar, but then fleeing away from it. After awhile, switch out the cookie jar for the iron, and tell your child to pretend the iron is hot.  What happens if someone touches a hot iron? It burns your finger, and hurts you very much! Sin burns us and hurts us, too. Is it a good idea to see how close we can get to the hot iron without touching it, or is it a good idea to STAY AWAY from a hot iron? This is like fleeing from temptation.  We stay away.

Another activity you can do with your kids is to take a container of salt, cut the top off, and pour about a half cup of water over it, enough to make it all damp.  Leave this science experiment out in the sun for a couple of days. It should harden into a block of salt. Have your child hold it and observe this pillar of salt, then use it to talk about Lot’s wife and what happened when she disobeyed God and turned back to look at Sodom.  

This is a heavy story for children, as there is much death and destruction happening.  But there are important points you can draw out to your children, to both comfort them and help them rest in the fear of the Lord.  First of all, use this lesson to teach your children that sin is a serious thing, and that God will judge all sin. For those who refuse to listen to His warning and His love, as Lot’s sons-in-law did, there is no good end.  They will be punished. We can pray for people, that they would hear and obey and be saved. For those who try to follow God in their own strength, they will find themselves tempted to look back toward the world and sin for more strength, as Lot’s wife did, and they will find themselves separated from God as well.  We can pray for these people, that they would trust in God’s strength and rest in Him. But the good news of the gospel is also found in this lesson! Lot believed the angels when they warned him, and he tried to save others. He hesitated before obeying God’s command, so what did God do? The angels took Lot by the hand and moved him.  God saves us, not because we are quick to listen (we’re not), but because of His mercy. When we are a Christian, we can rest in God’s care and salvation. Either He will save us from danger, as He did with Lot, as He did with Daniel in the lion’s den, or as He did with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Or He will save us by being “the Resurrection and the Life” and bringing us home to heaven to be with Him forever.  Even death is not scary for a Christian, because of His salvation and hope. It’s just like going to sleep at night. It’s not scary to go to sleep, because you know you are going to wake up again in the morning. When a Christian dies, it’s like they go to sleep and wake up again in heaven. This is why the Bible sometimes calls death “falling asleep”.  

The children have been working on their Sword Bible Memory verse for March, which is taken from Psalm 139 ESV.  For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 139:4. For grades K-2, they are learning Psalm 139:1-4. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Psalm 139:1-8.  To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #3.  There is a song written by Keith and Kristyn Getty based on this psalm, if you wanted to play it for your kids.  It's called "You Have Searched Me", from their album North Coast Sessions. You can find it on Spotify.

The New City Catechism Question for this week is Question #34 - “Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?”  Answer- “Yes, so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.” The biblical passage for this Q&A comes from 1 Peter 2:9-12.  The weekly memory verse for this age group is also 1 Peter 2:9-12.

The emphasis in this week’s lesson is on the fact that we don’t do good works in order to be saved, but that we do good works because we are God’s children.  You don’t clean your room so that your mom and dad will love you and decide to keep you, but you do clean your room because you love your mom and dad and that’s what they’ve asked you to do.  This is your home, this is your family, this is your identity. As Christians, our identity is in Christ. That’s who we are, we’re children of God.  

One game you can play to help the children understand this concept is to take sticky notes and write names of famous people, then stick one on each family member’s forehead.  They must try to determine who they are by asking each other questions that can be answered by “yes” or “no”. “Am I a man?” “Am I a woman?” “Am I old?” “Do I wear glasses?”  You can play several rounds of this game, having one round be cartoon characters, and another round be heroes of the Bible. The goal is to find out who you are, who your identity is.  For the final round, have everyone’s sticky note read “Christian”. Our identity is in Christ.

Another good activity for this age group is to create a banner, either out of a length of butcher paper or wrapping paper, maybe a paper bag unfolded.  Invite your kids to use markers, crayons, or other art supplies to create a banner that depicts the identity and job of a Christian. Encourage them to look back through the scripture passage and pull words out that tell us who we are in Christ.  Have them draw pictures of what behaviors go with our identity. Hang the banner somewhere prominent when you are done, as a reminder to your whole family of who we are as Christians.

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:

Ministry-to-children.com (lots of free coloring pages)

Signupgenuis.com/church/bible-games-activities-kids.cfm (some fun games and activities)

Youtube.com (look up Veggie Tales St Patrick to get a 9 minute version of this story that is funny and spiritual)