With Knox County on the Safer at Home order, we don’t want you to feel bored or powerless as you stay home with your families. So here, once again, are some curriculum highlights from Children’s Ministry at Cornerstone, so your child can continue following along with the lessons they would have learned in class. 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 this week is about Isaac and Ishmael. The biblical account for this story can be found in Genesis 21:1-21. If you have older children, and it would help to give them some context for where this story falls, the curriculum suggests you read all of Genesis 20 and 21 with them. If you would like to read the child friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you can click here. To access this week’s coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the bottom page. The lesson suggests that you talk with your children about why Hagar and Ishmael look sad in this picture. Then talk about how God provided for them by showing them the well of water to drink. Have your children draw a well on their picture, then change Hagar and Ishmael’s faces to be happy. God is a good provider!
There are a couple activities you can do with your children that involve counting to 100, to illustrate how Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. For younger kids, you could have them close their eyes and help them count to 100 while secretly hiding a baby doll “Isaac” somewhere in the room. When their eyes are opened, they may go search out and find the baby Isaac, and laugh with joy, because Sarah laughed when Isaac was born. If your kids are older, count to 100 with them, but pause at every decade and ask them if they know someone who is that age. Do they know someone who is 10? 20? 30? Pastor Bill is 60! By the time you get to 100, they probably won’t be able to name anyone except Abraham. That is really old to have a newborn baby! But with God all things are possible.
Another game you could play with your children is Red Light, Green Light, but with this twist. Abraham and Sarah had to wait a long time for the child God had promised them, but they had faith in God that helped them to rejoice all the more when Isaac was born. So instead of saying “red light”, say “waiting”, and instead of saying “green light”, say “trusting”. Let the children walk by faith as they try to reach the goal.
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out with your children while going through this story. First of all, there is the difference between Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael was born because Abraham tried to make God’s plan happen on his own, and have a son, like God promised. Isaac was born miraculously, in God’s power. When God promises us something, or blesses us with something, it’s not because of anything we do. We can’t make God work according to our plan. We can’t boast in what we did with God’s blessings. But God does all the wonders, He fulfills His promises, He saves us, because of His own love and mercy and grace. We can always boast in “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal 6:14) Another point to draw out to your kids is laughter. There are many kinds of laughter. Sarah laughed when Isaac was born, Isaac’s name means laughter, and there was much rejoicing. God made laughter, and it is a good thing indeed! But when Ishmael laughed, he was not laughing to rejoice in Isaac’s birth, rather he was laughing at Isaac, making fun of him, and by so doing, he was also making fun of God and His promise. Laughing at others, mocking them and scoffing at them, is not of God, it is sin. Read Proverbs 9:12 and 22:10 with your kids, to go deeper on the theme of scoffing. Finally, there is the theme of God’s provision, a good one for us right now. Although Ishmael was not the child of the promise, although he had mocked God and laughed at Isaac, God provided for him and for Hagar. He provided them with water when they were thirsty, by opening Hagar’s eyes to behold the well. He watched over Ishmael in the wilderness, and caused him to grow healthy and strong, making him into a great nation. God is so merciful and gracious to us, forgiving us and providing for us. He is trustworthy.
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. This will be our last week to work on this memory verse before beginning a new one for the month of April. To see what that verse will be, look at Sword Verse #4 in the above link.
The New City Catechism Question for this week is Question #35 - “Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?” Answer - “From the Holy Spirit.” The biblical passage for this Q&A comes from Titus 3:1-7. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Titus 3:4-6.
An excellent object lesson for this lesson involves gathering the letters F-A-I-T-H. The lesson suggests purchasing paper mache ones from a craft store. You could also use alphabet magnets, if you have some of those, or even make letters out of cardboard. Put the letters into a box and wrap it in wrapping paper. Place a gift tag on the outside of the present, labeled: To: New Christian, From: The Holy Spirit. Show the present to your children and invite them to guess what might be inside. Allow them to help you open it, to reveal the letters. See if they can put them in order to spell Faith. Explain to your children that faith is a free gift given to God’s children by the Holy Spirit. Just like they don’t have to do anything to earn a birthday present, it’s just given to them freely, so we don’t do anything to earn this faith, but the Holy Spirit gives it to us freely.
Along with the lesson this week, there is a word search for the kids to do, where they must search out words that Paul uses to describe who we used to be, apart from God. To access the word search, click here. After completing it, ask the children what they think of these words. Do these words describe someone who deserves to be saved by God and granted faith by the Holy Spirit? No, they do not. That’s because we don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness, and yet, He offers it to us. He is so good and gracious to us!
If you’d like to do a little catechism review or recap with your kids, you should have a booklet of the New City Catechism that was sent home with your child. Or you can download the New City Catechism app for your phone or computer for free to see the questions and answers. There are even some songs on the app that help make memorization a little easier.
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:
- Joditt.com/free-christian-coloring-pages-adults/ (Despite these being adult coloring pages, many kids really enjoy the intricate designs, and these all have scriptures on them)
- Spotify.com (If you haven’t yet listened to Ellie Holcomb’s new Sing:Remembering Songs album for kids, I highly recommend it. Also listen to her first kid’s album, Sing: Creation Songs)
- Youtube (look up Best Babies Laughing Video Compilation that runs 2:53, and spend some time thanking God for making babies and laughter. Use this to tie in to the lesson about Isaac.)
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