Family Resources - August 16
Although we missed seeing everyone at church this past Sunday, and will miss seeing you all again this coming Sunday, I am so thankful to still be able to join together through the online service and know that we’re all singing the same praise hymns together and hearing the same message from God’s word! I’m so thankful for our church, and our live stream team that helps bring the church home!
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 from the Gospel Story Curriculum for this week is about The Last Plague & the First Passover. The biblical account can be found in Exodus 11-12. Although this story is incredibly important as we see God’s mercy at work and as He points us to His Son, the Lamb of God, I know it can be a little difficult to teach, especially if you have younger children. With younger children, I recommend focusing more on the Passover and less on the plague. If you would like to read the more child-friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you may click here. There is also a preschool version of the story of the Passover, taken from the Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, which you can read here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
For this first object lesson, you will need a bicycle helmet, safety goggles, and knee pads. Hold up the bicycle helmet first, asking your kids if they know what it is and what it's for. It's to protect you from danger. Hold up the safety goggles, asking the same thing. Repeat with the knee pads. Now ask your kids what we need to do to be protected from sin. They may say things like "Don't sin" or "Obey your parents". While these are good things to do, obviously, they're not enough. Confess your own sin to them as an example, and encourage them to acknowledge how they still sin as well. If we wish to be protected from sin, we need more than just a helmet, safety goggles, and knee pads. We need the blood of Jesus.
For another object lesson, you will need to draw 10 silhouettes of people with a black crayon/marker/pen on a piece of paper (these could also just be stick people). You will also need 5 droplets cutout of a red piece of paper. Show your children the picture of the 10 people and tell them that 5 of them are Egyptians and 5 are Israelites. Can they tell which are which? No, because they all look the same. They are all sinners. Ask them if they know what the punishment for sinning is? According to Genesis 2:17, the punishment for sin is death. All these people on your picture deserve to die. But wait! Place your 5 red drops over 5 of the figures. Now can they guess which ones are Israelites? That's right, the ones covered in the blood. Are they still sinners? Do they still deserve to die? But why are they not going to be killed? Because of the blood. In the Passover, it was the blood of a lamb, but that is really just to point us to the blood that really saves sinners like you and me. Jesus is the Lamb of God, whose blood saves us from death! Hallelujah!
The lesson recommends roasting a little lamb and giving your child some lamb meat to eat, as well as some unleavened bread. If it's easier, you could just give them some matzo crackers (you can buy these at the store). Have them eat this at the table, with their shoes on, and a school backpack if they have one, to show how the Israelites ate in haste, ready to go at a moment's notice. Talk with your child about why they did that. Matthew 24:44 tells us to be ready and prepared for something, too. What is it?
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your kids as you go through this lesson. First of all, help them see that the Passover points us to Jesus. The Israelites had to slaughter a lamb and place it's blood on the doorposts of their houses. God "passed over" them and did not kill them, because of the blood. In John 1:29, Jesus is called the "Lamb of God", and because of His blood, God's wrath and judgement pass over us and we are saved. God spared the firstborn of Israel, but gave us His firstborn, Jesus Christ, instead. Another interesting thing is that the Passover is still celebrated today. All over the world, Jewish people continue to celebrate the Passover, and remember God's mercy in the time of Moses. As Christians, we want to also remember the Passover and God's mercy, but we do not celebrate this holiday the same way. That's because we celebrate something much bigger: God's mercy to us today through the blood of Jesus. At the last Passover supper that Jesus ate, the night before He was crucified, He gave us a new ceremony to remember Him by: The Lord's Supper.
Our August Sword Bible Memory Verse comes from Exodus 20. For preschoolers, they are learning Exodus 20:4. For K-2nd, they are learning Exodus 20:1-4. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Exodus 20:1-9. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #8.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #3 - “How many persons are there in God?” Answer - “There are three persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. The biblical passage for this question comes from 2 Corinthians 13:5-14. The weekly memory verse for this age group is 2 Corinthians 13:14.
There is a resource that goes along with this lesson, which you can see by clicking here. Have your child fill in the blanks, with the word “God” in the middle, and the 3 corners each having one member of the Trinity in them: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Remind them that we have only 1 God, but He is in 3 persons. Each of these persons is fully God. But God the Father is not the same as God the Son, who is not the same as God the Holy Spirit, etc. They are uniquely different, while also being all God.
There is also a True and False quiz for this week, that has 8 statements. You can have your child answer “true” or “false”, or you can designate one side of the room to be “true” and one to be “false” and have them run back and forth as they answer. The statements are:
1 - The word “Trinity” is found in the Bible (False)
2 - There is one God (True)
3 - The Father is fully God (True)
4 - God has always existed as three persons (True)
5 - God the Son only came into existence when Mary became pregnant (False)
6 - The Son is not the Father (True)
7 - The persons of the Trinity each have distinct roles (True)
8 - God the Father died on the cross for our sins (False)
In the memory verse for this week, 2 Corinthians 13:14, the three members of the Trinity are each mentioned, and a characteristic of God is highlighted with each one. You could pretty much teach this whole lesson with just this verse. Jesus, the Son, is identified as displaying grace clearly through His life and death. God is gracious. God, the Father, is referred to as being full of love as He draws us into relationship with Himself. God is love. God, the Holy Spirit, is called fellowship, as He brings us into fellowship with God and into fellowship with one another. God is relational. Thus, in a small way, we see the 3 parts of the Trinity and how they complement one another.
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://biblepathwayadventures.com/activities/passover/ (A word search with words relating to the Passover)
https://sermons4kids.com/first_passover.htm (A kid’s object lesson/sermon about the first Passover)
https://youtu.be/0HMryr1ZlxQ (A short video where someone is filling out the empty form about the Trinity that is included in this week’s resource for New City Catechism)
https://youtu.be/KQLfgaUoQCw (This youtube video is actually more for teenagers/adults about the nature of the Trinity, but I find that it humbles me in my belief that I fully “understand” what the Trinity is about and can explain it properly, and it sends me back in awe and wonder to how great our God truly is!)