Family Resources - August 23
Thankful for small mercies this week: a little bit cooler temperatures, the last week of summer for some, and the anticipation of being able to meet in person once more this Sunday as we collectively sing praises to our God and Savior! No matter what, God is good!
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 when God Parts the Red Sea. The biblical account can be found in Exodus 13:17 - 14:31. If you would like to read the 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 Red Sea, 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.
A fun object lesson you can do with younger kids (or older ones) is to get a shallow pan of water. Have your kids try to part that water into two sides. They can use their hands to scoop, or they can put their hand together, palm to palm, and placing them in the middle, begin to slowly pull them apart. Whichever method they choose, they'll find that they cannot separate the waters into 2 sides, because the water just goes around and under their hands and fills the space. No one can separate the waters, except for God alone!
Some art activities you can do for this lesson are: give your child a piece of black paper and a half sheet of light blue paper. Have them glue the light blue paper on one side, so there is a daytime side and a night time side. On the day side, glue a pillar of cotton balls to represent God’s presence in a pillar of clouds. On the night side, glue a pillar of orange tissue paper, to represent God’s presence in a pillar of fire. Or, you could give your child a piece of paper and have them fold the edges into the middle, so that they open like barn doors. Color the outside of the doors in blue, to be the Red Sea (which was not actually red, just so kids know). Inside, have them draw the Israelites walking through on dry ground.
A more active game you could play with your kids is to have your kids pretend to be the Israelites and place them on one side of the room, but their goal is to get to the other side of the room. Designate an area in the middle of the room to be the Red Sea. Set a short timer and tell the Israelites they must find a way across the Red Sea before the timer goes off, or the Egyptians (you) will be allowed to come tag them and then they will be out. Allow them to try, but make it challenging to impossible. After all, the Israelites couldn’t do it on their own. Hence the showing forth of God’s might!
For slightly older kids, talk with your children about times they are tempted to be afraid. What are some things that children their age can be afraid about? Make a list. Read Mark 4:35-41 with them. In this story and in the parting of the Red Sea, we see people being afraid, but God being in control. How can these stories help build our faith and help us not to fear, but to trust in God?
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 to see God's purposes. Romans 9:17 tells us that God raised Pharaoh up and placed him on the throne for this time, so that God might show His power through Pharaoh and so that His name might be proclaimed in all the earth. God wasn't trying to "get around" Pharaoh and his hard heart, He wasn't surprised by Pharaoh deciding to change his mind and go after the Israelites. God was getting the glory. As we follow the stories of the OT, we learn that other nations feared Israel, not because they were strong and powerful, but because the God they served was strong and powerful. "For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt..." (Rahab in Joshua 2:10) Let this lead into our second point, that God can be trusted. Despite the fears of the Israelites when they see Pharaoh's army chasing them, God never lets them be in danger for even one moment. He parts the Red Sea to make a way ahead for them, then goes to stand between them and their enemies, giving them time to cross the Sea. When the army is released and pursues them into the Sea, God closes the waters upon them. Not only does God save His people, Israel, but He also destroys their enemy forever. In the same way, Jesus will save us and destroy our enemy, death, forever.
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 #4 - “How and why did God create us?” Answer - “God created us male and female in His own image to glorify Him.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Genesis 1:26-31. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Genesis 1:27.
There are a couple resources that go along with this lesson, which you can see by clicking here. The first one is an outline of a human body. Have your child think of as many ways as they can that humans are different than the rest of creation. Write these things all in the body form, until it is filled up. Although we are created by the same God, we are different than anything else He created. Let that sink in and lead you to praise.
The next one is a collection of images of ancient Near East statues. As you show them to your kids, explain to them that in the ancient Near East, a king would often set up a statue of himself to show his rule over an area. When people saw the statue, they would understand that the king was in charge of that land. But God didn’t make us to be statues of Himself, rather He created us to be alive, living in His image and showing all the world that He is in charge of the land. Being made in God’s image means we will be like Him in many ways, in character more than appearance. As God’s representatives here on earth, we are called to reflect His image in our lives. Some of the ways we might do that are by being:
Creative - God is creative. He instructed Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 to use their creativity to rule over creation.
Communicative - God is a God who speaks, and so we, too, are made to communicate.
Relational - God is in perfect relationship as the Trinity, and being made in His image means that we are relational, too. Ultimately, we are made for relationship with God.
Loving - God’s purpose in creating human beings was love, and so we are called to live and rule showing God’s loving character to the world.
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://youtu.be/Qzn-r00YVHk (Ellie Holcomb’s wonderful song, Red Sea Road, about how God leads us on paths we couldn’t see when we are afraid and facing difficult times.)
https://pin.it/4fm8Pzj (A tasty snack that reinforces the story of God parting the Red Sea)
https://pin.it/7Luc2m3 (A scripture art coloring page of Genesis 1:27)