Family Resources - February 21
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 Israel Demands a King. The biblical account can be found in 1 Samuel 8-12. The bulk of the story is found in the first 3 chapters: Israel’s demand for a king, Saul looking for the missing donkeys and being anointed by Samuel, and ultimately the lots choosing Saul and him being presented to Israel as their new king. But there is some good story in the last 2 chapters as well: Saul’s first act as king, to bring the people together to fight and defeat the Ammonites who were oppressing them, and Samuel’s farewell address, where he encourages the people to keep seeking the Lord and following Him. 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.
For this first object lesson, you will need a box that can hold a hammer, an empty vegetable can, an empty wallet, and a picture of a boy. Put the items in the box, then wrap the box up and make it look attractive. Show the present to your child and have them describe what it looks like. Tell them that this present represents Israel's king. The idea of a king sounded attractive, but there would be downsides, too. The hammer shows that a king would make them work for him. The veggie can shows that the king would take some of the harvest of food they grew. The wallet shows that the king would take their money in taxes. The picture of the boy shows that the king would take their sons to be soldiers in his army.
You could also act out this concept, with you playing the part of Samuel while your child plays the part of the Israelites. After every phrase you say, your child should say "Give us a king!". Say:
- Now that I am old, I have made my sons judges over Israel.
- If I appoint a king, he will force your sons into his army.
- He will force your sons to work for him.
- He will force your daughters to work for him.
- He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards.
- He will take a tenth of your harvest.
- He will take your servants and animals for himself.
- Because of your king, the Lord will not answer you.
Only God can change hearts. Cut a heart shape out of a piece of red paper and a piece of grey paper. Talk with your child about how the Bible teaches us that without God, our hearts are stone. (Not for real, of course, but hard like stone.). A stone doesn't move or change, and it's very uncomfortable. But once we become Christians, God takes our hearts of stone away and gives us a heart of flesh, all soft and ready to listen to Him and begin to change to be more like Him. Show your child the grey paper heart, the stony heart. Now read 1 Samuel 10:9-10 with your child to see what God did to Saul's heart. That's right, He changed it! Show your child the red paper heart of flesh. Pray and ask God to make your hearts soft flesh for Him.
A fun activity you can do involves creating a long and winding path of masking tape on the floor. Along the way, place 8 masking tape Xs, to be used as stopping spots. At each X, place an index card with the next clue to the story. The clues are as follows:
- "Your father's donkeys are lost. Follow the tape path and search for them. Stop anytime you reach an X on the line and read the card for your next clue before you continue."
- "You have searched through the hill country of Ephraim, now continue to the land of Shalishah."
- "You have not found them in Shalishah so you had better look in Shaalim. Continue your search."
- "You did not find them in Shaalim; you should look in the land of Benjamin. Continue your search."
- "You did not find them in the land of Benjamin; look in the land of Zuph. Continue your search."
- "They were not in the land of Zuph, and your father may become worried about you. You had better go look for the prophet who can tell you where they are. Continue your search."
- "You have just met a young woman who has told you to hurry, the prophet is in the city. Go find him there."
- "You have found Samuel. He greets you and tells you he knew you were coming. God sent you!"
Once you finish the course, talk with your child about how Saul's search for the missing donkeys may have seemed random to him, but it was God all along, sending him to Samuel to be anointed. You can look back down the path and see that this is where your path led you on purpose. As Christians, we can look back at the things in our lives and also see that God was leading us to where we are on purpose, as a part of His plan for us. Pretty cool!
There are a couple of teaching points that are good to draw out to your child as you go through this lesson. First of all, there is the sobering fact that Israel rejected God. They didn't need a king when they already had God as their King, ruling over them, taking care of them, fighting for them in their battles, etc. But they wanted a king they could see, a king they could show to other people, so that they could be like everyone else. Despite their sin, God listens to them and gives them what they ask for. It was actually a part of God's plan all along for Israel to have a king and a kingdom (see Genesis 17:6, 16). After this king, they would have David as king, a man after God's own heart, whose life would point to our eternal King, Jesus Christ.
Our Sword Bible Memory Verse for February comes from Proverbs 2. For preschoolers, they are learning Proverbs 2:6. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Proverbs 2:6-8. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Proverbs 2:1-8. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #13.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #30 - “What is faith in Jesus Christ?” Answer - “Receiving and resting on Him alone for salvation as He is offered to us in the gospel.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Galatians 2:15-21. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Galatians 2:20.
One activity you can use to help illustrate this lesson is to give your child a small gift. This can be a dollar store item, a Chick Fil A cookie, a book, a headband, whatever. Wrap the gift and give it to them, allowing them to open it right away. Do they like their gift? Did they do anything to earn this gift, or did you just give it to them? Faith and salvation are much better gifts than anything we could give, and we don’t have to earn them, they are just given to us freely. All your child had to do was take the gift you handed them and open it. All we have to do is receive the gift of life that Jesus gives us.
Show your child a video of someone parachuting out of a plane (I will post a video link at the bottom of this blog post). Did that person have to trust, or have faith, in that parachute, that it would open when they pulled the cord, and they would fall gently to the ground? How is this like, or unlike, our faith in Jesus? People have described faith as a leap in the dark, implying that faith is putting your trust in something you know nothing about. That might be what the first parachuter did, when he jumped out of a plane with a piece of material strapped to his back. But that isn’t what parachuters are doing nowadays. They have faith in their parachutes because they know how to use them. They’ve read the instructions. They know that they’re made by reputable companies, and they learn how to use them from experienced instructors. They trust that as they fall to the ground, one tug on a cord will release a parachute that will allow them to fall gently to the ground without being hurt in any way. In the same way, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are placing our trust in Him because of all the evidence in scripture that testifies to Him as the promised Savior.
A Christian is not just someone who believes in their head that Jesus is Lord, but someone who is willing to say, “Here I am, Jesus, I put my whole life in Your hands”. Imagine that a small child was going to jump off the wall into their parents arms. They might believe that their parents were strong enough to catch them, but it isn’t until they actually jump that they show their faith. In the same way, we show our belief in Jesus when we are willing to jump into His arms.
Continuing with the idea of parachuting, have your child imagine that there are 2 parachuters going up in a plane. The first one has been several times, so is unafraid and confident in their parachute working properly. They have a lot of faith. The second one is going for the first time, and is a little nervous about everything working out. They have a little faith. Both parachuters jump. Now, which one is going to make it safely to the ground? Both of them! It’s not about whether we have a lot or a little faith, it’s about Jesus, the One our faith is resting in!
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://pin.it/2TMtUBh (An easy king crown to make with your kids)
https://pin.it/1acSHLd (A slightly more complex crown, if you’re feeling creative!)
https://youtu.be/jVkIXYtE3sY (A song about our King, Jesus)
https://youtu.be/CzW_5x1M4Uc (Some parachuters jumping from a helicopter)