Family Resources - January 10
This week is prayer week at Cornerstone Church. My prayer for Children’s Ministry this year is one of thanksgiving. I thank God that we are able to meet, that our classes are able to open, and that our children are able to learn His word at church. I thank God that He has provided sufficient teachers to care for the children that attend on Sunday mornings, even if it’s through combined classes. I also pray, going forward, for the health and safety of our children, teachers, and volunteers in Children’s Ministry. I pray that there would be a speedy end to this awful virus, and that all of you who are still at home live-streaming will be able to safely return to in-person services and Sunday School. Most of all, I pray that God will meet you this year, speaking to the hearts of the children at CCK, drawing them near to Himself, and saving them in Jesus’ name.
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 how God Gives Samson Strength. The biblical account can be found in Judges 13-15. 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.
Give your child a special treat to eat, such as a powdered donut or a cookie. As they are eating their treat, ask them if they had asked you for this treat, or if you just gave it to them. Ask them if they were hungry for it, even though they hadn't asked for it. Use this as a way to help them see that the Israelites had not asked God to send them a deliverer, even though they had been ruled by the Philistines for 40 years. Even though they did not ask for one, God sent them a deliverer, because He knows what we need even before we ask for it, and He is faithful to care for His own.
The story of Samson striking down the Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey is one that the lesson recommends acting out with your child. You will need some crepe streamers to be the rope, and a donkey jawbone shape cut out of paper or cardboard. Optional, if you want to throw in a long haired wig for your child playing Samson to use, that would add a nice touch. Set up some army men/lego guys to be the Philistines who are angry with Samson. They come, asking the Israelites to hand Samson over to them. You play the part of the Israelites, who go to Samson and tell him that the Philistines are wanting him tied up and brought to them. Tie your child, who plays Samson, up with the crepe streamers, and bring them over to the Philistine army. Have "Samson" break free from the streamers, then grab the jawbone cutout and strike down all the Philistines who are there. Talk about how a donkey's jawbone isn't really all that dangerous, but Samson's God-given strength was. Once again, this is God's power at work saving His people.
For this object lesson, you will need your spouse to hide under the table, and cover the table with a floor length tablecloth. As you tell the story of Samson, tell the kids you are going to try to be strong like Samson and lift the table up. Count to 3, then lift. Your children will be amazed at the ease with which you lift the table, until you lift it high enough to reveal your strong partner who is helping lift it from underneath! This object lesson helps us see that it was not just Samson's strength at work, but that God was doing the heavy lifting for him.
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your child as you go through this lesson. First of all, there’s the knowledge that God cares for us. Israel did what was evil, and God gave them into the hand of the Philistines. It had been 40 years, and yet there is no mention of Israel repenting of their sin or calling out to God for Him to send them a deliverer. Yet God still sends them one anyway, in Samson. Even before we call to Him, He knows our needs and is faithful to care for His own. Secondly, help them to see that God uses Samson, even though Samson is not a very godly young man. Samson does all kinds of sinful things, like disrespecting his parents, touching the dead body of a lion, and showing that his heart is full of pride in his own strength and power. But that doesn't stop God from still using him to deliver His people, Israel. Even when we are faithless, God is faithful. Finally, point out that there are some similarities between Samson and Jesus. Both of their mothers had angels visit them to tell them that they would have a son. Both of their fathers also had angelic visits to tell them about the special call on their sons. And both Jesus and Samson were blessed by God as children. But Samson was full of sin and pride, while Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. Samson can point us to Jesus, but only Jesus can be the true Deliverer.
Our January Sword Bible Memory Verse comes from Psalm 103. For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 103:8. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Psalm 103:8-10. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Psalm 103:8-13. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #12.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #24 - “Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?” Answer - “Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Colossians 1:15-23. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Colossians 1:21-22.
There are a couple of resources that go along with this lesson which you can access by clicking here. The first is a One Way Maze. Set a timer for your child and have them try to get through the maze before the timer runs out. Help them to see that there is only One Way through this maze. That is to serve as a reminder that there is only One Way to God, and that is through the blood of Jesus, our Lord.
The other resource is a blank love letter template. As you teach through this question and answer, reading through the Bible passage, encourage your child to write out a love letter to God as their heart’s response to what they are learning about His character. If you have a son, and he thinks it’s a little too effeminate to write a “love letter”, you can call it something else, maybe a journal letter, or a prayer of adoration. No matter if we are boys or girls our hearts are still moved to love and worship God the more we get to know Him.
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:
Prayer Garden Centers (These are some ideas that have been gathered from various places that you can set up around your house in order to create a child-friendly, family-friendly prayer garden)
https://pin.it/1Ar77ao (The five fingered prayer for children)
https://youtu.be/X05FnYbugIs (A song about prayer)