Family Resources - July 26
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 Calls Moses through the burning bush. The biblical account can be found in Exodus 2:11-4:17. The actual burning bush story is in Exodus 3-4, but the lead up at the end of chapter 2 is helpful to know as well. 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 Burning Bush, taken from the Beginners Gospel Story Bible, which you can read here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page. The lesson suggests talking with your kids about what color a bush is that is healthy and growing, and making sure they color this bush green, despite the fire. They can then color the flames orange and yellow.
The lesson suggests acting out the story as you tell it to your kids. You will need a stick (maybe a broomstick), a lighter, and you will need to be wearing shoes. Pretend to climb the mountain with your staff, then see the burning bush and turn the lighter on. The sight of fire can be mesmerizing for kids. At the appropriate time, remove your shoes. When you come to the part where God commands Moses to cast his staff on the ground and it becomes a snake, cast your stick on the ground with drama, but then be upset that nothing happened. Try again and again, different ways, and ask the children why it worked for Moses, but it's not working for you? Help them to see that this was not a magic trick to show off and be cool, but it was the mighty power of God, showing the Egyptians His power so that they might believe.
For this next activity, you will need 2 branches off of a bush. Cut one of them early on and scorch it with a torch or small fire, extinguishing the fire quickly so as to maintain the integrity of the branch. Cut the other branch fresh. Put both branches in a paper bag, to be pulled out and revealed when you're ready. Show your kids the scorched one first, explaining that this is what a bush looks like that has been on fire. Next, show them the fresh branch, explaining that this is what the bush Moses saw looked like, despite being on fire. It was fresh and green, not burnt up, because God's Holy Spirit was the fire that Moses saw.
A good way to honor God’s holiness is to give your children a picture of a bush and some orange paper they can tear into flames. Begin to list the names of God, and for every name, glue a flame onto the bush. If your children are older, they can write the names of God on the flames as they attach them. If they’re younger, you can just have them glue on a flame for every name you all come up with. Talk about the holiness of God’s name. When the picture is done, remove your shoes (if you were wearing any) and have a time of prayer together to our holy God, calling Him by name and thanking Him for revealing His holiness to us in this story.
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, God's plan requires God's timing. Moses suspected that he had been saved as a baby in order to be the one who saved the Israelites from slavery. That's why, as an adult, he kills an Egyptian who is beating an Israelite, and then expects his people to see this as a sign that he is coming to save them. Instead, he gets in big trouble with the Israelites and with Pharaoh, and ends up having to run for his life. Yet, many years later, God does call him to do the exact thing he always knew was his purpose. Moses couldn't save his people on his own, in his own strength, in his own timing. But God, in His perfect power and wisdom, could use him to save God's people in His own timing. Another interesting point is that God works salvation through the hand of a man. God didn't have to use Moses to save the Israelites, He could have done it entirely on His own. Yet He chose to use Moses anyways. Why? God likes to show us things about Himself and His plans as He works. When we see Moses, a man come to save His people, it points us to Jesus, the Son of Man, come to save His people. With God's power, Moses saved his people from slavery in Egypt. With Jesus' power, Jesus saves His people from slavery to sin.
This is the last week of June, to work on our current Sword Bible Memory Verse, which comes from Psalm 121. Next week we will start a new Sword Bible Verse. For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 121:7. For K-2nd, they are learning Psalm 121:5-7. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Psalm 121:1-8. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #7.
The New City Catechism question for this week is the final one in the book, question #52 - “What hope does everlasting life hold for us?” Answer - “That we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be forever freed from all sin in a renewed, restored creation.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Revelation 21:1-4. The weekly memory verse for this age group is also Revelation 21:1-4. It’s a bit long, but such a valuable passage to treasure in your heart!
The lesson suggests playing a game of Bible pictionary with your kids, using words from our text, to introduce the concept of eternity and to build excitement about the new heavens and the new earth. Here are a list of words/phrases you can use:
- No tears
- No death
- New heavens
- New earth
- Loud voice
- Holy city
Another interesting activity is to give your child a sticky note and have them write down the name of somebody, currently alive, that they would love to hang out with for an afternoon. This could be a celebrity, an athlete, or even just a best friend. Underneath that name, have them write down the name of their favorite restaurant, where they would like to go with this person to spend time together. Once they’re done, have them give you the sticky note, and you can ask them if they’d rather spend time with this person at home, or go to the restaurant without this person. Ideally, they will see the value in spending time with this person, no matter where it is. The beauty of heaven is that we will get to spend time with all our favorite people, and spend time with God, in the best location there could possibly be!
There is a common misconception about heaven, mostly inspired by cartoons and ideas from our own childhoods, that when you die, you become an angel in a white dress and wings, playing a harp and sitting on a cloud. This is a great opportunity to talk with your children about what heaven is and what heaven is not. We will not be angels, because the angels are angels. We will be ourselves, people. We will not have wings, we will be ourselves, people. The white dress won’t necessarily be a dress, but is mentioned in Revelation 7:14 as a representation of the purity of having our sins washed away by the blood of Christ. Maybe we will play a harp, but only if we want to. There’s no mention in the Bible that everyone plays harps. And we won’t be sitting on clouds, we will be in the new heavens and the new earth, walking the streets of gold (Rev 21:21), sitting beside the River of Life (Rev 22:1-2), eating fruit from the Tree of Life (Rev 22:2). There is so much that is marvelous about heaven, talk about these things!
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/oPo1S-2T8I4 (A great song to celebrate the holiness of God. Sing it with no shoes on, letting your kids copy the motions in the video.)
https://pin.it/cyqkdrm (A tasty snack that reminds us of the Burning Bush.)
Teaching-kids-about-heaven (An article by Randy Alcorn about heaven and ways to talk about it with your kids.)