Family Resources - June 14
Wow, it has been hot the last few days! Summer weather setting in with a vengeance! Hopefully, now that pools are opening back up, you all are able to keep cool in the water, or else enjoy some sprinklers and popsicles in your own backyard. These are some of the things I am most thankful to God for on the hottest of summer days!
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 Joseph’s Dreams. The biblical account can be found in Genesis 37:1-11. 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. The lesson encourages you to have your kids intentionally color Joseph’s coat with many colors. Also, if you want to take time to review Joseph’s dreams as you color, have your kids add details from Joseph’s dreams in the sky above his head.
For the opening activity, you will need a child sized coat, several colorful ribbons/streamers, and something to attach them with (either safety pins or scotch tape). Have your children help you decorate the coat with several colors to represent Joseph's decorated coat that his father, Jacob, gave him. When you're finished, have your children act out the story, with one child wearing the coat and being Joseph, and the other children being the brothers. Have Joseph tell them about his dreams and the brothers get mad. Alternatively, you could have one child wear the coat and be the manager. Sprinkle shredded pieces of paper around the room. Tell the other children they need to clean it all up, but the manager doesn't have to do the cleaning. Instead, their job is to tell the cleaners when they've missed a spot, to tell you if anyone is complaining or not doing their job, and to watch over them as they clean. This was Joseph’s assignment over his brothers, which made them mad.
A fun game you can play is Joseph Says, a version of Simon Says. Choose one child to be the leader, and whenever they give a command that begins with "Joseph Says", the other children, or you, must follow it. But if their command does not begin with "Joseph Says", then anyone who does it is out. Allow each of your children to have a turn being Joseph. Did they enjoy their time as the leader? Most children would say yes, because it is special and they get to be in charge. Joseph was also treated in a special way and allowed to be in charge. But would you like it if your little brother/sister were really in charge of you? The brothers didn't like it either.
For this next activity, you will need 3 packages of cookies, each one a different variety. (You could also make some, or substitute something like crackers, chips, or candy). Select one child to be your volunteer and blindfold them and allow them to taste test the 3 different kinds of cookies. Have them describe the taste to their siblings. After they've tested each one, ask them to choose the one that was the best. Remove the blindfold and talk with all your kids about Joseph and his brothers. Joseph got all the best stuff, just as your volunteer got to taste the cookies. The brothers were jealous of him, just like maybe your other children were jealous about not getting to eat cookies. When Joseph told them his dreams, they were even more angry and jealous, thinking that Joseph was acting like he was better than them, thinking there was no way they would ever bow down to this annoying little brother. But ultimately, were Joseph's dreams bad news or good news for his brothers? They were good news, because it was God telling how He would use Joseph in Egypt to save up food for people during the famine that was coming, and how his brothers would bow down to him, asking for food, and would be taken care of. And ultimately, the sibling getting to do the taste test was good news for the other siblings, because they now can have a treat, too! Let them all have some of the best cookies and remember God's faithfulness.
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, Joseph's brothers weren't just a little annoyed, but the Bible says they hated Joseph. Hatred is a sin, when we feel an intense anger towards someone. In Galatians 5:20, Paul says that those who act with hatred "will not inherit the kingdom of God". On the other hand, we are commanded to have righteous anger when we "hate what is evil", according to Romans 12:9. So hating evil is good, but hating people is a sin against God. Another valuable point is to show them that God is working out His plan, even through this. Spoiler alert, but Joseph's brothers hate him so much, they end up selling him as a slave to Egypt, but that's precisely where God wants him to be, so that he will one day help the Egyptians save up food for the famine, and Jacob's family, Jesus' family, will be saved from the famine. God is faithful and we can trust Him, no matter what.
For the month of June, our Sword Bible Memory Verse comes from Proverbs 3. For preschoolers, they are learning Proverbs 3:5. For K-2nd, they are learning Proverbs 3:5-7. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Proverbs 3:1-8. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #6.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #46 - “What is the Lord’s Supper?” Answer - “Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of Him.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. The weekly memory verse for this age group is 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
In introducing a discussion about the Lord’s Supper, it is always good to go back to the story of the first Passover in Exodus. Ask your kids if they remember that story and can tell it to you. Make sure to emphasize with them the death of the firstborn, the blood of the lamb, and the unleavened bread. Jewish people celebrated, and continue to celebrate, the Passover every year, to remember how God saved them from death. As Christians, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember how Jesus’ blood (the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world - John 1:29) saves us from death and sin.
To help emphasize this point, there is a memory activity you can do with your kids. You will need to collect various items from the story: bread, juice/wine, plate, tray, cup, possibly a toy table, etc. Place the items out on the counter and let the kids come up and look at them for 5-10 seconds. Then cover them all with a cloth and see if the kids can remember all that they saw. This game is about remembering what we saw, and the Lord’s Supper is about remembering what we have not seen, yet know to be true, that Christ died for our sins on the cross.
For a quiet, introspective sort of activity, give your child a blank piece of paper and some utensils to draw with (pencils, crayons, markers). Play the song by Ketih and Kristyn Getty, Behold the Lamb. As the music plays, have your child draw some of the things that stand out to them from the song, from the story. Pictures, words, ideas, colors, etc. Let it be a contemplative time of reflection and worship for them as they express their thoughts and feelings before God.
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/EGyRAQrum4A (We have this book in the church bookstore, but here is a song that tells the story of how God Made Me and You.)
https://pin.it/HxY00e9 (A delicious snack to help your kids remember about Joseph’s special coat his father gave him.)
3HfbL4EnlzK38fEglOmP1r (In case your kids enjoyed the online VBS hosted by Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, but are now missing that VBS music, here’s a spotify link to this year’s theme song.)