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Family Resources - June 21

Happy almost Father’s Day!  I pray that you would have a special and blessed Father’s Day, celebrating your earthly fathers, being celebrated by your kids if you are the father, and ultimately rejoicing in the love of our heavenly Father!


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 Joseph is Attacked by His Brothers.  The biblical account can be found in Genesis 37:12-36.  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 Joseph and his brothers, 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.


For a fun, high energy game that helps children remember this story, you can play Joseph’s Troubles Relay.  If you have a large family, you can play with this with 2 competing teams. Otherwise, just have your children take turns going through the obstacles..  Set up the following three stations: a large ring of chairs to be a pit, a mess of toys on the floor, a blanket fort to be jail.  Have the first child run to get in the pit and count to 20, since that’s how much money Joseph was sold for.  Then have them pick up 5 of the toys and put them away, to symbolize Joseph being a slave.  Next have them sit in the jail, like Joseph, and say “I will wait for the Lord”.  Finally they may run back and tag the next person.  


Another game you can play, that’s better for older children, is the Pretzel Challenge.  You will need some pretzel rods and juice.  Place a single pretzel rod on the kitchen counter.  Have your children line up about 5 feet away from the counter and tell them that whoever can bring you the pretzel will get a cup of juice and some more pretzel rods to eat as a snack.  If your children are very competitive, there may be some wrestling over the pretzel rod, and it may break into pieces.  After the game is over, ask your children why they fought so hard for a pretzel?  Why didn't they share it with their siblings?  If the pretzel got broken, talk about how our fighting caused the breakage, and when we get jealous and desire things all to ourselves, it breaks relationships with others, too.  That's what happened with Joseph's brothers, they became jealous of Joseph and wanted to kill him.  Thank goodness God had other plans, plans to save Jacob's family and preserve the family line of Jesus, who would come to save us from this brokenness of sin and set us free to love Him with all our hearts!


Joseph’s brothers lied to their father, Jacob, because they were only thinking of themselves, and not wanting to get in trouble.  They weren’t thinking about what was best for Joseph, for sure!  They weren’t thinking about what was best for Jacob either.  What if they had?  What if they had thought of others and done the right thing?  What do you think would have happened?  If you have older children, have them each write a story of what might have happened “if”.  For younger children, have them tell you their story as you write it down.  Then come together and read your stories to each other.  But remember, God was writing the story just the way it happened.  Why?  God’s plans are always good, and He had a good plan that needed Joseph to be in Egypt.  


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, it’s good to talk about sin.  It’s easy for us to see sin in others, but we need to recognize that we are sinners, too.  We read this story and think, “Poor Joseph!  I’ve had people be mean to me, too, so I can imagine what Joseph is feeling”.  This may be true, but we need to also be aware that sometimes we’ve been the mean ones, like the brothers.  We haven’t killed anyone or sold our brother as a slave, but we’ve sinned and been unjust.  That’s why we need God’s forgiveness.  Secondly, point out that sin produces more sin.  After the terrible things Joseph’s brothers did to him, now they had to cover up their sin, so they killed a goat, lied to their father about what happened to Joseph, and then continued to lie for years about Joseph’s death, because you know this would have come up again in the many years Joseph spent in Egypt.  Finally, point out to them that this story is yet another picture that points us back to Jesus.  Joseph was betrayed by those closest to him, he was hurt, he had his clothes taken away from him, and he was sold as a slave to Egypt.  Jesus was also betrayed by His friend, Judas, He was beaten and mocked, and He had His clothes taken away from Him.  But by the end of Joseph’s story, it becomes clear that God is using him to save his brothers from the famine.  Jesus saves His brothers (and sisters) from something worse than famine, from sin and death.  Praise the Lord!


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 #47 - “Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?”  Answer - “No, Christ died once for all.”  The biblical passage for this lesson, as well as the weekly memory verse for this age group, are one and the same: 1 Peter 3:18.


This lesson comes with multiple resources that you can access by clicking here.  The first one is a letter from a “concerned friend”.  It is meant to be read aloud by you, as if it had been addressed to you.  That way, as you’re teaching the lesson to your kids, you have this additional resource to help get the main point of the lesson across, which is that Christ died once for all, and that is sufficient.  Jesus + Something = Nothing, but Jesus + Nothing = Everything!


You can also have your kids write a letter to themselves, including things they’ll want to be reminded of in a few weeks.  Maybe they could write things about the Lord’s Supper and Baptism that they might otherwise forget, or maybe they could write what they’ve learned about the value of these sacraments.  Seal the letters up, and save them.  In a few weeks, they can be placed in the mailbox for your child to receive.


The other included resource is a picture of a blank wall.  Have your kids get creative as they decorate the wall with a mural that creatively represents the fact that Christ died once for all.


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: (A fun Father’s Day craft you can have your kids make for their dad!) (A Father’s Day questionnaire you can have your kids fill out) (Some Bible coloring pages from well known stories) (A Children’s Choir at a church with some kids who are just so into singing praises to the Lord!)