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Family Resources - June 28

Although we are so excited to be able to open up our elementary age Children’s Ministry classes this week, we realize that some of you may not yet be comfortable with bringing your children to class.  Some of you may have younger children, whose classes aren’t open yet, and therefore your family is still at home, live-streaming.  We want to be sensitive to that, so we will continue posting these Family Resource blog posts as long as necessary.  We love you all, and miss you, and while we understand your caution and also desire what is safest for your family circumstances, know that we are longing for the day when we can all be together again with you!


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 Interprets the Dreams of the royal cupbearer and baker, and then the dreams of Pharaoh.  The biblical account can be found in Genesis 40-41.  If your child is older, you may also want to touch on the happenings of Genesis 39, how Joseph rose to power in Potiphar’s house, but then was falsely accused and thrown in prison for a crime he did not commit.  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.


To help your young children understand a little bit about symbolism, draw a series of pictures for them.  First draw a heart, and ask them what it is.  A heart could mean a real human heart, like the one we have pumping blood inside us, or it could mean love, like "I love you".  Next, draw a smiley face.  This could mean happy, or it could mean "Good job!", like a sticker you get when you do a good job.  Finally, draw a lightning bolt.  This could mean anything from thunderstorms, to electricity, to power and strength.  Pictures can mean different things to people, which is why we need God's help to interpret His pictures He gives us correctly.


A fun activity you can do with your kids is to find a picture of a cow (there's one attached at the bottom of this post), and print out 14 copies.  Number them 1-7, and the rest 1-7 again.  Work with you kids to color the first 7 brown or black spotted, basic cow colors.  Color the last 7 green.  Lay them out in a long row and have the kids count them, and see if they can remember and tell you what the first 7 cows represent and what the last 7 cows represent.


Show your kids a picture of a dry and dying plant, as well as a picture of a healthy, well watered plant.  If you have the real thing, show them that.  Talk about how, with a famine, there would be no rain, so the plants wouldn't get enough water and they would dry out and die.  Lots of the food we eat comes from plants, including grain for bread and cereal, and our fruits and veggies.  And if the grass started to dry up and die, the animals would have nothing to eat, so they would begin to starve, which means we wouldn't have milk or cheese or eggs or good meat to eat.  A famine means that nobody has enough food to eat.  But God knew this famine was coming, and He let Pharoah know, and Joseph know, so that they could save up enough food to take care of all Egypt, and ultimately Israel, too!


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, talk with them about how Joseph is in the Lord's hand.  Although these bad things keep happening to him, God keeps showing up, blessing Joseph and directing his steps.  First, he is sold as a slave to Egypt (bad), but God wanted him in Egypt, and God blesses Joseph by allowing him to rise to a position of power in Potiphar's house (good).  Then Joseph is falsely accused and thrown into prison (bad), but God wanted Joseph in prison, so that he would be able to interpret the cupbearer's and the baker's dreams, and God blesses Joseph by allowing him to rise to a position of power in the prison (good).  Joseph is forgotten by the cupbearer and stays in prison 2 more long years (bad), but God blesses Joseph by allowing the cupbearer to remember him and know where to find him when Pharaoh's dream happens, so that Joseph can interpret the dream and Pharaoh can place Joseph in a position of power and authority over all Egypt (good).  God is clearly working and moving, to get Joseph where he needs to be to help people.  Another good point to draw out is that God is the interpreter of dreams.  Joseph says it in Genesis 40:8, and again in Genesis 41:16, that God is the one who gives interpretations to the dreams He sends.  We can guess at what a dream means, but since God is the one who gives us our dreams, only He can tell us what our dreams really mean.  In these stories, He tells Joseph, so that others can see that God is with Joseph.


Since this is the last week of June, it is also our last week to work on our current Sword Bible Memory Verse, which 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 #48 - “What is the church?”  Answer - “A community elected for eternal life and untied by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together.”  The biblical passage for this lesson comes from 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.  The weekly memory verse for this age group is 2 Thessalonians 2:13.


There are some really great resources for this lesson, that you can find by clicking here.  The first is a set of pictures.  Cut out these pictures and pass them around to your children to look at (hold back the building one for now).  Ask them if they can see any similarities between the 4 pictures of a body, a bride, a group of people, and a flock of sheep.  These are all pictures of the church, as the Bible describes it.  The Bible refers to the church as one body with many members, as the bride of Christ, as a chosen people, and as sheep who follow our Shepherd, Jesus.  Now show them the picture of the building.  We are often tempted to think of church as the place where we meet to worship, but the Bible never calls the building “church”.  That name is always used for the collected people of God.


The other attached resource is a paper chain of people.  Have your child fold it and cut it out to make a chain of people holding hands, then decorate them to be the church.  Have them be sure to decorate them so that some members are older, some are younger, some in-between, and many different ethnicities.  The church is made up of God’s people, young and old, from every nation, tribe, and tongue, who are united in their love for the Lord and their joy in His salvation!


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 coloring picture of a cow, for you to use in the above illustration with your kids) (Some water games to play outside with your kids, helping them direct their attention to God while having fun in the sun.  Especially recommend Game #2 “Ice Cold Toes” and Game #5 “Seed, Seed, Grow”. (Some fun worship songs from this year’s VBS for kids to sing and praise the Lord with)