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Family Resources - May 24

Can you believe that Memorial Day weekend is upon us!  It’s so easy to lose track of time in this crazy season we’re living in, but I hope that everyone is able to enjoy this start of summer holiday!  

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 our Gospel Story Curriculum for this week is about Jacob and Rachel and their love story.  The biblical account can be found in Genesis 29:1-30.  If you’d like to read about Jacob’s children as well, you can continue reading through Genesis 30:24.   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.

A fun opening object lesson for younger children involves printing out 2 coloring sheets, and then cutting out the picture of Rachel from one of them.  Hide Rachel's picture in the pages of your Bible, in Genesis 29, so that no corners are sticking out.  Place your closed Bible on a table, prominently.  Show your children the other coloring sheet so that they can see what Rachel looks like, then tell them that you have a picture of Rachel hidden in the room.  Let them look all around to find it, although chances are, they won't be able to.  After awhile, ask them why they are having a hard time finding Rachel?  Sometimes when we're looking for something, we need God to reveal it to us, so that we can see.  Open your Bible to Genesis 29 and leave it open on the table, then ask your kids to look for Rachel once more.  Why was it so easy this time?  Because you had shown them, or revealed, what you wanted them to see.  When we trust God, He shows us what we need to know, when we need to know it.  He is in control.

A fun object lesson you can use involves having some candy and some vegetables on hand.  Show your children some candy and ask them if they'd like to have a piece.  They will need to do 7 things to earn their candy:

 - Run in place for 30 seconds

 - Do 5 jumping jacks

 - Recite a Bible verse from memory (depending on your child's age, you can help with this)

 - Remain quiet without talking for 10 seconds

 - Sing a worship chorus

 - Say "good morning" to each other

 - Run in place again for 30 seconds

After they've done all these things, tell them they may close their eyes and hold out their hands to receive their reward.  Instead of the candy, place a green bean in their hand (or a carrot stick or piece of broccoli would work).  Not what they expected?  Leah wasn't what Jacob expected either.  Like Laban, we have an excuse close to hand, "It is not so done in our country, to eat candy before healthy food."  If they'd like a piece of candy, they will need to do these 7 things over again to earn them, as Jacob worked another 7 years for Rachel.

To really bring home this lesson of trickery, use this object lesson as well.  You will need a variety of seeds (some easy ones are apple seeds, corn, green peppers, sunflower seeds, and peanuts).  Place the seeds in piles according to their type and have the children work together to identify what each type of seed is.  If they planted a sunflower seed, could they expect a different plant to grow, or would it be a sunflower?  The Bible calls this sowing (planting) and reaping (what grows from what we plant).  If we "plant" bad behavior in our lives, bad consequences are what grow, but if we plant good behavior, righteousness grows.  What did Jacob "plant" in his life when he tricked his dad, that then grew in his own life?  Do we always reap what we sow, or does God show us mercy?  When we sowed sin, Jesus died, taking the punishment that grew from that sin, so that we would be saved from it.  Hallelujah!

A fun acting out activity for younger kids is Jacob watering the sheep. Have one child be Jacob and all the others be sheep.  Give each “sheep” a Styrofoam plate for a trough and give “Jacob” a cup for a water bucket.  You will need a pitcher of water to represent the well, but if your kids are younger, you will need to be the keeper of the well.  Basically, all that happens is that Jacob must water the sheep.  He’ll need to fill his water bucket from the well and then pour water into the troughs for the sheep to drink.  Sheep will need to lap up their water, while remaining on all fours.

There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your children as you go through this lesson.  First of all, help them understand that Jacob is tricked, just as he tricked his father.  Jacob received his father's blessing, and he received word from the Lord that He would be with him and bless him, but that didn't stop Jacob from also receiving some bad consequences for his actions.  With Jacob's trick, the younger (Jacob) dressed up as the older sibling (Esau), but now the older sibling (Leah) is dressing up as the younger (Rachel).  What goes around comes around.  But also point out to them that despite Jacob not choosing Leah, God did choose her.  He knew that Jacob would be tricked into marrying Leah, and He worked that into good, according to His plan.  Leah would be the mother of a little boy named Judah, who would be the father of the tribe of Judah, the tribe that Jesus would be born into some day.  Jesus is even called the "Lion of Judah".  God is sovereign, nothing happens outside of His control, and He works all things for good to them that love Him.

For the month of May, the Sword Bible Memory Verse is taken from the middle part of Psalm 145.  For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 145:8.  For grades K-2, they are learning Psalm 145:8-10.  And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Psalm 145:8-13.  To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #5.

The New City Catechism question for this week is question #43 - “What are the sacraments or ordinances?”  Answer - “Baptism and the Lord’s Supper”.  There are 2 bible passages for this lesson.  They are Matthew 28:16-20 and Luke 22:14-23.  There are also 2 weekly memory verses for this age group, and the lesson tells you to pick whichever one you think would best serve you.  They are Luke 22:19-20 (Lord’s Supper) and Romans 6:4 (Baptism).

The opening activity explains what sacraments and ordinances are.  You will need to print off and cut out a copy of the clue pictures, attached here, and show them to your children in order, so they guess “sack”, “ram”, and “mints”.  If they say those words fast enough, they will get “sacraments”.  Then write the letters ECNANIDRO on a piece of paper, and have them work to unscramble them to spell Ordinance.  Explain to your children that the words sacrament and ordinance are similar in meaning, and they refer to things that are done in church among the gathered people of God.  God has given these sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to His people to encourage and strengthen them.  The sacraments do not give anyone faith, rather they are outward signs that someone is already a part of God’s family.

Read through Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 22:14-20 with your kids, to understand the giving of these sacraments.  While reading the Matthew passage, have one of your children read John’s part, another read Jesus’ part, another read God’s voice, while another reads the part of Matthew (any part where nobody is talking).  Similarly, in the Luke passage, have one child read Jesus’ part while another reads Luke’s part (again, any part where nobody is talking).  Feel free to act it out while reading, making it come alive.

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://pin.it/vC64Iuq (An activity page with the names of Jacob’s sons)

How-to-teach-kids-to-trust-god (A good script for helping your children understand what it means to trust in God, and why it’s so important for us.)

https://youtu.be/_VMNO2MAmwA (A short video of Jesus’ baptism by John)

https://youtu.be/SigoALSS1R8 (A short video of Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper)