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Family Resources - May 3

It’s almost May, and that means a plethora of minor holidays are on the horizon!  This Friday is May Day, a great day to pick flowers and bless your neighbors with little bouquets.  Monday is Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you!), and all the Skywalker saga movies will be on Disney plus.  And Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo, that Americanized Mexican holiday that this year even falls on taco Tuesday!  Whether it’s takeout or homemade, or maybe even going out to a mexican restaurant, I hope you enjoy some good food on that day!

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 this week is about Jacob and Esau.  The biblical account can be found in Genesis 25:19-34.   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 Jacob and Esau, taken from the Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible which you can read here.  To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.

As an introduction to the lesson, especially for younger kids, you will need a collection of items, such as: a bowl, some animal fur, salt and pepper shakers, a picture of a hunting knife, a ladle, a picture of a bow and arrows, etc.  Tell your children that this week's lesson is about 2 brothers who are very different.  Esau was a big, strong man who liked to be outside and hunt, while Jacob was a quiet man who liked to stay inside and cook food.  Hold up the items one at a time and have the children try to guess which brother the item represents.

Another object lesson you could do involves making some stew for dinner (there is a recipe at the end of this post).  Let the aroma fill your house so that your kids smell it for a long while and start to get hungry.  Talk with them about how Esau smelled the stew that Jacob was making and got hungry, too.  Was he patient to wait until dinner to eat, or did he want what would make him happy right away?  What did he trade for his bowl of stew?  Was it a wise or a foolish decision to trade his birthright for stew?

If your kids are a little older, you can try this fun object lesson about Esau trading his birthright.  You will need 6 boxes of various sizes.  Put chocolate or candy treats in 3 of them, and for the other 3 put in a rock, a pinecone, or a leaf from outside.  Wrap all the boxes with wrapping paper, and number them 1-6.  You will also need a few small treats, like chocolate kisses, and a die to roll.  Give each child a chocolate kiss and ask them if they'd like to keep it or trade it for one of the presents.  If they decide to trade, have them roll the dice to see what box they get.  It may be a good trade and they're happy, or it may be a bad trade that makes them wish they hadn't traded.  Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of stew.  That was a bad trade for him, and he probably regretted it later on.  But it was a good trade for Jacob, who gave away just one bowlful of the stew he was making and gained the birthright of a firstborn son!

Invite your children to participate in a jumping contest.  Tell them that you will judge them based on how high they can jump.  Once you have finished judging the contest, you will choose the winner.  Let them jump and show you their skill, while you encourage them.  After a while, tell them who jumped the highest, but then tell that child to sit down.  Select one of your other children to be the winner.  Use this as an illustration that God doesn't choose the biggest and strongest, like Esau, but that He chooses whoever He wants to, even if they're smaller and weak, like Jacob.  As we learned last week, God is sovereign, and He is in control of everything.  He can do whatever He wants.

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, you may want to talk with them about what a birthright is, what it looks like now, and what it would have looked like in bible times.  For example, in your family, maybe your oldest child scored a room to himself because he was the oldest (that happened to me as a kid, because I was the oldest of 3 girls).  Or maybe as your kids get older and you are ready to leave them home alone when you and your spouse go out, the oldest will be "in charge" and the younger kids will have to listen to them, "serve" them.  But in bible times, it meant even more than all this.  In bible times, the oldest son (this didn't work as well for girls, but for sons it was a big deal!) got all the honor and glory.  They received a special blessing from their father, they were known throughout the land by the fame of their father, and they inherited most, if not all, of their father's wealth when he died.  For a son of Isaac, the birthright also included the promise made to Abraham, of having all nations blessed through your family line.  Secondly, talk with you kids about how God chose Jacob before he was born, then made it all happen as He willed it.  In Genesis 25:23, God told Rebekah that the older twin would serve the younger twin.  Then, later in that chapter, we learn how Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of stew.  He could have just waited until dinnertime, but he chose to trade away his birthright, which meant that from now on, he, the older son, would serve Jacob, the younger son.  Finally, emphasize that God chose Jacob, out of His love and mercy.  Jacob was not big and strong, he was not kind and caring, he did nothing to earn God's choice.  But God chose him to be in the family line of Jesus.  Read Romans 9:10-16 with your children to learn more about God's sovereign right to choose to lavish His mercy where He chooses.  

With a new month, the children have a new Sword Bible Memory Verse.  For the month of May, our verse is taken from the middle part of Psalm 145 (it’s just such a great chapter!).  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 #40 - “What should we pray?”  Answer - “The whole Word of God directs us in what we should pray.”  The biblical passage for this week’s Q&A comes from Ephesians 3:14-21.  The weekly memory verse for this age group is Ephesians 3:14-17.

There is a resource for this week’s lesson that you can access by clicking here.  It has a list of God’s words to us, scriptures taken from the Bible.  Under each passage, there is a blank space for writing.  Talk with your children about how prayer is a conversation between God and us.  He speaks to us in His word, and we speak to Him in prayer.  Read through God’s words to us on the page, and invite your children to recognize them as words He speaks to them, personally.  Encourage them to take time to respond to each one by writing a short prayer under each scripture.  Perhaps the verse was a command from God, they could ask God to help them keep His commands.  Perhaps it was a promise, they could ask God to help them see it as a promise to them, and they could thank Him for it.

Another good activity in here is to recognize prayers that are informed by God’s word and an understanding of who God is, and prayers that are all about selfish thoughts and feelings.  This is similar to a True or False quiz, where you read these short prayers out loud to your kids, and they must answer whether this is a right prayer that goes along with the Bible’s teachings, or a wrong prayer that goes against what the Bible teaches.  Here are some examples: 

  • Father, I know I won’t be happy unless I have an American Girl doll, so please give me one.  (wrong)
  • Father, help me to be content with what I have.  If it would be good for me, I would like a new bike.  (right)
  • Father, don’t let my mom find out I stole money from her purse.  (wrong)
  • Father, forgive me for lying to my dad.  Help me to have the courage to confess to him. (right)
  • Father, I know you have the power to heal.  Please heal my grandmother’s pneumonia. (right)
  • Father, thank you that it is always Your will to heal us.  Thank you that if we believe You have healed us we won’t ever need medicine. (wrong)
  • Father, I know You are too busy to be bothered, so I won’t ask for Your help on the test I’m about to take. (wrong)
  • Father, I know that You love me and care about every detail of my life.  Would you please send a friend to sit with me at lunch?  (right)
  • Father, my little sister has messed up my room for the fifth time this month.  I know You can’t expect me to forgive her.  (wrong)
  • Father, help me to forgive my big brother for shouting at me.  Help me to remember that since You have forgiven me, I can forgive others.  (right)

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:

SovereignGraceMusic (Jon Althoff is leading a worship night for kids on the Sovereign Grace Music Facebook page, Thursday night at 7:30 (6:30 CST)) (An easy recipe for crock pot lentil stew, if you and your kids want to learn to cook like Jacob.  This recipe does call for a spice called garam masala.  As I understand it, this is a spice used in Indian food (not too hot) which is usually some mixture of: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cardamom, and bay leaves.  If you want to tweak it with any combination of these spices you already have, it might be worth a try) (Books of the Bible Bookmark free printable, plus other fun ideas for activities that teach your kids the books of the bible)

Worship Notes for Kids (Feel free to print as many of these as you want, and then allow your children to use them as guides while they listen to Bill’s sermon each week on the live stream)