Family Resources - November 1
Happy almost end of October to you! Hard to believe this month is almost over already. With Halloween coming up this weekend, I want to pray a prayer of safety for all of you. Whether you choose to spend the day trick-or-treating, or at a party, or enjoying a quiet night at home with your family, may it be a night of safety and peace from the Lord.
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 for this week from the Gospel Story Curriculum is about when God Heals Israel with a Bronze Snake. The biblical account can be found in Numbers 21:4-9. 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 this story from the Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible that you can read here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
Check out a picture book of snakes from your local library (or maybe you have one already at home). Show your children pictures of snakes, both harmless and poisonous. Talk about safety around snakes and not touching them. Show them pictures of snakes with their fangs out and marvel with them at how God made snakes and how even just a little venom can be so harmful. God is so creative!
This might be a fun story for you and your child to act out. You will need a fake bronze snake on a pole (either a toy snake or a tie representing a snake will do). You will also need some red yarn or string. Take turns with your child being the snake or the Israelite. Have the Israelite pretend to be whining and complaining, then have the snake slither up and drop the red yarn on the Israelite, to symbolize they've been bitten. The Israelite must then pretend to be sick, until they look up at the bronze snake on a stick, at which point they may be healed, and you can switch parts.
For an art project you can do, give your child a piece of cardstock, or construction paper. Have them draw and decorate a serpent in the shape of an S. When they're done, they can cut it out, then write on the back of it "Look upon the Son and be saved." (John 3:14-15) The bronze serpent in our story is meant to point us to Jesus and the cross.
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 interesting to note that God saves His people individually. In most of the bible stories we've been learning about, the Israelites complain and sin against God, God decides to punish them, Moses mediates for them, begging God for mercy and forgiveness, and then God forgives all the people of Israel. In this story, we see how God is saving His people individually. That's how we are saved by God, not all at once because we come from a church going family, or because we grow up in a certain time or place. Each of us must look to the cross and believe in Jesus' saving power. We cannot do that for the person next to us, but we are called to look to Him on our own for our salvation. Another interesting point, maybe especially for older children, is to think about why God chose to use a serpent to point towards Jesus Christ? In the bible, serpents are usually used to portray evil. Sometimes it is Satan himself, like in Genesis 3:1-4 or Revelation 12:9. Sometimes it is an evil person or group of people, like in Jeremiah 46:22 or 51:34. Jesus used the word "vipers", which refers to a group of poisonous snakes, when talking about the Pharisees in Matthew 3:7. Jesus is compared to the serpent lifted up because He became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). What a sobering picture, that Jesus would take upon Himself our evil so that we could be forgiven.
Since we are in a new month, we have a new Sword Bible Memory Verse. Our November verse comes from Psalm 18. For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 18:30. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Psalm 18:30-32. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Psalm 18:30-35. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #11.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #14 - “Did God create us unable to keep His law?” Answer - “No, but because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, we are all born in sin and guilt, unable to keep God’s law.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Romans 5:12-21. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Romans 5:12.
For this first activity, you and your child will each need a piece of paper and some artistic supplies (pencils, crayons, markers, etc). Each of you should make a graffiti picture, with as much information on it as you can recall about the creation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. Feel free to crack those bibles open to Genesis 1-2 to get all the details you need. You are welcome to include pictures, word pictures, letter art, etc. When you are done, take time to admire each other’s pictures. Now take black paint and paint the word “SIN” in large letters over your picture. Explain that it hurts a little to destroy such lovely art, but that is what happened to God’s creation when sin entered the world. If your child desires, they may also paint “SIN” over their picture.
The lesson suggests using the song “And Can it Be” as a teaching tool. This hymn was written by Charles Wesley almost 300 years ago. In particular, read verse 3 to your children:
He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace
Emptied Himself of all but love
And bled for Adam’s helpless race
Talk about what “Adam’s helpless race means, how it refers to all humankind, as being descendants of Adam who have inherited his sin nature. Just as we inherit hair color, eye color, body type from our parents, we have all inherited sin through our parent, Adam. But point them back to Romans 5:15. Just as sin entered the world through one man, salvation also entered through one man, Jesus. He loved us enough to leave His home in heaven and come to earth for Adam’s helpless race.
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://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/snakes/types.html (A page about different kinds of venomous snakes, with pictures)
https://pin.it/95sxJ5y (An easy craft for our story about the bronze serpent being lifted up)
https://youtu.be/Tu2uA6U4Fxg (The hymn And Can It Be)