Family Resources - October 25
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 Moses Disobeys God. You can find the biblical account in Numbers 20:2-13. (If you have an older child, the lesson recommends taking the time to read through the whole of Numbers 20 with them, to see the deaths of Miriam and Aaron.) 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.
As an opening object lesson, take 3 sheets of blank paper. Crinkle the first sheet into a tiny ball, then unfold it. Do this 5 times. Tear 2-3 little rips in the edges, then crinkle it into a ball and unfold it again, another few times. Take the second sheet of paper and start to crinkle it, but don't do it too tightly, then try to smooth it back out as best as you can. The third piece of paper should be smooth and perfect. Show your child the badly crinkled page. This is like our lives with lots of sin. Show them the slightly crinkled page. It may not have as much sin as the other, but it's still damaged by sin. Whether we sin a little or a lot, we're still sinners, just like Moses, just like the Israelites. Now show them the perfect page. Do they know of anyone who has never sinned at all? Only Jesus is our perfect Savior, spotless and sinless.
This next object lesson is about trusting God, even when you can't see. You will need a bag with assorted items in it, ideally of drastically different textures and feels. Maybe a small, fuzzy toy, a hard toy, a metal toy, something spikey (but not sharp or hurtful), a squishy toy, etc. Invite your child to come up and blindly reach into the bag. They don't know what's in there, but they are trusting you, even when they can't see, that the items in this bag will not hurt them. Have them locate an item and try to describe or guess what it is based on it's feel. If you have multiple children, they can take turns with this activity until your bag is empty. They are learning to trust you, even when they can't see what is going to happen. We can learn to trust God, too, even when we can't see what is going to happen.
This activity might be a little messy, so I'd recommend doing it outside. You will need a personal size bottle of soda, any flavor. Tell your kids you are going to shake it up really good, but then give it a tap to settle the foam, and you heard you will be able to open it without spilling. Ask your child if they believe you, and what they think will happen. Shake the bottle really good, then set it down and tap the lid a couple of times. Open the bottle. It will, of course, spill everywhere, so you may want to just twist it open, let a little spill out, and twist it back shut. Or go nuts with fizz. Ask the children if they learned anything from watching you. Hopefully they learned not to shake a soda bottle, and that tapping it back down doesn't work, because it'll fizz anyways. They learned not to do what you just did. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says that these things about the Israelites and Moses were written down to help us learn from their mistakes, to not do the things they did, but to trust God more.
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 realize that Moses disobeys God. In all our lessons about Moses so far, we have been learning how God used him as a picture of Jesus, our mediator, who stands between God and His people, pleading for mercy and forgiveness when we sin. While this is still true, it's important to remember that Moses was not the same as Jesus. Rather, he was the same as us, a sinner who needed a Savior. Another interesting point, especially for slightly older children, is to consider what made Moses' sin so bad? As a child, this used to really plague me, and I'm thankful for the teaching of this curriculum, which spells it out so clearly. I am going to use a direct quote from the lesson: "First, Moses is acting in anger. We know this because he calls the people "rebels". Moses strikes the rock because he is angry at the people's sin. He may also have been angry at God because leading Israel has been so difficult for Moses. Second, Moses and Aaron take the credit for producing the water when they say "Shall we bring water for you?" Rather than delivering God's message, Moses delivers his own. Third, ever since God used Moses' staff as a tool for bringing plagues upon Pharaoh, it has symbolized judgement. So by striking the rock with his staff, Moses puts himself in the place of God the Judge without God's direction to do so."
This is our last week to work on our Sword Bible Memory Verse for October, which comes from Philippians 4. For preschoolers, they are learning Philippians 4:6. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Philippians 4:6-8. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Philippians 4:4-9. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #10.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #13 - “Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?” Answer - “Since the fall, no human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly.” (Ties in pretty well with our younger kids’ lesson!) The biblical passage for this question comes from Romans 3:9-20. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Romans 3:10-12.
Ask your child to come up with a list of what they think some of the worst crimes are. Write them down on a piece of paper, and have your child rank them in order from what they would consider to be the worst of all down to the least worst. Now ask them where they would put themselves on this list? They may be surprised, because this list wasn’t about them and they haven’t actually committed any crimes against the law. But remind them that they still have committed crimes against God’s law. And there are no rankings there, from worst to not so bad. All sins are equally bad in that they separate us from God.
As an example of this, show your kids a picture or video of Evel Knievel (there is one attached at the end of this post). Talk about how he was a stunt man, who did crazy stunts on his motorcycle. One famous stunt he attempted was on September 8, 1974, when he attempted to jump across the Snake River Canyon on a specially designed SkyCycle. He didn’t make it, but fell instead (miraculously, he survived the fall, with only minor injuries). People don’t remember how close he came to making it, or how far across the canyon he got before he fell, they just remember that he didn’t get across. That’s like us and sin. When you’re jumping across a canyon, “almost” is not good enough.
For this next object lesson, you will need a flashlight. Choose a room in your house that is relatively clean, items picked up, etc. Ask your child if they would say that this room is clean or dirty. If they say dirty, put them to work until it’s clean! When they say the room is clean, hand them a flashlight and have them go around and see if they can find any specks of dust: in the corners, on the windowsills, etc. Even though they may have helped to clean this room, there is still always some dust, something making it not perfectly clean (unfortunately, but we all know it’s true). We maybe couldn’t see the dust until the flashlight shone its light on it. The law of God is like a flashlight in our lives. We may feel like we are good people, pretty nice to others and fairly unselfish, but when God shines the flashlight of His law in our hearts, we see the dust of sin and recognize our need for Him, our Savior, to come and set us free.
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/7bXz8vQ (An art project for Moses striking the rock)
https://youtu.be/vTCQ81-7MnA (An old VBS song about faith that trusts God beyond what we can see)
https://youtu.be/0CBpQnGMgaE (A compilation video of some Evel Knievel jumps, including the Snake River Canyon jump the lesson talks about, starting at 3:09 in the video)