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Family Resources - September 13

How nice is September?!  It still has a summer-y feel, for those of you who enjoy soaking up these last rays of warmth and bright sunshine, but it also holds the delicious promise of fall, for those of you who are looking forward to sweaters and scarves, PSLs and hot cider.  It’s a beautiful month that God has gifted us with, and it fills me with thankfulness toward Him!


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 the Tabernacle.  The biblical account can be found in Exodus chapters 25-27.  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.


One easy visual you can make for your kids as you go through this story involves taking 9 sheets of blank paper and accordion style folding them all.  Stand them up in the shape of a rectangle, 1 sheet wide and 3 sheets long.  Place the remaining sheet inside the rectangle to make a square shaped room at one end.  Talk to your kids about how there were 2 rooms inside the tabernacle.  The larger one was called the Holy Place, and the smaller room was called the Most Holy Place.  Ask them where they think God lived?  That's right, in the Most Holy Place!


An interesting comparison you can draw is the difference between worship at the tabernacle in OT times and worship now at our church.  Have your kids make a list of the things they remember that the priest had to do in order to go into the Most Holy Place to worship God.  Some examples: he had to have a bath, he had to dress in special clothes and a turban, he had to kill a bull as a sin offering for himself, he had to get 2 goats as sacrifices, one to be killed and one to send into the wilderness, etc.  After you've made your list, ask your kids if they can think of any differences between that worship and the way we worship God by coming into His house (church) on Sunday?  What makes our worship so different?  We don't have to offer sacrifices, because Jesus has already been our sacrifice, when He died on the cross, so we can now come freely to God and praise Him!


For this activity, you will need a Bible and an old sheet or blanket with a small slit cut in the middle, to make it easier to rip later on.  (Note, if you don't have a sheet or blanket you are willing to rip up, you could use a piece of construction paper).  Open the Bible up to Exodus 25 and place it on a table with the sheet over the top of it.  Ask your child to go to the Bible and read Exodus 25:10 to you.  They may reach out to try to move the sheet, but stop them and tell them they may not touch the sheet!  Explain that the Bible is God's holy word, and you want them to read it, but only you may touch the sheet.  Work out a deal with them, where you will read Exodus 25:10 and tell them what it says, so that they can then tell it back to you.  In the tabernacle, the priest was allowed to go in to God and come tell the people what God said, but the people were not allowed to come into God's presence.  But now, God has made a way for everyone to come to Him and pray to Him.  When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in two.  Rip the sheet apart, then toss it aside.  Now anyone who trusts in Jesus can approach the throne of grace and speak to God!


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, there’s the idea that God lives among His people.  God first lived with man in Eden.  He lived with Israel in the tabernacle.  Later, God was present among us when Jesus came to earth.  Today, God dwells within Christians by the Holy Spirit.  Finally, God will be with us in heaven where we will see Him face to face.  Secondly, it’s good to point out that God gave specific instructions about how to build the tabernacle.  He told Moses where to get the materials, and how to make each individual piece.  God is a God of detail.  He doesn't mess things up.  There are many parts to the tabernacle that point to Jesus and His plan of salvation for us.  Even parts that point to the New Heaven and the New Earth.  God knows exactly what He is doing.  Finally, help them understand that the curtain is gone now.  In the tabernacle, there was a large, thick curtain that separated God's Most Holy Place from the rest of the tabernacle.  This was to protect the Israelites, because sinful man cannot be in God's presence without dying.  But it also meant there was always a barrier between God and His people.  That barrier is sin.  When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matt 27:50-51).  That's because Jesus came to forgive sins, to remove that barrier, so that all who believe in Him may now approach the throne of grace, can now be near God, without fear of death!!


Our Sword Bible Memory Verse for September comes from Exodus 20.   For preschoolers, they are learning Exodus 20:12.  For K-2nd grade, they are learning Exodus 20:12-16 (which sounds like more than it is).  And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Exodus 20:10-17.  To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #9.  


The New City Catechism question for this week is question #7 - “What does the law of God require?”  Answer - “That we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves.”  The biblical account for this lesson can be found in Matthew 22:34-40.  The weekly memory verse for this age group is Matthew 22:37-40.

To introduce this question, ask your children what they think life would be like if there were no rules.  This might be a scary prospect for them, or they might think of how “fun” it would be!  Let them carry on their own train of thought for a minute or two, then give them some examples: what if nobody ever stopped at red lights?  What if people could hurt each other and have no consequences?  We need rules and laws to help us live rightly together.  As an example of this, pull out your child’s favorite board game, and tell them you are going to play with them, but this time you play, there is only one rule: that there are no rules!  Play the game, breaking as many rules of the original game as you feel you can do without overly frustrating your child.  Let them see that without rules, the game is not as much fun.  Rules help us have fun and take turns.


In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus sums up the law into 2 basic rules: love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Give your child a heart shape cut out of construction paper.  Have them write “Upward Love” on one side, and “Sideways Love” on the other.  Allow them some time to brainstorm ideas for how they can show love to God (Upward Love) and to those around them (Sideways Love).  They can write their ideas on the appropriate side of the heart.  Talk about it with them as they finish up.


There is also a resource you can use that comes with this lesson.  You can find it by clicking here.  Since one great way to show love is by showing gratitude, have them write a tweet of gratitude to God for all the things He has done for us, what He has given us, and who He is.  Remember, no more than 140 characters!  When they’re finished with that, have them write another tweet of gratitude to another person.


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: (This pinterest collection has many pictures and diagrams of what the Tabernacle might have looked like.) (This blog post journeys a family working to make a model of the Tabernacle, based on the biblical description.  It has lots of pictures as well.  You can make one yourselves, based off of her description, or just enjoy seeing it being built.) (A song about loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength)