Family Resources - September 6
Happy Labor Day weekend coming up! I hope this rest from work blesses your family and refreshes your soul, as well as strengthening you for the upcoming work week.
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 when God Gives Moses the Ten Commandments. The biblical account for this story can be found in Exodus 19:1 - 20:24 (although if your kids are younger, you can just read the part from chapter 20, as that’s where the actual Commandments are). 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.
Play a game of Simon Says, only make it Moses Says. You can add things from previous Bible lessons, such as "Moses says pretend you are stomping mud with your feet to make bricks" or "Moses says pick up some manna". Use this to teach your kids about what the word commandment means, and what a commandment is.
One way to get your kids thinking about why God's commandments are so important is to choose one and ask your kids to imagine what would happen if nobody obeyed that rule. For example, what if nobody obeyed the rule, "Do not steal"? Or what if nobody obeyed the rule, "Do not lie"? Help them to see that God's commandments are for our good, to help us and protect us, and to show us who God is, a God who doesn't steal or lie or sin, ever.
For this next activity, you will need some masking tape and a tennis ball. Place 2 parallel lines of masking tape on the floor, about 3 inches from each other, to form a path. Just past where the lines stop, use the masking tape to make a small X. Have your kids take turns rolling the tennis ball so that it goes between the masking tape lines and lands perfectly on the X. You can allow them to have a few tries at this, but let them know when it's not working: it went outside lines, it went too far past the X, it didn't go far enough, etc. If one of your kids does manage to make the goal, congratulate them on their effort, then tell them they need to do it 10 more times in a row! Obviously, they can't. This lesson is to help us see that we can't keep God's law perfectly. We try and try, but we keep going outside the lines and sinning. Even if we get through a whole day without sinning, another day comes, and we can't do it over and over without going outside the lines. There is only One who has been able to do that, to land perfectly each and every time, and never broken God's law. Jesus is worthy of our praise!
Give your child a cup with about an inch of water in it, and a plastic straw. Tell them you are going to time them to see how quickly they can suck up the water through the straw. Congratulate them on their speed after they've finished! Now tell them that the straw represents the lives of Adam and Eve, before they sinned. After they sinned, all of us are also born into sin, meaning we cannot keep the law of God perfectly. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the middle of their straw. Refill the cups and challenge them to try to drink the water quickly again. With just one hole in the straw, it no longer works. Even one sin is enough to separate us from God. But that's where Jesus comes in! Give your child a piece of electrical tape (if you have red electrical tape, that would be best, to represent Jesus' blood, but if not, any color will do). Use the tape to completely cover the hole. Jesus' blood completely covers our sin, making us whole again before God. Now drink up the water. The straws work again!
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 important to note that God gives the law to the people. These Ten Commandments are the most famous part of God's law, but if you read through the rest of Exodus, then into Leviticus, you'll see that there is much that God wanted to say to the people, commandments that would give them life if obeyed, that would protect them, and that would set them apart as holy. The trouble is, the Israelites didn't keep the law of God very well. Neither do we. But that doesn't mean we throw it out. These laws are still good for us to read about, good for us to know, because they continually turn our hearts back to God, His character, our own sins and need for Him, and His mercy towards us. Which leads us to our next point, that God is holy. When the people came to Mt Sinai, God told Moses to warn the people. He was going to come closer to them, in His power and might, but they must not touch the mountain. When He came closer, although He still wasn't close enough for them to see His face, His awesome power was so terrifying to the people, that they feared the Lord as they should. God is mighty, and powerful, and awesome, and holy, and righteous!
Since we are in a new month, we have a new Sword Bible Memory Verse. Our September verse comes from Exodus 20 as well, but are the later commandments. 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 #6 - “How can we glorify God?” Answer - “By loving Him and by obeying His commands and law”. The biblical account for this lesson comes from Deuteronomy 11:1-13. The weekly memory verse for this age group is Deuteronomy 11:1.
To introduce the concept of giving glory, ask your child to talk to you about their favorite sports team, why they like them, and why they are so great. If your child is not a sports fan, maybe they could tell you about their favorite actor/actress and their favorite tv show. As they become excited and animated, they are giving glory to that sports team/entertainer. How do they see other people give glory? At a sports game, people cheer and sing songs and yell in support. At the movies, people clap their hands, and come out talking about their favorite part. The more we think about how good something is, the more we want to cheer for it, tell others about how great it was, and love that thing. This is the same as how we want to give glory to God. The more we think about His goodness, the more we want to praise Him, tell others about His greatness, and love Him!
Read through the following verses in Psalms with your child:
Psalm 63:3 - Psalm 134:2 - Psalm 95:6 - Psalm 34:8
Talk with your child about what they are hearing from each verse, what it is teaching them about giving glory to God. Note that each verse refers to something they do with their bodies. When we give glory to God, it’s with our lips, with our hearts, and with our bodies, too.
Since one way we give glory to God is by obeying Him, use the following activity to encourage obedience and trust. Give your child a couple slips of paper and a pencil. Have them think of a situation that worries them. The Bible tells us to bring our worries to God and to trust Him. As they think of things, have them write them on the slips of paper, then fold them up. They can bring the slips to you when they’re done, and you can put them in a jar/cup. Help them to see that now you have them, and they do not. When we give our worries to God, He takes them, and we no longer have them. That’s what it means to trust in God, and it brings Him lots of glory. Pray together over the worries, giving them to the Lord.
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/2MPgN6d - (A fun art project to reinforce the 10 commandments)
https://www.christianitycove.com/rice-krispies-ten-commandment-tablets-0130/1144/ (A 10 commandments snack you can make with your children)
https://youtu.be/MkI-UTQD2-c (The song, “Glorify” by Jordan Feliz, about giving glory to God)