Ordinary Time: November 19

GP I: Ark and Temple

Passage: O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth- you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 2 Chronicles 6:14

Summary: This week’s lesson continues to address the presence of God with the Israelites. Our focus is on the building of the temple as a dwelling place for God. Remember, last week’s important phrase was, “God made a way for the people to come near.” You kids will build upon that idea with questions about God’s special presence in the temple as well as that his presence cannot be contained in one place. How’s that for something to wrestle with?!

Wondering: I wonder what you remember from the temple? I wonder what King Solomon meant when he said God was too big to be contained in one place? I wonder where God lives now?

Additional Follow-Up: Look up pictures of the temple (then and now). You can explain to your children that it was destroyed, rebuilt, then destroyed again so now all we have are ruins of the temple. Jesus talks about himself as the temple. I wonder what he means?

GP II: Story of Elijah

Passage: Answer me, Oh Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. Kings 18:37

Summary: This week we hear the story of Elijah. Elijah challenged the kings of Israel for their idolatry and immorality. He encountered prophets of the idol, Baal, and advised the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel to repent. He was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind! You can find his account in I and II Kings.

Something interesting to note is that all of our prophet stories begin with something like this: “A prophet is a person chosen by God to take a message to His people. Sometimes people do not like hearing what the prophet has to say.  They become angry at the prophet. It is not easy being a prophet.”

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Elijah? I wonder why he ran to a cave after defeating the prophets of Baal? I wonder what God wanted the people to hear from Elijah? I wonder if we left out part of the story if we’d have all we needed?

Family Follow-Up: A great resource for you parents is from Richard Pratt’s study of Prophets. Look HERE and HERE for a study guide and set of videos about the prophets. Points Pratt makes about prophets during the time of the Israelite monarchy are that God sent prophets to the kings of Israel to make sure they were obedient to the law of Moses. The prophets were witnesses against the disobedience of kings and those who followed them.

This would be an interesting follow-up with your child after the lesson. Over the week read the account of Elijah from I and II Kings together. Then ask questions like, “I wonder how Ahab and Jezebel were disobeying God?”, “I wonder what was it like for Elijah to tell the truth to people who were not obeying God?” or “I wonder why it was so important that Elijah warn Ahab about his disobedience?” Hopefully questions like that could provide areas of exploration for your children when they encounter stories about prophets.

GP III: The Prophets
Passage: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Micah 5:2

Summary: This lesson is an overview of some of the Old Testament prophets. Here is a part of what your children will hear…”Sometimes the people of God forget who they are. They hide from God, and pretend God isn’t there. Sometimes they even worship other gods. There are also people God spoke to. These people are called prophets. They tell people what God wants His people to know.”

Wondering: I wonder what is important about the prophets? I wonder what it was like to give messages to God’s people? I wonder why the people of God did not always stay close to God? I wonder what God wanted His people to know?

Family Follow-Up: Did you get a prophet flashcard game last year? Want one? You can use it to help with identifying which prophets said what. Your child may not have heard all of the stories yet, but it’s fine to go ahead and begin to learn about them! They’ll get those stories as they go through Godly Play over the next few years.

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Ordinary Time: November 12th

GP I: Ark and Tent

Memory Verse: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

Summary: This week’s lesson focuses on the presence of God with the Israelites. God would not leave His people as they wandered nor as they entered the Promise Land, even when they doubted and sinned. But how will He make his presence known? The Israelites were afraid to approach him at Mt. Sinai, but He is also too holy to be addressed in an ordinary way. Your children will discuss the way God commanded Moses and the Israelites to set up the tabernacle in order to have His presence. An important phrase repeated in this lesson is, “God made a way for the people to come near.”

I Wonder…:  I wonder how we are near to God? I wonder how we know? I wonder how God makes a way for his people to come near? I wonder how He makes a way for us to come close to Him?

Additional Follow-up: See if your child can remember the parts of the tent. Light some incense (or a candle) and wonder what it smelled like in the tent.

GP II: Story of David

Memory Verse: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Summary: This week’s lesson gives an overview of the story of David. It begins with David as a shepherd and continues through his life, highlighting some parts of his story such as the battle with Goliath and murder of Uriah. One theme presented to the children is that though David was not a perfect king, he was repentant and asked for God’s forgiveness. And God was always faithful to forgive him.

I wonder…: I wonder what it was like to be the king of Israel? I wonder what it means to be a man after God’s own heart? I wonder what part of the story you remember most?

Additional Follow-Up: This week’s lesson covers a lot of ground. You might enjoy re-reading the parts of David’s story that are most interesting to your child. You can find David’s stories in 1 Samuel 16-31, 2 Samuel 7 1 Kings 1-2. Our memory verse is from Psalm 51, which was written by David after his affair with Bathsheba. If your child is reading, you can help him/ her look through the bible to find which Psalms were written by David.

Godly Play II: The Story of Ruth

Passage: Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer! Ruth 4:14a

Summary: This week’s lesson is the story of Ruth. When Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, are widowed and left to starve, God reveals how He is at work on behalf of His people. This story is much less about a romantic encounter nestled in between rocky times of the judges, and much more about the welcoming of a courageous Moabite woman into the family of God.

I wonder…: I wonder what Naomi and Ruth thought would happen to them? I wonder how they felt about going back home? I wonder what Ruth thought when she decided to take care of her mother-in-law? I wonder what she meant when she said “your God will be my God.” I wonder what the most important part of the story is?

Additional Follow-Up: This week’s lesson is quite short. It might be a good time to read the story of Ruth together at home. Another idea for home is to talk about what it means to be a widow or to be unable to have children today (both here and around the world).

Ordinary Time: November 5th

Godly Play I: Ten Best Ways

Verse: Walk in all the ways that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33

Summary:  Last week, your child heard the story about the Exodus. This week, we will turn our attention to the part of our story in which the Ten Commandments are given to the Israelites. The story sets up with this line, “Now that the people are free, they can go anywhere they want to go and do anything they want to do. Where will they go now? What is the best way?” You can read the story at home in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:1-21.

Wondering: I wonder why God gave the people the Ten Commandments? I wonder why we called them the 10 best ways tonight? I wonder what the most important commandment is? Which ones do you remember? I wonder which one is the hardest to keep for you? I wonder what happens if we don’t choose the best ways?

Family Follow-up: Do you think you can memorize the ten commandments together? They’re big concepts for adults, let alone 3 and 4 year olds! What does it mean to value life? To not want what other have? I wouldn’t expect too much discussion about these, but you can still try to wonder together about them. Memorizing is also good for now. For adults, Matt Clegg recommended this book as a good reference for you as you think through the commandments and life as a Christian!

Godly Play II: Story of Samuel

Memory VerseFor the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b

Summary: This week’s story is about Samuel. It will give a brief overview of his life as a priest, prophet and judge. It will also help link the worship of God from the tent to the temple. We will also hear briefly about the institution of kings in Israel with Saul and David.

I Wonder…: I wonder why the Bible tells us that Hannah brought a coat to Samuel every year? I wonder what you liked most about this story? I wonder what is most important?

Additional Follow-up: Talk about (and memorize) the bible verse. What does it mean for God to see beyond what’s on the outside? What is important to God?

Godly Play III: Holy Family

Verse: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

Summary: This story draws attention to the focal story of our room- the Holy Family. It is literally in the middle of our focal shelves and seen behind the story teller each week as a new story is told. Christ’s incarnation changes everything for us. He is the story all of the other stories are about. We will name those present at His birth and talk briefly about His death and resurrection.

Wondering: I wonder which part of the story you like best? I wonder which is most important? I wonder what this story has to do with you?

Family Follow-up: Read Colossians 1:15-20 with your children one night before bed. It is about the supremacy of Christ. Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant in the story. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture freely as they explore the story.

 

Ordinary Time: October 29th

Godly Play I: The Exodus

Memory VerseFor the Lord is a mighty God, a mighty king over all the gods. Psalm 95:3

Summary: This week children will go to the desert box to learn the story of the Passover and Exodus. The Israelites are spared from losing their firstborn sons because of the blood of the Passover Lamb. They are then advised to be ready– to not even let their bread rise– because the Lord is going to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. As they pass safely through the waters with Pharaoh at their backs, they rejoice in the Lord’s deliverance and will remember it through the Passover Meal in the days to come. You can find the story in Exodus 11-15:21.

I Wonder…: I wonder why the God’s people had to be ready? I wonder how Moses felt when he talked to Pharoah? I wonder what it was like to walk between the water on dry sand?

Additional Follow-up: Make Matzo (or buy it at the store) and a loaf of simple bread at home. Talk about the differences and about how yeast makes bread rise. Which is flat? Which bread is puffy? Talk about why God told the Israelites to leave out the leaven. I wonder why that was important? How do you wait as the dough rises? Another idea is to try and separate water with your hands in the sink. Talk about how God held back the waters for the Israelites to pass through.

Godly Play II: The Ark and the Tent

Memory Verse: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

Summary: This week’s lesson focuses on the presence of God with the Israelites. God would not leave His people as they wandered nor as they entered the Promise Land, even when they doubted and sinned. But how will He make his presence known? The Israelites were afraid to approach him at Mt. Sinai, but He is also too holy to be addressed in an ordinary way. Your children will discuss the way God commanded Moses and the Israelites to set up the tabernacle in order to have His presence. An important phrase repeated in this lesson is, “God made a way for the people to come near.”

I Wonder…:  I wonder why God decided to use a tent to be present with his people? I wonder what is different between us and the Israelites? I wonder how God makes a way for the people to come near? I wonder how He makes a way for us to come close to Him?

Additional Follow-up: See if your child can remember the parts of the tent. Light some incense (or a candle) and wonder what it smelled like in the tent.

Reflect upon the ways people of God have experienced his presence throughout Scripture (the Israelites in the desert, when Jesus walked the earth, arrival of the Holy Spirit, etc). Read Acts 17: 24-28. How does God make a way to for you to come near? How are you near him?

Godly Play III: Work Day

Verse: Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your eyes, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Summary: Today is a lesson completely devoted to encountering God through the story sets and art supplies. The storyteller will open the story circle by helping the children reflect upon and wonder over the stories they’ve heard in Godly Play. Children will then be given the opportunity to choose either a story set or art materials to work with. Since children integrate their experience and knowledge with hands-on play, this will be a time for them to connect with God and His Word. Sometimes children need to come back to the same story on multiple occasions to receive the life it has to offer…not unlike us adults! This time gives them an intentional space to do so. See more HERE about work in Godly Play

Wondering: I wonder what story you picked to work with? I wonder what you like about it? I wonder which story you think of most often?

Family Follow-up: Ask your child to identify a story they like to work with (or maybe one they think of often). Show them where it is in the bible (and how to look it up!).

Ordinary Time: October 22nd

Godly Play I: The Great Family

Verse: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17

Summary: This week your child will finally be introduced to a piece of the desert! Several lessons are given using our desert box, as it is an important setting in Scripture. Today they will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, God’s promise to Abraham (also known as the Abrahamic Covenant), and Isaac & Rebekah. You can find this in Genesis 12-15 & 24.

Wondering: I wonder what God meant when he said there would be as many descendants as stars in the sky?  I wonder what Sarah thought when she learned they were going to have a baby? I wonder who else is in the Great Family?

Family Follow-up: Go outside and try to count the stars. Pick up a spoonful of dirt (or sand if you have it!) and try to count the granules. That’s a lot of family members…

Godly Play II: The Story of Moses

Memory VerseI am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Exodus 20:2

Summary: Once more, we are going from the big overview of the Exodus and zooming in to learn more particulars about the life of Moses. This lesson walks through his life starting in Exodus 1:8, and ends with his death in Deuteronomy 34:8. He is the baby saved from slaughter and rescued from the Nile by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He is the man who God chooses to lead the Israelites out of slavery. This story will enrich what the children have learned from past stories (such as The Exodus) as well as prepare them for upcoming stories (such as The Ten Best Ways).

I Wonder…: I wonder what Moses thought when he saw a bush on fire without burning up? I wonder how Moses was able to overcome his fear? I wonder what this story has to do with us?

Additional Follow-up:  Recreate a scene from Moses’ story at home. Have your children put together pieces to represent his story and tell it to you! They can act it out or use toys/ objects to tell it to you! What seems to catch their attention?

Godly Play III: Knowing Jesus in a New Way VII

Verse: Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. Acts 2:38-39

Summary: Today we finish our new story set that walks us through the days between Jesus’ resurrection to Pentecost. It’s called Knowing Jesus in a New Way. The lesson will briefly review the last six weeks then focus on the arrival of Holy Spirit at Pentecost. You can find it in Acts 2.

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to hear the rushing wind and people speaking other languages they had not been taught? I wonder why people thought they were drunk? I wonder why Pentecost is represented by red?

Family Follow-up: How was the Holy Spirit’s arrival different from other times we’ve seen it in Scripture? (One example of that could be Jesus’ baptism.) This was a different way of knowing God/ having God’s presence. Ask your child what they think it means that Holy Spirit lives in believers? The Bible Project has yet another fantastic video about it!

Ordinary Time: October 15th

Godly Play I: The Flood

Verse: He is the maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:6

Summary: This lesson comes from Genesis 6:5-9:16. It is about God’s covenant with mankind to preserve the world so that people can continue spreading out into the earth. It is a reminder that God is the one who sustains our world (and renews it, ultimately in Christ). As one author wrote, “Every change of season and every sunrise and sunset is proof positive that the Lord never breaks his promises.” He is faithful.

Wondering: I wonder which animals are the most interesting on the ark? I wonder what it was like to be on an ark for so long? I wonder what Noah’s ark looked like? I wonder what God meant when He promised to never destroy the earth again? I wonder where all of that water went?

Family Follow-up: Listen to THIS SONG. Create a boat out of paper or a stick. Talk about ways you see God’s faithfulness through nature.

Godly Play II: The Exodus

Memory VerseI am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Exodus 20:2

Summary: This week children will go to the desert box to learn the story of the Passover and Exodus. The Israelites are spared from losing their firstborn sons because of the blood of the Passover Lamb. They are then advised to be ready– to not even let their bread rise– because the Lord is going to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. As they pass safely through the waters with Pharaoh at their backs, they rejoice in the Lord’s deliverance and will remember it through the Passover Meal in the days to come. You can find the story in Exodus 11-15:21.

I Wonder…: I wonder why the God’s people had to be ready? I wonder how Moses felt when he talked to Pharoah? I wonder what it was like to walk between the water on dry sand?

Additional Follow-up: Read Exodus 15:1-18. What was the amazing thing God did? What happened once the Israelites passed through the Red Sea?

Godly Play III: Knowing Jesus in a New Way VI

Verse: But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

Summary: Today we continue in our new story set that walks us through the days between Jesus’ resurrection to Pentecost. It’s called Knowing Jesus in a New Way. The lesson will briefly review the last five weeks then focus on Jesus’ blessing of his disciples and his ascension. It is about knowing Jesus as they awaited the Holy Spirit. You can find it in Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9-12.

Wondering: I wonder where Jesus went? I wonder where he is now? I wonder how the disciples felt when Jesus was gone? I wonder what it was like to wait for the Holy Spirit. I wonder how they picked Matthias to replace Judas?

Family Follow-up: Look up and read the passages listed in the summary together and use the wondering questions. Talk about waiting. I wonder if you’ve ever had to wait for someone or something?

Ordinary Time: Sunday, October 8th

Godly Play I: Falling Apart

Verse: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Summary: This is the story of how everything fell apart in the garden. Your children will hear about how Adam and Eve sinned, realized that everything was different because of sin and were banished from Eden. You can also find this account in Genesis 2:4-3:24.

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be in the wonderful garden? I wonder what Adam and Eve thought about the serpent? I wonder what Adam and Eve felt when they hid from God? I wonder what Adam and Eve thought would bring them back to a new garden?

Family Follow-up: For Family: Read this story from the bible together. Consider together: What is sin? What are impacts of sin? Who sins? What sets us free from sin?

Sin is a big concept for us adults, let alone your concrete thinking 3 and 4-year-olds! Think of this as an ongoing conversation. They are catching more than you think! A child in this age bracket is able to understand that sin is a bad thing and that it keeps us from having what God intended. Look to give snippets of truth that they can mull over and build upon.

Godly Play II: Story of Sarah

Memory VerseFor the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4

Summary: This week’s story is about Sarah. They have already learned about her in the story of God’s Great Family, but we will zoom in a little to learn more about how God’s promise to build his people plays out in her life in particular. This story contains disbelief, pain, sorrow, anger, jealousy, sin, hope, disappointment and more! Though it seems against all odds, God makes good on His promise to Sarah AND his people. You can find this account in Genesis 12:24- 25:11.

I Wonder…: how Sarah would be the mother of a child when she was so old? how God decided to wait until then? what is something in your life that is hard to believe?

Additional Follow-up: Thinking about old age is a hard concept for children. It seems very far away! Sarah was like an old grandmother when she became pregnant. That’s hard to imagine…it was even hard for her! This is a good story for talking about how believers throughout history have struggled to believe and trust God, but that He has always been faithful to them. This is a silly suggestion, but have you seen an aging app for phone? What if you used it with your child? It would be funny and it would also provide some fodder for conversation about growing old.

Godly Play III: Knowing Jesus in a New Way V

Verse: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28: 19-20

Summary: Today we continue in our new story set that walks us through the days between Jesus’ resurrection to Pentecost. It’s called Knowing Jesus in a New Way. The lesson will briefly review the last four weeks then focus on Jesus’ commission to the disciples in Galilee. Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples across the world. He encouraged them by reminding them that he would always be with them in this endeavor. You can find it in Matthew 28:16-20 and Mark 16:15-18.

Wondering: I wonder what Jesus meant when he said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him? I wonder how the disciples felt when they heard Jesus tell them it was time for them to go make disciples? I wonder what they needed to tell people?

Family Follow-up: What does it mean to make disciples? Or to be one? How does Jesus’ presence make a difference in that? Read Acts 2: 42-47 to get an idea of how the early church began “making disciples”. The bible project has a great overview of what happens post the great commission.