This Sunday: November 1

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jesus Story Book Bible’s The Beginning

  • Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
  • Summary: This week we are starting an 8-week break from our Beulah Land Curriculum to utilize the Jesus StoryBook Bible (JSB). Children will hear the story of Creation read through once, then will act out the story as the storyteller reads the account through a second time!
  • I Wonder… : what part of this story you like best? which part is most important?
  • At home: You might not have felt figures at home, but the chances are high that you have a JSB! You can continue this lesson at home. Find this account in the JSB pp. 18-26. Re-read it at home. OR read it from another bible. Draw pictures of your child’s favorite part of creation.

Godly Play I: The Ten Best Ways

  • Memory 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, we heard about the Exodus. This week we will turn our attention to when the Ten Commandments are given to the Israelites. The story begins 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.
  • I wonder…: why God gave the 10 Commandments? which is the most important? which is the hardest to follow? what happens when we don’t follow the best ways?
  • Other followup: The Ten Commandments raise some big concepts for little kids! What does it mean to break a marriage? Honor your parents? Keep the Sabbath holy? What happens when you don’t obey them? They’re big concepts for us adults, too! We are all constantly learning what it means to do these things in general and in particular. This is great fodder for conversation with your kids! Maybe pick a mealtime this week to eat together and talk about it as a family. Where do you see Jesus in the 10 Commandments? What about grace?

Godly Play II: The Great Family

  • Memory 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 be reacquainted with the “desert box”. Several lessons are given through this medium, as it is an important setting in Scripture. They will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, the promise of God to Abraham (known as the Abrahamic Covenant in Reformed Theology), and Isaac & Rebekah. You can find this in Genesis 12-15, 24. One major theme repeated is the idea of the “great family” of God that includes Abraham, Jesus, you, and as many people as grains of sand in the desert.
  • I Wonder…: what God meant when he said there would be as many descendants as stars in the sky? who else is in the Great Family? what it was like Sarah and Abraham thought and felt when they learned they were going to have a baby when they were very old?
  • Additional Follow-up: Go outside and try to count the stars. Scoop up a handful of dirt and try to count the granules. Make a family tree. Can you trace the Christians in your family? Are you the first ones?

This Sunday: October 25th

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jerusalem

  • Memory Verse: By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. Psalm 137:1
  • Summary: This week’s story is a combination of Psalms and Prophets. It is about “the beauty of Jerusalem” and “the terrible shock” of its destruction because of the Israelites’ disobedience. This is the account of the people of God becoming exiled. It is filled with wonder over who will save this group of people and made everything right again.
  • I Wonder… : why the people grew lazy and careless and stopped following God’s laws? what it was like to see the temple destroyed? what the people missed most about the Promised Land after they had to leave it? if this story reminds you of any other? if this story will have a happy ending?
  • Wondering for Parents: The lesson draws from 1 Kings 11-12, 2 Kings 24-25, Psalm 137, Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 40. If you explore this lesson at home with your kids, consider this quote from Gretchen Wolff Pritchard, “… Scripture is a continuing pattern of exile and return, of loss, hope, and restoration, of new life out of renunciation and death.” Where do you see this pattern in Scripture? What about in your life? 

Godly Play I: The Exodus

  • Memory Verse: In the days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’, say to him, ‘With a mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Exodus 13:14
  • Summary: This week, your children go back to the desert box to learn the story of the Passover and Exodus. You can find the story in Exodus 11-15:21. 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.
  • Home Follow-up: Make matzo (unleavened bread) at home! You can also buy it at the store. Talk about why the Israelites did not let their bread rise. Why did God want them to be ready? What were they ready for? Wonder together what it felt like to be summoned quickly in the night and to cross the red sea. Dance like the Israelites danced when they arrived safely on the other side of the sea.
  • Wondering For Parents: What parallels do you see between this and the story of Christ? Consider especially the parallels between the Passover Meal and Communion. What is it we are remembering? How does the Exodus and Passover prepare us for Jesus? What does this story have to do with the entirety of Scripture? What about your family? Do you see this as your history?

Godly Play II: The Flood

  • Memory Verse: Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Genesis 9:16
  • Summary: Though often portrayed in soft colors on nursery walls, the story of Noah and the Ark is quite terrifying! Because of the horror of sin, God destroys the earth and everyone in it (except for Noah, his family and 2 of every kind of animal) with massive amounts of water. Through this re-creation event, God establishes a covenant with all living creatures that ensures He will not destroy life with the flood again.
  • I Wonder…: what it was like for Noah to build the boat? what it was like to be on the ark for so long? what God meant when He said He would not let floods destroy the earth again? what this story has to do with you?
  • Additional Follow-up: It took Noah about 120 years to build the ark AND he was 600 when the flood occurred. Look up what scholars suggest the ark may have looked like. Build your own ark!
  • Wondering for Parents: What do you think theologians mean when they say the Flood is a “re-creation” event? What parallels do you see between the creation and flood account?

This Sunday: October 18

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Jonah
Memory Verse: I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” Jonah 2:9b
Summary: What a strange book this is! We have Jonah, a reluctant prophet, who is angry that God wants to extend grace to Israel’s enemies. When he refuses to share a message from God, Jonah is swallowed by a huge sea animal. He is left in the belly of the whale for three days to decide how he will respond to God’s judgment. When he is finally willing to take God’s message to Nineveh, the people repent. Rather than rejoicing, Jonah becomes angry and receives another experience in the hot desert sun to understand why God showed Nineveh mercy.
I Wonder… : what it is like to not want to do what God asks you to do? what it is like to run away from God? what it is like to be in the belly of a whale? if this story reminds you of any other stories?
Additional Follow-up: Play with water! Pretend to be swallowed by a whale. 

Godly Play I: The Great Family
Memory 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 is introduced to the “desert box”. Several lessons are given through this medium, as it is an important setting in Scripture. They will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, the promise of God to Abraham (known as the Abrahamic Covenant in Reformed Theology), and Isaac & Rebekah. You can find this in Genesis 12-15, 24. One major theme repeated is the idea of the “great family” of God that includes Abraham, Jesus, you, and as many people as grains of sand in the desert.
I Wonder…: what God meant when he told Abraham he would have as many descendants as stars in the sky? who all is in the Great Family? what is is like to think you will never have what you hoped for? to receive something you hoped for?
Additional Follow-up: Go outside and try and count the stars. Or get a handful of sand and try to count the individual grains. Make a family tree. Are there other Christians in your family? Are you the first set of believers?

Godly Play II: Falling Apart
Memory Verse: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15
Summary: Today your children will hear the story of the Fall of Man. Adam and Eve are in a garden where they enjoy God’s presence and his good gifts. But when they listen to the accuser and disobey God, everything falls apart. Find this story in Genesis 2-3.
I Wonder…: what made Adam and Eve want to eat the fruit God told them not to eat? what was most sad about everything falling apart? what part of the story is about you? what part is about God?

This Sunday: October 11

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Daniel
Memory Verse: Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries! Daniel 2:47a
Summary: Today’s story is one of a God who is present with his people, even while they are in exile surrounded by false gods and arrogant kings. Shadrach, Meshach, Adebnego and Daniel live far from their land and people, yet they remain faithful to God. When their loyalty to God is questioned, they are sent to fiery and ravenous trials. Through them, our one true God reveals His power to deliver and rule. Surely He is the God of gods and Lord of kings!
I Wonder… : why Daniel and his friends would not bow down to the idol or the king? what made Daniel and his friends so brave? how Daniel came out of the lion’s den without a scratch? what it was like to be far away from home?
Additional Follow-up: Yep. I’m encouraging you to act out the story with your kids again! You can read the story while the kids act out the motions. Google images of lions and fire. Talk about how hot fire is or how powerful lions are! Marvel together over the even great power of God who rescued Daniel and his friends. Draw pictures of the event.

Godly Play I: The Flood
Memory Verse: Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Genesis 9:16
Summary: Though often portrayed in soft colors on nursery walls, the story of Noah and the Ark is quite terrifying! Because of the horror of sin, God destroys the earth and everyone in it (except for Noah, his family and 2 of every kind of animal) with massive amounts of water. Through this re-creation event, God establishes a covenant with all living creatures that ensures He will not destroy life with the flood again.
I Wonder…: what it was like for Noah to build the boat? what it was like to be on the ark for so long? what God meant when He said He would not let floods destroy the earth again? what this story has to do with you?
Additional Follow-up: It took Noah about 120 years to build the ark AND he was 600 when the flood occurred. Look up what scholars suggest the ark may have looked like. Build your own ark!
Parents: What do you think theologians mean when they say the Flood is a “re-creation” event? What parallels do you see between the creation and flood account?

Godly Play II: Creation
Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Summary: Today’s story is about the creation. It is how we begin to trace the presence of God in our history. At the end of each day, we are reminded that God declared His creation “good”, and His human creations “very good”. You can find the story in Genesis 1:1-2:3
I Wonder…: what you like that God made? if there is something you don’t like in God’s creation? what God is most proud of creating? what we can know about the Creator by His creation?
Additional Follow-up: Go for a nature walk and point out trees or water. Ask what day God made those. Give a prayer of thanksgiving for those things.

This Sunday: October 4

Here are the stories for this week. Each segment will include a summary, some follow-up wondering questions for home, a memory verse if you’d like to work on memorizing those and occasional ideas to further the study through the week as a family.

Several of the suggestions are from the curricula’s parent pages. Click Here to order some for your own use at home!

Beulah Land: Esther
Memory Verse: Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. Jeremiah 20:13
Summary: All of these Old Testament stories cover big themes, Esther included. During this lesson, children will learn that the Israelites were taken into exile and nearly extinct…that is until the Lord uses two of His people in an exciting rescue. This is a story one that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
I Wonder… : why Mordecai would not bow down to Haman? why the king listened to Haman’s plan to kill the Jews? how Esther came to be so brave? if this story reminds you of any other stories?
Additional Follow-up: Yep. I’m encouraging you to act out the story with your kids again. You can read the story while they kids do the motions. Who can be Haman or Mordecai? Have a Purim party. Purim is a holiday that Jewish people continue to celebrate. People often dress up as characters and role-play the story. When Haman walks out, people boo and hiss. Make and eat Hamantaschen.
Bonus:
 Esther takes place while the Israelites are in exile. They are far from home- the place where they worshiped God. Did they wonder if God was with them? While God is never mentioned in Esther, we see His providence and provision through the unfolding events of this book. I wonder if there are times in your life where God seems far away and silent? I wonder if events in your life have unfolded in such a way that they reveal the presence of God? I wonder if you see God’s presence in the lives of your children?

Godly Play I: Creation
Memory Verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Summary: Today’s story is about the creation. It is how we begin to trace the presence of God in our history. At the end of each day, we are reminded that God declared His creation “good”, and His human creations “very good”. You can find the story in Genesis 1:1-2:3
I Wonder…: what you like that God made? if there is something you don’t like in God’s creation? what God is most proud of creating? what we can know about the Creator by His creation?
Additional Follow-up: Go for a nature walk and point out trees or water. Ask what day God made those. Give a prayer of thanksgiving for those things.

Godly Play II: The Holy Family
Memory Verse: For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Summary: The Holy Family is a story that the Godly Play Curriculum advises to use at the start of every liturgical season or story type change throughout the year. The story is a simple description of the nativity scene that focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, death and resurrection. Because of the centrality of Jesus to all Scripture, it is important that children are consistently brought back to Him through the yearly spiral. It is the lens through which we Christians observe everything else.
I Wonder…: what you can tell me about the Holy Family? who is the most important family member? why it is important to remember the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus even during Ordinary Time (the green time)? what this has to do with you and me?
Additional Follow-up: Draw a picture of today’s lesson. Have your child tell you about each participant. I encourage you to not quiz the children to make sure they have the right answers, but allow them to talk about their picture and wonder about why we would care to remember something we typically only see at Christmas or Easter.