Ordinary Time: Sunday, October 30th

Beulah Land: Ruth
The women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!” Ruth 4:14

Summary: Your child will hear the story of God’s faithfulness to two women who were alone, depressed and in need of a kinsman-redeemer. You can find this story in the Old Testament book of Ruth.

Wondering: I wonder why Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi instead of going back to her own parents? I wonder what it was like for Ruth to be a stranger in her new city? I wonder why Boaz was kind to Ruth? I wonder why this story is important to know?

Family Followup: Review the story at home. You can act out the story or ask your child to draw a picture of something from the story. It would be interesting to see what they pick up from it!

Parents: This book often is portrayed as a romantic love story between Ruth and Boaz. It often gets a bit of a damsel-in-distress rap. However, it is a story of radical, self-sacrificing commitment from several characters. I wonder what God is telling us through that?

Hymn of the Month: Today is the last day for this month’s featured hymn! It is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Ark and the Temple
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. This week, the 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 the temple was like? I wonder what you remember from the building? I wonder what King Solomon meant when he said God was too big to be contained in one place? I wonder what it means that God met with his people in a special way in the temple? I wonder where God lives now?

Family Followup: 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 why he does that?

Godly Play II: Jeremiah

My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns; broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13

Note: This is our fourth week studying a prophet in GP II. Prophets remind God’s people that blessings will come from following God, but that dire consequences will follow disobedience. Prophets speak of the consistent, faithful nature of God and His redemption, even after exile. Christ is our ultimate prophet as He revealed in the flesh, God’s word, and His will for our salvation. Once we, too, were far away, but we have come close because of Christ.

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Jeremiah. It will cover the entire book, highlighting some particular prophesies. God sent messages through him during the reigns of the last kings of Judah. He warned that Babylon would take over Judah. Jeremiah also spoke against false prophets who said that the people were safe. Jeremiah also gives instructions to those in exile about how to live.

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Jeremiah? I wonder why he was sad and afraid when he saw what all would happen to the Israelites? I wonder why rulers punished Jeremiah for telling God’s message?

Family Followup: Review the Prophets Flashcard Game at home! Wonder together over why God used images (in this case like a broken clay pot or linen belt) to communicate important messages to His people. Though it is not clear, Lamentations is a book whose authorship has been traditionally attributed to Jeremiah. The book expresses deep grief and pain over the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies. You can read some of that book together and discuss the sorrow that inevitably comes from sin and disobedience. Despite the consequences the Israelites faced, God continued to show his mercy to them. They lived in exile and were even promised a fuller redemption if they turned back to the Lord. I wonder what that was?

Ordinary Time: Sunday, October 23rd

Beulah Land: Exodus, Part II
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Exodus 20:2

Summary: The Exodus story picks up this week with God’s provision in the desert. Moses goes to receive the commandments from God, but comes back to find the Israelites have built a golden calf to worship! Even though they Israelites sinned, God forgave them and gave them a chance to receive the commandments again — and to put them in a special place signifying that He was near them. The story ends with Joshua leading God’s people into the land He promised Abraham.

Wondering: I wonder what the Israelites thought about the desert? I wonder what manna tasted like? I wonder what part of this story is most important? I wonder why the Israelites built something else to worship? I wonder why God decided to forgive the Israelites?

Family Followup: See if you can remember the 10 Commandment hand signals we learned in the downstairs worship service. Practice those with your child to memorize the 10 Commandments.

Hymn of the Month: This month’s song is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Ark and the Tent
I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. Exodus 29:45

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. 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.”

Wondering: I wonder what we do to prepare to hear from God? How do we “‘get ready” to listen to God? 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?

Family Followup: Look up pictures of the Ark and tent! Talk about how God comes so close to us that He gave us Jesus and sent His Spirit to dwell in us. Bless your children each night as they go to bed with the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Godly Play II: Isaiah

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

Note: This is our third week studying a prophet in GP II. Isaiah thru Malachi are sometimes referred to as the “latter prophets”. The prophetic books are also divided into “major prophets” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and “minor prophets” (Hosea through Malachi). The term “major” and “minor” simply refer to the length of writings and have no bearing on level of importance!

Summary: This week’s story is about the prophet Isaiah. It will cover the entire book, highlighting some particular prophesies. God sent messages through him to warn the people of judgment through exile and assure them of future restoration after the exile. Like all prophets, we see Christ anticipated. One way we see this in Isaiah is with “respect to Isaiah’s servant motif” (Reformation Study Bible). Jesus fulfilled several of these including being a light to the Gentiles (49:1-7), by bringing justice to the nations (42:1-4) and take away the sins of the elect (52:13-53:12).

Wondering: I wonder what it was like to be Isaiah? I wonder why he was afraid when he saw God and thought he was not good enough to be near God? I wonder what it was like for Isaiah to know about the future exile? I wonder why he told people to make a garment of splendor to go back home in?

Family Followup: We now have a Prophet Flashcard game for you to take home! This is a game some of our RMC Kids ministry team members created based off the specific stories we are using this year in Godly Play. One side has an image that correlates with one we use to tell the Godly Play story. The other side has the name of the prophet, what the image is, and the chapter where the passage can be found. Your child can get a point for each one they name (so up to 3 points per card). Or you can just use it to review and not get points. This is a great way for everyone to memorize some of the prophet content. It will not cover everything, but is a good start!

I am including a few blank cards for your child to create a prophet card or two of their own if they can remember other parts of a prophet’s story! If they do, let me know and I’d love to include it in next year’s Prophet Flashcard game.

Ordinary Time: Sunday, October 16th

Beulah Land: Exodus, Part I
The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation. Exodus 15:2a

Summary: Over the next two weeks, your child will hear the story of the Exodus. This week’s focus will be the first half of the story when Moses is called by God from a burning bush, the plagues come to Egypt and the Israelites are led across the Red Sea. One repeated phrase in this lesson is Let my people go! The story ends with Exodus 15:21 and this phrase, And the people believed in the Lord. What a great setup for next week’s desert wanderings and struggle to trust God!

Wondering: I wonder what part of the story you liked best? I wonder what it was like for Moses to hear from God? I wonder why the Pharaoh did not want to let God’s people go? I wonder what it was like to cross the Red Sea?

Family Followup: Make a paper plate shaker like THIS to celebrate like the Israelites who had just crossed the Red Sea (The memory passage for this week comes from the celebratory song the Israelites sang after the crossing! It is found in Exodus 15.). In Godly Play next year, we will discuss the Passover more in depth. However, it might be fun to go ahead and introduce “Passover Us” by Andrew Peterson to them!

Hymn of the Month: This month’s song is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Ten Best Ways
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 Followup: Use the 10 Commandments hand gesture method from the worship service to practice reciting them at home. 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 our live and our particular stories…and how to deal when we fail. Where is Jesus in the 10 Commandments?

Godly Play II: Elijah

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

Note: This is our second week studying a prophet. 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.”

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.

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 Followup: A great resource for your 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.

Ordinary Time: October 9th

Beulah Land: The Story of Joseph
You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good…” Genesis 50:20a

Summary: This week’s lesson is based on Genesis 37-50: the story of Joseph. When Joseph’s brothers sell him to slave traffickers after he tells them about his dreams, they are surprised to meet him again many years later. One important piece of information we receive in Joseph’s story is that God provided “enough and more than enough” for His people during a time of famine. We also learn the background story of how the Israelites ended up in Egypt.

Wondering: I wonder why Joseph told his brothers about his dream? I wonder how it feels to be far away from home and unable to get back? I wonder what the hardest thing for Joseph was? I wonder why he forgave his brothers?

Family Followup: Draw a picture of the coat with many colors. Another idea is to re-enact the story (taking care to not become too enthusiastic about throwing Joseph into the pit). For parents, if you want to review this story, juxtapose the times when Joseph was given a special robe or garment v. the times he was stripped of his clothing. I wonder why Scripture gives us these details?

Hymn of the Month: This month’s song is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: Exodus
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 children go back to the desert 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. They will taste Matzo crackers in class! You can find the story in Exodus 11-15:21.

Wondering: I wonder why God wanted them to be ready so quickly? I wonder what it was like for Moses when he talked to Pharaoh? I wonder what it was like to walk between water and stay dry?

Family Followup: 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.

Godly Play II: Jonah

I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. Jonah 1:9

Note: Starting this week until the first Sunday of Advent, we will be venturing into  stories of the prophets. Most prophets we will study during this time are known as the Major Prophets.  However, this first week will be the story of Jonah, who, as you have learned from the current sermon series, has some distinctions as a prophet.

Summary: This week, we kick off our prophet stories by turning our attention to Jonah. When Jonah disobeys God and does everything wrong, God still uses him to extend his mercy to other nations…including Nineveh, a bitter enemy of Israel.

Wondering: I wonder what made Jonah not want to go to Nineveh? I wonder what it was when a big fish swallowed him? I wonder what he thought when God spared Nineveh because they repented? I wonder if we are ever like Jonah? I wonder if you have heard another story about a storm on the water while a man sleeps in the boat?

Family Followup: Jonah gives us a lot to think about. Talking a walk with your child or sitting in the car are two great times to ask some wondering questions and wonder together about Jonah’s story.

Here’s an interesting fact about Jonah…it is read during the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It is a reminder that no one is beyond God’s hand of mercy and that His mercy awaits those who repent whole-heartedly. Jesus also compares his ministry to Jonah. What similarities and differences do you see between the two men?

Ordinary Time: October 2nd

Beulah Land: The Story of Jacob
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Genesis 32:28*

Summary: This week’s story is about God’s promise to Jacob and the continuation of the family of God. Beulah Land puts it this way, “God blesses Jacob repeatedly, though Jacob insists on believing that he has to connive and bargain and cheat in order to make the blessings happen. Yet God goes on blessing him.” You can find this account of Jacob in Genesis 25-33.

Wondering: I wonder if Jacob was glad he stole Esau’s blessing? I wonder what would have happened if he had not stolen it? I wonder if his dream was scary or a good dream? I wonder why Esau forgave Jacob?

Family Followup: This story has a lot of big themes! It might be worth re-reading the story in a bible at home (regular or Jesus Storybook Bible). You can even try acting it out with toys! *The memory verse this week might be a little long for a 3-year-old, but you might can find a different version that would work. The one above is NIV.

Hymn of the Month: This month’s song is the DOXOLOGY. Find the song HERE to practice at home!

Godly Play I: The Great Family
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 introduced to the “desert box”. Several lessons are given using this setting, as it is an important one in Scripture! They will cover the story of Abraham & Sarah, God’s promise to Abraham (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 Followup: Go outside and try to count the stars. Pick up a spoonful of dirt and try to count the granules. That’s a lot of family members!

Godly Play II: The Ark and the Temple

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: Last week, we explored the life of King David, including the plans for the temple of God for Solomon to build. This week’s lesson is about the building of the temple. It addresses the presence of God with the Israelites. He has always made a way for his people to come near.

Wondering: I wonder what the temple was like? I wonder what part of the temple you liked best? I wonder what King Solomon meant when he said God was too big to be contained in one place? What does it mean that God met with his people in a special way in the temple? I wonder where God lives now?

Family Followup: Google images of the temple. See if your child can identify the different parts. Do some research together: Why was the temple so important to the Israelites? What did it signify? How was the Israelite sanctuary different from pagan sanctuaries?