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 for this week from the Gospel Story Curriculum is about how The Glory Belongs to God Alone, and it focuses on Daniel chapter 4, where King Nebuchadnezzar delights in his own glory and is humbled by God as he goes about with the mind of a beast. 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.
If your child enjoys being creative, you can use butcher paper or construction paper to make a large tree on your wall. Put many leaves on it and colorful fruit, put paper birds in it and paper beasts under it. When it is finished, tear it up. Strip off the leaves, scatter the fruit around the room, take the animals away and put them somewhere else safe, lop off the branches and tear down the tree. But leave the stump there for the rest of the day, just as the stump and roots were left in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Ask your child to think of who they believe might be the greatest person to have ever lived (except for Jesus, Whom we already know to be the Greatest of all). Make a list of some names, and rank them to determine who you think is greatest. Ask your child what made that person great, what accomplishments or achievements did they attain? Then ask your child Who made them great, and show how all their glory is really all God's glory, because God has given them the ability to accomplish what they have done. How does this influence our own lives?
Nebuchadnezzar states, in his song of praise at the end of the chapter, that "none can stay His hand", referring to God's sovereignty. To emphasize this point, have your child arm wrestle their dad. Where you might normally pull your punches while arm wrestling your child, this time show no mercy, but take them down quickly. Offer a rematch if they desire and do it again. Help them see that they can't stop your hand, because you are bigger and stronger than they are. No one can stop God's hand from doing what He chooses, because He is bigger and stronger. He is in control.
For older children, write out the following 3 riddles for them, to see if they can interpret them:
2: Taste Bad
3: Noon T2he
(Answers are 1. Big Mouth, 2. Bad aftertaste (as in "Bad", after "Taste"), and 3. Two in the afternoon (as in 2 in "The", after "Noon")
Talk with your child about how it was fun, but tricky to try to figure these riddles out and interpret them, but Daniel wasn't just given a riddle to interpret, but an actual message from God given in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
There are a couple of teaching points that are good to draw out to your child as you go through this lesson. First of all, we learn that all the glory belongs to God alone. "It is He who made us, and we are His" - Psalm 100:3. "All that we have accomplished You have done for us" - Isaiah 26:12 (NIV). "Without Him was not anything made that was made" - John 1:3. How could we possibly try to claim that any of the glory of our accomplishments belongs to us when we know that God made us, God made our hands and brains and health and strength, and God gifted us with any skills we possess? It's literally all His! "Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord" - Isaiah 24:15. We also learn that God brings humility and God restores. When Nebuchadnezzar blesses himself and seeks to give himself all the glory for the blessings of God, God humbles him by causing him to have the mind of a beast. At the end of seven passages of time (we assume this to be 7 years), his mind is restored and his kingdom is given back to him. This is not because he suddenly decided to give God the glory now. How could he decide that when he only had a beast's mind and not a human one?! No, this is because his "timeout" was over and God chose to regift him with all his former splendor. Nebuchadnezzar gives praise to the Lord because he sees that everything is in the Lord's hands and under His control.
Our Sword Bible Memory Verse for July comes from Psalm 118. For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 118:24. For K-3rd grade, they are learning Psalm 118:22-24. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #17.
The New City Catechism question for this week is the final one in the book, question #52 - “What hope does everlasting life hold for us?” Answer - “That we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be forever freed from all sin in a renewed, restored creation.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from Revelation 21:1-4. The weekly memory verse for this age group is also Revelation 21:1-4. It’s a bit long, but such a valuable passage to treasure in your heart!
The lesson suggests playing a game of Bible pictionary with your kids, using words from our text, to introduce the concept of eternity and to build excitement about the new heavens and the new earth. Here are a list of words/phrases you can use:
Another interesting activity is to give your child a sticky note and have them write down the name of somebody, currently alive, that they would love to hang out with for an afternoon. This could be a celebrity, an athlete, or even just a best friend. Underneath that name, have them write down the name of their favorite restaurant, where they would like to go with this person to spend time together. Once they’re done, have them give you the sticky note, and you can ask them if they’d rather spend time with this person at home, or go to the restaurant without this person. Ideally, they will see the value in spending time with this person, no matter where it is. The beauty of heaven is that we will get to spend time with all our favorite people, and spend time with God, in the best location there could possibly be!
There is a common misconception about heaven, mostly inspired by cartoons and ideas from our own childhoods, that when you die, you become an angel in a white dress and wings, playing a harp and sitting on a cloud. This is a great opportunity to talk with your children about what heaven is and what heaven is not. We will not be angels, because the angels are angels. We will be ourselves, people. We will not have wings, we will be ourselves, people. The white dress won’t necessarily be a dress, but is mentioned in Revelation 7:14 as a representation of the purity of having our sins washed away by the blood of Christ. Maybe we will play a harp, but only if we want to. There’s no mention in the Bible that everyone plays harps. And we won’t be sitting on clouds, we will be in the new heavens and the new earth, walking the streets of gold (Rev 21:21), sitting beside the River of Life (Rev 22:1-2), eating fruit from the Tree of Life (Rev 22:2). There is so much that is marvelous about heaven, talk about these things!
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/6vDFpg5 (An object lesson about how God uses the church for His glory)
https://pin.it/7kFxWcL (This Gratitude Wall idea was designed to be used in November for Thanksgiving, but it might also be helpful as you navigate these last few weeks of summer vacation and all the grumbling and restlessness kids exhibit during this time. Turn their hearts back to gratitude and to the blessings of the Lord.)
https://youtu.be/0VDpHibftHs (A song about following God)