The 10 Plagues
Items Needed: white board/marker (chalkboard/chalk or poster board/marker)
Slips of paper
Review the ten plagues God brought on Egypt. Write each one on a slip of paper and toss them into a bag or hat. Take turns picking a slip and drawing it on a board while the others guess.
Pharaoh refused to obey God's command to free the people from slavery, so He and the people suffered the consequences. Pharaoh may have thought he was in charge, but God had a plan to deliver His people all along.
Make unleavened bread similar to what the Jews might have eaten during Passover.
1 c. flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening
2 - 2 1/2 tbsp. milk
Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening. Add a little bit of milk at a time, and only enough to form in dough. Roll dough (using floured rolling pin) to 1/4" thick. Cut in 1/2" squares. Pierce it with a fork in long rows from top to bottom of each piece. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until done. (There are many recipes online; this recipe was found at: http://www.haydid.org/unleaven.htm)
How did God save His people from death during the last plague - the death of the first born in each family? (Moses told all the people to kill a lamb and put its blood on the top and the sides of the doorposts of their homes. When the angel came through that night, he would “pass over” the homes of the ones who had the blood on their doorposts.)
God saved His people from death that night and freed them from slavery. God told them to celebrate the Passover every year and REMEMBER His power and love.
Why did God's people, the Jews, eat only unleavened bread during the Passover? (The Jews did not have time to let their bread rise when they left Egypt, but leaven is also symbolic of sin. They had to rid their houses of all leaven (any kind of yeast) and eat only unleavened bread for seven days during the Passover celebration. )
*They ate other special foods -each full of meaning - during the Passover celebration.
Items Needed: grape juice and bread (unleavened, if possible - many stores sell matzah/unleavened bread)
Explain communion to your kids, so they will understand its meaning when you feel it is time for them to participate. Explain that the bread represents Jesus' broken body and the juice represents the blood He shed for our sin.
God saw His people suffering, so He delivered them.
Why were the Jews to celebrate Passover? (They were to REMEMBER God's power and love when He delivered them from slavery.)
Why are we to celebrate communion? (We are to REMEMBER Jesus' death - His great love and sacrifice for us.)
God has freed us from a different kind of slavery - the slavery to sin. Jesus, the "Passover Lamb" took our sin, so we could be free. We REMEMBER His sacrifice every time we take communion. We are thankful that He gave up His life, so we can have eternal life.
(If you have older kids, read the story of Jesus instituting the "Lord's Supper" in Matthew 26:26-29.)
Focus on God
This week's psalm is Psalm 69. If you had to describe the type of song David wrote, it would definitely be a song of blues. David wrote and sang all about the sadness and trouble he was in. But why? Life can be like a puzzle. It seems hard to figure out all the pieces and why certain things happen.
How might we feel if we focus on our trouble? (Discouraged, sad, unhappy, etc.)
Life can be puzzling and we may not understand why certain things happen, but we can cry out to God for help. Shifting our focus to God as our Deliverer can help us. God has power and strength to help us and can even comfort us. David cried out to God for help and shifted his focus to God. By the end of Psalm 69, David turned his sadness into praise.
*Psalm 69 is really long for kids, but you could read parts of it aloud. Verses 1-16 give you a good idea of David's feelings. Verse 30 shows a shift from his troubles to focusing on God.
Talk with your children about trouble they face. (If they can't think of anything, ask, "What has made you cry? How do you feel when others reject you? How have mean words hurt you? When have you felt pain?")
Encourage them to share how they feel—first with you and then with God. Reassure them God hears and will help them.
The Good Shepherd
Items Needed: Pieces of copy or construction paper, and pen or markers
Students started learning to read Psalm 100:3 aloud.
What does this verse tell us about God? (He made us)
What does it tell us about ourselves? (We belong to God; we are His sheep)
God made the world and the people in it. The Bible compares God to a shepherd and us to sheep. He loves us like a shepherd loves and cares for his sheep.
What does a shepherd do when anything tries to hurt his sheep? (The shepherd fights against the danger and delivers the sheep from harm)
God cares about everything that happens to us. We can ask Him to deliver us from whatever trouble comes to us.
Write the phrases of Psalm 100:3 on pieces of paper. (Use one large piece for each phrase.) Pass out the phrases to different members of the family and ask them to line up in the correct order. (One person may need to read the verse aloud as the others line up. Also, if you have a small family you may need to recruit stuffed animals or dolls to hold a phrase.)
After lining up, ask each person to say his or her phrase to complete the verse. Exchange phrases, count to three, and see how quickly you can line up in the correct order. Say the verse after each scramble.
Review the first two verses of Psalm 100 to keep them fresh in your mind.
Appreciate Your Pastor
Don't forget that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Brainstorm ideas with your kids of what your family can do to let your pastor know how much you appreciate him and his family.
· Make or buy his favorite dessert and take it to church. (Sneak around and ask his wife.)
· Bring a basket of snacks or fruit to him.
· Invite him and his family over for a cookout.
· Draw pictures and write message of thanks—I think you are great at ____, You are very ________, Thank you for _________, etc.
God Delivers His People
The Israelites were in a bad cycle—they went away from God, God sent a judge to deliver them, they followed God...they went away from God, God sent a judge to deliver them, they followed God. This was repeated over and over. Eventually, you read that God delivered the Israelites through Gideon, a judge.
Act out the story of Israel's victory. Assign parts for Gideon, the Israelite army, and the Midianite army. Read Judges 7 aloud as the kids act out their parts.
How did God deliver Israel? (He saved them from the Midianite army that was stealing their food and other possessions.)
God is strong and can deliver His people from those who hurt them.
Be Strong in God
Items needed: copy or construction paper, and markers or crayons
Help your child memorize Ephesians 6:10b.
When Gideon thought he was ready to fight the Midianites, God told him he needed to take away some soldiers. God reduced the size of Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300! God wanted Gideon and the Israelites to depend on Him instead of their own strength or power. Gideon needed to focus on God and what HE said and not on the BIG problem or job before him. When Gideon did not see a way for them to be free from the evil Midianites, God had a plan and directed Gideon on what to do. When we depend on God's strength, He can take away our fear and do amazing things.
How did Gideon rely on God's strength? (He trusted in God to help them, he did what God told him to do, he obeyed even though he may have been afraid, etc.)
How can we be strong in God? (Pray and ask Him to help us with our problems, believe that He will guide us to know what to do, read and focus on what He has said, etc.)
Ask kids to illustrate the Bible verse. Talk about a problem they may have and how God can help them. Post the Bible verse in their room as a reminder that God wants to help them face the big problems.
Celebrating God's Love
Items needed: supplies to make cookies or cupcakes, pieces of paper (or small hearts)
Celebrate Valentine's Day by showing love to others. Just as God used Gideon to deliver the Israelites from their trouble, God can use us to help others. Think of someone you know who is going through a hard time (sickness, loss, sadness, etc.). Bake cookies, make a card (with a message of encouragement, such as: We are praying for you, We love you, We believe God will help you, etc.) Deliver some of the goodies and say a short prayer with them before you leave.
Play a game of finding the letters to an important message. Write each letter of the phrase, God loves you, on a slip of paper or heart. (Make at least one set for each kid, with some extras to make it easier to find them.) When kids aren't looking, hide the letters. Invite the kids to find the letters and an important message. Let them exchange letters, if they need to.
Celebrate God's love with some of the goodies you made!