August 9, 2020

Parent-Child Discussion

Having a Heart of Gold

Have you ever heard someone described as “having heart”? When you hear “that boy/girl has a lot of heart” it doesn’t mean that person is ill with a heart problem. It means that boy or girl approaches a challenge with loving responsibility in following God’s way.

In our story today, God had formed a partnership with the shepherd boy David. He promised to make David King of God’s people, the Israelites, and that after David’s reign, David’s son would be king. In return David would keep God’s laws as a ruler and the whole world would recognize God’s Love and Word through the nation of Israel. God made this Covenant agreement with David so God could be closer to all His people.

David did not become ruler of Israel until he was 30 years old. David was patient. He had a lot of heart for God and God had a lot of heart for David. David would sing praises to God with his harp and would write songs about God’s power and love for His people. You can find many of David’s songs in the Bible, in the book of Psalms.

When David finally became King, he had already proven himself to be a brave warrior and leader. However, David sometimes made mistakes and disappointed God with some of his decisions. One mistake had to do with the Ark of the Covenant, the special golden chest holding God’s Ten Commandments, written on stone tablets. The Ark had been stolen in battle but David conquered the enemy and returned the chest to Jerusalem. God was happy and David was happy until David made a bad mistake. In his haste to move the chest to the royal city, David forgot how important the chest was to God – that the chest represented God’s presence to His people.

God wanted the chest to be carried slowly and respectfully by priests, using the golden poles at either end of the chest. David merely had the chest put on a cart pulled by oxen. One of the oxen stumbled and the chest nearly tumbled off. God was angry at David’s careless thinking. David was angry at himself for not placing God’s wishes regarding the Holy Ark first. David asked God for forgiveness. Eventually the chest was carried by the priests into Jerusalem. God had forgiven David and David danced for joy into the royal city in front of the Ark. The crowds were astonished with the music from harps, drums and tambourines- and especially watching their king take off his heavy robes and crown and leap into the air! God was happy that David had asked forgiveness and that His Ark would now bring His presence closer to His people.

What can we learn from this Bible story?

  • Do we have a heart for God?
  • Do we listen for God’s still small voice in our heart and follow His Word?
  • Do we ask forgiveness whenever we put our own wishes first in place of God’s plans for us?
  • Are we willing to thank and praise God for the joy He brings to our life?

God is worthy of celebrating every day!

Prayer

Lord, You know our hearts. Fill us with Your Spirit so our hearts might worship You and trust You with everything. Amen.

Suggested Activities


A Psalm by David showing that he “has heart” for God


David’s Prayers


Dance with All Your Might – Activities

The Hokey Pokey song and a picture of the Ark of the Covenant
Crossword, Word Search, Colouring Page, Decoder, Group Activities

August 2, 2020

Parent-Child Discussion

Seeking a Partnership with God

Imagine that this month you would like to do something caring for your community. You know you’re just a kid, but you really are committed and think that with a bit of guidance and help from your parents you can pull it off. You talk with your parents about collecting canned/boxed items for the food bank from people on your street. You will pass out flyers asking people to leave donations on their porch for you to collect on a certain date. You will put your contact information on the flyer in case your neighbours have questions or concerns. You promise your Dad you will follow through and collect the donated food with boxes and bags, and will store it in your garage. You ask Dad if he will help you get the food in the car and drive you to the food bank. Dad says “That’s a deal!” What you have done is you have created a partnership by working alongside someone you trust to accomplish a goal together!

That’s exactly what God wants to have with us: “a partnership” with Him. In the very beginning God created this good world and invited Adam and Eve into partnership with Him. God gave them a beautiful, safe home so that they would help make God’s world even better. But they didn’t want to be in partnership with God. They wanted to decide what to do for themselves. God was disappointed with the disobedience of humans.

God decided to work with fewer people to make His partnership work. He decided to make a “covenant” or agreement with Noah who was a good man and obeyed God’s wishes. God promised never to flood the whole world again. God didn’t ask anything from Noah, just that God would be faithful to His people, even when they failed.

The second covenant was with a man named ABRAHAM. God promised to bless Abraham and give Abraham a large family and lots of land. In return, God asked Abraham to trust him and train his family to do what is right. The goal would be for God to bring His blessings on all families in the world through this one family.

God’s third family covenant was with Abraham’s family who grew into the tribe of Israel. God promised to bless these people if they would follow His ten commandments to live a good life. He asked Moses to carefully place God’s ten laws, (which were written on stones), inside an “ark’, or covered wooden storage chest. This ark would not be as large as Noah’s ark, but it was to be covered with gold, with poles on either side for easy carrying. “This Ark of the Covenant” could be carried when God’s people travelled to their new land. These people would then represent God’s loving partnership to the whole world, by keeping God’s Word with them.

God asked Moses to have the tribe build a large tent to serve as a tabernacle, which is a place of worship. The tent would be placed in the middle of the Israelite camp. God asked that the Ark of the Covenant be placed inside a special part of the tent. Now God could be in the midst of His people when they came to the tent to worship.

The whole community offered what they had to help build and furnish a “tent for God” according to His instruction.

Next week we’ll learn about another covenant God made with His people.

You and your family can read about how the Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacle were to be built, according to God’s instructions, in the Bible – Exodus 25: 1 – 31 and Exodus 35: 4 – 40:38


Prayer

Dear God, today we remember your promise to always be with us and we remember the places and ways we worship you. Amen.

Suggested Activities

This video shows you how beautiful the Ark was…

The Ark of the Covenant


This video gives you a step-by-step look at God’s instructions to Moses…

The Ark and the Tabernacle


This video gives you a step-by-step look at God’s instructions to Moses…

The Tabernacle & The Ark of the Covenant


A realistic replica of how a tent-like place of worship might look in the desert…

Tabernacle of Moses

July 26, 2020

Parent-Child Discussion

What is the Kingdom of God Like?

Jesus was a good teacher. He liked to answer questions His listeners had in a simple way using information familiar to those around Him. One day Jesus answered the question, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it?”

Before Jesus explained, maybe He looked around and saw a field of large mustard shrubs and maybe he could smell freshly baked bread, because, this is how Jesus the teacher answered the above question:

Photo of YeastJesus said the kingdom of God is like what happens when a tiny mustard seed is planted in a field. The tiny seed grows as big as a tree, and birds nest in its branches.

And then Jesus continued, “What can I compare God’s kingdom with? It is like what happens when a woman mixes yeast with three batches of flour. Finally all the dough rises.”

What was Jesus trying to tell us in these parables or stories about God’s kingdom?

When we think of a “kingdom”, maybe princesses and castles come to mind, like we see in fairytale picture books or a fantasy movie. We often see the “kingdom of God” as being a place and time in the future.

Jesus wants us see God’s “kingdom” as an ordinary “active” living presence on earth right now. Jesus encourages His followers – that’s us too – to bring about God’s kingdom right here on earth. The kingdom of God is present anytime and anywhere God’s followers are doing God’s work and living in community the way God wants them to live.

Why do you think Jesus said His kingdom was like a mustard seed and yeast?

Like the tiny mustard seeds, we are never too small to be important in God’s eyes. And just like the presence of a little yeast in bread, God can use us to help others change and grow with God’s Spirit in our heart.

Little is much when God is in it! The mustard seed’s growth helps us to understand how we can grow as a Christian, with even a tiny seed of faith in God our heart. Through the Holy Spirit at work in the church, God increases our faith so that we can play our part in spreading God’s kingdom. IMAGINE, RIGHT HERE ON EARTH, God’s kingdom of Love is growing and we can be its agents. When we follow Jesus’ teachings and live the way God wants us to live, great and amazing things can happen! God can turn our small efforts into magnificent results. God’s kingdom is here and now.


Can you explain what Jesus wants us to learn from these stories?

Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast


Prayer

God we want to live in your kingdom here on earth and help it grow. Help us to remember to follow Jesus’ teachings so we can help others to live as you would want us to live. Amen

Other Activities

Link to activities and resources: Mustard Seeds and Yeast.


Dough Rising Time Lapse

July 19, 2020

Parent-Child Discussion

Saul Becomes the New King

You may have heard the saying “Be careful what you wish for!”

There is a fairytale called the Story of King Midas. Midas was a greedy king who loved gold. One day a mysterious visitor granted King Midas the ability to turn everything he touched into gold! For awhile Midas was happy but when his food and his beloved daughter turned to gold at his touch, King Midas was horrified. The visitor reappeared and gave the king the opportunity to return to his old self, which he gladly did. King Midas learned his lesson about being greedy.

God’s people, the Israelites, were in their new land that God promised them. A prophet named Samuel who talked to God through prayer was a wise and just leader for the people. Much like Jacob before him, Samuel was kind and patient during times of strife, but he was growing old and wanted his sons to take his place as leader. His sons were poor leaders and were unfair to God’s people. The people wanted an earthly King like other nations. Samuel said, God is our King but this comment didn’t please the people.

God was sad because His people were rejecting Him as king but God gives us “free-will”. He knows alI, and calls us to listen closely to him and to others as we make our decisions. God warned the people through Samuel’s words that an earthly king would make the Israelites work very hard, with their sons and daughters serving the king’s wishes. God’s people would have to pay taxes to help support a king and might soon become slaves. Even with these warnings the people did not want to listen to God through Samuel.

A man named Saul was chosen to be King through God. Saul was afraid to lead the Israelites but God’s Spirit came to him, and he bravely took on the role. Saul started out as a wise king but he eventually put his needs first and disobeyed God three times without trying to change his ways. Saul had became impatient waiting for God to direct him, and made poor decisions. Saul rejected God; another king would need to be chosen by God.


King Saul | What’s in the Bible


Have you ever gotten your way about something, but the situation turned out different than you thought it would?

Certainly our family or teachers can help guide us into choosing the right decisions but we also have God to help guide us. God wants us to be responsible for making our own decisions but he also wants us to make those decisions in obedience to Him, through careful consideration of how our actions will affect ourselves and others. We need to guard against pleasing others instead of God. We need to trust God’s advice through listening to His Holy Spirit in our prayers and in our heart. When we are doubtful in making a decision we need to talk things out with people we trust and that very much includes talking to God, and having faith He will show us the way.

Prayer

Dear God, help us to make good decisions about following You. Thank you for being our King, in Jesus name. Amen.

Other Activities

You can read about ‘The People of Israel Want a King’ from 1 Samuel 8: 1 – 22

Here are two other videos.


Douglas Talks: The Choice is Yours


King Midas