Sunday School 2020-2021... At-home Devotions

Because of COVID19, we have made the difficult decision to, at least for now, not start Sunday School and other ministry programs we would typically resume in September. However, that will not deter us from one of our core values of equipping families as disciples of Jesus who celebrate God's grace as the Holy Spirit enables them to live to God's glory and witness to the Gospel.

If this pandemic is an opportunity for families to develop new discipleship and devotional practices at home then that will be a tremendous blessing and a catalyst for God to work in new ways in our homes, our families, our church, and our community. 

But as the church, we don't have to do it alone. This page is a resource to help families grow in faith together at home.

This page is also a work-in-progress so your feedback and input is valued and appreciated.

Each lesson, may give you more than you would choose, but it is there for you to choose what is best to use in your home.

Unit 2: Lesson 11

Conversation starters: have in mind a number of simple actions some that your children can do and some that you children would not be able to do: examples could be jumping up and down, touching the ceiling on their own, a summersault, a hand stand snapping their fingers, clapping their hands, picking up a car, wiggling their ears, winking with one eye, etc. Then ask the children if they would be able to make it snow by jumping up & down or if they would be able to make it rain be clapping their hands or if they would be able to make it stop raining or stop snowing by snapping their fingers or with one loud whistle. Tell them that they're about to hear how Jesus made a great storm stop so wind & waves went perfectly still with just one word.

Ask them to describe what happens in a storm. Ask them to describe on their own what it would be like to be in the middle of that kind of storm on a boat. To set the stage for the story, you can read the facts about the Sea of Galilee on the back side of the booklet page for this lesson. Waves could get more than six feet high. If you have small children you could let them experience that by lifting them off the ground and above your head and then back down and back up and back down and back up. That's what it felt like to be in the boat. If your kids are older have them roll back and forth on the floor a span of about six feet. If you want to add effects clap over them with thunder and lightning, make them dodge waves of pillows being thrown at them. Have fun, it'll help your kids remember the story and help them look forward to family devotion time. 

Reading the story: You can simply read the story or try to do more to engage the kids in the story. Actions could include rowing a boat, bailing water, Jesus sleeping, they can make wind and wave actions with their hands and then when Jesus tells the storm to be still they go still. If you want to get a blue towel or blanket for the sea and have the kids sit on it and do the actions you can or make use of dolls or if you have any toy boats in the house. The point of the story goes back to some of those things that kids can do and can't do. Jesus can do things we can't do like making a storm stop because He is true

God. Jesus is the Creator so He can control all of Creation. He is in control of everything and promises to be with us always.

Follow-up questions: the disciples were afraid of a very big storm, but Jesus was even more powerful than the storm, does that make Jesus someone who is scary to us or someone who can keep us safe (the answer can be both!) If Jesus tells the wind and the rain to be quiet and they are quiet then what happens when Jesus says let there be light? What happens when Jesus says to a blind person, "see!," what happens when Jesus says "I forgive you," what happens when Jesus says, "follow me!" Ask if the children can think of anything else Jesus did that no one else can do - parents can help add to the list.

Activities: This could be done following the story or even on a different day. Make a boat out of a half of a banana, a pretzel or something similar like a toothpick for the mast and a slice of cheese or bread for the sail. See if the kids can retell the main parts of the story. Or put water in a casserole pan or large bowl and let the kids retell the story by creating a storm with a whisk or a beater. Again, its OK for family devotion time to be loud, messy, and fun! Children can also look at this picture (click here) and retell the story or share what they see. Have the kids find an umbrella and explain the difference between what an umbrella does in a storm and what Jesus did in the storm.

Unit 2, Lesson 4
Homecoming Hopes

Conversations starters: What is your favorite part about coming home after being gone for a long time? What do you miss the most when you're away from home? Pick a place that is special for your family to go to: maybe a vacation or travel spot that you go back to regularly, maybe a lake home, maybe grandma and grandpas. How do you feel as the family is driving to those places or just arriving there? (Parents maybe you can explain to your kids the excitement you see in them that they might not be aware of) What do you get most excited about when we arrive?

If you could build any kind of building, what would it be? Have the kids describe how they would design the building. How long would it take to build it? Who do you want to help you or would you do it by yourself? What kind of tools would you need?

What kinds of tools do chefs use to their job? What kinds of tools do teachers need to do their jobs? What kinds of tools do farmers need to do their job? What kinds of tools do Christians need to do their job of sharing the love of God with others?

Reading the story: If you want to give your kids some ways to stay engaged with the story you could have them say help every time they hear the name Ezra and comfort every time they hear the name Nehemiah. You could also have them do hand actions like making a steeple peak with their hands every time they hear the word "temple," they could make a flat surface with their hands together every time they hear the word, "wall," and they could make a cross with their fingers every time they hear the word, "God." To help your kids learn the story, you could have the goal of reading the story three times throughout the week: once having them echo the two names, once using the hand actions, once trying to put all of it together in the same reading.

Follow-up questions: What promise did God keep to His people after 70 years of waiting? (He brought them back home) Why was it important for all of the people to work together? (There was danger and trouble and lots of work to be done) How did the people celebrate when the Temple was finally rebuilt? In this story, God used people who did not believe in Him to help His people? Who do we know that doesn't go to church? How does God use them to help others? How can we help them know God and His love for them?

Activities: Have kids draw a picture of what they think a church looks like today. Then click here to see a diagram of the Temple the people built in Jerusalem as a place to worship God. Have your kids pick something out from around the house that they could use as an instrument. Find one of the songs we sing at Crosspointe on youtube and let your kids praise God with their instrument as the song plays. You could do this once a day with a different item as their instrument. Write out what you would want someone else to know about God and His love on a piece of paper then roll it up like a scroll, put a rubber band around it & either give it to someone you know or bring it to Pastor Mike

Unit 2, Lesson 3 - Daniel

Daniel and the lions' den is a familiar story for many adults and maybe for your children, too. Daniel is a historical figure and so much in the story of Daniel is supported by sources besides the Bible. Daniel himself serves as an encouragement to us to be faithful in our work on earth and faithful to God and His word. Even when it was risky, Daniel prayed to God and even when he was thrown to the lions because of it, God was with him. The story of Daniel does not promise that God will always rescue us from dangerous situations, but it reminds us God has already rescued us from sin, death, and the devil thru the work of Jesus.

Conversation starters: What keeps you safe while you're riding in a car? What keeps you safe when you're walking down steps? What keeps you safe when you're crossing the street? What keeps you safe when you're jumping on a trampoline? What keeps you safe when you go to the zoo and see lions or tigers?

Who keeps you safe and how? (answers can include parents, fire fighters, police officers, doctors, etc) but encourage the children to also see God as one who always works to keep them safe.

Lions are beautiful creatures, but they are also very dangerous. Have the children name things that are scarier than lions.

Some of the people in the story of Daniel were jealous of his success so they set a trap to get Daniel in trouble. What kinds of things do you get jealous of, what things do you want to have when you see someone else has them? How can you show them kindness and help them enjoy what they have and you don't? How can God help us not be jealous of what others have or help us better share what we have with others?

Reading the story: The story of Daniel isn't one you would find in a children's book. It's a real life story with scary moments. Our Sunday School material has an alternative reading for younger children. You can access that by clicking here if you would rather the story your kids hear now doesn't end with a lion attack. I put possible actions for reading the story in this document as well.

Follow-up questions: Daniel prayed three times every day! What do you think he prayed when he was in the lions' den? What do you pray for when you pray? When Daniel was put in the lions' den a big stone was rolled over the entrance and it was sealed. Can you think of another Bible story when a big stone was rolled in front of the entrance to a cave? What was discovered when the stone was rolled away (Easter!!!) Even if God doesn't promise to save us from every danger like he did Daniel, God saves us from sin, death, and the devil by Jesus rising to life! God sent an angel or messenger to protect Daniel, the Bible says God does the same for you! How does it make you feel knowing God loves you so much He sends angels to watch over you and protect you?

Activities: Using a phone or tablet, go through as many different pictures of animals as you can and have you children make the sounds of that animal. Using playdough or clay, have your child make the shape of something that is scary. All of us have things we are afraid of. In the Bible, God's people were in many scary situations. God is bigger and stronger than everything we're afraid of and He is with us always. Kids can crush the shape they made indicating God's strength over it. Do a joint parent-child scavenger hunt around the house looking for protective items like safety goggles, an oven mitt, a bike helmet etc. Let the kids explain how they keep us safe and remind them that God works through these items to protect us and guard us from danger.

Unit 2 Booklet, Lesson 2

The picture is of the prophet Jeremiah. Prophets are called by God to faithfully speak His Word to others about their present actions & what will happen in the future. In the picture, Jeremiah has his scrolls to write on and he is looking out a window at the foreign land he was in after being taken away from his home.

Conversation starters for before you read the story: Have you ever been left in a strange place or with someone you didn't know? How did you feel? What's your favorite place or part of our home? The story of Jeremiah is about people who were taken far from home. They were sad and anxious, but God had a plan to show them He loved them.

Are you good at waiting? Could you wait 70 years for someone to keep a promise? Ask them how long they have to wait until they can drive? How long they have to wait until their birthday or Christmas? How long they have to wait until... Then have them listen in the story for what God promised to do for His people in 70 years. What bigger promise does God make?

Reading the story: Depending on the age of your children you can have them read or read it to them. With younger children simple gestures while reading may keep them more engaged. When God touches Jeremiah's mouth, have them touch their mouths. Have them make sad faces or weeping faces during the bad details. Have them make smiley faces as you read God's promises. Or have them make a smiley face and a sad face and hold them up depending on if what's happening in the story is good or bad. Reading through the story once and making some notes about possible actions will help you be ready. 

Follow up questions: What did God want Jeremiah to tell the people who were far away from home? How did God help Jeremiah share God's Word with others, even though he was young? How can we share God's Word with others, even when we are young?

Activity: Walk around your home and take pictures of things that make the shape of the cross (floor tiles, window panes, tree branches, etc) and then post them to our facebook page. Those crosses are reminders that God is always with us and God always keeps His promises, even when hope seems to be gone.

Have kids write down God's promises on the image of the scroll you can download here and then give that piece of paper to someone: a friend, a grandparent or baptismal sponsor, a pastor or someone like a Good Sam resident.

Find 70 of the same thing like a coin or paperclip or something around the house and lay them out in a line to see how long 70 years is. Lay out the same number of items for your children's ages next to the row of 70 so they can see the difference. Do you know someone who is 70 years old, have your kids talk to them about how much has changed in their lifetime.

Key points: God promised His people He would take care of them. He loved them even when they sinned and faced earthly consequences for their sin. He would bring them back to their home someday. God promises to be with us even when we are far away from home. God helps us share His Word with others.

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