Each week’s content will correspond with the kid’s lesson on Sunday morning, whether you are joining us online or in person!
Obadiah the Prophet (May 9th)
Our entire story this week comes from Obadiah. Open your Bibles to Obadiah. Ask the kids to tell you if this book is in the Old or New Testament. (It is in the Old Testament). Explain that this book is considered one of the Minor Prophets. Explain the reason Obadiah is called a minor prophet is because the Book is short. It’s important to remember that the nation of Israel wasn’t sinless. They needed God’s forgiveness just as much as any other nation. God’s promise to His children is evidence of God’s grace. God promised to restore Israel and rule the earth as King.
- The prophet Obadiah wrote to which nation? Edom, Obadiah 1
- How had Edom disobeyed God? They had turned their back on Israel and not trusted God, Obadiah 4.
- What was God’s promise to Israel? They would be restored to their land, Obadiah 19-21.
Grade School Questions
- Why do you think God punished the nation of Edom so severely? Help them understand that Edom was the nation of Esau’s descendants. They should have been like brothers and sisters to Israel. If anyone understood God’s love and plans for Israel, it should have been Edom. By ignoring Judah’s trouble, they were actively going against God’s plans.
- Do you think we should only help our siblings and family members? Why or why not? Discuss the idea of loving our enemies. Remind kids that God adopts believers into His family, and that salvation is free to everyone who believes. This means everyone we meet is, or could become, part of our spiritual family.
- What does it show about God when we love our enemies? Discuss what the Bible teaches about our standing towards God. Remind the kids that we are born in sin, and thus are enemies of God. (Romans 5:10) But He loves us anyway and sent Jesus for us. When we love those who treat us badly, it provides a picture of God’s love for sinners.
Activity: Story Point Puzzles
Supplies Needed: Paper and Markers
Do: Give each child a large sheet of paper with the story point written on it (God promised to restore Israel and rule the earth as King.). Invite them to decorate their papers, illustrating the story point in their own way. Then give each group a pair of scissors to cut their paper into a few puzzle pieces. Trade puzzles with someone and try to assemble a different team’s puzzle.
Say: God always keeps His promises. God kept His promise to restore Israel. Though they had been
exiled from their land, God brought them back home. God has promised to rule the earth as King.
God rules His kingdom now and one day He will return to earth to rule completely over all creation.
The Captives Came Home (May 16th)
Our entire story this week comes from Ezra 1-3. Open your Bibles to Ezra 3:11 and read it together as a family. God
kept His promise to bring His people home. The Israelites returned to their homeland and began rebuilding the temple
in order to worship God. After the people praised God, they gave a loud shout.
- Which king of Persia allowed God’s people to return to Israel? King Cyrus, Ezra 1:1.
- What did the priests build first when they got back to Israel? The altar, Ezra 3:2.
- Why were some of the older Israelites crying? They remembered the first temple that had been destroyed, Ezra 3:12.
- Why do you think God allowed His people to live in exile for 70 years? Guide them to see that God takes sin seriously. He wanted to purify His people; to punish sin and bring new life to the people who truly wanted to follow Him. God wanted to give His children a chance to recognize their sin and turn back to Him. He used the exile to glorify Himself in foreign nations.
Grade School Questions
- How can we know God loves us in difficult times? Help kids understand that God’s love for us never changes.
We don’t always understand why we face hard times, but we can trust that God will never leave us. He will never
stop loving us. Sometimes He allows us to experience pain so we can better understand how much we need Him.
When we face hard times while relying on God, it glorifies Him and builds our faith.
- The temple needed a strong foundation. What is the foundation of our lives? Help kids see that our faith is built on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. We trust the Bible as God’s Word, and it tells us what is true about God and ourselves. With such a firm foundation, our lives can stand up to various trials.
Activity: Build A Tower
Supplies Needed: Various Building Materials (bocks, play dough, etc.)
Do: Provide a variety of building materials and invite your kids to work together to build a tower. Help them experiment with different foundations for their towers.
Say: For any building to stand tall and strong, it must have a solid foundation. Today our story is about God’s people’s return to the land God had given them. Not only did they return, but they also set out to rebuild the destroyed temple. Today we’ll hear that they began by building a strong foundation.
The Temple was Rebuilt (May 23rd)
Our entire story this week comes from Ezra 4-6 and Haggai. Open your Bibles to Haggai 1:1-2 and read it together as a family. God used the prophet Haggai to deliver His message to rebuild the temple. This was an important message for God’s people, and Haggai was faithful to deliver the message that would result in God’s glory. God’s people rebuilt the temple to glorify God. They almost quit, but God sent prophets like Haggai to encourage them to keep going. Thankfully, now that Jesus has come, the temple isn’t necessary. We can meet with God anywhere simply through prayer!
- To which city did God’s people return? (Jerusalem, Ezra 1:2)
- Who was the king of Persia when God’s people began rebuilding the temple? (Darius, Ezra 4:24)
- What festival did the Jews celebrate when the temple was complete? (Passover, Ezra 6:19)
Grade School Questions
- How did building the temple bring glory to God? Guide the kids to understand that the temple was meant to be a place where God’s people worshiped Him. True worship of God glorifies Him. Additionally, enemies were trying to prevent them from finishing, so by overcoming those obstacles, God’s people showed God’s power to support and guide them.
- The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit lives inside of Christians. How does this change our behavior? Help the kids see that everyone is made in God’s image. We ought to respect one another and ourselves. We should treat each other with dignity, compassion, and love. Because we are vessels of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to love with God’s love.
- How can you encourage someone who is suffering and ready to give up hope? Explain that we can offer encouragement from God’s Word. Someday, Jesus will return to restore the whole earth and provide a perfect place for us to live and worship Him forever. We face difficult times with hope because of Jesus’ promises.
Activity: Playing Card Temple
Supplies Needed: Playing Cards
Do: Demonstrate how to build a structure out of playing cards. Then, challenge them to build a structure. Cheer them on
and encourage them as they build. After several minutes, examine the structures.
Say: Great job building! How helpful or encouraging was your leader? When God’s people were rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, God sent two prophets—Haggai and Zechariah—to encourage the people. Today we will learn more about how and why God’s people rebuilt the temple.
Zechariah the Prophet (May 30th)
Our entire story this week comes from Zechariah. Open your Bibles to Zechariah 9:9 and read it together as a family. Zechariah had a message of hope for God’s people. God had not forgotten His people. He would punish their enemies and keep His promises. Zechariah said the Messiah is coming. The people would be united with God and He would never forsake them
- What did a prophet do? (shared God’s message with the people)
- What did God tell Zechariah to collect from the people? (silver and gold to make a crown for Joshua, Zech. 6:9)
- What was the special message of hope to God’s people? (Zechariah said the Messiah is coming, Zech. 9:9)
Grade School Questions
- Why do you think God spoke this message of hope through Zechariah? Guide the kids to see that God cares for us. The Israelites were struggling in rebuilding the temple and finding their identity as a people. God reminded them that they are His chosen people.
- How can we be encouraged to obey God even when life is difficult? Help the kids understand that God has given us hope for a future eternity with Him, but we also get to be part of His kingdom here on this earth. Our obedience flows out of our love for Him and for what He has done for us.
- How do we know Jesus is the Messiah? Guide kids to understand that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, and God showed other people that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus perfectly fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, such as those found in today’s story, and did miracles to prove His identity as God’s Son. Jesus perfectly obeyed all the law, showing us exactly who God is.
Activity: Roller Races
Supplies Needed: Cardboard or wood, Variety of objects
Do: Use a piece of cardboard or wood to form a ramp from the table to the floor. Provide a variety of objects for the kids to
try rolling down the ramp. Let the kids make predictions about which items will get to the bottom of the ramp the fastest.
Say: Some of these items rolled much slower than others. Sometimes it was easy to guess which things would get to the bottom first, but did any of the items surprise you? Sometimes we think we know exactly how God is going to make things work out. Sometimes He surprises us. God always keeps His promises, but we don’t always know when those promises will be fulfilled. God is infinitely wiser than we are. His timing is perfect. We can trust God in all things.
Esther Saved Her People (June 6th)
Open your Bibles to Esther 2. Explain that the Book of Esther is in the Old Testament, which means the events in the book happened before Jesus came to earth. We do not know exactly who wrote this book, but it was someone who had access to historical documents and cared about the Jewish people and their lives—perhaps Esther’s cousin Mordecai. The story of Esther took place in Persia, where many Jews were scattered. After the Babylonian exile, some Jews returned to Jerusalem, but some—like Esther and Mordecai—remained in Persia. The Persians had conquered the Babylonians, who had conquered Assyria.
Read aloud Esther 2:10-11.
- Whom did the king choose to be his queen? (Esther)
- Why was Esther afraid to go to the king? (The king had a rule that no one could go to the king unless he asked the person to come.)
- What new law did the king make? (He made a law to keep the Jews safe from their enemies.)
Grade School Questions
- How was Esther able to save her people? (Esther, a Jew, was chosen to be the queen of Persia. The king did not know she was a Jew, and Esther rose to a position where she could ask the king to protect her people.)
- How does Esther remind us of Jesus? (God raised up Esther to save His people. Mordecai urged Esther to take action, and she was willing to face death for them. In a greater way, God sent Jesus at just the right time and Jesus willingly died on the cross to save sinners. Jesus rose from the dead. One day, He will come back to rule as King forever.)
Activity: The Plan
Supplies Needed: None
Do: Choose a member of your family and quietly assign her a task involving the rest of the family. Consider these tasks: Organize family members by the color of their clothing, guide everyone to make paper airplanes, line everyone up in alphabetical order by their first name.
Once they finish getting everyone organized, try to get the rest of the family to guess the challenge!
Say: God has a plan for our lives, but His plan does not always seem obvious. In our Bible story this week, we see that God made Esther a queen to protect His people. Esther did not realize that at first. One day, we will understand God’s plans and see that everything He did was for His glory and our good.
The Walls Rebuilt (June 13th)
Our entire story this week comes from Nehemiah 1-6. When Nehemiah heard that God’s people were in danger in Jerusalem, he was sad. Nehemiah wanted to help, but he was in Persia which is far from Jerusalem.
Read Nehemiah 1:3-4 together.
- Why was Nehemiah sad? (God’s people were in trouble. Their city wall and gates were broken.)
- Who did Nehemiah say would fight for the people? (God because he is great and powerful)
- Why were their enemies afraid when the wall was finished? (They knew that God was with His people.)
Grade School Questions
- What was the first thing Nehemiah did after hearing about Jerusalem? (Find Nehemiah 1:4 which says Nehemiah “mourned and fasted and prayed”. Nehemiah had the greatest tool of all- prayer! We can approach every situation with prayer. God hears us when we pray.)
- What situation do you need to pray about this week? How can you remind yourself to “pray without ceasing”? (God wants us to pray about everything! God knows all things, but He welcomes us to come to Him with all of our questions, cares, and concerns.)
Activity: Fingertip Hoop
Supplies Needed: Hula Hoop
Do: Your family will be a team. You all must get the hula hoop from one side of the house to the other (or you can even go outside and play in the backyard). You may only touch the hoop with one finger, and your palm must face the floor. Play again as time allows!
Say: We all worked together to move the hoops from one side of the room to the other. We had to communicate, listen and help one another. We learned in our story this week how God used Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and how the Israelites worked together to accomplish their goal.
God’s People Repented (June 20th)
Our entire story this week comes from Nehemiah 8-13. God’s people gathered to hear Ezra read the law. When they heard God’s words, they understood that they had turned away from God. They needed to repent and turn back to God. God’s people repented and promised to be faithful.
Read Nehemiah 8:2-3 together as a family.
- What did the people do as God’s Word was read? (listened carefully, bowed down, worshipped)
- What did Ezra tell the people to do? (Do not be sad. Go home and have a feast and share with others)
- What did the people promise to do? (worship God and obey Him)
Grade School Questions
- How did the Israelites’ view of God’s Word help them make the right choice? (The Israelites trusted God’s Word, stood when it was read, listened attentively, and praised God. They respected God’s Word and trusted that it was true, even when it showed they needed to repent and make changes in their lives.)
- How does God’s Word change us today? (The Bible is inspired by God and can be used to teach, rebuke, correct, and train people to follow God. The Bible is trustworthy and can speak to every area of our lives. We can respect, follow, and trust the Bible because it comes from God.)
Activity: Party Time
Supplies Needed: party supplies (balloons, streamers, posters, etc.)
Do: Decorate the house for a party. Make a big Celebration! Banner and hang it up in the house. Use anything you can
find around your house to be ready for a party.
Say: This week our Bible story was about a celebration! The walls and gates around Jerusalem had just been finished. The people all gathered together and listened to Ezra, the priest, read God’s Word.
Malachi the Prophet (June 27th)
Our entire story this week comes from the book of Malachi. The name Malachi means “my messenger”. God sent Malachi to remind His people that God still loved them and expected them to obey Him. God’s people made wrong choices and became lazy in their worship, but God still loved them and cared for them. God showed compassion, treating them with kindness even though they did not deserve it.
Open your Bibles and read Malachi 3:17-18 together as a family.
- What did Malachi tell the people? (what they had been doing wrong and that a messenger would come to get people ready for the Messiah)
- What did God say would happen to people who honored Him? (They will be happy and jump and play like calves)
Grade School Questions
- Why do you think the people offered God their sick animals instead of their healthy animals? (We sometimes try to make shortcuts to obey God because we don’t trust Him like we should, or we act selfishly. But God wants us to obey Him completely, offering Him our very best. The people were supposed to make a sacrifice to worship God, but they gave Him their leftovers instead of their best.)
- What does it mean to sacrifice something? (To sacrifice means offering God our very best of everything. The people in the story were supposed to be making a sacrifice to worship God. Sacrifice expresses love, thanksgiving, or the need for forgiveness; and sacrifice often comes at great cost to us.)
Activity: Map it out
Supplies Needed: Pieces of paper, markers
Do: Instruct your kids to make a map of your neighborhood. Encourage them to mark special places, like their favorite
playground, their friends’ houses, or their school. Guide them to draw paths from their house to other destinations.
Say: A map helps us get from one place to the next. It shows us which way to go and helps us recognize our final destination.
This week our Bible story was about a messenger whom God sent to help His people stay focused on where He wanted them to go and what He had planned for them. This messenger helped them get ready for Jesus.