LESSON 1: "The Story and the Song"

Introduction from Psalm 19 & Hebrews 1

Big Idea for Parents
Many people believe that the Bible is a list of “To-Do’s” and “Not-To-Do’s.”  Others believe it contains stories of heroes who experienced nothing but victory.  In reality, however, while the Bible does contain certain guidelines by which we, as Christians, should live, and victorious accomplishments, its message is far greater than that.   As you read tonight’s passage with your child, share with them the fact that the Bible is actually one big storybook centered on one main hero – Jesus.  While the lists of rules and stories of heroes are helpful, they are not what make the Bible what it is.  The Bible is the one, true, inspired word of God – and, from Him, comes the best adventure and love story ever told!  

Devotion
If you could be a character from any fairy tale, who would you choose?  Would you be the beautiful princess who is trapped in her castle … or the handsome prince who slays dragons to rescue her?  Fairy tales are stories filled with adventure and excitement, and every one of them is a little bit different from the rest.  But all of them have one thing in common – a hero.  

Did you know that there is a book that is full of adventure and excitement – just like a fairytale – but is absolutely true?  It’s the Bible, and its hero is a brave prince who leaves everything to rescue the one he loves!  Some people think that the Bible is just a book of rules that tells you what you should do and what you shouldn’t do.  Other people think that it’s full of heroes who were always brave and courageous and never made mistakes.  The Bible does have some rules – and it does have some heroes – but that’s not all.  It has the best story ever written – the adventure story about God’s love for you!  

Read pgs. 12-17 together.

Questions

  • What are some ways God shows us that he loves us?  
  • What is something you saw today that reminded you of God’s love?
  • The Bible is an adventure story.  Who do you know who might like to hear it?

Prayer
Dear God,

We praise and thank you for the reminders you give us every day of your love for us – from the shining sun to the singing birds.  Thank you, most of all, for the Bible – a story of adventure and excitement that is better than any fairy tale because it tells us about You and the hero you sent to save us – Jesus.  In his name, Amen.

LESSON 2: "The Beginning - A Perfect Home"

Creation from Genesis 1-2

Big Idea for Parents  
As we were reminded last week, the Bible is a storybook about a prince (Jesus) who gives up everything to save the one (us, His children) He loves.  That love, though not shown in that specific way until later in the story, is undeniable from the very first page of the Bible.  As God spoke the words that brought the world into being, He demonstrated a love that is far beyond anything we can imagine!  As he separated the dark from the light and the seas from the skies, He showed us a truly extravagant love.  The reading tonight will remind you and your child of that love God has for you – one that would lead him to create an unbelievable world from absolutely nothing!

Devotion
If you wanted to paint a picture for your friend, you would probably need a piece of paper, some paints, and a paintbrush to get started.  If you wanted to bake your teacher a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies, you would want to be sure you had flour, sugar, and eggs.  
What if you didn’t have the paintbrush for the picture … or you forgot the chocolate chips for the cookies?  Would either of your gifts turn out right?  Probably not!  The picture wouldn’t be as neat, and the cookies certainly wouldn’t taste as delicious.    

A long, long time ago, before paints and paper and chocolate chips, there was absolutely NOTHING.  The whole world was dark – no trees, no sunshine, no water, no life.  But there was God, and he had a plan.  He loved us so much that wanted to give us a gift: a world that was full of beautiful things.  The amazing thing is that he didn’t need anything to get started!  He simply spoke, and all of it appeared! Read pages 18-27 together

Questions

  • What do you think it would have been like to watch God as he created the world?  What part do you think would have been the most exciting to see?
  • God showed us His love to us in Creation.  How do you show others God’s love?  

Prayer
Dear God,

You are strong and mighty - and the world you created is wonderful!  Thank you for showing us you love us!  Help us to show others your love.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

The Big Idea for parents:  This lesson will get to the bottom of all that is wrong in the world;  people want to be in charge, we think we know better than God.  So, Adam and Eve try to find happiness apart from God.  But God knew that if they thought they didn’t need Him, they would try to make themselves happy without Him and He knew that without Him there is no such thing as happiness and that life without Him is not really life at all.  This begins the story of the rest of the Bible, people want to live apart from God, and God does not want to live without His people.

LESSON 3: "The Terrible Lie"

Adam & Eve lose everything from Genesis 3

“No kicking the soccer ball in the house … Clean up after yourself … Use your kind words … Take out the trash.”  Have you heard any of those rules at your house?  At school?  On the playground?  Do you like following the rules, or is it hard for you sometimes?  

Some kids think that rules are meant to keep them from having fun.  But did you know that the reason for rules is actually to keep you safe and help you make good choices?  They are not always easy to follow – and, sometimes, we make mistakes.  In today’s Bible story, God gives ONE rule – only one! – and his children don’t follow it!  Read pages 28-37 together to hear the whole story.

Questions

  • When was the last time you broke a rule? How did you feel?  What consequences did you have?
  • When you made that mistake, how did it make your mom and dad feel?  Did they stop loving you?  Or were they disappointed with your decision – but loved you anyway?
  • Adam and Eve made a big mistake, and, because of that, they had to leave the beautiful garden God had made for them.  But … is that the end of the story?  How did God show them that he still loved them, even after their terrible lie?

Prayer
Dear God,

Just like Adam and Eve, we forget to follow the rules sometimes.  We are sorry.  Thank you for forgiving us when we make mistakes and for reminding us that, through Jesus, you love us even when we mess up.  In His name, Amen.

Big Idea for parents:  In this story, we see two truths about God.  1.  He hates when His people do things that harm them.  2.  He wants to love and be loved by the people He created.  This story shows us that sin is serious, after all God sent a flood to destroy the world, and that God is so determined to have a people He can love that He goes to special measures to save Noah.  This story points us to Jesus in that, when Jesus died we see how serious sin is, and we see how much God wants to love His people.

LESSON 4: "A New Beginning"

Can you remember a time when your brothers and sisters or classmates or friends were all doing something that you knew wasn’t right?  Was it hard to decide whether or not you should join them?  In today’s story, EVERYBODY was making choices that made God sad … EVERYBODY except for one man.  That man loved God with his whole heart, and he wanted to follow God in everything he did.  He even made the right choices when everybody else was making fun of him and laughing at him!    

Read pgs. 38-47

Questions

  • How do you think you would have felt if you were Noah and all of your friends were making fun of you for doing something that God had told you to do?  Would you have continued listening to God?
  • Sometimes it is hard to follow God’s directions because they don’t always seem to make sense.  What has God done for you that can remind you, in those moments, that His plans are perfect? 
  • When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, he forgave all of our sins.  How do you feel, knowing that, when you forget to follow God’s directions, he will forgive you and continue loving you?
  • Noah was a very faithful man.  What is one way you can show God your faithfulness to God?

Prayer
Dear God,

Thank you for reminding us, through the story of your faithful follower Noah, that we you always keep your promises to us.  Thank you for keeping the greatest promise of all – that you will save us from our sins so we can live in heaven with you – through your Son, Jesus. Amen. 

LESSON 5: "A Giant Staircase to Heaven"

Big Idea for Parents

Oftentimes, we hear that we have to do the “right” things, say the “right” things, and act the “right” ways in order to get to heaven.  We are told that if we are simply “good enough,” our salvation will be secured.  In today’s story, the people of Babel worked and said and acted very hard – but none of their efforts were enough to take them to heaven.  There was and is only one way for that to happen – and that is through God’s plan of salvation in Jesus.

Have you ever learned to speak a different language?  Can you count to ten in Spanish or say “Hello!” in French?  Did you know that, in Hawaii, instead of saying, “Thank you,” people say, “Mahalo?”  Around the world, there are over 6,700 different languages … and in today’s Bible story, you will find out how the first ones came to be!  At the beginning of the story, everybody was the same – they ate the same foods, spoke the same language, and lived in the same place.  But, one day, they made a choice that did not please God – and so God changed their plans.  Read pgs. 48-54 to hear about that confusing, mixed-up day!

Questions  

  • Why did the people of Babel want to build a giant staircase to heaven?  And why was God not pleased with their reason?
  • Why did God stop their building plans?
  • Sometimes people think that, if they work hard, show kindness to others, and make good choices, they will be able to go to heaven.  What does the Bible say about what we must do to get to heaven?  
  • The people of Babel did not know God’s whole plan for saving the world … but you do!  To whom can you tell that wonderful story? 

Prayer
Dear God,
We praise you for loving us, even when we forget about you and try to do things by ourselves.  Please forgive us for those times and help us always to trust in you.  Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to earth so that, by believing in Him, we could live in heaven with you!  In His name we pray,  Amen.
Prayer:Dear God,We praise you for loving us, even when we forget about you and try to do things by ourselves.  Please forgive us for those times and help us always to trust in you.  Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to earth so that, by believing in Him, we could live in heaven with you!  In His name we pray,  Amen.

LESSON 6: "Son of Laughter"

God’s special promise to Abraham, from Genesis 12-21

Big Idea for Parents
At first glance, God’s plans don’t always make sense; initially, they may seem downright unbelievable.  In today’s reading, God promises Abraham and Sarah, both of whom were nearly 100 years old, that they would have a baby.  He goes on to tell them that their family will outnumber the stars in the sky – an idea that brought both of them to laughter!  As we read today’s story, we are reminded, once again, that God always keeps his promises – and that, even when they don’t make sense, we trust His plans, knowing they are perfect.  

Devotion
When was the last time you went outside at night and looked up at the sky?  Did you find any constellations?  Did you see any shooting stars?  In today’s story, God tells Abraham, one of his faithful followers, to look up at the sky – and to count every one of the stars.  He tells Abraham that, one day, his family will have more people than the sky had stars!  Abraham laughed at God, knowing that he was already almost 100 years old and didn’t even have one child yet!  When he told his wife, Sarah, she laughed, too, thinking she couldn’t possibly have a baby.  But God always keeps his promises!  Read pgs. 56-61. to hear the whole story – and to find out what Abraham and Sarah named their first baby!

Questions

  • How would you have felt if you were Abraham and Sarah and God promised you something that seemed impossible?  Would you laugh like they did?  
  • Can you think of any other promises God made to his people?  Did he ever break one of them?
  • Isaac was a very special baby … but God’s plan was to send another baby – one that would save the whole world.  Do you know that baby’s name?  When was the last time you told somebody about Him?

Prayer
Dear God,
We praise you for always keeping your promises to us, even when they seem impossible.  We are sorry for the times we doubt you or laugh at your plans for our lives.  Please forgive us and help us always to remember that your word is true and your plans are perfect.  Thank you for sending Jesus to be our “dream come true.”  In His name we pray, Amen.

LESSON 7: "The Present"

Big Idea for Parents
In today’s story, God tells Abraham to do something any parent would find unbelievably difficult, if not impossible: to place his only son on an altar and offer him as a sacrifice.  Once again, God’s plans did not make sense to Abraham  … but Abraham trusted God fully and was confident in God’s love and care for Abraham and his family.  He did what God asked of Him, and God provided.  Just before Abraham was about to kill his own Son, God sent a ram from the thicket to take Isaac’s place.    

God desires to have our whole hearts and our full trust.  Like Abraham, we can put our hope in Him, knowing that His plans are perfect.  God’s ultimate plan has always been to rescue his people - not through the sacrifices of burnt offerings, but through the giving of His one and only Son.  We can trust him fully, knowing that “he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all … will graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32) 
 
Devotion
Do you remember when your mom or dad first taught you how to jump into the pool or ride your bike without training wheels?  Did they tell you what to do and then sit back and watch you try?  Or did they stay with you, standing in the water with their arms out to catch you or keeping one hand on the seat of your bike as you slowly began to pedal?  Doing new things can be very scary, especially when we know that we might get hurt by trying them.  Because we know our moms and dads love us, we know we can trust them to keep us safe and protect us, even when we’re scared.  

In today’s story, God asks Abraham to do something that is very scary.  Abraham is afraid, but He trusts in God completely and does what God asks him to do.  Read pgs. 62-68 to hear the whole story and to find out what God does to show Abraham how much he loves Him!

Questions

  • If you were Abraham, do you think it would have been easy to follow God’s directions?  
  • If you were Isaac, how do you think you would have felt when you found out that you were going to be the sacrifice, instead of a lamb?  
  • Abraham didn’t understand why God was asking him to do such a hard thing, but he never doubted Him.  Why do you think Abraham was able to trust in God completely?  What other promise had God made to Abraham?
  • How do you think Abraham and Isaac felt when God provided the ram?    
  • God wanted the whole world to know just how much he loved them, and so, like Abraham, he offered up a very special present, His own Son, Jesus.  Who can you tell about that “Lamb of God” who takes away your sins?

Prayer  
Dear God,

Thank you for the story of Abraham and Isaac.  Help us to be just like Abraham - to trust you completely, even when things seems scary.  We know that you love us because you sent your only Son, Jesus, to die for us.  Remind us of your love every day, and help us to share it with one another.  Thank you for providing everything we need.  In Jesus’ name we pray,  Amen.

LESSON 8: "The Girl No One Wanted"

The Story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah, from Genesis 29-30
 
Big Idea for Parents
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  All it takes is a simple glance at the magazine racks in the grocery check-out line or a quick scan through the television channels to be reminded just how much worth our world places on appearance.  Cover photos are airbrushed to perfection, models risk their health to look “beautiful,” and children learn, at an early age, that being pretty is all-important.  In today’s story, we will read about two sisters, one who is considered beautiful and the other who is dismissed as ugly.  As we read about Jacob’s persistence to marry Rachel, we also learn of God’s unconditional love for all of us, including the “Leah’s” of the world.  We see that he chooses her (and us!), not because of what is on the outside, but because of the stunning beauty that is on the inside.  She is truly a princess in God’s eyes … and that’s exactly what God makes her through his perfect plan!
   
Devotion
Have you ever noticed your friend’s cute new headband and wished it was yours?  Or seen your teammate’s cool new shoes and thought, for just a moment, that you needed to have a pair just like them?  Sometimes, when we see the things that our friends have, we feel like the things we have are not as special.  There are even times when we feel like we are not as special as our friends if we don’t have the same toys or clothes that they do.  
In today’s story, you will read about two sisters, one who is beautiful and one who is ugly, and the man who wants to marry the prettier one.  Read pgs. 70-75 to hear their story and to be reminded that, in God’s eyes, we are all princes and princesses, no matter what we look like on the outside.  He loves us, not because of what we look like, but because of who we are: His precious, beautiful children!  

Questions

  • If you were Leah, how do you think you would feel when Jacob picked your sister instead of you?  Would you be sad?  Jealous?
  • Leah knew that Jacob did not love her as much as he loved her sister, Rachel.  But she did not know just how beautiful God thought she was … or what amazing things he was going to do through her!  “One of Leah’s children’s children’s children would be a prince …”  Who is that “Prince of Heaven?”
  • When you meet new people or talk to your friends, what can you do to show them that, no matter what they look like or how many toys or clothes they have, they are princes and princesses because God loves them? 
  • Who could you share that special message with today?

LESSON 9: "The Forgiving Prince"

Big Idea for Parents
In this week’s story, Joseph, the favorite and most dearly-loved of Jacob’s twelve sons, is wronged by his jealous brothers and, eventually, sold into slavery.  Joseph experiences the pain of being far from home and from the father he loves.  He is blamed for things he does not do and is thrown in to jail as an innocent man.  In spite of everything, though, Joseph continued to trust that God loved him and would protect Him.  Years later, after God had richly blessed Joseph and made him one of the rulers of Egypt, he was confronted by the brothers who had acted so maliciously toward him.  They were afraid, knowing they had mistreated him and deserved to suffer; but, just as our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally, Joseph loved his brothers unconditionally and offered them grace and forgiveness.  God used all of the bad things in Joseph’s life to bring something good … and he would do it again, centuries later, with his own son, Jesus.  That time, however, he would not only grant forgiveness to eleven guilty brothers but to the entire world.

Devotion
Have you ever been jealous of something that someone else has?  If one of your friends gets a new toy or has an extra piece of candy in their lunch box, does it make you feel a little angry toward them?  In today’s story, a father who has twelve sons gives ONE of his sons a beautiful coat – and the eleven other sons get very jealous.  In fact, they get so upset that they do some horrible things to their brother, including selling him to other people!  Read pgs. 76-83 to hear about Joseph, his beautiful coat, his envious brothers, and the way God made good come out of all of his bad!

Questions
How do you think Joseph felt when his father gave him the beautiful robe?  
How do you think his feelings changed when he learned about his brothers’ jealousy toward him?  Would you have felt jealous if you were one of his brothers?
Joseph’s brothers did some very mean things to Joseph, and he eventually had to go to jail for something he didn’t do!  If that happened to you, would you be able to continue trusting God … or would wonder why God was letting those things happen to you?
At the end of the story, Joseph sees his brothers again – and does something amazing.  Rather than punishing them for everything they had done to him, what does he give them?  
Can you think of another Son who forgave his brothers when they mistreated Him?  How did he show them that he loved them no matter what they did?

Prayer  
Dear God,
We praise you for forgiving us when we make choices that are not pleasing to you and are unkind to others.  We thank you for the story of Joseph and the example he is for us of your unconditional love and grace.  Please help us, when others are unkind to us, to treat them with love instead of anger.  Thank you for sending Jesus to forgive the whole world’s sins so that we could live in heaven with you.  In His name we pray, Amen.

LESSON 10: "God to the Rescue!"

Moses and the Great Escape from Egypt, from Exodus 3-13

Big Idea for Parents
In this week’s story, God’s people cry out to Him to save them from their suffering and pain as slaves in Egypt.  God heard them and remembered his promises to them.  He appeared to a man named Moses and commanded him to go to the ruler of Egypt and tell him to let God’s people go.  Despite feelings of inadequacy and fear, Moses obeyed.  When he went to Pharoah, he was confronted with anger and resistance  - and so God worked through him to give Pharoah 10 warnings, or “plagues.”  Pharoah’s heart was hard, and so he continued to deny God’s people their freedom.  Finally, after the tenth plague (the one that would cause him to lose his own son), Pharoah released them.  Moses led God’s people out of Egypt; they were free at last!  

As we read the story of God’s protection and rescue of his people in Egypt, we are reminded that we, like the Israelites, are experiencing the suffering and pain of slavery – slavery to our sin.  We need someone rescue us.  God knew that – and so he sent his Son, Jesus, to be our Savior.  We now have true freedom through His death and resurrection and the blessing of living in that hope forever and ever!

Devotion
Have you ever played “Freeze Tag?”  It is just like tag, except that, when the person who is “It” finally catches another player, that new player is not the new “It.” Instead, the tagged player has to “Freeze!” wherever he is tagged.  The only way a “frozen” player can begin playing again is if another player comes to his rescue and tags him!  Then, both players can run together to safety.  

In today’s story, God’s people are “frozen;” they are stuck in a very bad situation and cannot get free by themselves.  They pray to God, and He sends them someone to “tag” them – to rescue them and save them!  Read pgs. 84-91 to hear this exciting story about Moses and the very important job God asks him to do!            

Questions

  • If you were Moses, how do you think you would have felt if God asked you to go to Pharoah?  Scared?  Brave?  Excited?
  • What did God tell Moses to help him feel less afraid?  How do you feel, knowing that God says the same thing to you?
  • God gave Pharoah a lot of warnings, but the last was the worst of all.  Why do you think the 10th plague finally made Pharoah change his mind and let God’s people go?
  • God told his people to put a special “sign” on their houses to show that they were his people.  What was that sign?
  • God sent Moses to rescue God’s people from Egypt.  Who did God send to rescue us from our sadness and sin?  Is there somebody you could “tag” with that special story??   

Prayer  
Dear God,

We praise you for being a God who always keeps your promises to us and rescues us from the scariest, saddest places in our lives.  Sometimes, we forget how much you love us, and, just like Pharoah, we turn our hearts away from you; please forgive us.  Thank you for sending Moses to rescue your people from Egypt – and for sending your one and only Son, Jesus, to rescue us from our sin.  Help us to trust in You and share the exciting story of our “rescue” with others!  Amen.