Sunday April 26th

.Sunday School April 26th

Nursery Circle Time

Toddlers and preschoolers can learn the same lesson as the big kids with this Sunday's Nursery Circle Songs and Story.This week, your little ones are learning about the word "mercy:" how much God loves us and how we get to love each other. 

Music

Kinder-Grade 4* are learning a new family lullaby: "Jesus Loves Me/Jesus Tender Shepherd, Hear Me" by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Here is the sheet music and the link to sing-along. Children are singing Jesus Loves Me, the refrain, and verse 3. Parents, you are up for verses 1 and 2!

Grades 5-8* are learning a new hymn of hope and assurance: "He Will Hold me Fast." Here is the sheet music and the link to the family hymn sing. It opens with memory work from Psalm 139: "You have searched me Lord and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hands will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." 

*Children memorize naturally. Sing through the song once with your child, and then, pick a section that you will work on for the day. If they can't read, read the section line-by-line, having them repeat it back to you (You can also add actions for little ones!). For older children, have them read through the section they are working on for that day. And then, put it down, until you re-visit it again. Slowly but surely, the song will be added to your children's long-term memory bank!

Lesson: The Parable of a Father's Great Love

Ask your child to name some ways that you, as the parent, show your love for them. Point out that it’s especially easy for parents to show love to their children when their children are loving toward them. But in today’s lesson, we’ll hear about a father who showed love to his son even when his son wasn’t being very loving toward him. There is a special word for this type of love. It’s the type of love God shows us and that he calls us to show for others. See if you can guess what that word is. 

READ

Click Here for the PDF of the story to read aloud with younger children. Grades 5-8, read aloud Luke 15:11-24

RETELL

Have children take turns. Ask Kinder-Grade 2 age children to remember one item they remember from the story; have older children retell as much as they can remember until the whole story has been retold. 

REFINE

ASK
1. What is a parable
(A story that didn’t really happen but is told to teach us something about God that is true).
2. Who is like the Father in the parable? When are we like the Son who left home?  
(God. When we choose sinful actions that we know are wrong over God and what he says is good for us.)
3. When the son returned home, he was repentant. What does that word mean? Did his Father treat him like his actions deserved? 
(It means that you are sorry for what you have done and turn away from that sin. No, his Father forgave him, hugged and kissed him, gave him the clothes of a son--not a servant--and celebrated his return) 
4. Does our Father in heaven treat us like our actions deserve? How Come? 
(No, God is merciful—he shows us his undeserved love. He sent his Son, Jesus, to suffer the just punishment for our sins so that he, too, can welcome us with open arms.
5. There is a second son in this story. When might we be tempted to act like the older son? 
(When we think someone else is a worse sinner than we are or doesn’t deserve to be saved because of the life they have lived). 
6. What does Jesus want us to learn about God from this parable?
(Jesus wants us to understand God’s mercy—his undeserved love for us)

REVIEW
In this story, the son went from rejecting his Father’s good care to being repentant for his actions. With your child's help, list the ways the son showed he was repentant for his actions. Then list out the ways the Father showed mercy.  For older children, you can write out the word: FATHER
And have them come up with examples of mercy for each letter. For Example: 
Forgives us
Always loves us
Takes us back
Happily welcomes us 
Erases our sins
Rejoices over our return. 

Watch: Here is a Sing-along of NEST Animation's Prodigal Son. If your kids like it, the full 25 minute episode on the Prodigal Son is here.  For older children, here is Lumo's historically re-enacted version or the music video of "When God Ran." 

APPLY

ACTIVITY
True or False Olympics

Have kids sit on the floor. Have them jump up if the statement is true and run in place if the statement is false. Older ages can also complete this activity without the jumping and running. Length of explanation and discussion should be dependant upon age level. 

1. There are some sins that are just too big for even God to forgive.
(False. Christ came for all people, all sins. There is nothing too bad for God to forgive)
2. We can confidently ask God to forgive us 
(True. God rejoices when we come to him in repentance and gladly forgives us for Jesus’ sake)
3. If someone says they are sorry, but keeps doing the same thing over and over again, they are not really repentant. 
(Trick Question. It could be true or false. Repentance means to turn away from sin and turn to God. If they keep doing the same thing again and again, it doesn't appear that they are really repentant. But, we also know that until we are in heaven, we will continue to daily struggle between our New Self and our Old Adam. Only God can read their heart.)
4. Because God forgives everybody, he doesn’t really care when people sin against me 
(False. Sin is a big deal and God takes it seriously. He puts people in authority on earth—leaders, police officers, judges, etc.--to administer justice so that when people do wrong, they face earthly consequences. He warns us that when we die, we will need to face Him and give an account for how we lived. And he sent his Son Jesus to suffer the consequences of sin for us. 
4. When God sees me, he sees Jesus. 
(True. Jesus didn’t just take the burden of my sins on himself on the cross, he also clothed me in his perfect, righteousness. So that when God sees me, he’s sees a perfect and holy child of God). 

Grade 1-4: Click here for a second activity that your children may enjoy.
Grade 5-8: Click here for the PDF of your Workbook to complete.
Grade 7/8: Grades 7/8 can either follow along with the lesson above, or they can work independently on their Ephesians Bible study. Their teacher, Mr. Jules Palaisy, is available to answer their questions. For Ephesians, they are focusing on the first half of Lesson 3 (questions 1-7). Today, we are considering the concept of "grace." To fully appreciate God's grace to us, we first, have to understand the effect of sin upon us. What does it mean that God loved us while we were still in our sins? Watch Josh Garrel’s music video “Born again.” How does he express Paul's idea that we were “dead” in our sins? Do you think it is an accurate portrayal according to Paul? 

CRAFT
Agape Cards/Calls
Today we learned how God is a merciful Father, a father who should not welcome us home, but instead, he welcomes us with open arms, forgives us, and makes us his perfect and holy children. Another term for this type of love is AGAPE. Love where we do not do anything to deserve it, and yet, Christ still sacrificed himself to save us. This is also the type of love we get to show to one another: "We Love because he first loved us."
 
Practicing Agape love is more than one specific action, but to get our kids thinking, we are going to apply the idea by making Agape Cards/Calls:    
Ask your child(ren) to think of someone in their life that they think could use a little sunshine:  a “Get Well” card, or “Thinking of You,” or “Miss You” type of card. Check out some inspiration for cool ideas on simple pop-up cards, watercolor collage, or fingerprint art. And get creating! While my kids and I have been working on crafts each week, we have enjoyed playing our favorite Christian music mix (this one's more for me). They really like this song and the Getty music kids albums. Check it out or play your own background soundtrack!

For older children who don’t want to make a card, encourage them to make a phone call. Have them name a few people in their life—friends, neighbors, or family, who they think could use a little pick me up. Have them pick up the phone and give them a call to see how they are doing. 

Memory Work

Read Aloud Together

This is our memory work passage through May 10th, reminding us that Jesus died for all people, for the sins of the whole world: 
“He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Prayer

Close your family in prayer. This can be your own prayer, the Lord's Prayer, or the prayer below: 
"Heavenly Father, thank you for the love and mercy you give us even through ours sins make us unworthy. Please remind us of your great love for us and your eagerness to forgive us. Help us run to you when we sin and remind us that we are truly forgiven and are your redeemed sons and daughters. Help us share this message with others who may think that God could never love them."