Category Archives: Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Unit 20, Session 1: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

Dear Parents,

The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday—the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as the King of kings the week of Passover. Many of God’s people traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem as well. Near Bethphage (BETH fayj) and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples ahead into a village to bring a donkey to Him.

Jesus made a spectacular entrance into the city. He rode the donkey, and people laid branches and their robes on the ground in front of Him. The people welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem believed He was the promised Messiah, but they expected Him to overthrow Roman oppression and set up an earthly throne. Jesus sent a different message.

The next day, Jesus entered the temple and turned over the tables of the money changers and those selling doves. Jesus referred to Isaiah 56:7, declaring that His kingship would not just be over the Jews but over all people. While Jesus was in the temple, He healed the blind and the lame. Jesus’ actions declared, “I am not just your King; I am also your God” (Isa. 35:4-6).

Finally, the priests and the scribes heard the children in the temple worshiping Jesus as their King. “Do You hear what these children are saying?” they asked. Jesus replied, quoting Psalm 8:2. Jesus gladly received their praise because He was worthy of their praise. Jesus is the Son of God who came to overthrow sin and set up an eternal throne.

During Jesus’ triumphal entry, the people welcomed Him as King. Jesus was the Messiah spoken about by the prophet Zechariah: “Look, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). One day, Jesus will return to earth on a white horse as King over everything. (Revelation 19:11)

As you prepare for and celebrate Easter, help your kids connect the dots between God’s promises of a Messiah and Jesus’ coming. Help them understand why Jesus came: to save the world from sin!

Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

 20_1_biblestorypictures

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

Babies and Toddlers

  • Jesus is alive.
  • Jesus is God’s Son.
  • God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us.
  • People praised Jesus as their King.

Preschool

  • Who saves us from our sin? Jesus saves us from sin.
  • People welcomed Jesus as their King.

Kids

  • Who saves us from our sin? Only Jesus saves us from our sin.
  • People welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Romans 10:9

NEXT WEEK

●     “Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection” (Matthew 26:36–28:10; John 18:1–20:18)

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Unit 14, Session 3: Joel, Prophet to Judah

Dear Parents,

 

This week we turned our attention back to Judah and picked up the big story with God’s people in quite a bind. The prophet Joel spoke to the Southern Kingdom of Judah at a time when the nation faced a crisis. The land had been invaded by locusts; swarms of the insects had devastated the plants. Judah was also affected by a severe drought.

 

Joel looked back on these events and announced that these were not mere natural disasters—the Lord was judging the people for their sin.

 

In Deuteronomy 28, God told His people, “If you do not obey the Lord your God by carefully following all His commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you … You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it” (vv. 15,38). That is exactly what happened.

 

These disasters were a wake-up call. Joel told the people to repent. He told them to fast. He told them to gather and repent together, crying out to God and asking Him to show them mercy. Then Joel looked ahead to the future. In essence he said, “You think this is bad? This is only the beginning!”

 

God’s judgment of Judah was not over. The Day of the Lord was coming, a day when God would show His strength through an invading army. For those who were not right with God, this was bad news. God’s power would be against them. So Joel implored them, “Return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.”

 

God had pity on His people and promised to restore them. God would rather forgive His people than punish them.

 

Joel warned God’s people about the Day of the Lord—a day when God will judge His enemies, free His people, and make the world right again. Those who trust in Jesus will escape God’s punishment for sin. Jesus was punished in our place, and we share in His righteousness.

 

Help your kids see that God takes sin seriously, but at the same time, He showers grace upon those who trust in Jesus. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for sins so people could be right with God. An ultimate Day of the Lord is coming, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

●     Babies and Toddlers

  • God loves people.
  • Joel was God’s prophet.
  • Joel said God wants to forgive people.
  • God forgives us through His Son, Jesus.

●     Preschool

  • What is God like? God is merciful and loving.
  • God warned His people to repent.

●     Kids

  • What is God like? God is slow to anger, merciful, and loving.
  • God warned His people to repent before the Day of the Lord.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Joel 2:13

 

NEXT WEEK

●     “God Called Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 1)

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Unit 14, Session 2: Jonah, Prophet to Nineveh

Dear Parents,

 

Last week, we saw Hosea’s amazing love for his unfaithful wife that provided a picture of God’s greater love for His unfaithful people. This week, we looked at Jonah’s  lack of love as a contrast.

 

The Book of Jonah is not primarily about Jonah and a big fish. While those elements are important, Jonah’s account centers around the compassion of God, not only for the people of Israel, but for people throughout the earth—even Israel’s worst enemies!

 

God spoke to Jonah: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me” (Jonah 1:2). God is the judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25) and He is sovereign over all the nations. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. No wonder Jonah ran the other way!

 

No one can flee from God’s presence. (Ps. 139:9-10) Through a storm and some time in the belly of a fish, God got Jonah’s attention. Jonah went to Nineveh. For three days, Jonah walked around the city. His message to the Ninevites was brief: “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!”

 

The people of Nineveh immediately repented, and God withheld His judgment. He passed over their sins and did not demolish the city. How did Jonah react? “Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious” (Jonah 4:1). Jonah refused to love the people of Nineveh, even when God did.

 

God rebuked Jonah and prompted him to examine his heart. He left Jonah—and the reader—with a question to consider: “Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh?” (Jonah 4:11).

 

God called Jonah to go to his enemies and call them to turn away from their sin, but Jonah refused. Instead, he ran away. Later, God sent Jesus to His enemies to call us to repentance. Jesus willingly obeyed. Jesus died on the cross to rescue us from sin.

 

Help your kids see that God’s love extends to the nations and that like Nineveh, we are all enemies of God undeserving of grace and mercy. Jesus is greater than Jonah. (Matt. 12:41) Jesus came calling all sinners, Jews and Gentiles, to repentance. He didn’t only bring a message, He truly loved us. He submitted to God’s will with joy and laid down His own life for our sins. God shows His mercy in the gospel, forgiving those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God sends us out, like Jonah, to share the good news of salvation.

 

Check this session’s Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

●     Babies and Toddlers

  • God loves people.
  • Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.
  • God sent Jonah to Nineveh because He loves people.
  • God sent Jesus because He loves us.

●     Preschool

  • What is God like? God is merciful and loving.
  • God showed mercy to the Ninevites.

●     Kids

  • What is God like? God is slow to anger, merciful, and loving.
  • God showed mercy to the Ninevites.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Joel 2:13

 

NEXT WEEK

●     “Joel, Prophet to Judah” (Joel 1–3)

 

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Unit 14, Session 1: Hosea, Prophet to Israel

Dear Parents,

 

This week, we encountered the curious instructions God gave the prophet Hosea. God sent the prophet Hosea to speak to Israel a message of God’s hatred toward sin and of His coming judgment. God also sent Hosea to bring a message of love—a love that never gives up. God used Hosea’s own life to show Israel what a never-gives-up kind of love looks like.

 

God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. He told Hosea that his wife would not be faithful to him. She would give birth to children who were conceived with other men. Still, Hosea obeyed God. He chose Gomer as his wife. Just as God said, Gomer was not faithful to Hosea. She went after other lovers. Can you imagine Hosea’s grief each time he found his wife with another man?

 

It would have been easier for Hosea to throw up his hands and say, “Enough! I’m done with you!” God’s people were no different than Gomer. They were spiritual adulterers. Their hearts chased after other lovers. They loved and worshiped idols, people and things that were not the one true God.

 

It would have been easier for God to throw up His hands and say, “Enough! I’m done with you!” But God’s love never gives up. He gave Hosea a love for his wife that compelled him to buy her back from the slave market after all she had done. In the same way, God sought after His unfaithful people even after all they had done. God paid a high price—the life of His Son, Jesus—to bring them back to Himself.

 

Hosea’s relationship with Gomer reminds us of God’s relationship with the people of Israel and with us. Even though God’s people are unfaithful and love other things more than they love God, God still loves us. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sin and bring us back to Him.

 

Help your kids understand what God’s amazing love is like and make sure they see that the price God paid to bring us back to Him was Jesus. God gave Hosea a deep love; Hosea was willing to buy back Gomer even after all she had done. God’s love is deep, and it never gives up. He goes after His people and loves them back to Himself.

 

Check this session’s  Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

●     Babies and Toddlers

  • God loves people.
  • God sent prophets to help His people.
  • Hosea’s life showed Israel how much God loved them.
  • Jesus’ life shows how much God loves us.

●     Preschool

  • What is God like? God is merciful and loving.
  • God loves people who don’t love Him back.

 

 

●     Kids

  • What is God like? God is slow to anger, merciful, and loving.
  • God is like Hosea, loving people when they don’t deserve it.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Joel 2:13

 

NEXT WEEK

●     “Jonah, Prophet to Nineveh” (Jonah 1–4)

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Unit 13, Session 3: Elisha and Naaman

Dear Parents,

 

Everyone gets sick at some point in his or her lifetime … often many times! Illness is probably no stranger to your kids. In today’s Bible story, Naaman—a commander for the Syrian army—was really sick. He had leprosy, a skin disease that was likely disfiguring and isolating. Without a cure, Naaman would face great suffering. But help came from an unlikely source: a young slave girl.

 

The people of Israel and Syria were often at odds with one another. The Syrians sometimes attacked the cities in Israel and plundered them. They took what they wanted, including people to work as slaves.

 

The young slave girl who served Naaman’s wife had been taken from her home in Israel.

 

As an Israelite, the girl knew about the one true God. She was familiar with God’s prophets, including Elisha, who had performed miracles to help and heal people. The girl told her mistress that Elisha the prophet could heal Naaman. So the king of Syria sent a letter to the king of Israel, asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy. But the king of Israel had no power to heal Naaman. The power to heal comes only from God.

 

Elisha called for Naaman. But what happened next was not at all what Naaman expected. Naaman expected Elisha to call upon the name of God, wave his hand over Naaman, and miraculously heal him. Instead, Elisha instructed Naaman to go wash in the river.

 

Naaman was upset! He could have washed in a river back home! But Naaman’s servants urged him to wash. He did, and God healed him.

 

Naaman was sick with a skin problem. His disease went away when he trusted God’s instruction from Elisha and washed in the river. All people have a sin problem that leads to death. We all need a Healer. When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, God forgives our sin and heals us.

 

Help your kids understand that not all sick people will be healed on this side of heaven, but our physical maladies are symptoms of an even greater illness—sin. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided healing—forgiveness and eternal life—for those who trust in Him.

 

Check this session’s Activity Page as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

unit-13-session-3

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

●     Babies and Toddlers

  • There is one true God.
  • Naaman obeyed God.
  • There is no one like God.
  • Jesus heals people who are sick.

●     Preschool

  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
  • God healed Naaman.

●     Kids

  • How many gods are there? There is one true God who alone deserves worship.
  • God healed Naaman’s skin disease.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Hebrews 1:1-2

 

NEXT WEEK

●     “God Called Isaiah” (Isaiah 6)

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Unit 13, Session 2: Elijah Ran from Jezebel

Dear Parents,

 

The prophet Elijah had just witnessed God’s great display of power over the false god Baal. God had sent fire from heaven and then ended a long drought with a great rain. Elijah must have felt a sense of victory; the evil King Ahab could not deny the one true God. But trouble awaited Elijah in the form of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel.

 

When Jezebel heard what happened at Mount Carmel, she threatened to kill Elijah. Elijah ran away and hid in the wilderness. What a change Elijah experienced! He went from a man faithfully and confidently praying for God’s glory to be displayed at Mount Carmel to a man begging the Lord to take away his life. (See 1 Kings 19:4.)

 

God was merciful to Elijah. An angel of the Lord brought Elijah food and drink while he rested. Then Elijah traveled to Horeb for a personal encounter with God. Horeb—another name for Mount Sinai—was a familiar place in the history of Israel. It was the place where God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites and where Moses met with God.

 

After the events in 1 Kings 18, Elijah might have expected a grand display of God’s presence, but what he experienced was just the opposite. The Lord was not in the wind. The Lord was not in the earthquake. The Lord was not in the fire. God revealed Himself to Elijah in a voice, a soft whisper.

 

Elijah’s circumstances were difficult, but God didn’t leave him. God gave him Elisha, a friend and successor. God assured Elijah that he was not alone; there were 7,000 people in Israel who had not turned to worship Baal.

 

As a prophet of God, Elijah faced enemies who wanted to hurt him. Elijah’s life points forward to Jesus, the greatest Prophet, who was hated and killed for sharing and teaching God’s Word.

 

Help your kids understand that God’s prophets suffered, but their lives and messages pointed forward to the ultimate prophet, priest, and king—Jesus Christ—who suffered for the sins of the world. Jesus was hated and killed, but His death and resurrection brought victory for God’s people.

 

Check this session’s Activity Page as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

unit-13-session-2

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

●     Babies and Toddlers

  • There is one true God.
  • God spoke to Elijah in a small whisper.
  • Nothing can stop God’s plan.
  • Jesus is with us when we are afraid.

●     Preschool

  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
  • God encouraged Elijah.

●     Kids

  • How many gods are there? There is one true God who alone deserves worship.
  • God revealed Himself to Elijah in a whisper.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Hebrews 1:1-2

 

NEXT WEEK

●     “Elisha and Naaman” (2 Kings 5)

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Unit 13, Session 1: Elijah Confronted Evil Ahab

Dear Parents,

 

This week, we continue in the big story of the Bible by learning about the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. King Ahab was an evil king. In fact, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). The things that Ahab did made God angry. God wanted His people to be faithful to Him, but King Ahab led them away from God.

 

God chose Elijah to get Ahab’s attention. In 1 Kings 17, Elijah told Ahab that a drought was coming. God prevented rain in the land for three years. For Ahab, a man who worshiped Baal—the false Canaanite god of rain and fertility—the drought sent a strong message about the one true God.

 

When God was ready to send rain on the earth, Elijah appeared to Ahab and instructed him to gather the Israelites and the prophets of the false gods at Mount Carmel. Elijah challenged the people to choose: Follow God or follow Baal. They couldn’t do both.

 

Elijah set up a challenge to prove who is the one true God. He faced off against the prophets of Baal. Each group prepared a bull on an altar and called on its deity to send fire from heaven. The prophets of Baal called and cried and cut themselves, but Baal did not answer.

 

Elijah poured water on and around his altar. He called to God, and God sent fire from heaven. Everything was burned up. The prophets could not deny that the God of Elijah is the one true God, and God sent a great rain to end the drought.

 

The people who worshiped the false god Baal danced and cried and cut their bodies to show that they loved Baal. But the one true God is not like the false gods. Instead, He showed His love for us by sending His Son, Jesus. Jesus bled and died to rescue us from sin when we trust in Him.

 

Help your kids understand that God is an initiating God. We love God because He first loved us, which He proved by providing Jesus. Only God—the one true God—has power to help His people and to save them. And He saves them through His Son, Jesus, whose name means “the Lord saves.”

 

Check this session’s Activity Page as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

unit-13-session-1

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

●     Babies and Toddlers

  • There is one true God.
  • Elijah showed the people God’s power.
  • God hears His people when we pray.
  • Jesus is powerful because He is God’s Son.

●     Preschool

  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
  • God defeated the prophets of Baal.

●     Kids

  • How many gods are there? There is one true God who alone deserves worship.
  • The one true God defeated the prophets of Baal.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

●     Hebrews 1:1-2

 

NEXT WEEK

●     “Elijah Ran from Jezebel” (1 Kings 19)

 

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)