Israel Turned Away From God (ch. 13)

There are a couple of fun stories of Bible “heroes” that some of the kids are reading this week. However, this isn’t such a great period of time in The Big Story. Over and over again, in the book of Judges, you find the phrase, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

So, we’ll get a chance to see God do some amazing things in this chapter, but I definitely want the kids to notice that Israel isn’t very loyal to God, even though He is faithful to them.

We have a short time with the children for the next couple of weeks because they are getting ready to sing on Christmas Eve, but in the time we do have with them this week, some tests of strength might be fun (to go along with the story of Samson).

Other ideas?

Entering the Promised Land

This week, we want to help the kids notice a pattern that’s developing. God is proving to be faithful to Israel. He’s keeping His promises. He has made Israel His “treasured possession” and now He is leading them into the land He promised them.

But Israel is starting to look unfaithful. Remember the golden calf and having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

By the time we start to move into the book of Judges, Israel begins to live according to a miserable pattern:

They turn their backs on God.
They get overrun by their enemies
They cry out to God.
God gives them a “judge” to save them.
They turn their backs on God. . . .

This week, the story of Jericho is one we could act out (spies, walls coming down). We could also do some kind of hands-on activity with hailstones (from one of the battles the 3rd graders are reading about). The 4th graders are reading Joshua’s final words to Israel, where he reminds them what they have been through with God. We could make use of some of the kids’ previous pictures to remember together.

Other ideas?

Israel Meets God at Sinai


The kids are reading some remarkable stories with their parents this week. The people of Israel meet God at Mt. Sinai. God makes a covenant and they exchange vows. However, in spite of God’s overwhelming presence, the people quickly become unfaithful. By the end of this chapter, Israel is beginning 40 years of wandering because they did not trust God.

Here are a few activity ideas for this Sunday. Modify them, ask questions, suggest other ideas. . . .

Make manna. (I found a recipe that tries to give an idea of what it might have been like.)

Build a mountain and use dry ice to make it smoke.

Make golden calves out of modeling clay.

Relay race to put the 10 Commandments in order.

The Exodus (November 23)

Here are a few thoughts for this week’s chapter about Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

What if we split the kids into four groups for four different activities?

1. Brick-making
2. Making a burning bush
3. Making drawings or sculptures of things that represent the plagues
4. Acting out the crossing of the Red Sea

We could spend the first half of our time working in those small groups. Then, during the second half of the Sunday School time, we could take the whole group of children through the four activity stations, and tell the story as we go.

Each of you could guide the story-telling and teaching time at one of the activity stations as we move the large group through the stations.

Thoughts? Ideas? Questions?

You can leave comments here. We will talk sometime during the next couple of days too.

Children’s Ministry Menu

If you are interested in communicating The Bible’s story with children, then you might be interested in this post.

But this post is less of a publication, and more of a communication with my friends and co-workers at church.


I would like to check in here each week. I would still like to talk with you on the phone, or in person, but a website like this enables us to look at a menu of ideas and comment on them.

I think it will make it easier for us to consider creative activities to try with kids on any given Sunday.

Today, I’m just going to copy and paste a menu of ideas that I’ve had for a while. We may or may not choose an activity from this menu for this Sunday. But, now the menu will be posted. We can add to it, alter it, and choose from it, in the weeks ahead.

Feel free to comment, and please click the blue “Follow” button on the right side of the webpage. Then, you will be notified when there is a new post.

Thanks, I’m glad to be working with you! Here’s a menu:

“Action”: drama (costumes, video)

“Soundtrack”: making music that tells/shows story

“In the Mix”
            Arranging pictures or descriptions of story events in order.
            Arranging cards with names of the books of the Bible in order.

“Ready, Set. . . .”:
            making diorama’s (miniature stages) that show a story scene.
            Use cardboard boxes, paper, crayons, playdough, other art supplies.


Build a scene
            Kids move through stations
            One station is a scene that comes together as groups move through

Photographs of scenes
            Kids make still photos of scenes from story
            Project photos/slide show on a screen

Scripture memory

Physical activity
            Simulate a physical challenge from the story


App/computer station
            (Older kids make?)

Easter in The Big Story

The Promise.

A friend of mine asked me what “The Promise” might mean in The Bible’s story. And, he asked me to offer him any posts from this blog that might help explain what the promise is.

As I looked at the readings I chose for him, it occurred to me that this might make for good Easter weekend devotional reading as you celebrate God’s “indescribable gift.”

You can read it all in one sitting, but I’ll suggest a 3-day plan. It includes 6 posts and 2 stand-alone Bible passages:


“God Breathed”

“‘You Will Certainly Die’”

“The Death-to-Life Project”


“More and Less Than King”

  • The angel’s message to Mary regarding Jesus’ birth
  • John the Baptist’s message regarding Jesus
  • Sunday:

    “Time of Death”

    “Jesus and the Breath of God”