Sunday, March 29, 2020

Letting God Open the Well - Isaac


Genesis 26 is about stopping and unstopping wells among other things. This is a fairly simple story with some good applications. I include a drama and flash cards at the end. In the post, "Tube People for Acting Out Bible Stories," there are instructions for making the wells for the drama and also some other visuals you can make with your children. I show you how to tell the story using "tube people" in the post, "Tube People Starring in Isaac & the King." You can teach this lesson yourself at home using the flash cards I prepared and linked at the end of this post.

Wells supplied water, an essential resource to life.
In Genesis 26, Isaac confronts stopped up and stolen wells with patience and gentleness. Wells were the source of water, an essential resource to life. Stopping up a well usually meant war. According to the notes on Genesis 26:17,18 in the Life Application Bible, filling in someone's well with dirt was one of the most serious crimes in the land. Isaac had every right to fight back when the Philistines stopped up his wells (vs. 15). But he chose not to.

Stopped up wells.
First the Philistines stopped up all of Isaac's wells that his father had dug, because they were jealous that God was blessing Isaac. He moves (actually he is "kicked out" of where he is by King Abimelech) to the Gerar Valley and his servants dig and discover a well of fresh water. The Philistines from Gerar come and claim the spring for their own after Isaac's servants did all the work.
Isaac, his sheep and shepherds move to the Gerar Valley

No problem, Isaac's men just dig another well, but again the other shepherds come and dispute over it. Isaac abandons that well too and his servants dig a third time. They strike water again, and this time there is no dispute. Isaac breaths a sigh of relief and names the place Rehoboth which means "room." The idea was that God had made room for him in the land.
Digging new wells.

Things get even better though. God appears again to Isaac reaffirming his promise to bless him and increase his offspring. Finally, the King himself seeks out Isaac, and wonder of wonders, he apologizes to him and makes a covenant with him that they will not harm each other.

Lessons to be learned from this story?
  1. When Isaac encountered trouble, he did not "run" and go to Egypt where he could have lived because God commanded him not to (vs. 2). He stayed in the land and trusted God.
  2. Isaac did not demand his rights to the wells. He simply moved on and found more water. He was leaving matters in God's hands. God had told him to live in that land and he would give it to his descendants.
  3. Isaac was gentle rather than demanding. He simply moved on and dug another well.
  4. Isaac was patient. He had to dig wells three times until the disputes stopped.
  5. Isaac persevered. He did not give up, but kept digging new wells.
We need to:
  1. Obey God (do as he instructs us)
  2. Obey God even when it is difficult
  3. Trust God instead of demanding things. Be gentle, not demanding. Proverbs says that a "soft answer" turns away, or diffuses someone's anger.
  4. Don't give up. Isaac kept digging wells until God made room for him in the land. Galatians 6:9 teaches this principle, "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don't give up." Likewise, 1 Corinthians 15:58 encapsulates this principle.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-PQRnCPJ-cxc-atPRi46aPvaVD1ZZ5To/view?usp=sharing
Flashcards

I made some flashcards for telling this story that you can download here.

The DRAMA can be downloaded here.

If you want to print the signs for the wells, you can access them here.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

5 Books for Instilling Values in Children


I admit it. I am somewhat of a bibliophile. Not a true blooded, died in the wool, bibliophile...but I do love books. Especially children's books. In fact my love for children's written materials actually landed me a job in the children's room of our public library. It was my favorite secular job of all times. But I digress. The purpose of this post is to introduce you to some really good children's books. Ones that will entertain, but also exemplify good values through story.

Disclaimer: As I write this, it is March 2020 and we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally I write to equip children's workers. But two things have happened. First, my husband retired and since he was a pastor, we changed churches. For now I am not working in ministry except on occasion. Secondly, everyone worldwide kind of got moved out of hands-on ministry with the coronavirus. So for the time being, I plan on writing some posts like this one, to equip those at home with children. Someday I hope someone will be reading this, and the coronavavirus disease (COVID-19) will be a thing of the past. Someday, that day will be reality, but for now, we are where we are.

So here we go.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Treasure Hunt Clue in a Shamrock Shake


A few years ago, alright, a lot more than a few years ago – when I used to work with teens, we did a Saint Patty’s Day party. The crux of the party was a treasure hunt.

And the piece de resistance was

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Decorating Spaces - Snowflakes

When I worked in the children's room at our public library we changed up the decorations with the seasons. Leaves for fall, snow for winter, and flowers and raindrops for spring. So I utilized the idea in our kidmin space at church.

We did stars in December to go along with the Christmas lessons and kept them up until after Epiphany. In the spring, we did butterflies and dragon flies and let the children color them. When we took them down, I sent the ones they had colored home with them.

If you have a suspended ceiling in your space, this is really easy to do. Just use a paperclip or binder clips to attach fish line to the metal grids between the ceiling tiles. It is a little tedious to punch holes in each item, cut the line, thread it through and knot it. I make little loops on the end that will go around the paper clip. If you use binder clips, you don't even need to make a loop at the one end of the fish line, just clip it to the grid. When using paper clips, I always used white ones so they blended in with the tiles.

Why decorate for the seasons? Kids notice it, and so do parents. It says to me that you care enough about the children coming that you want to make their space special. I didn't always do this, but whenever I did, the children loved it. You can watch the video below to see what we did.

If you are interested in learning how we decorated our walls in the J.A.M. Center, you can read about it in several posts. You can link to several sites that provide the materials to draw the designs in my post DIY Theming That Doesn't Look Like You Did it Yourself. 


Snowflakes from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.