4.8. God Is Contentment. Bible Passage: Philippians 3 4 (Letter to the Philippians)

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1 date: Bible Passage: Philippians 3 4 (Letter to the Philippians) God Is Contentment REMEMBER VERSE Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:5. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.

2 Tru Mission Statement Tru helps kids and their families connect to God, find their place in His big story, and respond to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Lesson Path: Seeing the Mission Statement in a Tru Lesson Connecting leaders to God... Connects kids and their families to God His big story And invites them to respond to Him Through the power of the Holy Spirit. Navigating Lesson Below you will find additional information to enhance lesson sections as needed. Anticipate Celebrate Respond Bless Inspire, Equip, and Support HomeFront Weekly Anticipate Celebrate Respond Bless Letters (for Older Kids) To make this activity more creative, have the children create wax seals using a crayon, a candle, and a coin. Have a leader hold a peeled crayon over the candle flame until the end begins to melt. Then dab the wax onto an envelope. Have the child push a coin into the wax while it s still warm to make an imprint. Storytelling Video A storytelling video is available for this lesson. Premium, Unlimited, and Combo users may access the video in the Resource Files. Books of Thankfulness If you don t want to use playing cards for this activity, use three- by five-inch index cards. To save time with this activity, consider punching holes in the cards ahead of time or cutting out the rectangles of paper especially for younger kids. Small Group Enhancement Finish the Sentence activities are available for this lesson. Premium, Unlimited, and Combo users may access these activities in the Resource Files. HomeFront Magazine: A Spiritual Parenting Resource This magazine gives families ideas for creating fun, spiritually forming times in their homes setting aside a sacred space for family in the midst of their active, everyday lives! To provide printed copies of the new issue when it becomes available each month, order print subscriptions at or download it. Families may also visit the website to have each month s issue ed directly to their inboxes and they may access each issue through apps for iphone, ipad, or Android devices. 2

3 SMALL Group SECTION Anticipate// 5 10 min. Option 1: Chariots (for Younger Kids) When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, chariot riders delivered the official Roman mail. Let the kids have fun pretending to be chariot riders as they race to collect and deliver mail. SUPPLIES beach towels (1 for every 3 kids) envelopes (4 for every 3 children) marker Chariot Rider image (see Resource Files) items to use in an obstacle course (suggestions: boxes, furniture, masking or painter s tape) optional: stopwatch PREPARE AHEAD Print the Chariot Rider image. Number the envelopes one through four, making one set of four envelopes for every three kids. SET UP Place the envelopes around the room. Create a simple obstacle course; allow enough space for the kids to move through it while stretching out the towels. Place the towels at the beginning of the course. Show the children the Chariot Rider image. Explain that the Romans used chariot riders to carry mail throughout the Roman Empire. Then divide the kids into teams of three and give each team a blanket or towel. Encourage each team to form a chariot by having one child hold one end of the towel the back of the chariot and the other two kids hold the other end the front of the chariot. One at a time, invite each chariot to go through the obstacle course and find a set of four numbered envelopes. When they find all four envelopes, they can give them to you. Sometimes Paul mailed his letters by having friends pass them to one another as they traveled around the area. How long do you think it might have taken for one of Paul s letters to reach the people he was writing to? Do you get letters in the mail from anyone? If so, who, and what are the letters about? Optional: Time the teams as they go through the obstacle course and see who gets through it the fastest. Option 2: Letters (for Older Kids) In the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians, he encouraged the people to know God more and to find contentment in Him. With this activity, the children will create their own letters to send to friends or family members. SUPPLIES paper (2 sheets per child) envelopes (1 per child) rubber stamps (1 for every 5 6 children) ink pads (1 for every 5 6 children) pens Letter Facts (see Resource Files) optional: empty glass bottles with lids or stoppers (1 per child), large tub or plastic bin of water PREPARE AHEAD Print a few copies of the Letter Facts. SET UP Set out the Letter Facts along with the rest of the supplies. The New Testament includes many letters Paul wrote some from prison and sent to the first churches. The letters traveled hundreds of miles to reach these churches! They re beautiful letters, and we re blessed today to be able to read them in our Bibles. Have the children sit in groups to read the Letter Facts aloud. Then invite the kids to use the supplies to write real or imaginary letters to friends or family members or even people who might have lived during Paul s time. When they re done, they can put their letters in the envelopes and decorate the envelopes with stamps. As a group, discuss: How do you think it would feel to only be able to communicate with friends and family who live far away by writing letters on paper and waiting months for them to be delivered? Optional: Instead of putting their letters in the envelopes, have kids roll up their letters, put them in the bottles, and float them in the tub or bin of water. 3

4 LARGE Group SECTION Celebrate//35 55 min. Ponder Point: God Is Contentment Welcome & Traditions// Remember Verse// Connect// Take five minutes to open your CELEBRATE time by engaging in Welcome and Traditions. Quarterly Tradition (optional): Echoes: Divide the children into four groups. Have the groups stand next to each other in order. Then call out a word or phrase. Group one will repeat the word or phrase, followed by group two, then, three, then four, to create an echo somewhat like a verbal wave. Repeat with a new word or phrase. As time permits, play more rounds with kids echoing quietly, loudly, in slow motion, with accents, etc. This week s Remember Verse focuses on a character trait of God that s highlighted in today s portion of The Big God Story. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:5 Invite the children to ask one another the following question or one of your own. Encourage them to ask someone they may not know. After a minute or two, ask several children to tell the group their friends answers. (For Connect Question and Connect Activity slides, see Resource Files.) Question What would your perfect day be like? Activity: Emotional Movement Invite the children to move around in the room in a happy way (for example, by skipping). They should use their bodies, not their voices. Then quickly flick the lights off and on. At that signal, have the kids pair up and ask one another the CONNECT question. Announce that when they re done, they can move around the room again, this time in a way corresponding with another emotion that you ve chosen (suggestions: sad, angry, excited, or nervous). When you flick the lights again, they can ask someone else the question. Repeat, changing the emotion each time. Find more details for each section in the How It Works document in the Supporting Lesson Resources section of the My Lessons page at tru.davidccook.com. 4

5 The Big God Story// Ponder Point: God Is Contentment SUPPLIES Bibles (1 per leader and 1 per child) Timeline slide and animation (see Resource Files) gift box with lid large gift tag marker envelopes (5, standard business size) Open When labels (see Resource Files) scissors glue or tape Philippians Verses cards (see Resource Files) card stock (1 sheet, light-colored) video: Time Passing (see Resource Files) slide: Paul Handcuffed (see Resource Files) PREPARE AHEAD Print the Open When labels on regular paper and Philippians Verses cards on card stock. Cut apart the labels and verses. Glue the labels to the front of the envelopes. Place each verse in its corresponding envelope. Write The Secret of Contentment on the gift tag and attach to the gift box. Worship Response// SET UP Place the envelopes in the gift box in order. SUPPLIES scrapbook paper (1 [6 x 6 ] square per child, various colors and designs) pencils or pens twine (about 8 per child, in 1 long piece) scissors staplers (1 for every 5 6 children) upbeat worship music (suggestion: Celebrate, TruWorship Sincerely Yours) SET UP Hang the twine near the front of your room at a height the kids can reach. Place the staplers near the twine, and station a couple of leaders nearby to help kids staple their scrapbook triangles to the twine. Find more details for each section in the How It Works document in the Supporting Lesson Resources section of the My Lessons page at tru.davidccook.com. 5

6 The Big God Story Bible Passage: Philippians 3 4 Storytelling Technique: Props and Participation Storyteller enters with gift box. I have a special gift with me today. What do you think is inside? Allow kids to guess. Good guesses. The answer is here on the tag. It says The Secret of Contentment. What does contentment mean? Allow answers. Great thoughts! Contentment means being okay with what you have and trusting that God is taking care of you, no matter what. I know what might help! There s a book in the Bible that talks about contentment. We could look at it together! First, let s pause and ask God to teach us today. Set aside gift box. Lead kids in Prayer of Release. Who remembers what book in the Bible we looked at last week? Allow responses. Who wrote that book? Allow responses. Yes, Paul. It was actually a letter to the people of Galatia. Paul wrote many letters. Let s open our Bibles to the book of Philippians. Help kids locate passage. Philippians is a letter from Paul to the church in Philippi. God directed Paul and his friends to share the good news of Jesus there. We heard a few weeks ago about how Paul helped start a church there. Tech: Cue Time Passing video. Time passed, and hard things started happening to the people in Philippi because of their faith in Jesus. Paul wanted the Philippians to understand that God is contentment. What does contentment mean? Allow responses; review definition. As followers of God, we can have contentment. We can be filled with the hope, joy, peace, and love that comes from the Holy Spirit. Paul knew this he actually wrote about contentment while in prison, handcuffed to a guard! Tech: Cue Paul Handcuffed slide. He was in prison for preaching about Jesus, waiting to go on trial. Paul understood that life doesn t always go the way we want. Look at Paul s life: He went from being really important and respected to being disliked and thrown in jail. He lost everything. Do you think Paul got angry about this? Allow answers. Have kids turn to Philippians 3:8 and follow along as you read. Wow! All Paul wanted in life was to know Jesus. Nothing else mattered to him. Let s hear more about this. Volunteer reads Philippians 4:12. In every kind of situation, Paul knew that God is contentment. Ask all the kids to stand up. Okay, sit down if you ve never ever felt scared. Pause. Sit down if you ve never ever felt hurt. Pause. Sit down if you ve never ever felt sad. Pause. Ask kids to look around and then all sit down. We all live in a broken world where sometimes kids are mean to us, friends move away, people fight, and loved ones die. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, God is contentment. He loves us and understands what it s like to hurt. He can comfort us. Pick up gift box and open it. In this box I have some of the secrets Paul shares with the Philippians to help them understand that God is contentment. Invite volunteer to come up front and read the first letter : Open when you feel sad. Volunteer reads front of envelope and then reads verse inside. Have kids follow along in Philippians 4:4. Paul told the Philippians to rejoice always. In fact, he repeated the word rejoice over and over in his letter to the Philippians. What does rejoice mean? Allow answers. Yes, it means to have joy. Are we supposed to ignore our feelings and pretend to be happy? Allow answers. No! Paul is saying that because God is contentment, we can rejoice that He will comfort us in hard times. We rejoice in who God is and how He cares for us. What are some truths about God that you re thankful for? Shout them out as we rejoice together! Direct kids to shout out who God is (examples: God, You are loving! God, You are faithful! ). Invite another volunteer to come up and read second letter: Open when you feel worried. Volunteer reads front of envelope and verse inside. Have kids follow along in Philippians 4:6 7. Invite children to place their fingers on the word peace in their Bibles. How can we experience God s peace? Pause for answers. One way is to pray. Invite children to place their fingers on the word prayer. When we 6

7 ZECHARIAH ANTICIPATE CELEBRATE RESPOND BLESS pray, we can tell God about our fears, our worries, and our hurts. As we talk with Him, we can trust that He will listen to us and that He is big enough to take care of us in our struggles. As we trust Him with our worries, God gives us peace in the hard times. He is contentment. Invite another volunteer to read third letter: Open when you feel grumpy. Volunteer reads envelope and verse as kids follow along in Philippians 4:8. When we focus on what we don t have, we can get stuck in being upset or grumpy all the time. God helps us see a little of His glory how amazing He is all around us. When we re hurt or sad and we pause to count God s blessings and think about the beauty all around us, we re reminded of what is true and beautiful. We can stop thinking of ourselves and start praising God, because God is contentment. Invite another volunteer to read fourth letter: Open when you feel weak. Volunteer reads envelope and verse as kids follow along in Philippians 4:13. We can trust that God will be our strength in every situation. When hard things happen, things we can t handle on our own, God will give us the help we need to keep going. Invite a final volunteer to open the last letter: Open when you feel hopeless. Volunteer reads envelope and verse as kids follow along in Philippians 4:19. We can be content because God gives us, His children, all that we need. He cares about us and will take care of us. When things get hard at school or at home, God can be your reason to rejoice. When things don t happen the way you think they should, God can give you the strength to keep going. God is contentment, and He will care for us in the good times and the bad. Share a personal story of a time you experienced God s contentment in your circumstances. Worship Response Isn t it amazing that even in our hardest times, God helps us to rejoice and find contentment in Him? He loves us and promises to always take care of us. Today we re going to celebrate how God gives us everything we need. What need do you have today? Maybe you re worried about something at school or at home. Maybe you re having trouble with a friend or family member. Talk to God about those things. Maybe you know of a friend who s struggling; you can pray for that person. Take a few minutes to talk with God. He cares! Allow children time to talk with God silently. ADAM & EVE ABRAHAM MOSES JOSHUA SAMUEL KING DAVID ELIJAH KING JOSIAH JEREMIAH SHADRACH/MESHACH/ABEDNEGO DANIEL ESTHER NEHEMIAH 400 YEARS OF WAITING JESUS SIMEON/ANNA ZACCHAEUS MARY PHILIP PETER JAMES JOHN APOSTLES CORNELIUS LYDIA PAUL YOU & ME OUR FUTURE WITH JESUS 7

8 Paul tells us to present our prayer requests to God with thanksgiving, so today we re going to celebrate as we bring our prayers to God. We can trust God to answer our prayers and give us His peace. Pass out the scrapbook paper and pencils or pens. On the blank side of the paper, you can write or draw the need you want to bring to God. Then you can fold your paper in half, colored side out, to make a triangle. When you re ready, you can bring your triangle to the front, where a leader will help you staple it to some twine. Together the triangles will become flags of celebration! When we see this colorful banner of prayers, we can thank God for being contentment, and for giving us contentment, peace, and joy, no matter the situation. Tech: Cue music. Allow children time to write prayers and bring them forward to form the banner. 8

9 Respond// min. SMALL Group SECTION Reflect: God Is Contentment Even though Paul had lost everything, he still rejoiced in God. Because God is contentment, we can look beyond our troubles and find God s peace and joy. Encourage the kids to open their Bibles and read the suggested passages. Questions for Younger Kids Where was Paul when he wrote the letter to the Philippians? Philippians 1:12 14 What does contentment mean? How could Paul be content even when things were hard? Philippians 4:13 What are some things we can rejoice about? What are some things we know to be true about God? Do you have any prayer requests? What are they? Questions for Older Kids Where was Paul when he wrote the letter to the Philippians? Philippians 1:12 14 What does contentment mean? How is God contentment? How could Paul rejoice even after losing everything? Philippians 3:8 How do you think it might change your life if you chose to rejoice in hard circumstances? What are some prayer requests you have? Create: Books of Thankfulness SUPPLIES Book of Thankfulness Example image (see Resource Files) Philippians 4:8 cards (see Resource Files) decks of playing cards (1 for every 2 children) single-hole punch (1 for every 2 3 children) book rings (1 per child, 1 1½ size) paper (3 4 sheets for every 2 children) scissors (1 pair for every 2 3 children) glue sticks (1 per child) markers optional: index cards (about 26 per child) PREPARE AHEAD Print the Philippians 4:8 cards, making one card for each child. Cut apart the cards. Separate each deck of cards into sets of 26 cards. SET UP Place the single-hole punches and book rings at one table and the Philippians 4:8 cards, paper, scissors, and glue sticks at another. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells the believers to rejoice and encourages them to think about what is true, right, pure, lovely, and worthy of praise. When we stop to notice how God is working each day, we see His goodness everywhere His beauty in the colors of a sunset, His power in an ocean wave, His love through the kindness of a friend. Today you ll each create a book of thankfulness to help you learn to see how God cares for you and gives you peace and joy each day. Your book will have 25 pages, and each day you can write something praiseworthy on one of the pages. As you fill in the pages in the coming weeks, may God s contentment become more and more a part of your life. Give each child half a deck of cards (26 cards). Direct the kids to start at one of the two tables: punching holes or cutting and gluing paper. At the punching holes table, the kids can use the hole punches to punch a single hole in the top left corner of each playing card. (By placing a new card under one that has already been punched, children can more easily line up the holes.) When they ve punched holes in all the cards, they can use a book ring to keep all the cards together as a book. At the cutting paper station, the children can glue a Philippians 4:8 card to the top card of the stack. Then they can cut 25 rectangles from the paper by folding each sheet in half four times and cutting along the fold lines. Finally, they can glue a rectangle to each card. Suggest they write something praiseworthy, or something they re thankful for, on the first blank page to get started. As the kids work, invite them to discuss: How can thankfulness lead us to contentment? What could you do if one day you struggled to find something praiseworthy? How can you use this book after it s completely filled out? What s one thing you can praise God for today? Have the kids take their books home and fill in the pages in the coming days. Check in with them next week to see how this is going. 9

10 Bless// 5 min. SMALL Group SECTION Invite the kids to stand, kneel, or sit in a posture of praise. Suggest they raise their hands to heaven or bow low on the ground. Then open a Bible and read Psalm 103:1 5: Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle s. End your time together with the following blessing. May you know the One who satisfies. May His praise be always on your lips. May He give you contentment even on the hardest days. WEEKLY Be sure to send home the HomeFront Weekly for next week s lesson! This preteaching tool for parents encourages families to spend time in God s Word together before children arrive at church. 10

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