God has a purpose for everything.

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1 Esther Is Made Queen Lesson 6 Bible Point God has a purpose for everything. Bible Verse He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10b). Growing Closer to Jesus Students will n learn how God used Esther to save her people from destruction, n learn that they can trust God s perfect plan, n discuss their own unique gifts and talents, and n understand that God has a purpose for their gifts and talents. Teacher Enrichment Bible Basis n Esther is made queen. Esther 2:1-18 The story of Esther is peculiar in that there is no mention of the name of God. However, Esther is a wonderful example of someone God used because she was willing to stand up and serve God. Xerxes, the Persian king, wanted to replace his queen, whom he had banished from his presence for refusing to attend a feast he was holding. As the first verse of today s passage indicates, some time had passed and Xerxes anger had subsided. It was time for the king to find a new queen. The plan was to bring into the king s harem the most beautiful young women from across all the provinces of the kingdom. After the young women received extensive beauty treatments, the king would choose one he really liked and she would become queen. We don t know what the process was for selecting the young women, but when Esther, a Jew who had been raised by her cousin Mordecai, was selected, neither she nor Mordecai could do anything about it. We do know that she did all she could to hide her identity as a Jew. It could have been dangerous at that point to reveal that she was one of the Jewish captives. Esther must have been more than just beautiful. She must have had a pleasing personality as well, because everyone was pleased with her, including the king (Esther 2:15, 17). So for the future purpose God had in mind, a beautiful, young Jewish woman was chosen to be queen of Persia! Prayer Read Jeremiah 29:11. Think about how God has directed unexpected turns and detours in your life. Pray: Dear God, thank you for working out your plan in my life. Please help the children in my class get a firm grip on this as they begin to trust your plan for their lives. 71

2 Lesson 6 Before the Lesson n Collect the necessary items for the activities you plan to use, referring to the Classroom Supplies and Learning Lab Supplies listed on the chart. n Make photocopies of the Hands-On Fun at Home handout (at the end of this lesson) to send home with your students. n Pray for your students and for God s direction as you teach the lesson. This Lesson at a Glance Attention Grabber What Students Will Do Classroom Supplies Learning Lab Supplies Talent Search Learn about one another s talents. Talent Search skit (p. 78), pencils Bible Exploration & Application Esther s Story Listen to a story about Esther, and discuss how God had a plan for her life. A Perfect Plan Take part in a tongue-twister drama. Bibles, CD player, paper, pencils, newsprint, marker Unique! handout (p. 79) Closing Awesome Attitudes Read Romans 15:13, and brainstorm ways to show hope, joy, peace, and belief while living out God s plan. Use It for God Read Ephesians 2:10b, brainstorm good works kids can do, and discuss how to use their talents this week. Bibles, CD player Bibles, newsprint, markers, paper, tape Welcome As kids arrive, ask them how they applied last week s lesson to their lives. Ask questions such as, How were you careful about getting good advice last week? and What good advice did you give? Tell kids that whenever you shake the noisemaker, they are to stop talking, raise their hands, and focus on you. Explain that it s important to respond to this signal quickly so the class can do as many fun activities as possible. Practice the signal two or three times. 72

3 Esther Is Made Queen Attention Grabber n Talent Search SUPPLIES: Talent Search skit (p. 78), pencils Before class, make one photocopy of Talent Search for each student. Say: Today we re going to talk about the talents and abilities we have and how God has a purpose for our talents and abilities. To start with, we re going to discover a bit more about one another s talents and abilities. Give everyone a Talent Search handout and a pencil, and say: You ll have exactly five minutes to fill in all the blanks on your handout with names of people in our class. Make sure to have the people with those talents sign your paper. If you find someone who has a talent that s not listed, write the talent in one of the blank lines at the bottom. Mingle with the kids, helping them identify one another s talents and sharing one of your own talents. After five minutes, shake the noisemaker to signal kids to stop. Have kids form a circle, and ask: Did anyone have talents that weren t listed on the handout? (My friend can knit really well; one person is a good singer.) Did some people have the same talents? (Yes, I found four people who were good readers; no, everyone had a different talent.) Why do you think God gave us talents and abilities? (So we can work for him; so we can help other people.) Say: God has a purpose for everything. God gave us talents and abilities to use for him, and we can trust him to help us use those talents and gifts for his glory. Let s see how one Bible hero used God s gift for a special purpose. Bible Exploration & Application n Esther s Story SUPPLIES: Bibles, CD player, paper, pencils, newsprint, marker Cue the CD to track 6, Esther s Story, Part 1. tracks 6-10 Have the kids sit in a circle on the floor. Play Esther s Story. Stop the CD at the end of each Esther s Story track, and help kids discuss the story so far. Allow a few minutes for discussion, and then begin the next track. At the end of Esther s Story, Part 4, have kids form groups of four, and give each group a Bible. Have kids in each group number off from one to four. Write the questions below on a white board or newsprint, and have kids discuss the questions in their groups. Encourage groups to turn to the book of Esther in their Bibles for reference. Allow time for discussion. Then say a number between one and four, and have all the kids with that number share their group s answers with the rest of the class. Ask: How did Esther show she trusted God s plan for her life, even though she may not have completely understood it? (She did what she had to do without complaining or fighting; she risked her life.) It s important to say the Bible Point just as it s written in each activity. Repeating the Bible Point over and over will help kids remember it and apply it to their lives. As you teach third- and fourthgraders, keep in mind the following aspects of their emotional development: Their feelings can be hurt easily. They are sensitive to praise and criticism from adults. They are developing the ability to empathize with others. 73

4 Lesson 6 Third- and fourth-graders are beginning to discover the core of their identity and self-esteem. They are developing a sense of self, based on their assessment of their own talents, skills, appearance, and family heritage. It s important that they discover how they can use their unique gifts to honor God, as well as how to trust God s perfect plan for their lives. God has a purpose for the unique personalities and gifts of the kids in your class. Invite confident, strong readers to say the Narrator s part in different paragraphs of this tongue-twisting drama. Why do you think God had Esther become queen? (So she could do good things as queen; to protect her people.) Ask a volunteer to read aloud Ephesians 2:10: He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Then ask: What does this verse say about God s plan for people? (God has planned good things for us to do; God created us for the things we re to do.) What good things did God do in Esther s life? (He made her become the queen; he protected her when she approached the king.) What good things has God done in your life? (He has given me a great mom and dad; he has put me in a great school.) Say: God has a purpose for everything. For example, God used Esther s beauty to help her become queen. Later, as queen, she helped save her people from death. God has a purpose for our talents and abilities, too, and he wants us to trust in his plan. We have a song that will help us remember the message of this verse. Stay in your groups of four, and as you listen to the song, write down some ideas of good things you think God might have prepared for you to do. Play Great Big Things (Ephesians 2:10), track 10. Encourage the children to think about things far ahead and in the present time, such as becoming a missionary to inner-city kids, or helping the older woman next door rake leaves. Ask kids to share their ideas in their groups. Then play the song again for the kids to sing along with. Say: Let s see what God wants us to do every day while we re trusting in his plan for us. n A Perfect Plan SUPPLIES: Unique! handout (p. 79) Before class, make one photocopy of the Unique! script for each child. Give a Unique! script to each child. Then recruit volunteers to act in the following roles. Esther: She should stroke her hair, smile, and give a beauty-pageant wave each time her name is mentioned. Mordecai: He should fold his hands together as if begging for help each time his name is mentioned in the drama. King Xerxes: Tell this volunteer to stand tall and then bow each time the word king is mentioned. Citizens: All the rest of the children will take part as the citizens of the kingdom. The citizens will say this tongue twister between each Narrator paragraph: God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Practice the tongue twister until kids can say it with confidence. Then when everyone is comfortable, have the Narrator begin the tongue-twister drama. After the skit, say: God has a purpose for everything. Ask: What was God s purpose when the king got rid of the original queen? (So the king would look for a new queen; so Esther would be the queen.) Did the king know God had a purpose when the first queen didn t come 74

5 Esther Is Made Queen to the party? Explain. (No, the king didn t believe in God; no, he was only thinking about what he wanted.) Did Esther or Mordecai know God had a purpose when the king selected Esther to be his queen? Explain. (No, they just trusted God; no, they thought it was strange.) Say: We may not be able to see or understand God s plans and purposes for our lives, but God has a purpose for everything. God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Encourage the kids to say the tongue twister again after you. HANDS-ON BIBLE Give kids pencils. Have kids open their Hands-On Bibles to Esther 3. Say: God wants to use you in your home, your neighborhood, your school, and your church. Sometimes it s scary to stand up for God and do his work. But we need to have courage, just as Esther did. Look at and complete the Courageous Comebacks activity. Ask: What are some of the courageous comebacks you came up with? (God changed my life; I love going to church.) How do you think God may want to use you at home? in your neighborhood? at school? at church? (To stand up for what s right; to be kind to everyone.) n Awesome Attitudes SUPPLIES: Bibles, CD player Before this activity, set out all of the Learning Lab items. track 10 Have kids get in their groups of four from the Esther s Story activity. Have a child read aloud Romans 15:13. Then ask: What does this verse tell us about what happens as we believe in God and his plans for us? (That we will have hope, peace, and joy.) What attitude should we have while we re trusting in God s plan? (We should be trusting and believing.) In what ways did Esther show hope, peace, joy, and her belief in God in her life? (She did what she needed to do; she trusted that God knew what was happening.) Assign each group one of the following words: hope, joy, peace, or trust. Say: In your group, think of a way to demonstrate to the rest of the class the word you ve been assigned. Each group can use at least one item from the Learning Lab as a prop. For example, the "joy" group could shake the noisemaker and jump up and down. Make sure that everyone in your group is involved in your action. You ll have three minutes to decide on your actions. Ready? Go! Play Great Big Things (Ephesians 2:10) (track 10). At the end of the song, shake the noisemaker to get kids attention. Say: I ll read the verse again slowly, and I ll pause at each of the four words I assigned. When you hear your group s If you have more than 16 kids in your class, it s OK to assign the same word to more than one group. 75

6 Lesson 6 word, jump up and do the action your group came up with to demonstrate that word. Read Romans 15:13 slowly, and pause so each group can demonstrate its assigned word when you say it. I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. After you finish reading the verse, have kids give themselves a round of applause. Gather the Learning Lab items for later use. Say: Your actions showed some of the ways that we can show hope, joy, peace, and trust. It s important to live out those qualities as we trust the plan God has for our lives. Because we have God s love in our lives, our attitudes and actions can be pleasing to God and to others. God chose Esther, a young Jewish woman, to save the Jewish people from death. And God has a plan for our lives, too. God has a purpose for everything. Let s see how we can be a part of God s purpose on earth. Before class, meet with your pastor or children s education director to think of ways kids could put their ideas to work in your church. Work from a broad list of talents, including athletic ability, musical talent, friendliness, and ability to work with toddlers. Then use those ideas during the activity to prompt kids to get involved in as many ways to help as possible. Closing n Use It for God SUPPLIES: Bibles, newsprint, markers, tape, paper Before this activity, tape a sheet of newsprint on a classroom wall, and place a marker nearby. Make sure to place the newsprint low enough so a child can write on it. Have a volunteer read aloud Ephesians 2:10. Then say: Let s brainstorm about ways kids your age could help around the church or help someone in need and come up with a list of ideas. Give kids about two minutes to think of a list of ideas. If kids seem stumped, suggest ways to help, such as cleaning the nursery toys, making cards for shut-ins, or carrying groceries for an elderly neighbor. Choose a child to be the scribe. Have kids call out the helping ideas they came up with as the scribe writes the ideas on newsprint. Then on smaller, separate sheets of paper, write the numbers one through five. Lay the papers on the floor several feet apart in a row. Have kids line up facing the papers. Say: Let s see how much you d enjoy doing some of the ideas we put on our list. Number one means you d really like doing it. Number five means No way! The other numbers mean your feelings fall somewhere in the middle. As I read the ideas we listed, stand by the number that represents your feelings about doing each task. After you call out each idea on the list, give kids a moment to decide where to stand. After you ve gone through the whole list, gather kids in a circle and ask: What surprised you about this activity? (I thought everyone would want to do the things I wanted to do.) What does what you like to do say about your gifts and abilities? (I like to do the things I know how to do well.) What would happen if all of us had the same talent or if we all enjoyed the same thing? (There are some things that wouldn t get done because no one would be good at them.) Say: The Bible describes this idea of needing lots of people with different talents and abilities as being like a body. A body has many different parts. 76

7 Esther Is Made Queen Ask: What are some of the different parts of a body? (Eyes; ears; feet; hands.) What would happen if all of the body was a foot? (We wouldn t be able to see or smell or eat; we d need a lot of deodorant.) How is a body needing many parts like all of us having different talents? (We can all do different things, just like each part of a body does different things; we all need one another.) Have the kids read Ephesians 5: Say: The Bible says Jesus is the head of the body. Think about what the head does for the body. Ask: How is Jesus like the head of the body? (The brain is in the head, and it knows everything and tells the body what to do; Jesus is the only one who really knows what s going on.) How can you know what your head, Jesus, wants you to do with your talents and abilities? (Read the Bible; listen to the suggestions of my parents and teachers.) Children will be more likely to follow up on the ideas they ve chosen if you connect with them during the week. Consider sending a postcard or to each student during the week to find out how he or she helped others. Say: God has given each of us unique talents and gifts. Since God has a purpose for everything, he wants us to use our talents and gifts for his purpose. Let s end by asking God to show us how he wants us to use our talents this week. Look at some of the ideas we wrote on the newsprint, and think about the one idea you like the best. When I pause during the prayer time, silently ask God for a chance to do the idea you ve chosen. Pray: Dear God, thank you for your example of Esther and how she used her beauty for your plan. Help me this week to have a chance to do something for you, too. (Pause.) Thank you, too, for all the special talents and abilities you ve given me. In Jesus name, amen. Growing closer to Jesus extends beyond the classroom. Photocopy the Hands-On Fun at Home handout (at the end of this lesson) for this week, and send it home with your kids. Encourage kids and parents to use the handout to spark meaningful discussion on this week s topic. 77

8 Talent Search Find people who have the following talents. When you find someone who has a talent, have him or her sign the line next to that talent. T I can play a musical instrument. T I am good at writing stories or poems. T I am good with animals. T I am good at a sport. That sport is T I am good at math. T I am good with younger children. T I am good at drawing or painting. T I am a fast runner. T I am good at making people who are sad feel better. T I am a good reader. T List another talent: T List another talent: 78 Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum, Grades 3 & 4, granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com

9 Unique! A tongue-twister drama CHARACTERS: Esther, Mordecai, King Xerxes, Citizens of the kingdom, Narrator Narrator: The Persian palace king told the palace queen it would be pleasing if she would participate at a party. But the palace queen did not find this pleasing and passed on the party. The Persian queen had to pay a penalty for her response. Citizens: God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Narrator: The Persian palace king took it personally and was not pleased with the queen s position. So he penned a petition to proclaim that she should never again be in his presence. The king also proclaimed that her position would be presented to a new person. Citizens: God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Narrator: The Persian king s personal attendants proposed that they put together a process to find a new Persian queen. So the king appointed every province that possessed pretty girls to pick the prettiest and promote them. The most pleasing pretty girl would be picked by the Persian king to preside as the next Persian queen. Citizens: God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Narrator: A Jewish person named Mordecai had a pretty cousin named Esther who had the personality and potential to win. After the Persian king s proclamation, Mordecai parted with Esther who proceeded to the palace, possibly to be picked as the pretty queen. Esther, a pleasing participant, was placed in the palace. She was provided with powder, perfume, and premium beauty packages. Esther did not protest, but she did keep her position of Jewish heritage private. How God could use her in this way was puzzling. Mordecai pleaded with Esther to proceed with her participation in the process. Citizens: God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Narrator: The pressure was on, and Esther was petrified. It was time to appear in the particularly picky Persian king s presence. But the Persian king was pleased. He preferred Esther and praised her for her prettiness. He proclaimed that she would be the next queen and provided her with a pleasant party to celebrate. Then the king proclaimed a holiday for every person in every province. Citizens: God s perfect plan provides purpose for all people. Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum, Grades 3 & 4, granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com 79

10 LESSON 6 God has a purpose for everything. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10b). For each person in your family, have every other family member say at least one gift he or she has. For example, you could talk about the family member s strength in math or ability to make others feel cared for. Then talk it over: How can you use the gifts we talked about for God s glory? What do you think God s purpose is for your life? Read Genesis 50: How did God reveal his purpose in Joseph s life? Read Ephesians 1:4-5. How do you feel knowing that God chose you to be his child? Decorate a box with wrapping paper. Label it My Goals, God s Purposes. On pieces of paper, write your goals and accomplishments. Then put the papers inside the box. Add to the box whenever you think of new ideas. Once a month, open the box, and pray about how your goals and accomplishments might fit into God s purpose for your life. Ask God to give you goals that fit his purposes. Plan a royal-family snack in honor of Queen Esther. Have an adult cut off the top of a fresh pineapple in a zigzag design to look like a crown. Cut the rest of the pineapple into boatshaped quarters. Put strawberries and grapes in your pineapple boats. Place the boats on a large tray with the crown in the middle. As you eat your snack, have each person share ways he or she will treat other family members like kings and queens during the week. 80 Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum, Grades 3 & 4, granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com

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