faith Grace Church Children s Ministry Programming Cloud of Witnesses Unit Overview Fall 2014 Fall 2015

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1 Unit Overview Abraham :: Unit Overview Abraham is our first look at someone who is a part of the. Abraham, who was originally known as Abram, was born in the land of Ur, but moved with his father to Haran later in life. When he was 75 years old, the Lord told Abram to leave his country, his people, and his family and to go to a land that God would show him. Without knowing where he was headed, Abram obeyed. God promised to give Abram descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5-6). At that time, Abram and his wife Sarai had no children and were well past the age of child bearing, but Abram trusted in God and in his promises. The Bible tells us that, in all these things, Abraham was acting by faith. God was faithful to Abram, and eventually changed his name to Abraham (which means Father of a multitude ). Abraham persistently followed after God even when the plan was unclear. He is arguably one of the greatest examples of faith. As a result, Abraham is known as the father of all who believe (Romans 4:16). God gave Abraham only one son, but it was through that son that a nation was born a nation dearly loved by God. From that nation, another perfect Son was born; one through whom people from every nation, tribe and tongue could also have a relationship with God. Faith Defined faith Complete trust or confidence in someone or something Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing Belief that is grounded in things unseen Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith can be defined as a complete trust or confidence in someone or something that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. Abraham did not know exactly where God was leading him, nor did he have any children through whom his descendants could become as numerous as the stars in the sky. Still Abraham hoped for the fulfillment of God s promises; he was certain that God would fulfill them. He didn t know how they would be fulfilled, but he believed they would be. This is faith, and it was counted to Abraham as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Key Verse So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:9 Faith in the Lives of Other Saints Because of her faith, Abraham s wife Sarah is also referred to in Hebrews 11 as a part of the. In fact, is clear that it was by faith [she] received the power to conceive since she had considered him faithful who had promised (Hebrews 11:11). Her story of receiving the promised child and the faith that it took to do so will be covered in this unit.

2 Unit Overview Faith in the Lives of Other Saints Sarah Sarai was married to Abram in the land of Ur. She moved with his family first to Haran, and then later to Canaan after God spoke to Abram. Sarai was beautiful but barren. God changed Sarai s name to Sarah and specifically promised that Abraham s offspring would come through her. When she had all but given up hope of ever seeing this promised child, she gave birth to Isaac at the age of 99. Scott & Sally Koefoed Scott and Sally Koefoed were two faithful servants of God who helped establish Grace Church in Mt. Pleasant, MI. After serving in college ministry at both Clemson and Illinois State Universities, they moved to Mt. Pleasant and spent several years reaching college students as staff members at First Baptist Church. During their time at First Baptist, they met another couple, Barry and Suzanne Flanders. In time, Barry and Suzanne felt the call of God to start a new church in Mt. Pleasant that would be known as The Young Church. This was something that Scott and Sally also wanted to be a part of. The two couples, along with several others, stepped out by faith. In the Spring of 1998, The Young Church was born. For more than a decade, Scott and Sally poured their lives into the growing church. They walked by faith as a way of life. Although they faced challenges and struggles throughout their lives, they remained faithful to the Lord and to His church and were deeply loved by those around them. They served God faithfully until He called them home.

3 Abraham :: October 12th :: Week 1 The Call of Abram Background for God masterfully created the world and everything in it. When God created man and woman, He declared that all He had made was very good. God loved His people and desired to be in an intimate relationship with the. They disobeyed God, however, and sin entered the world. The consequence of their sin was a broken relationship with God, and for the first time our allegiances as people were divided. God became so fed up with the wicked, godless way people were living that He destroyed the earth with a flood and began anew with Noah s family and the animals he took on the ark. Sin once again spread throughout the world, though, and God longed for a people that He could truly call His own. Abram and his family were settled in the land of Haran when God spoke to Abram and told him to go to a land God would show him. God told Abram He would make a great nation from him, and He promised His blessing upon Abram and anyone who would bless Abram. At the age of 75, with his wife who was barren, Abram obeyed God and went to the land of Canaan. While settled in the land of Canaan, God continued to remind Abram of His promises to him. He told Abram his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth (Gen. 13:16) and more numerous than the stars (Gen. 15:5). Abram was called by God and he obeyed Him. His faith was displayed through his obedience, and because of his faith he was counted as a righteous man before the Lord. Abraham s willingness to follow God is the first example of faith that is mentioned in Hebrews 11. This passage tells us that even though Abraham had no idea where he was going, he went. Oftentimes God leads us to do things that we don t fully understand. In these circumstances, our faith can shine bright or it can be found lacking. Do we trust God and obey His leadings in our life? Are we willing to following Him, even when we re not sure where He is leading us? (Other Witnesses: Scott & Sally Koefoed) For the younger kids, focus on how it makes God happy when we believe Him. God told Abraham that He would bless him and make a great nation out of him. Abraham believed God. The Bible says it was Abraham s belief in God (or faith) that was credited to him as righteousness. It is very important that we believe what God says. Key Concept: Abram obeyed, and his faith was counted to him as righteousness. o Hebrews 11:8-10 Abraham is credited for his faith for leaving his land for Canaan o Genesis 12:1-9 God tells Abram to leave his home and promises him a nation o Genesis 13:14-18 God promises a land to Abram again o Genesis 15 (esp. vs. 5-6) Abraham is credited as righteous because of his faith o Galatians 3:7-9 We, too, can be blessed along with Abraham when we walk by faith

4 Abraham :: October 19 th :: Week 2 The Gift of Laughter Background for Abram and Sarai continued to dwell in the land of Canaan, waiting for God s promise of a great nation. How would this begin? Sarai was still without child, and she began to grow impatient. She wanted to see and hold this promised child. She decided to speed the process along by giving her Egyptian servant to Abraham. The servant bore Abraham a son, but this was not the promised child God had spoken to Abraham about. God came to Abram when Abram was 99 years old and reminded him once again of His promise, and He also specifically said He would bring the promised child through Sarah (Genesis 17:16). One day, three men came to Abraham and spoke to him regarding the promised child (Genesis 18:1-8). The three men, speaking on behalf of the Lord, told him that in one year He would return and Sarah would have a son. Sarah overheard this conversation and laughed to herself, and the Lord heard her (Genesis 18:9-12). Once again, the Lord declared the promised child would arrive through Sarah within the next year. Sure enough, just as the Lord had said, Sarah conceived and she had a child. Abraham names the child Isaac, which means laughs because God had brought laughter to Sarah. And Sarah said, God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age (Genesis 21:6-7). The mention of Sarah in Hebrews 11:11 makes it clear that she conceived Isaac because of her faith. It may be hard to understand how Sarah was faithful in the midst of the waiting and uncertainty leading up to Isaac s birth. Sarah gave her husband to another woman and laughed at God s promise. Yet at some point she judged God faithful (Heb. 11:11), and that s what it took for her to see God s promise of a child fulfilled. We want the kids to know that Sarah s journey wasn t perfect, but that she found joy in finally receiving God s promised child. Things don t always happen according to our timing, but do we still come to the conclusion that God is faithful? Are we willing to wait long enough to experience the joy of God s fulfilled promises? These are questions that we will address through the program this week. (Other Witnesses: Sarah) For the younger kids, focus on how God always keeps His promises. It took a long time for Sarah to have a baby. Sarah even doubted that God would do what He said. Even though it seemed impossible, God did keep His promise, and Sarah did have a baby. Key Concept: God always fulfills His promises. (And there is much joy in the fulfillment.) o Hebrews 11:11-12 Sarah is commended for her faith, she considered him faithful who had promised. o Genesis 18:9-15 Sarah laughs at the promise of a son o Genesis 21:1-7 Isaac is born and Sarah says: God has made laughter for me. o Genesis 16 Sarah gives Hagar to Abram to have a child o Genesis 17:15-21 Sarai s name is changed, God promises that she will bear a son

5 Abraham :: October 26 th :: Week 3 Sacrificing the Promised Child Background for Abraham and Sarah waited many years to see God s promise of a child fulfilled. Finally, Sarah conceived and they had a son, Isaac. Abraham and Sarah loved Isaac, and they raised him in the land of Canaan. However, God was not yet done testing the faith of Abraham. The day was coming when Abraham s love for God and trust in Him would be put to the ultimate test. God told Abraham to take Isaac and do something unimaginable sacrifice him as a burnt offering to the Lord. Abraham rose early the next morning, cut the wood for the offering, and took his son to the place God showed him for the sacrifice. It was a three-day journey, and once there, Abraham prepared the wood for the burnt offering, bound Isaac, and laid him on the altar. As Abraham reached out his hand to sacrifice his son, God called out to Abraham and told him to stop. God knew now that Abraham truly feared the Lord and would not even withhold his only son from Him. Abraham looked up and noticed that a ram was caught in a thicket near the altar. Immediately he recognized that God had provided an animal for the sacrifice. Because of Abraham s obedience, God spoke to Abraham from heaven a second time and promised to bless him. This is the second mention of Abraham s faith in Hebrews 11. Although the Bible doesn t clearly say it, there is no doubt that Abraham had to wrestle with God s request. Like Abraham, Jesus was willing to obey God even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8). We learn that Jesus, too, was troubled over God s plan. In Matthew 26, Jesus is described as being sorrowful and troubled (Matthew 26:37). Despite this, Jesus had a willing spirit (Matthew 26:41) and obeyed God completely. Acting in faith will not always be easy. In fact, the example of Abraham and of Jesus make it pretty clear that there will be times in life when it will be extremely difficult to walk by faith. We learn from Abraham and Jesus that these times, though difficult, are absolutely necessary. (Other Witnesses: None this week.) For the younger kids, help them to see that we show God that we believe in Him when we obey Him. Sometimes it is hard to obey God, and sometimes what He asks doesn t make any sense to us. But if we truly believe God, we will obey Him no matter what He says. Key Concept: Abraham was willing to obey God completely, even if it meant the death of his only son. o Hebrews 11:17-18 By faith Abraham offered up Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord o Genesis 22:1-18 Abraham offers Isaac, but a ram is provided o Philippians 2:5-8 Jesus was obedient to the point of death o Matthew 26:36-46 Jesus experienced turmoil, but he still obeyed

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