PARENT GUIDE for April 23/17

***REMINDER: There is NO SUNDAY SCHOOL this week (April 30th)! It is the 5th Sunday of the month, which means it is KIDS SERVE SUNDAY! Kids are encouraged to get involved and be Christian leaders within the Body! They can greet newcomers and make them feel welcome. They can hand out bulletins, offering, or communion. They can sing. They can help out in all kinds of ways! Kids Serve Sunday is all about reminding kids that EVERYONE has a role to play in God’s church (no matter how big or how small!) and that we are called to serve one another in love! Encourage your kiddos as they experience the joy of serving God in this way!


GOSPEL PROJECT: 

Unit 15, Session 3: Judah Was Taken into Captivity

Dear Parents,

Warnings had come from the prophets for decades. God patiently waited for His people to turn from their sin. The prophet Jeremiah spared few details when he warned Judah what would happen if they did not turn from their evil ways. (See Jer. 25:1-14.)

But the people of Judah did not change their ways. The kingdom had been declining for years, despite King Josiah’s efforts to prompt nationwide repentance. When King Josiah died, the people went back to their old ways, worshiping idols and disobeying the Lord.

The time of judgment had come. God used Nebuchadnezzar—the king of Babylon—to deport the people from Judah to Babylon where they would live in exile for 70 years.

Nebuchadnezzar went to Judah when Jehoiakim was king. He put Jehoiakim in chains and took him to Babylon. Jehoiachin became king, and Nebuchadnezzar came back for him too. Many of the people in Judah were taken, along with treasures from the Lord’s temple. Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah on the throne in Jerusalem.

The people of Judah were unfaithful to God. Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and God poured out His wrath on Judah. Nebuchadnezzar showed no mercy to the people of Jerusalem. The Babylonians set fire to the Lord’s temple and the king’s palace. They destroyed the wall around Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies carried most of the people away to Babylon as prisoners; only poor farmers were allowed to stay and work the land. The people were held captive in Babylon, serving the king for 70 years.

God was right to punish His people for their sin, but He kept His promise to provide a king through David’s family. Ultimately, God punished our sin through His Son, Jesus, and made Him our King forever.

Help your kids understand that God did not abandon His people. The prophet Jeremiah told what would happen next: “The days are certainly coming … when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah” (Jer. 30:3). God was going to save His people from captivity and raise up a new King—a forever King—from the line of David. (Jer. 30:9) He did just that in Jesus! He loved his people so much that he gave up everything so that they could be free from condemnation forever! 

 

FAMILY STARTING POINTS
● Babies and Toddlers
○ God helps me love Him.
○ The last kings of Judah did not obey God.
○ Jeremiah said God’s people would be taken to Babylon.
○ God sent Jesus because He loves us.
● Preschool
○ Why should we obey God? We obey God because He loves us.
○ God sent Judah away from their land.
● Kids
○ Why should we obey God? We obey God because He loves us.
○ God sent Judah into captivity because of their sin.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
● Ezekiel 11:19-20 (Preschool: Ezekiel 11:19)

IN TWO WEEKS
● “Ezekiel Told About a Future Hope” (Ezekiel 37)


EXPLORERS (Preteens)

Know: Jesus gave the disciples and us a mission before He returned to Heaven.
Think: Remember that everyone needs to know about God’s love.
Do: Be God’s ambassador wherever you are.

THE MORE YOU KNOW:
In order to understand the significance of the Great Commission, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. They had accepted the fact they weren’t going to get an earthly empire out of the Messiah like they had expected to. They were still reeling from Him actually dying, which had to feel like a major defeat to them. I’m sure that in all the late night campfire chats the Jewish faithful had about the Messiah and what He would do when He came, none of them imagined Him dying at the hands of the Romans. Some may have assumed they had been duped the whole time and probably felt stupid.
So when Jesus rose from the dead and spent 40 days on earth, He likely spent that time preparing them for what was to come next. The Great Commission was Jesus’ last challenge—His last dose of vision before He left the earth physically—go and tell others. It is our hint into what His conversations would have been like in those 40 days. It’s our litmus test to measure how well we, as The Body, are doing at accomplishing God’s will.

Help your preteens understand that we are commanded to love and disciple others. The Great Commission is not about hellfire and brimstone— it is about loving people with the lavish love of Christ and sharing the GOOD NEWS of GRACE with them!