Children’s Catechism Lesson 3: For His Glory

Lesson Plan

  • Topic: For His Glory
  • Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Psalm 19:1
  • Big Idea: God made the world and us for his own glory.
  • Objectives: Children shall recognize that God created all things for his glory. Children will know that talking about God’s glory means talking about how great and good God is. Children will understand that glorifying God is like reflecting, pointing to, or shining for Him.
  • Materials Used: Mirror, Binoculars, Night Light or Flashlight, Pictures of Nature/Sceneries

HOOK

Lay down all the materials on a table or place them inside a basket. Ask the child to name each item as you show them one by one. You may ask an older child what each item can do or what each item is for.

A mirror can show us what we look like. A pair of binoculars can give us a better view of someone at a distance. A night light or flashlight can light up a dark room.

Our third catechism lesson teaches us the reason why God made the us and all the world around us. Laying on the foundational truths about their existence as created beings is extremely important to children during their tender years. The catechism asks and answers:

Q3: Why did God make you and all things?

A: For his own glory.

Introduce the third catechism, and excitedly inform the child you’ll find out what these three things have to do with the lesson.

BOOK

The Bible teaches us that God created the world and us for his own glory. When we talk about God’s glory, we are talking about how great and good God is.

Show a picture of a beautiful nature scene, like a forest or mountain. God made the whole world—the blue sky, the bright sun, the raging rivers, and the little birds that sing. Listen to what Psalm 19:1 says:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

The sky and the mountains glorify God. They show people how great and good God is. They remind us that God created all things. Not only that, God made us for his own glory, too.

We are to be like mirrors that reflect how good and great God is. We are to be like a pair of binoculars that gives a clearer view of what God is like. We are also like flashlights that shines the light of Jesus in this dark and sinful world. We are made to glorify God. The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In everything we do, we are to show others how great and good God is. This is why God made us.

LOOK

  • Why did God make you and all things? For his own glory.
  • What does it mean to glorify God? To show others how great and good God is.

Sometimes, we are not very good reflections, pointers, and sources of light. We have sinful hearts, and they keep us from glorifying God. But God solved the problem of sinful hearts by sending His Son Jesus to come to earth, and live like us. Jesus became a man, and always glorified God. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins. If we follow and trust in him, God will forgive us our sins and teach us how to glorify Him. In fact, Jesus Himself said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, ESV)

TOOK

Create a pair of binoculars using tissue paper rolls to bring home the lesson about glorifying God.

Tape together two toilet paper rolls side by side. Cut a strip of paper approximately 3×11 inches wide. Let your child decorate the paper as desired with tape, markers and the like. Wrap the decorated paper around the pair of toilet paper rolls and secure on the underside with more tape. Hole punch the outside of both rolls and add a strap using cording, rope or string

TP craft photo and instructions is taken from Raising Arizona Kids.

Another thing you could do is to share about the life and ministry of Augustine, the church father. As a young boy, he was full of mischief—he stole pears from his neighbor just because he enjoyed doing wrong. But his mother prayed for him regularly until one day, God saved him and he became a bishop.

Augustine wrote books that God used to help many people understand the Bible. In one of those books, he wrote: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” That means, the purpose why God made each of us is to glorify Him. If we’re not doing showing others how great and good God is through our words, thoughts and actions, we are not doing what we were originally created to do.

Related Resources

Children’s Catechism Lesson 2: God Made All Things

Lesson 2

Lesson Plan

  • Topic: God Made All Things
  • Bible Passage: Genesis 1
  • Big Idea: God created everything.
  • Objectives: Children shall recognize that God created all things. Children shall realize that no one but God could create the world. Children shall acknowledge that God is powerful and wise for He created all the things we see around us.
  • Materials Used: Clay, Animal Figures/Toys

HOOK

When you’re teaching a toddler, open up the lesson by asking what sound each animal makes. You can say, “What does the cow say?” (Moo) “What does the sheep say?” (Baa)

Preschool children who already have phonological awareness or can recognize their letters can be asked to name different animals based on each letter. You can ask, “Can you name an animal that begins with the letter A?” (Alligator) “How about an animal that begins with the letter B?” (Bear)

You may transition to the next part by asking, “Did you know that God created all these animals? Not just that, God is all powerful because created everything that we see all around us!”

BOOK

The Bible tells us that God created us. This lesson talks about how God made our beautiful world, and everything in it. He created the stars in the night sky, the trees in the field, and all the animals, too. You may reinforce the first catechism lesson of how God created the world ex nihilo.

Read through Genesis 1 or the story of creation using an age-appropriate story Bible. My particular favorite for toddlers, Baby’s Hug-A-Bible, is written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s written as a lullaby for babies and small children, and it goes something like,

Little one, who made the seas?
Who made the birds? Who made the bees?
Who made the sun, all big and bright?
And twinkly stars to shine at night?

 

God made them all. Oh yes, it’s true.
Yes, little one, and God made you.

What’s great with this story Bible is that Rain for Roots wrote a song using those very same words. Actually, a whole album was recorded to complement the story Bible. I’ve included the YouTube video below:

God is powerful for He created all these wonderful things. God is also wise because he created different environments where humans and animals can survive and thrive. He created time, weather, and food. He made the birds in the air, the fishes in the sea, the creatures who could crawl and walk in the land.

I used a small book called God Has Power by Carine MacKenzie to teach the theological lesson. We got this from Westminster Bookstore many years ago.

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Some would people like to refer to the world as “Mother Nature.” This idea stems from Greek Mythology, and should be avoided as it is contrary to what the Bible teaches. There is no Mother Nature. There is only God who created all things. No one but God could create the world.

One familiar tune that you could also use to explain the lesson is the Sunday School classic, My God is So Big:

My God is so big,
So strong, and so mighty—
There’s nothing my God cannot do.

The mountains are His;
The valleys are His;
The stars are His handiwork, too.

My God is so big,
So strong, and so mighty—
There’s nothing my God cannot do.

LOOK

Repeat the catechism question and answer:

  • What else did God make? God made all things.
  • Can anyone else create the world? No one but God alone.
  • What did God use to create the world? The word of His power. He spoke, and all things came to be.

Smaller toddlers who cannot yet speak in sentences can simply answer “things” or “all things” when prompted with the catechism question. I do the same with my two year old who struggles to string words together.

TOOK

I decided to let the Little Man play with clay and animal figures in order teach him about the sky, sea and land. I had to rethink the activity because it was not age-appropriate for him.

One thing you could try to do at home is to bake cookies together using your favorite recipe. Younger children need a lot of assistance, but it is a worthwhile activity that most kids enjoy. Explain that we all need ingredients to make something. In order to make cookies, you need flour, salt, sugar, butter, chocolate chips, etc. But God did not use anything to create the world, He only spoke and all things came to be. God is powerful for he made all things out of nothing.

You could do a variety of activities/crafts depending on the age of your child. Here are some ideas that you could try:

  • Sequence the seven days of creation.
  • Create paper flowers.
  • Make homemade clay.
  • Paint a picture of God’s world.
  • Name animals, plants or food after each letter of the alphabet.
  • Mold animals or sceneries using clay.
  • Match animals according to their biomes.

More ideas can be found at Danielle’s Place over here.

Related Resources

Children’s Catechism Lesson 1: Who Made You?

Ever since I have been introduced to the Reformed faith, I’ve been wanting to write a catechism curriculum for children based on the First Catechism, an intro to the Westminster Shorter Catechism. That was almost a decade ago, and even though I was involved in children’s ministry I was not prepared to write a catechism curriculum. But having children of my own provided me with practical tools that could help me understand what it means to explain the beautiful truths of the Christian faith in a way that young children can understand. And getting to know more children with special learning needs has allowed me to discover various ways to explain these truths in a creative manner.

You can find a complete list of catechism question and answers at the Westminster Standard or through the OPC website.

Lesson 1

The first question and answer may seem too simple, even a small toddler can echo back the answer. But in the 21st century when evolution is a common thing, knowing the answer to the first question is essential to any young believer.

Q1: Who made you?
A: God.

Little Miss (now 5) only began echoing answers to this catechism question at age 3, and the Little Man (now 2) only parroted the answer when I taught him to answer “God” in a song-song manner. He started out answering “Amen” to the question when I reintroduced the catechism. Perhaps he associates God with prayer, which may actually be a good thing.

Lesson Plan

  • Topic: Who Made You?
  • Bible Passages: Genesis 1:26-30; Psalm 139:13-14
  • Big Idea: God created man out of nothing after His image.
  • Objectives: Children shall recognize that God was the One who created them. Children shall realize that God made them out of nothing and after His image. Children shall take comfort in knowing that they are wonderfully made by God.
  • Materials Used: Clay, Googly Eyes, Foam Stickers, Pipe Cleaners

Hook

Introduce the lesson by asking what the child’s name is, most toddlers are able to do that. An older child can write his name on a piece of paper. And then ask if he knows the story (i.e. meaning, history or reason for choosing) behind his name.
If your child is not yet ready for any of that, this is a great opportunity for you to practice saying or writing his name with him. Once or twice would be enough to start the lesson.

Transition to the next part by asking, “Do you know who made (Insert Child’s Name)? Let’s find out!”

Book

Read a story of how created Adam and Eve from a Gospel-centered story Bible or from the Bible directly. You could also use the first few pages of God Made All of Me by Justine and Lindsey Holcomb, which also addresses Q/A 1 and 2 of the catechism.

If older kids have questions regarding how God created us, you could look into Chapter 3 (“God Created Everything out of Nothing at All”) from The Oology by Marty Machowski (HT: Reformed Mama). You may also introduce the Latin phrase ex nihilo which means “out of nothing”. God did not use any raw materials to create man. Instead, He said it and it came be.

Look

After the Bible story, repeatedly practice the catechism question and answer.

  • Who made you? God.
  • Did God use anything to create man? No. God created man out of nothing.
  • How did God create man? God created man after His own image.

Took

Bring home the lesson by introducing another Bible passage in Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (ESV)

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Teach your child that all men are wonderfully created by God. Each of us are unique in the way our brains are wired, even how each of us are gifted differently. As God’s creatures, He has also given us emotions that could express how we feel. We can be happy by praising God who wonderfully made us. We can be sad when some people try to hurt others who are likewise created by God. We can be angry when some people try to destroy God’s original design for the male and female. You may use clay and other craft materials (optional) to teach your child about his body parts or different emotions. Teaching the importance of identifying or verbalizing emotions is an essential life goal for children with special needs. Non-verbal or less verbal children can learn by identifying pictures to convey their feelings.

Another alternative is to simply ask him to draw and color himself, if able. Make sure to add the phrase “God Made (Insert Child’s Name)” when done. You could then wrap up the lesson by singing “God Made Me” by the Cedarmont Kids:

God made me, God made me
In my Bible book it says
That God made me

Other Related Resources

 

Training Children through Song

I write this in the wee hours of the morning after preparing a Sunday School lesson for the kids in our church community. As I was searching for a few songs to teach alongside the Bible lesson, I happened to listen to a lullaby that transported me back to our old apartment more than five years ago, rocking my baby girl to sleep to the tune of “Jesus Loves Zacchaeus” by Rain for Roots. I have listened to their album, Big Stories for Little Ones for a hundred and million times until my daughter was about two years or so. Music has helped her calm down and drift to sleep all those years. I remembered the long nights, and it brought me back to the first few months of being a new mama.

I also remember being a sleepy girl in a church sanctuary on a Sunday morning whenever I listen to Cedarmont Kids, and seeing my own mom right in front teaching all the Sunday School kids how to sing the songs with matching actions. Likewise, I remember being a carefree elementary student sitting in one of the pews inside the hot auditorium of my old alma mater and following along to the lyrics of Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart while the smell of ripe sugarcane permeates the air. I still remember those songs, and I remember the memories well. These songs have helped me in putting Scripture to heart, and the Spirit of God brings them to memory whenever I need them.

I grew up attending Sunday School all my life, and I am also thankful that my parents forced me to attend the Chinese worship service where they only sung hymns. This exposure to Scripture songs and old hymns during my youth has proved useful in the ministry even as I married a Reformed pastor. How wise is God’s providence!

From Music to Memory

The Reformer Martin Luther said it best: “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.” Luther always emphasized the importance of music in training people in the faith. He went on to writing many hymns, one of which is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.

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Music is an able aid in memorization. Young children, particularly those in the Pre-Grammar and Grammar stage according to Classical Education, can absorb vast amounts of information when taught through song and rhyme. This old practice is often times neglected by modern education. Rote memorization and drill and practice aren’t to be abandoned. They are the essential building blocks of education.

Recommended Resources

If you want to train your children to learn Scripture and theology through music, I would like to recommend the resources listed below. Thanks to wonderful Internet technology, most of these are readily available for streaming on Spotify, Amazon Music or Bandcamp.

Ask Me Whooo

This is a recent discovery, and it easily became my favorite resource. These are beautifully written tunes sung by Diana Beach Batarseh, and are based on the First Catechism. Scripture verses are also recited at the end of each song. I cannot recommend this enough. DOWNLOAD. NOW.

Songs for Saplings

My preschooler started listening to their ABC memory verses album, and pretty soon she memorized them. They also have other music based on the New City Catechism.

Rain for Roots

The Big Stories for Little Ones album is based on Sally Lloyd-Jones’ Baby’s Hug-a-Bible, which in my opinion, is the baby/toddler’s version of the famed Jesus Storybook Bible. These are my favorite lyrics from the song “Jesus Is Born”:

Who was there when time began?
Who came to earth to live as man?
Whose cradle was a cattle stall?
Who is the greatest gift of all?

Judy Rogers

My favorite song is “What is a Sacrament?” from her album Why Can’t I See God? What a way to raise covenant children!

What is a sacrament?
It is a holy ordinance
Given by Christ unto believers
Showing His great love for us.

Baptism was ordained,
And the Lord’s Supper;
Jesus gave them to His church
To keep and to remember.

Sacraments, given us by Christ
To signify and apply God’s covenant to our lives.

Family Devo

These are also songs based on the First Catechism. They are more upbeat than the classic tunes of Ask Me Whooo, which may be more appealing to some people.

Sovereign Grace Kids

I always watch out for whatever new album that Sovereign Grace Music releases. One of my favorite albums from them is The Ology, a companion to the The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New, a storybook theology by Marty Machowsky. Here’s a lyric from the song called “All About Jesus”:

From Genesis to Revelation
There’s one story of Your great salvation
It’s all about Jesus, oh, it’s all about Jesus
Shoutin’ out from every page
There’s one Hero that’ll save the day
It’s all about Jesus, oh, it’s all about Jesus

Getty Kids

If you want your kids to learn old and new hymns, listen to Getty Kids’ albums. Like Sovereign Grace Music, they are blessings to the local church.

Other Classic Resources

What are some of your family favorites? Feel free to share them below.

Commit to Memory, Commit to Heart

The second day of The Classical Preschool calls for memorization. And that is what we tried to do today. My tot grabbed another Curious George book about fishing right after breakfast, and I took the opportunity to teach him a nursery rhyme, “12345 Once I Caught A Fish Alive” which also teaches numbers.

I realized that I have to write down some goals for our homeschooling, and knowing his numbers, shapes and alphabets by the time he reaches three years old is definitely included. I have made a mistake of not being intentional about teaching preliteracy skills with my firstborn. I am not  going that same route again. We’re not doing any writing yet, but we’re committing these things to memory.

A big bulk of Classical Education composes of memorization during the Pre-Grammar and Grammar stages. Dorothy Sayers describes this life stage as Parrot, where children mimic and follow what has been taught to them,

The Poll-Parrot stage is the one in which learning by heart is easy and, on the whole, pleasurable; whereas reasoning is difficult and, on the whole, little relished. At this age, one readily memorizes the shapes and appearances of things; one likes to recite the number-plates of cars; one rejoices in the chanting of rhymes and the rumble and thunder of unintelligible polysyllables; one enjoys the mere accumulation of things.

The Reformed tradition blends perfectly well with Classical Education as it also emphasizes on catechizing tender hearts early on. Although my two-year old may not yet “parrot” all that I teach him, I am hoping repetition and lessons through song would aid memorization at this stage.

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As a Christian parent, my aim for child-rearing is not only to help my kids accumulate academic skills; my primary role is to make them disciples of Jesus and own their baptism one day. One of the ways to do this is to give them the language of faith through catechesis. Anthony Hoekema gives the definition and purpose of this instruction,

Catechesis is the ecclesiastical training of the children of the covenant, aimed at preparing them for profession of faith, active church membership, and kingdom usefulness. In the light of this definition, the purpose of catechesis will be to teach the covenant child such material as he needs to know in order to make an intelligent profession of faith within the church to which he belongs, to be a well-informed member of that church, to be a ready witness to the teaching of the church, and to live a full-orbed Christian life in accordance with the principles taught by his church.

While modern education seeks to put the child in the center of all learning, Classical Christian Education sees that God is the center of all learning. It recognizes that all truth is God’s truth, and that one cannot fully distinguish truth and error without understanding God’s truth as revealed in the Bible. Everything should then be examined through the lenses of Scripture, as it relates to God and His revelation. Children need not be shielded from the plethora of opposing philosophies and harsh realities of life. Rather, they need to be grounded firmly on the Word of God, which will then arm them with the grid whereby they can sift through different ideas that will come their way.

Catechetical instruction at home and at church, along with regular Family Worship, aids in this spiritual nurture.