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 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.

One Big Story

This is Part 1 of a series on How to Choose Big Story Books for Little Hearts.

When I was a children’s worker in a Chinese church in Cebu, I started searching and collecting books for children that were helpful to my ministry. What I found though was a shortage of supply of good resources. So I had to either bring in materials from abroad or come up with my own materials. But not everyone is equipped to come up with Gospel-driven lessons. This is why I am always on the look out for good Christian resources, and I have made it part of my mission to provide quality resources for Christian parents and homeschooling families through Katecheo.

About ten years ago, these materials were very scarce. And only one or two were available locally. Sure, there are many children’s books in Christian bookstores. But I am not comfortable in recommending most of them. And why is that, you may wonder? They aren’t much different than other children’s books that teach good manners and right conduct—Joy Berry books actually teach the Golden Rule very well. If there isn’t anything that sets them apart from all the other books in the market, what makes them Christian in the first place? To put it simply, these books are usually devoid of the One Big Story that the Bible always talks about.

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One Big Story

What is this One Big Story that I keep referring to? A big term that theologians like to use to refer to this idea is Biblical Theology. And I always say, one of the greatest factors in the ability to choose the right books for instructing children in the faith boils down to having a good understanding of the Bible’s One Big Story. So I will take the time to summarize and explain plainly the four parts:

Creation

Before all things ever came to be, God is there. God created the word and everything in it for His own good pleasure and His own glory, including man. The first two chapters of Genesis talk about how God made the world good:

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31a, ESV)

Fall

God created man perfect and righteous, but man disobeyed God’s command.  Sin entered the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Sin ruined God’s world. And ever since, man always rebelled against God and His Word, making themselves their own little gods. Man is lost without God. But God’s promised to send a Savior,

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15, ESV)

Redemption

Even before the foundation of the world, God had already planned to save His people from their lostness. God became man. Through the perfect life, atoning death, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus, God’s own Son, He secured salvation for His people. Jesus broke the chains of sin.

She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, ESV)

Jesus paid for man’s sin, and when we believe in what He has done in our stead, His perfect righteousness is accounted to us. When we and our children put our faith in Jesus, we are given new birth and new hearts to joyfully follow God’s commands.

Restoration

One day, God will restore all things to His original design—perfect and sinless. God is making all things new. 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5a, ESV)

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Christ the Center

All Scripture is about God’s redemptive plan. And what binds all of the four parts of the One Big Story together is that it centers around the person and work of Jesus. All stories either point to or look back to Jesus and what He has done. In fact, whenever we miss the important fact that Jesus is the main character of all the stories in the Bible, we miss the One Big Story. Whenever we forget about the One Big Story, we will most likely resort to moralistic lessons that aren’t much different than all the other stories out there. What is more, whenever we forget the One Big Story, we will altogether miss what or who the Bible is really all about, Jesus.

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doin. It’s about God and what he has done. Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of te people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes(sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times, they’re downright mean. No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling on Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture. (Sally Lloyd-Jones, Jesus Story Book Bible)

We want our efforts to teach, train, and disciple our children to not go to waste. And whenever we offer them alternatives and half-truths—no matter how flashy and attractive they seem to be—without addressing their heart’s truest and direst need, we would have failed our primary role of passing on the faith to the next generation.

The gospel is the ultimate story that shows victory coming out of defeat, strength coming out of weakness, life coming out of death, rescue from abandonment. And because it is a true story, it gives us hope because we know life is really like that. (Timothy Keller)

Never assume the Gospel. Never tire of telling your children the One Big Story. Never tire of telling them about the Gospel, that Jesus lived and died for us and for our salvation in order to bring us to God. Our children need to hear it daily, and so do we.

 

Part 2 coming soon. 

Read and Match

We’re on our second week of The Classical Preschool, and we’re off to a great start! I found a classic book that would surely rouse my two year old’s interest. This morning, I read an abridged board book version of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. Since he adores trains, it certainly caught his attention.

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The book was adorned with colorful pictures of animals, toys, food items, different trains—everything that my toddler loves. It also teaches hard work and resilience, virtues that seem to be amiss among millennials these days. But the little steam engine was as optimistic as she could be. We’ll certainly return to this book for a narration activity.

After reading aloud, I added a short matching work. Matching work is actually good for brain development. It helps little children identify similar items, relating pictures with actual tangible items.

I gathered a few toys that were included as characters in the book—a train, an elephant, a giraffe, a red bear, a monkey, and an airplane. I wished we had a clown lying around the house, but we didn’t.

When doing read aloud everyday, I would ask about where the characters are in the book. He would usually point them to me, but this time he was able to match the little toys to the images in the book. I understand why parents homeschool their children. It is truly encouraging to see their development albeit in small ways.

Perhaps you might be wondering what makes our Read Aloud days different that most of our reading time? Maybe some people are more keen that I am. But most of the time, I read to my kids for the sake of reading because I know it’s good for them. I read to my kids all throughout the day. But Read Aloud times for our homeschool is a notch better. You could say that I have my game face on, if that makes any sense. So what makes it better? I would say it is Intentionality.