Sunday, March 2, 2014

Children's Church: Job and Suffering in the World

I've kept up with this feature for a few Sundays now. I'm on a roll! It's to help Sunday school teachers out there who are looking for ideas like I always am. Check out other ideas here.

Job is a tough subject to tackle! But God included his story in His Word and it was in my ABC curriculum, so I thought I'd take a stab at it.

First, I had the kids taste a little pinch each of flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening.

The boy who never smiles for the camera couldn't stop smiling long enough to make a "yucky" face for me. Grrr!

They weren't impressed when I told them we were going to make something out of those ingredients. I led them through this recipe without telling them what they were making:

Clabber Girl Biscuits

- 2 c  flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 c shortening
- 3/4 c milk
- butter/jelly

1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) Cut in shortening with fork.
3) Add milk and blend lightly with fork until flour is moistened.
4) Knead lightly for 30 seconds.
5) Roll out (we just mooshed out on foil with our fingers) and cut out with round cookie cutter or cup rim.
6) Place on a lightly-greased pan. Brush tops with butter (we skipped this step, but I wish we hadn't).
7) Bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 mn.

I had pre-measured ingredients and put them in baggies to save time. I had three sets of ingredients, 3 bowls/pans/etc. and divided the kids into three tables. After we cleaned up our gargantuan mess (holy cow!) and while the biscuits baked, I led them through the story of Job. I used peg dolls and plastic animals to "act" it out. They got a kick out of it.

Job had a wife, 7 sons, 3 daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 donkeys, and many servants.

We had to use our imagination on the animals just a little...
(My peg dolls were unfinished, but I'd love to make some of these from Watkins Every Flavor Beans blog. How cute are they!?)

We read Job 1: 2,3 and 6-12 and talked about how Job feared God and how Satan was "roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it" (that, in itself, is a lesson) and how Satan said that Job only feared God because he had been blessed. Then, we discussed all of the horrible things that happened to Job in 1:14-19 and 2:7. I knocked over the animals and Job's kids when they died. I put a band-aid on Job when he was infected with boils. Then, we read Job's responses in 1:20-22 and 2:9-10. We discussed how hard that would be, but how Job knew that God was sovereign (one of the words on our "characteristics of God" poster).

Then I briefly summarized what his wife and friends said to Job, and how their advice was wrong, but Job talked to God. He asked God "WHY?" and God more or less said, "I am God! Who are you?" That's hard to hear! But God restored Job's health, wealth, and a new family to him and he "blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning." I pulled out new animals and children and pulled the band-aid off of Job. Then I told them that people are still reading Job and gaining insight and encouragement from it today. So maybe God knew what he was doing all along.

Then, we sampled our biscuits. I added jelly on top. We compared the individual ingredients to the finished product. We talked about how sometime, life on this fallen earth stinks! And until Jesus returns and creates a new earth, there will always be suffering in this world. Then, we read Romans 8:28 and talked about how not all things on earth are good, but God can use all things for good. And sometimes he adds a little jelly to our lives, too.

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