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Current Sunday School Lessons

We encourage you to use the lesson information below as well as the coloring pages, crafts and Big Picture Cards to engage your kids during the week.  If you have any questions, please reach out to the Children's Ministry Team:

Mike Maddry - Family Pastor

Emmarie Clark - Children's Ministry Director

Nina Brady - Pre-K Coordinator

Terri Langford - Nursery Coordinator

December marks a couple new beginnings - beginning with a new book in our Gospel Project series called Exile and Return.  We begin with God's people in exile.  The Southern Kingdom of Judah has been captured by Babylon but God is going to show his power through Daniel and other faithful men.

We'll take a couple of weeks to mark the beginning of Jesus' life on earth.  And to celebrate Christmas.

We'll jump back to our OT story as Daniel stands in the lions den.  Then we'll see the end of exile and the beginning of God's people returning to their land and rebuilding of the temple.

Daniel 2:20 - Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.

12.2.18 - Daniel and His Friends Obeyed God

God’s people had been warned by the prophets: “Turn from your sin, and turn back to God!” But the people did not listen. The nation of Judah was consumed by idol worship; the kings did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So God kept His word—He allowed His people to be taken from their land. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, the strong and powerful nation that overtook Judah’s capital of Jerusalem and brought God’s people from Israel to Babylon. Daniel was a young man in Judah when this happened. He might have heard about the prophet Isaiah’s warnings; now he witnessed their fulfillment. (See Isa. 39:5­7.)

King Nebuchadnezzar called for the best young men from Judah to be trained for service in the palace. Among these teens were Daniel and three of his friends. The chosen boys were given new identities—new names, new education, new culture. But Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stayed faithful to the one true God and refused to make themselves unclean by eating the king’s food. God blessed Daniel and his friends. Daniel’s obedience to God led to his favor with King Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel’s life would be a testament to God’s control over all things. God remembered His people during the exile and promised to bring them back to their homeland and set up a new kingdom.

Daniel chose to obey God no matter what, and God blessed Daniel and his friends. In an even greater way, Jesus always obeyed God. He came to earth and followed God’s plan to save sinners. Jesus never sinned, but He died the death we deserve. Jesus rose from the dead, and those who trust in Him receive God’s forgiveness and blessing.

Help your kids understand that obedience is not always easy, but we trust God to give us strength to obey Him. Point out that Daniel lived about 600 years before Jesus—the perfectly obedient promised One. We can trust that Jesus will return someday to set up His kingdom forever.

12.9.18 - ​Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Nebuchadnezzar built a tall gold statue and issued a new law: “When you hear music, you are to fall down and worship the statue.” The penalty for defying this law was severe. “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire” (Dan. 3:6).

So when music played, all the people bowed down and worshiped the gold statue. Well, almost everyone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the statue. They loved and worshiped the one true God. Only He was worthy of their worship.

The Book of Daniel says that the Chaldeans—a group of astrologers and dream interpreters (see Dan. 2:2,4)—took this opportunity to go to the king and tell on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. But not even the threat of death could convince the three friends to renounce their loyalty to God. The friends’ trust in God enabled them to stand firm no matter what—even as they were tied up and thrown into the fire.

Then something miraculous happened. Nebuchadnezzar saw four men in the fire! They were walking around, unharmed! The Lord not only rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He was with them.

God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire. Only He could rescue them. God rescues us too, through His Son, Jesus. Only Jesus can save us from our sin. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provided the way for us to be rescued from sin and have eternal life.

Help your kids see that God was good and loving to rescue Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but He was also good and loving not to rescue Jesus. On the cross, people mocked Jesus: “He saved others; He cannot save Himself!” (Mark 15:31). Jesus was not physically unable to save Himself. He chose to do His Father’s will, and His love for sinners kept Him there. Jesus chose not to save Himself so that He could save others.

Matthew 1:20 – She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

12.16.18 - Anticipating the Coming King

This week and next, we step out of the Bible’s big story chronology to celebrate Christmas. This week we stay in the Old Testament to learn about Jesus’ birth from the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah’s name means “Yahweh is salvation.” God called Isaiah to be a prophet when King Uzziah’s reign was ending—more than 700 years before Jesus was born. At the time Isaiah spoke to the people of Judah, the kingdom of Judah was very wealthy. But the people did not follow God. They worshiped false idols, cheated one another, and mistreated the poor.

Isaiah spoke to the people of Judah at a critical time in their history. After King Uzziah died, the people were afraid. They were vulnerable to their enemies, and unlike Uzziah, their new king was less than ideal. Isaiah’s prophecies warned the people that God would judge them, but Isaiah also spoke words of hope. He told of how God would one day rescue those who were faithful to Him. Perhaps the most amazing of all are Isaiah’s detailed prophecies about Jesus—His birth and His suffering and death. Jesus Himself read from the Book of Isaiah, telling the people that He was the One the Scriptures spoke of.

Jesus fulfilled God’s promises spoken by the prophet Isaiah. God kept His promise to send a king from the family of Jesse, the father of King David (Luke 3:23-­32). The Spirit of the Lord rested on Jesus (Matt. 3:16­-17). He was filled with wisdom and understanding (Luke 2:40). He came to bring salvation to all the nations (Acts 13:47-­48).

Isaiah and many other prophets in the Old Testament told about a King who would come and rule forever. Jesus is the promised Messiah. He will make all these words come true.

Help your kids understand that Isaiah’s prophecies from God did not speak just to the people of his time; they also speak to us. Hundreds of years before it happened, Isaiah told of how Jesus would be born and how He would suffer and die to take away the sins of His people. Because of Isaiah’s prophecies, and those of the other Old Testament prophets, we have great confidence in the Bible and that Jesus is the Messiah.

12.23.18 - ​Jesus Was Born

Do you think it was just by chance that Caesar Augustus called for a census? Did it just so happen that Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem—the very place the Messiah was prophesied to be born? (Micah 5:2) God is in control of all things, which He showed by using a pagan emperor to bring about His plan.

After Jesus was born, Mary laid Him in a manger. A king in a manger! It was so unlikely. But Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was God’s Son, sent in the most humble of positions, “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

Imagine the shepherds’ surprise when an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared. The Bible says that they were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David” (Luke 2:10-­11).

What a relief! This angel had come to bring good news. First, he proclaimed a Savior. The people of Israel were well aware of their need for a Savior. They made sacrifices daily to atone for their sin. Finally, a Savior had come who would be the perfect sacrifice for sin, once and for all.

This is the best news ever! An army of angels appeared, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors” (Luke 2:14).

The birth of Jesus was good news! Jesus was not an ordinary baby. He is God’s Son, sent to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world to save people from sin and to be our King.

Help your kids understand that Jesus came because we needed him. The purpose of Jesus’ birth was twofold: to bring glory to God and to make peace between God and those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Daniel 2:20 - Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.

12.30.18 - ​Daniel Was Rescued

Returning to where we left off before Christmas, the fifth chapter of Daniel ends with the death of King Belshazzar when the Persians took over Babylon and Darius was put on the throne. Babylon was on the decline—no longer the powerful, prosperous empire it once was. By this time Daniel was an old man, probably in his early 80s. He served the new king as one of the three leading supervisors in the kingdom.

Daniel was very good at his job. So good, in fact, that King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. The other supervisors and governors were jealous of Daniel. They watched for him to do something wrong so they could complain to the king. Read Daniel 6:4. Daniel was “trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him.”

Through the malevolent persuasion of the king’s leaders, King Darius passed a law that no one could pray to anyone but him, the king, for 30 days. Daniel continued to pray boldly to God. Even the king’s threat of death did not stop Daniel from praying. The jealous officials turned him in, and Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den.

Daniel was in the lions’ den all night long. When morning came, the king rushed to find out what happened to Daniel and discovered that Daniel was alive and unharmed! God’s protection of Daniel served to show all the people that the God of Daniel “is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end” (Dan. 6:26).

God showed His power to rescue Daniel from the lions, but Daniel was just a small part of a much bigger story. God ultimately rescued us from a much bigger problem—sin and death—through His Son, Jesus.

Help your kids understand that God also calls us to trust and obey Him no matter what. God sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from something much more dangerous than lions. Jesus rescues us from sin and death. Pray that through your faith, and that of your kids, “may the name of God be praised forever and ever” (Dan. 2:20)

1.6.18 - ​God Brought His People Home

God’s people had been living in Babylon for 70 years. Some of God’s people had died in Babylon. Some of their children and grandchildren were born in Babylon and grew up there. But Babylon was not their home.

Before the people of Judah were exiled, God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah. These are the words of the Lord: “These nations will serve the king of Babylon for 70 years” (Jer. 25:11). Then the Lord said, “When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place” (Jer. 29:10). The time had come for God’s people to go back home.

Cyrus, the king of the Persian empire, overthrew Babylon. Cyrus took over the kingdom, including the lands of Israel and Judah. In the following year, the Lord did something miraculous in Cyrus’s heart. He prompted Cyrus to issue a decree: All the Jewish exiles are free to return to their ancestral homes.

The exile was over! God’s people were free to return to their own land. They were free to live as God’s special people. The first group of Judean exiles returned home under the leadership of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the grandson of King Jehoiachin, who had been taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. (See 2 Kings 24:8­-13.)

Ezra 2:64-­65 says nearly 50,000 people traveled back to Judah. When they got to Jerusalem, they began working to rebuild the temple that the Chaldeans had destroyed. (See 2 Chron. 36:19.)

Zerubbabel led God's people back to the temple to rebuild it. The temple was the place where God met with His people on earth. Jesus came to earth to rescue God’s people. One day, Jesus will return to restore a greater home for all of God's people, and we will spend eternity with Him.

Help your kids understand that the temple was designed to point to Jesus. We meet with God not through a building now, but through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

1.13.19 - ​The Temple Was Completed

Some time after the temple’s foundation was laid, the work stopped. With the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, God’s people resumed the work of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Approximately 15 years had passed without progress. At this time, Darius was king of Persia. The Persian Empire was vast, so Darius appointed governors over the provinces. A man named Tattenai watched over the province that included the land of Judah.

Tattenai noticed the work of God’s people, and he was concerned. He sent a letter to King Darius. “Is this allowed?” he asked. “The people say that King Cyrus said they could rebuild the temple and the city. Please investigate this matter.”

King Darius did investigate, and Cyrus’s decree was located in the Babylonian records. Darius instructed Tattenai to allow the people to rebuild the temple and the city. God had turned the heart of the king for His people’s favor. (See Prov. 21:1; Ezra 6:22.) The people completed the temple. They dedicated it joyfully and observed the Passover.

God declared in Haggai 2:9 that the glory of this second temple would be greater than the first. This prophecy was fulfilled by the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus said that He is greater than the temple. (Matt. 12:6)

God's people rebuilt the temple so they would have a place to worship God. Years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be with His people. Now God dwells not in the temple, but directly with His people. Because of Jesus, we don't need a temple anymore.

Help your kids see that in Christ, we find the substance of which the temple was a shadow. The Lord was not confined to a building, yet deity lives fully in Christ. (See Col. 2:9.) Jesus is our High Priest. He entered the most holy place for us. (Heb. 6:19-­20) The priest offered the blood of animals, but Christ offered His own blood once and for all. (Heb. 9:25­26) He gives us access to the throne of grace. (Heb. 10:19­-22)