Mission Control: Where You're Headed
You'll help your child discover that we can know God because He teaches us about Himself in His creation and His Word.
1. Blast Off: Getting Started
What you need:
- five lunch bags labeled "B," "I," "B," "L," and "E"
- non-breakable objects starting with the letters B, I, B, L, and E (example: ball, ice cream scoop, book, lime, eraser)
Without your child seeing the objects, put each in the bag with the corresponding letter. Staple the bags shut.
Lay out the bags so that they spell "BIBLE." Challenge your child to guess what's in each bag by handling it but not opening the bag. Explain that the object starts with the letter on the bag. (This game is even more fun if several people are guessing, so involve as many family members as possible.)
After everyone playing has guessed, open the bags and see if any guesses were correct. Then ask:
- Which objects were easy to guess? Why?
- Which were hard to guess? Why?
Point out that the shape of the object helped you know about the object — you could see the shape a little, and you could touch it.
Say: Because God is a spirit, we can't see or touch Him. How can we know about Him? Affirm as many of your child's answers as you can; then say something like this: We can know God because He tells us about Himself. Let's see what the Bible has to say about how God lets us know about Himself.
2. Exploration: Discovering Truth
What you need:
- a Bible
- a favorite Bible verse or passage about God
Read aloud Psalm 19:1-4. Help your child understand that the Bible says we can learn about God from nature — the "heavens" or skies, and all the other things God created.
Go outside, find something in nature that can remind you about God, and share it with your child. If you can't go outside or can't find anything "natural," search an appropriate website, a nature book, or a picture book that has lots of scenes from nature in it.
What you say will depend on your child's maturity. Young children think concretely; a good example might be an ant or some other tiny thing. You could say something like, This tiny ant shows me how perfectly God can make even the littlest things. I could never make something this small without smashing it, but God can! If He's so careful in making a tiny ant, I know He must be really careful about taking care of you!
Next, invite your child to find something to show you and to tell you what he or she can learn about God from it.
Now share a favorite Bible passage with your child — one that describes God or how He feels about us. Here are some possibilities:
- Matthew 10:29-31 (God knows all about us and values us highly.)
- Deuteronomy 4:35 (There is only one God.)
- Psalm 74:12-17 (God is like a king — but so powerful He can control the sea, day and night, sun and moon, and the seasons.)
Wrap us this part of your Family Time with a comment along these lines: We can know about God through the things He's made — and through His Book, the Bible.
Alternate Flight Plan: Options for Ages 8-12
We learn about God through the Bible, but is what we learn there true? Younger children usually don't raise questions about the Bible's reliability, but some older children may. If your child is wondering why he or she should trust Scripture, you might share the following reasons adapted from the book Stand by Alex McFarland (Focus on the Family/Tyndale, 2005).
- The Bible has been preserved and is indestructible. It's outlived all its enemies. Existing manuscripts indicate that it's been accurately copied through the centuries.
- There is unity to the Bible. Even though it was written by about 40 individuals over a period of 1,500 years, it contains a consistent message.
- The Bible is supported by archaeology. Discoveries by archaeologists over the years have shown over and over again that the Bible is accurate in its historical facts.
- The Bible has fulfilled prophecy. It's predicted events hundreds of years in advance.
3. Reentry: Bringing the Truth Home
What you need:
- large sheet of paper
- markers or crayons
Provide an age-appropriate story Bible, paraphrase, or translation for your child to keep. Write his or her name and the date on the presentation page if there is one. Help him or her make a personalized cover for the Bible, using a large sheet of paper and markers or crayons.
If the Bible has special features such as "fun facts" or devotional readings, point those out. Ask your child to pick a place to keep the Bible so that it doesn't get lost.
4. Splashdown: Applying What You've Learned
What you need:
- letter in envelope
Before your Family Time, write an encouraging note to your child and seal it in an envelope. Address it to your child and draw a postage stamp on it, but don't include your name or return address.
Ask: Who do you think this letter might be from?
What do you think it's about?
Challenge your child to figure out the answers to those questions in one minute without opening the envelope. When time is up, let him or her try to guess the sender and the contents. Then have your child open the envelope and read the note (or read it to him or her).
Next, say something like this:
Suppose you got a letter from the President [or Prime Minister]. Note: Very young children may relate better to a letter from Grandma or Grandpa.
What would you do when the letter came? Would you open it and read it (or have someone read it to you), or would you leave it unopened?
How is the Bible like a letter to us from God?
What should we do — open it and read it, or leave it unopened? Why?
As needed, point out that the best way to find out what God wants to tell us about Himself is to open His letter and read it. Take a moment to thank God for making Himself known through nature and through the Bible.
What you need:
- a treat with honey in it
Want to wrap up with refreshments? Read Psalm 119:103: "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth." Explain that this verse is talking about God's words—the kind found in the Bible. Serve a snack that contains honey; discuss how sweet it is. How could God's Word be sweeter?