Kingdom of God
These lessons can be printed as PDF from my software website.
Overview of this page:
- Neil's Commentary on teaching the Kingdom of God
- Four Computer Lab Lessons
- Four Video Lessons
- One Drama/Skit Lesson
Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven (accding to Matthew) more than any other theological topic. Indeed, in Luke 4 when he stands up in the Nazareth synagogue, he is announcing the fulfillment and coming of the Kingdom.
Practically speaking: The Kingdom occurs wherever God's will is done. That's why it can be small like a seed or invisible like leaven.
Prophetically speaking: The Kingdom is the way things are supposed to be, a second Eden, "heaven on earth." This is not to be confused with visions of the Second Coming. That's a different horse.
God's Will and God's Kingdom and Heaven are three sides of the same coin. (yes, 3) That's why we pray "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven". Matthew's Gospel uses the term "Kingdom of Heaven", the rest of the scripture not so much. They are the same thing.
Since so many stories can be about the Kingdom of God, let me suggest we narrow it down to these:
1. WHERE IS IT? The Short Kingdom Parables: mustard seed, leaven, pearl, treasure.
Software: Galilee Flyer CD
2. WHAT are WE supposed to DO in the Kingdom? The Parable of the Talents: what you do with God's gifts to build the Kingdom.
Software: Parable of the Talents, Awesome Bible Stories CD
3. WHO is WELCOME in God's Kingdom ...Jesus called Zaccheus into the Kingdom.
Software: Zaccheus, Awesome Bible Stories CD
4. HOW CAN WE BRING IT? ...Mumble the Lord's Prayer now and you'll realize it is a Prayer for the Kingdom.
Software: Lord's Prayer, Galilee Flyer CD
Four Software Lessons
Note: The software mentioned here can all be found at my website, www.sundaysoftware.com
((The Video and Skit lesson recommendations are in the post after this one.))
Software Lesson 1:
Where Is It? The Short Kingdom Parables: mustard seed, leaven, pearl, treasure.
If the Kingdom of God is REAL, WHERE IS IT? (Why is the world still messed up?) Jesus addressed this conundrum when he described the hidden-ness of the Kingdom. Even though it's hidden or small, it can become great. But you have to plant a seed, kneed the dough, have the courage to buy the pearl, and know what to do with the treasure (and not just sit on it). By the way, you have to know what the treasure IS!
One of the four lesson-games in the Galilee Flyer CD introduces your children and youth to the Kingdom Parables of seed, leaven, pearl, and treasure. In particular, the pop-up notes that show up during flight describe all sorts of interesting factoids about the meaning of these parables.
The game is the Bible study. Start up the software, selecting the parables, and then fly into the Galilean skies to look for the verse halves from the parables to match, and answer the floating questions (which explain the parables).
Wait until everyone has landed, then have everyone fly over to the Discussion area in the Galilean landscape for some discussion questions. Look at the Galilee Flyer CD game guide on the website for details on those discussion questions, locations, game shortcuts, and more lesson suggestions.
You will need a minimum of 30 minutes to play the game.
For younger children, look at the Play and Learn Children's Bible CD and Charlie Church Mouse CD.
Software Lesson 2:
What are we supposed to DO in the Kingdom? The Parable of the Talents
... what you do with God's gifts to build the Kingdom.
If you don't do anything to promote the Kingdom, you're outside of it. That's the lesson of the Parable of the Talents, aka, "Pounds", aka, "the servant who buried his one talent in the ground, then was thrown outside by the master upon his return." The message: The kingdom comes when you INVEST WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN for things that will make the master proud of you.
The Parable of the Talents is one of six stories found in Awesome Bible Stories CD. The parable is surprisingly complex and has a lot of rich vocabulary and images. The software's presentation recognizes that complexity and has your kids working through the story several times to UNEARTH its treasure (rather than leaving it buried!)
The software also includes an interactive Board Game where 1 or 2 players advance to the Master's Home by the good things they do with their gifts. Great for discussion too.
=The software is the Bible study. Dive in with your students. Work through it several times trying the different "versions" you can create. Note the study notes. then Play the Board Game in the software. The free guide to the program available at Sunday Software's website has additional teaching notes.
- Give your students a small bag of "things to invest".
- Appreciation Candy to give away to someone who does a chore at your home
- Appreciation Candy to give away to someone who says something nice to you.A
- certificate to give to someone offering to help them with a chore.
- A paper heart from you thanking them for coming to learn God's Word.
- Explain what the bag is about and pray for its success.
Software Lesson 3:
Who is welcome in God's House?
...Jesus goes to Zaccheus's house to welcome him into God's House/Kingdom.
Yeah, yeah, I could have picked a story about POOR PEOPLE, Lepers and Widows.... but you know, Jesus spent a lot of time hanging around "regular" people too, people like Zaccheus. The locals called Zaccheus a sinner. Jesus declared him to be a "son of Abraham".
I have an interesting point of view on Zaccheus. I don't think he was a BAD GUY. In fact, Zaccheus CHALLENGES his detractors to prove he has cheated anyone...and nobody steps forward. Zaccheus was an honest tax collector who was SO HOPING to glimpse the Kingdom of God, that he climbed up a tree.
Jesus invited himself to Zaccheus' house in order to invite Zaccheus into GOD'S House. The Kingdom is where people are SAVED, forgiven, and welcome. Jesus might as well have said, "Today, the Kingdom has come to Zaccheus' house!" Or "God's House and Zaccheus' House have finally combined! Salvation = God's House = Kingdom of God = Your home as an Outpost of God's Kingdom. Love that image.
The story of Zaccheus is found in Awesome Bible Stories CD. It includes an activity titled "How Do You Measure Up?" where the kids can "self-rate" where they are in their journey with Christ. There's a "zappin' game" the kids can play which reinforces the story.
- Start your lesson asking students to tell you Zaccheus' story.
- Ask if they think Zaccheus was a bad or good man, and why. Explain what a tax collector is.
- Ask them to define the "Kingdom of God" and the term "Salvation" (which Jesus says "came to this house" that day).
- Explain that they are really the same thing.... Salvation is like being adopted into God's House... it is something you are given, and then work to share, --just like God's Kingdom. Sometimes it is big, sometimes Salvation isn't just a big event, it's a power in our lives that can have all sorts of small effects, like making us more loving, more sensitive to others needs.
- Take turns reading the story from the Bible.
- Dive into the Zaccheus story in Awesome Bible Stories CD and complete all its activities.
- Close by having each child come to the classroom door frame. Using a rule, mark their height, date, and name in pencil on the frame. Place a construction paper sign saying "We want to measure up to God's expectations!" What are God's expectations? Be Loving, Kind, Do Justice, Be Thankful.
Have students hand-write two invitations to give to friends about coming to church with them next Sunday.
Software Lesson 4:
How can we help bring the Kingdom?
Lord's Prayer could easily be called "The Prayer for the Kingdom". Jesus told us to pray for it. And that prayer is a set of marching orders as well. Thus, in my software lesson, I'm going to focus on the kids learning and understanding the Lord's Prayer.
The Lord's Prayer is one of the four lesson-games in Galilee Flyer CD. The pop-up notes and questions the kids answer as they fly over the Seas of Galilee help explain the images and meanings of the Lord's Prayer. It takes a minimum of 30 minutes to play the game. Young children will need older helpers.
The lesson begins with a brief Bible study to find the Lord's Prayer, recite it, then introduce it as a "Prayer for the Kingdom of God". Then you will read this restating of the Lord's Prayer as a "Prayer for the Kingdom" and move quickly into the Galilee Flyer CD game about the Lord's Prayer.
Our Father in your Kingdom your name is hallowed (remember: heaven=kingdom)
We pray that Thy Kingdom Come, and that Thy Will GET DONE here, as it does in heaven.
Give us today what we need to live in your Kingdom,
And forgive us our sins, as we go about your Kingdom forgiving others
In your Kingdom we trust you will deliver us from hard testing and from evil
for YOUR Kingdom, and your power, and your glory is forever. Amen
The Plan again:
- Ask the kids to recite the Lord's Prayer.
- Find it in scripture.
- Dive into the Galilee Flyer CD...they'll learn the scripture in-depth there.
Once they all land after completing the game, have everyone fly to the discussion area in the southern end of the sea to consider the discussion questions there. Remember to print the game guide and flying helps.
For an alternate computer lab lesson on the Lord's Prayer...
Have the kids REPHRASE the prayer just like I did above and type/illustrate it into Kid Pix, --the program I call "powerpoint for kids". Whatever they type, the program can speak out loud.
You can also have older kids rephrase each line one at a time in LET'S TALK CD. The teacher should introduce each line one at a time and help the kids think of alternative vocab. Then play back what they type, discuss, and move on to the next line.
Younger children can play Galilee Flyer CD with lots of help. You'll also find the prayer in the Play and Learn Children's Bible CD.
A lesson set by Neil MacQueen
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.