Fourth of July Bible Study-   Freedom !!
American Flag Fourth of July
                              “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!”

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer !

This Bible study on freedom is part of the Felicity and Colonial America unit study I posted awhile back.   It is in three parts, and will work fine without needing any references at all to the American Girl unit (the boys will appreciate that  🙂  ).
You may want to do just one part or all three.
There are lots of ideas for Scripture reading, discussion questions, songs, activities, object lessons, and coloring pages.   Enjoy!!

Part 1-  What is Freedom?
Part 2- Slavery
Part 3- Free !!
*You might also like to add a short-ish version of Pilgrim’s Progress (maybe even a children’s version) to your reading (or viewing…there are lots of great movie options too)  as it goes along very well with the theme of freedom.

The number 1

*Week 1:   What is Freedom?

*Reading-

– http://www.libertyskids.com/pt_guide_adult_background.html
(This site  includes some good insights on how to talk to children about the topic of freedom, as related to this period of American history)

– Scriptures to explore & discuss what God thinks about freedom:
+ Genesis 1: 26-30 and Genesis 2….particularly 2: 8-17

**God created the most amazing place and set man right in the center of it,  to rule over His new, magnificent creation,  in the truest sense of freedom ever.  God saw that this was all very good.   From the beginning this was  God’s perfect intention for an abundant life of freedom & joy for all people!

– God’s plan for His people has consistently and from the beginning, been that we would look to Him as our God, that we would always be HIS people, and that we would rule by His ordering and by His law of Love over all of His creation in freedom.
-Leviticus 26: 11-13          – Exodus 6: 1-8           – Genesis 9                    – Luke 4: 18-19 (Isaiah 61:1)
-Galatians 5                          – James 1: 25              – Romans 8: 21           – 1 Corinthians 10:23
-1 Peter 2:16                         -John 8:36

– What does God think about freedom & independence?
I have taught many ages of children, in all kinds of settings, and in different parts of the world.  It is always surprising to me that most children (and many adults I would guess) think of God’s idea of living as one of His people, as anything but living FREE!  One child told me confidentially that he didn’t know if he wanted to be a Christian anymore because he could never “keep all the rules”, and he was tired of trying to figure it all out and get it right.   🙁
This  teaching  (basically that of works & law…empty religion) will never produce the fruit of the Spirit, righteousness, or an abundant life in anyone, child or adult.
I think it is quite an important foundational concept to teach children first of God’s desire for us to live as a FREE people, bound only by our love for Him & for each other.   Love for God is what sets us free from sin to begin with, and the very thing that causes us to want to live a holy life.  It is Christ Himself, in us that sets us free !!
The revelation in our hearts of God’s beautiful, loving, perfect plan for humanity builds a solid foundation for being able to see what it is that separates us from seeing this plan happening in our own lives.  “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness…”
The feeling that comes when you understand that you have truly been set free from this world by Love is incomparable!!   <3

* You might enjoy the following song,  Freedom-  Bethel Live,  to learn this week-
–  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiO_Eteee1U

*Ideas to Think about & Discuss-

– What is freedom?
**I bet if you ask your children this question without other promptings, their own answers
will be pretty interesting and insightful!
**Here is the definition of freedom as found in the Oxford Dictionary:
– http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/freedom

– What is independence?
– http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/independent
(What is the difference between freedom & independence?)

– What picture comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘freedom’ ?
Do you think of the American flag or the Statue of Liberty?
Or do you think of being able to do whatever you want?
Do  you think about your own country, or maybe another country where there is not
freedom to worship God?
Do you think of someone coming out of prison?

How does it make you feel to think about being free?

* It might make a nice notebooking page to creatively portray what freedom means…
This is a broad topic and this type of slow reflection may help pull out some deeper thoughts.  🙂
Examples of art journals are easily found online…here is a blog post for some beginner ideas, especially for younger children.
– http://artfulparent.com/2012/01/guest-post-beginning-art-journaling-for-kids.html

– Why did the colonists want to come to America?
– What kinds of freedoms were important to the colonists?
– Were the colonists mindful of God’s ideas about freedom ?  How do we know?
(It might be a good time to read a bit of the Declaration of Independence  or other such historical documents important to the foundation of our government)
– http://government.mrdonn.org/freedomdocuments.html
( America’s Freedom Documents-  reading & activities)

*Activities-

– http://www.creativeyouthideas.com/resources/creative-teaching-ideas/freedom-in-christ/
(Freedom in Christ object lesson)

– http://www.nailscars.com/2011/07/03/2-freedom-object-lessons/
(Freedom object lesson)

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB1nIyzCcDg
(I Am Free- Hillsong Kids….this is a super fun, get-moving kind of song!)

– http://www.sunday-school-center.com/independence-day.html
(A complete lesson on Independence…including some craft ideas!)

*Coloring Pages-

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR001.PDF
This is my favorite resource for free online Bible coloring pages!
(Creation coloring page & activity sheets)

 

The Number Two (2)

*Week 2:  Slavery, the Opposite of Freedom

*Reading-

– God’s people were supposed to be free!  So what happened?
Read the story of the Israelites as slaves in Egypt & see what God did !
– The Book of Exodus  (particularly Chapters 1, 12 , and 14)

– Genesis  chapter 3 (with attention to verses 6 & 21 in particular)
Genesis  6: 5-6 ,  17-18
Genesis  9: 1-17
**There is a cyclical nature apparent in the Scriptures….
*Humans forget God’s purpose
*We turn away from God
*We become slaves to our sin
*God deals with us in different ways as we suffer the consequences of our sin,  always
bringing us back into His purpose…
‘So you will be my people,  and I will be your God.’”,
that we would  “Be fruitful and increase in number;  and fill the earth and subdue it”,
so 
that His Kingdom would be evident “on earth as it is in Heaven”.

*Related Scriptures for Further Reading-

– Exodus 6: 2-7            – 1 John 3:8                    – Romans 8:21             – Hebrews 2: 14-15
– 2 Timothy 2:26        – 1 Corinthians 6:12   – John 8:34


*Ideas to Think About & Discuss-

–  This week in the core reading we are learning what it was like to live in colonial America, including what it was like to live during this time as a slave.
While there are some countries around the world that still struggle with slavery today, the United States has fought hard as a nation for the freedom of all of it’s citizens.
But spiritually, there are many people in our country that are still slaves;  abused by the cruelest slave master and bound by some pretty awful things.  Your children may ask, “So, if our country is really free, how can there still be slavery?”
As we read in last week’s lesson, our call to a life of  liberty was given from the foundations of the world;  the command to rule over all of creation as the people of God.     It is also from the beginning  that we can see what it is that has enslaved humanity.
Simply put, it is sin.
This is what we will talk about this week.

– What is slavery?
(You may want to review their definitions of freedom to draw attention to this antonym)
– What was it like to be a slave?
– What was it like to be a free child, perhaps born to a plantation owner?
**Think about being born into each of those families.
Compare what life would be like to be a child born into a slave family versus being born to a  wealthy plantation family.   It might be good to discuss that many slaves had been born free and then “sold” into slavery.

– What is sin ?
(Again listening to your child’s response will be very helpful in understanding how to teach this difficult topic)
– How can sin make us a “slave”, even though our country says every citizen is free?

-From this sad part of our history have come some beautiful songs written by the slaves, called spirituals.
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP5EfwBWgg0
(Go Down Moses!  No one is sure exactly when this song was first sung.
Here’s a bit of it’s history if you’d like to know more…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Down_Moses    )
Why do you think so many of these songs include references to Moses?

– Is it possible for a person to be a slave, yet be ‘free’ at the same time?
(Discussion of spiritual freedom….many of the slaves embraced the deep truth of spiritual freedom that only God has the power to give through Christ, and the sweet HOPE they would some day be free physically too!  This is what so many of the songs slaves sang were about.)

– Have you ever been a slave?
– Read John 8:34 together
(Your children will most likely say no, but Scripture shows us how we all are slaves to sin & death without Christ….see Scriptures in the reading section…   Another good continuance on the conversation of spiritual freedom.)

*Activities-

* It might make another good notebooking page to creatively portray what sin or slavery means…
This is a difficult topic and this type of slow reflection may help pull out some deeper thoughts.  🙂
Examples of art journals are easily found online…here is a blog post for some beginner ideas, especially for younger children.
– http://artfulparent.com/2012/01/guest-post-beginning-art-journaling-for-kids.html

* Songs-
–  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiO_Eteee1U
(You might enjoy the following song, Freedom-  Bethel Live,  to learn this week)
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB1nIyzCcDg
(I Am Free– Hillsong Kids….this is a super fun, get-moving kind of song!)

–  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnKINpx3lXc      (object lesson on you tube)

– 
Short Object Lesson:
Though your children will never know what it really feels like to have been a slave, you might like to try the activity below (perhaps before your discussion time)  to illustrate what it feels like to carry the heavy burden of sin that keeps us enslaved spiritually (and sometimes physically too!) and unable to live freely.
**Fill a backpack with as much canned foods (or weights) as you think your child could carry safely.  Have them put it on at the beginning of this lesson.  You may ask them to stand instead of sit … or to do a task such as going up & down the stairs to put some things away for you.

– http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl7s.htm
(short retelling of the story of Moses & the Exodus;  also  many printables)

– http://wordforlifesays.com/2013/11/13/beginning-of-freedom-sunday-school-lesson-exodus-1421-30-november-17-2013/  
(full lesson)

*Coloring & Activity Pages-

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR004.PDF       (Adam & Eve are tempted……coloring page and printable questions, word puzzles, etc…)

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR034.PDF
(Israelites in slavery…. coloring page and printable questions, word puzzles, etc…)

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR038.PDF
(The First Passover…. coloring page and printable questions, word puzzles, etc…)

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR039.PDF
(The Exodus…. coloring page and printable questions, word puzzles, etc…)

the number 3

*Week 3:  Free !!

*Reading-

– Exodus 12           (The first Passover )
– Luke 22:7-20      (The Last Supper)
– http://children.cccm.com/NTTeacherGuidePDF/CURNT269.pdf
(Nice, complete lesson on the first Passover/the Last Supper and Christ’s fulfillment of many of the symbols of the first Passover)

*Related Scriptures for Further Reading-

-Romans 8: 1-4                     – John 8:36                  – John 10:10             – 1 Corinthians 6:12
– Isaiah 61:1                           – Romans 6: 6-7         – Romans 8: 14-15

*Ideas to Think About & Discuss-

– It is certainly important to study how our country was established and how we gained our independence.   This week we have read about many brave men and women who risked and even sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom.   Just as in the previous two lessons, this is not anything new.   Just like God showed us His perfect plan for a life of freedom from the time He created the earth, and the trickiness of sin that makes us spiritual slaves;  God also shows us the way we can win “the battle” and be set free for ever, never to be a slave again.

– Just as the people we have studied this week died to gain freedom for their families and for their country,  Jesus Christ died so that all of humanity might be freed FOREVER !
That is pretty good news!
This week is to tie all that we’ve been learning about freedom and about slavery together.

– God always had a good plan for His people….freedom & abundant life!
What are some things that have happened that seemed to destroy His plan?
Who are some of the people in the Bible that we read about that were set free?
How did God set those people free?
How did God give the offer of  freedom to ALL people FOREVER ?
What do we have to do to be set free from slavery forever?

– Last week we read about the first Passover in the Book of Exodus.
I think that sharing a special Seder meal together would be a sweet and meaningful way to tie everything we’ve studied together in Christ.   Here is a lovely sample including a menu and very pretty photos on Ann Voskamp’s blog.
– http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/03/the-best-easter-dinner-with-a-free-printable-start-a-christian-tradition-messianic-seder/

*Activities-

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOyjD5Zw2ew
( This would be a good song  this week-  Break Every Chain- Jesus Culture)

– http://www.nailscars.com/2011/07/03/2-freedom-object-lessons/
(If you didn’t have time to use these object lessons to illustrate being bound (slavery), they will be great to illustrate being set free as well!)

– http://www.kidssundayschool.com/321/gradeschool/sin-gets-heavy.php
(Object Lesson idea to illustrate sin & freedom from it)

– http://www.futureflyingsaucers.com/the-fall-in-the-garden-genesis-3-object-lesson/ 
(A really nice site with TONS of original & creative ideas to share the good news)

* You might enjoy the following song, Freedom-  Bethel Live,  to learn this week-
–  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiO_Eteee1U

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB1nIyzCcDg
(I Am Free- Hillsong Kids….this is a super fun, get-moving kind of song!)

* Coloring/Activity Pages-

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/NEW/CURR229.PDF
(Luke 22: 7-20  coloring & activity sheets)

– 
http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/NEW/CURR272.PDF
(Romans 8: 1-12  coloring & activity sheets)

– http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/NEW/CURR280.PDF
(2 Corinthians 5:14-21 coloring & activity sheets)

 

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