Key Passage: Jonah 4:2 “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Big Picture Question: What is God’s desire for people? God wants all people to be saved

Christ Connection: The people in Judah sinned. To punish them, God sent locusts and stopped the rain. Joel told the people to be sorry for their sin. Jesus also wants people to be sorry for their sin. Jesus died to take away our sin, and He is alive. If we trust in Jesus and are sorry for our sin, God forgives us.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In today’s Bible story, God called Joel to prophesy to the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the middle of a crisis. Judah was experiencing an invasion of locusts, on top of a drought. Joel made it clear the people were not undergoing bad luck—God was judging them for their sin.

In Deuteronomy 28, God told His people that if they did not obey Him, “You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it” (vv. 15,38). That is exactly what happened. These disasters were a wake-up call. Joel told the people to repent. He told them to fast. He told them to cry out to God and ask Him to show them mercy. Then Joel looked ahead to the future. The Day of the Lord was coming, a day when God would show His strength through an invading army. God’s power would be against them. So Joel implored them, “Return to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.”

God would rather forgive His people than punish them. God used locusts and drought to get Judah’s attention. They had turned from God, and the prophet Joel called them to repent. Like Joel, Jesus calls sinners to repent. Jesus died and was resurrected so repentant people could experience forgiveness. (Luke 24:46-47)

Family Activity: Use a jar to create a temporary insect container for each kid by taking a nail and putting a small hole in the lid. Set aside a time to hunt for grasshoppers or other insects. Place the bugs in the jars and talk about how God used locusts to punish the people of Judah for their sins. Explain that we deserve punishment for our sins too, but Jesus took our punishment.

Go further: Go online to find instructions to make a sundial. Work with your family to create one and use it to time how long it takes for something to occur. Talk to your kids about why we wait eagerly for Christ to return.

Key Passage: Jonah 4:2 “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Big Picture Question: How can we be forgiven? God forgives people when they are sorry and ask for forgiveness.

Christ Connection: God was going to punish the people in Nineveh because they sinned. The people of Nineveh were sorry. They told God they were sorry. God did not punish them. He showed them mercy. God showed mercy to the world by sending His Son, Jesus. Jesus took the punishment we should get for our sin. God wants us to go, like Jonah, and tell others about Jesus.

Dear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids is one that many kids have heard before, and we often lose sight of the central message. The message isn’t so much about Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, although that is certainly amazing. Jonah’s account centers around the compassion of God, not only for the people of Israel, but for people throughout the earth—even Israel’s worst enemies!

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. Check out how the prophet Nahum described the city in Nahum 3: “Woe to the city of blood, totally deceitful, full of plunder, never without prey” (v. 1). No wonder Jonah ran the other way! Through a storm and some time in the belly of a fish, God got Jonah’s attention. Jonah went to Nineveh. For three days, Jonah walked around the city. His message to the Ninevites was brief: “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!”

The people of Nineveh immediately repented, and God withheld His judgment. Jonah was furious. God rebuked Jonah and prompted him to examine his heart. God displayed His mercy and grace by forgiving the people of Nineveh when they repented of their sin. God showed His love to the rest of the world by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross. God saves those who trust in Jesus and repent of their sin, and He sends them out, like Jonah, with the good news of salvation.

Family Activity: Take a family fishing trip, a trip to a local aquarium, or even a pet store. Challenge each family member to catch (if fishing) or find (if visiting an aquarium or pet store) the biggest fish they can. Talk about what it would be like to be swallowed by that fish. What sounds would you hear? What would you see or feel? Talk about how Jonah’s lack of obedience landed him in a fish. Invite each family member to share times they didn’t obey that got them in trouble.

Key Passage: Jonah 4:2 “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Big Picture Question: Does God stop loving us when we sin? God loves us even when we sin.

Christ Connection: Gomer did not love Hosea with all her heart. She did things that made Hosea sad, but Hosea still loved Gomer. God’s people do not love God with all their hearts. We do things that make God sad, but God still loves us. He showed us His love by sending Jesus to be our Savior.

Dear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids reveals what true, unconditional, godly love looks like. God told Hosea to show the people of Israel how much God loved them but in an unexpected way. God told Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman, and to raise her children who were conceived with other men.

Hosea obeyed God. He married a woman named Gomer, and she was unfaithful just as God said she would be. God’s people were no different than Gomer. They loved and worshiped idols, people and things that were not the one true God.

It would have been easier for God (and Hosea) to throw up His hands and say, “Enough! I’m done with you!” But God’s love never gives up. He gave Hosea a love for his wife that compelled him to buy her back from the slave market after all she had done.

Hosea’s relationship with Gomer reminds us of God’s relationship with the people of Israel and with us. Even though God’s people are unfaithful and love other things more than they love God, God still loves us. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sin and bring us back to Him.

Family Activity: During the week, write a love note to your kids reminding them that no matter what happens, you always love them. Invite each kid to write a love note to a sibling or parent. Encourage non-writers to draw a picture expressing their love.

Go further: Make heart shaped sugar cookies with your family to pass out to your neighbors. Explain the gospel through the story of Hosea. Help your kids prepare a response to people confused by heart cookies outside of Valentines Day.

Key Passage: Jonah 4:2 “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Big Picture Question: What does God do when people sin? God loves people, but He punishes sin.

Christ Connection: God is holy and He punishes sin. But God also loves people. God wanted His people to stop sinning and love Him, but they would not. God punished His people. God loves us. We sin and should be punished. But God sent Jesus to be punished for us.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next four weeks, our Bible stories will focus on four prophets whose messages to God’s people foreshadowed Jesus Christ. In today’s Bible story, Amos was a regular, hard-working man who raised sheep in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God called Amos to prophesy to the people of Israel.

On the outside, the Northern Kingdom of Israel looked good. They were prospering economically, their borders were expanding, and sure, King Jeroboam was an evil and ungodly man, but he could have been worse. But God was not pleased with His people. Their hearts were far from Him. They ignored God’s laws, worshiped idols, and mistreated the poor. They were greedy, hypocritical, and prideful. So God called Amos to tell Israel that God was going to judge them for their sin.

Taking God’s message to the people of Israel was no easy task. When Amos told Israel through three sermons that God’s judgment would also fall on them, they told him to go away. The Israelites’ refusal to turn back to God eventually led to their exile and brought an end to their time of prosperity.

God is holy and just, but He is also loving and gracious. God wanted His people to turn back to Him, but they refused. Israel faced the punishment for their sin. God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin. God accepts anyone who trusts in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Family Activity: Encourage each family member to intentionally do something nice for someone. It can be a friend, family member, or neighbor. You may even choose to do something as a family. Talk about how God wants His people to treat one another fairly, something those living in Israel were not doing during the time of Amos.

Key Passage: 2 Kings 17:13-14 “The Lord warned Israel and Judah… ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commands.’…But they would not listen.”

Big Picture Question: Why did God scatter His people? God’s people sinned against Him

Christ Connection: When the people of Israel did not do what God said, God punished them. We disobey God too, but Jesus took our punishment for us. People who trust in Jesus can be with God forever.

Dear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids focuses once again on the Northern Kingdom of Israel. God’s people in the Northern Kingdom had a long history of disobeying God. God sent His prophets to the people of Israel. The prophets told the people of Israel to repent and worship God again. Many times, the prophets told the people what would happen in the future if they continued to sin.

Sometimes God’s people listened to the prophets, repented of their sins, and followed God. But many people did not. God had been very patient with the Israelites. He had helped them in times of trouble and had delayed their punishment because He is gracious and compassionate. (2 Kings 13:23) But many years passed, and God knew His people would not love Him with all their hearts.

God had had enough of His people’s sinning. They wouldn’t listen to Him, so He allowed their enemies to send them into exile. The king of Assyria attacked Israel and laid siege to Samaria. Assyria captured Samaria and forced the people to leave the city. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed and the people were scattered, just as God had said it would be. (1 Kings 14:15)

When the Israelites disobeyed God, God judged their sin and punished them by removing them from His presence. Jesus took the punishment for our sin upon Himself. He unites and restores those who trust in Him. Jesus brings us into God’s presence and keeps us there.

Family Activity: Work a puzzle together as a family. Prior to working the puzzle, scatter several of the pieces around your home. Challenge kids to find the pieces and add them to the puzzle. Explain that because God loved His people, He allowed them to be scattered. Remind kids of God’s promise to one day reunite His people with Him forever.

Key Passage: 2 Kings 17:13-14 “The Lord warned Israel and Judah… ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commands.’…But they would not listen.”

Big Picture Question: Who heals us from our sin? Jesus heals us from our sin.

Christ Connection: Naaman was sick. He had a problem with his skin. When Naaman washed in the river, his skin got better. No one can obey God all the time. We are all sick with a sin problem. When we trust in Jesus, He heals us. God forgives us and makes us better.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, we turn our attention to Elisha, Elijah’s friend and successor, and Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army. The Syrians often attacked Israelite cities and took whatever they wanted, including people to work as slaves. One of the slaves carried off by the Syrians has a pivotal role in today’s story.

Naaman was sick with leprosy—a serious skin disease. Without a cure, Naaman would suffer horribly. A young slave girl from the land of Israel, however, knew about the one true God. She told her mistress that Elisha the prophet could heal Naaman.

Naaman told his master, the king of Aram, what his servant said. The king of Aram wrote a letter to King Ahab, commanding him to heal Naaman. King Ahab panicked. He couldn’t heal Naaman—only God could do that! Elisha called for Naaman and told him to wash seven times in the Jordan River. It wasn’t the “cure” Naaman was expecting, and initially he rejected Elisha’s instructions. His servants, however, encouraged him to obey. Naaman washed in the Jordan and he was healed! Naaman told Elisha, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15).

Naaman was sick with a skin problem. His disease went away when he washed in the river. All people are sick with a sin problem. They need a Healer. When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, God forgives our sin and heals us.

Family Activity: Ask your church leadership about any people in your congregation who may be homebound. Plan an outing with your family to visit them, bring them a meal, and pray over them for healing.

Key Passage: 2 Kings 17:13-14 “The Lord warned Israel and Judah… ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commands.’…But they would not listen.”

Big Picture Question: How does God help in times of trouble? God promises to be with us.

Christ Connection: Elijah was a special messenger of God. Jezebel did not like Elijah, but God was in charge. God kept Elijah safe. Jesus is God’s messenger too. People did not like Jesus, but God was in charge. God used Jesus’ enemies to carry out His plan to rescue people from sin.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story immediately follows Elijah’s confrontation with King Ahab and the false prophets of Baal. Elijah saw God send fire from heaven. God showed King Ahab, the Israelites, and all the people who worshiped the false god Baal that God is the one true God. Elijah probably felt very happy and victorious, but he was about to face trouble.

King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, was furious with Elijah. Jezebel had already killed many of God’s prophets. After Baal’s defeat at Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent a message to Elijah: she was going to kill Elijah like she had killed God’s prophets. Elijah was afraid! He ran away from Jezebel and hid in the wilderness. Overcome with despair, Elijah begged the Lord to take his life. (See 1 Kings 19:4.)

God sent an angel to bring food and water to Elijah while he rested. Then Elijah traveled to Mount Horeb—another name for Mount Sinai—to have a personal encounter with God. God revealed Himself to Elijah in a voice, a soft whisper. Elijah’s circumstances were difficult, but God didn’t leave him. God gave him Elisha, a friend and successor. God assured Elijah that he was not alone; there were 7,000 people in Israel who had not turned to worship Baal.

Elijah was God’s prophet, but Jezebel wanted to kill him. God was in control, and He protected Elijah. Jesus is the true and final Prophet. People hated Jesus and wanted to kill Him. God was in control. He used Jesus’ enemies to fulfill His plan to save people from sin.

Family Activity: Make a “telephone” by poking a hole in the bottom of two plastic cups. Thread a length of string through both holes, tying knots in each end to secure it. Hold the string taut to share whispers across a room. Talk about how God used a whisper to speak to Elijah.

Go further: Guide everyone to take turns playing out a time they are afraid or something they are afraid of. Talk about how God is always with us, even when we are afraid.

Key Passage: 2 Kings 17:13-14 “The Lord warned Israel and Judah… ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commands.’…But they would not listen.”

Big Picture Question: Who is the one true God? Yahweh is the one true God.

Christ Connection: God sent fire from heaven. The people who did not worship God saw the fire and knew that God is powerful. One day, God would use His power to raise Jesus from the dead.

Dear Parents,
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to a power-encounter between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, a false god. King Ahab was a very evil king. In fact, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33).

God sent Elijah the prophet to get Ahab’s attention. God prevented rain in the land for three years. For Ahab, a man who worshiped Baal—the false Canaanite god of rain and fertility—the drought sent a strong message about the one true God. When God was ready to send rain to the earth, Elijah appeared to Ahab and told him to gather all the people and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. Elijah issued a challenge to the people: Follow God or follow Baal.

Imagine what it must have been like to watch the thousand prophets of Baal face off against the one true God and His prophet. The prophets of Baal shouted to their false god. They cried out. They even cut themselves. Where was Baal? Why didn’t he answer? When it was Elijah’s turn, Elijah drenched his altar with water. Then Elijah called out to God, and God answered with fire from heaven that consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and even the water in the trench Elijah dug. The people fell facedown, shouting “Yahweh, He is God! Yahweh, He is God!”

Elijah called on the power of God to prove to the worshipers of Baal that God is the one true God. By sending fire from heaven, God displayed His great power. God would use His power years later to raise Jesus from the dead, showing that Jesus is the Son of God.

Family Activity: Build a fire in a fire pit. Discuss with your family how God lit Elijah’s fire. Remind them that God burned up even the stones.

Go further: Use playdough to build an “idol.” Discuss with your children that idols are powerless because they are made by humans. But God is the creator of everything. Only He is the one true God.

Key Passage: 2 Kings 17:13-14 “The Lord warned Israel and Judah… ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commands.’…But they would not listen.”

Big Picture Question: What kind of king did God’s people need? God’s people needed a king who loved God.

Christ Connection: God’s people wanted a king, but no king helped God’s people love God. God was going to send Jesus. Jesus would come from heaven and be the king of God’s people. He would help them love God, and He would be the best king ever.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, our journey takes us to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, created as a result of King Solomon’s sin. King Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom, created two golden calves for his people to worship. Needless to say, his kingdom wasn’t starting out very well.

The Northern Kingdom was plagued by evil kings who led people away from worshiping the one true God. Baasha (BAY uh shuh), Elah, Zimri (ZIM righ), and Omri (AHM righ) each reigned as evil, sinful kings of Israel. Each king led the Israelites further away from worshiping God.

Then Omri’s son Ahab (AY hab) became king of Israel. Ahab was more evil than the kings who were before him—more evil than Omri, more evil than Zimri, more evil than Elah, and more evil than Baasha! If that wasn’t enough, Ahab married Jezebel, who encouraged him to serve and worship the false god Baal. Ahab built an altar for Baal in Samaria. All the things Ahab did made God very angry.

God’s people asked for a king to lead them, but no king led them perfectly. Was there any king on earth who would be faithful? God would send a king from heaven—His own Son—who would lead God’s people back to God. He would be the King of all kings—Jesus Christ.

Family Activity: Ask family members to name three rules they would create if they were king for a day. Discuss each one. Would any of the rules suggested lead people to love God?

Key Passage: 1 Kings 8:61 “Let your heart be completely devoted to the Lord our God.”

Big Picture Question: Where does wisdom come from? Wisdom comes from God.

Christ Connection: God gives us wisdom in the Bible. Wisdom comes from knowing and loving God. (Proverbs 1:7) Wisdom teaches us how to live. God wants to change people who know and love Him to become like Jesus.

Dear Parents,

This weeks story in The Gospel Project for Kids is a little different from most other stories kids hear in Bible study. This week, your kids learned about three entire books of the Bible. To wrap up this section of Scripture concerning David and his son Solomon, we learned about the poetry and wisdom the Bible offers from Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.

King David wrote many of the 150 Psalms included in this book. Remember Psalm 51? David prayed to God for repentance. Many other Psalms are words of praise, expressions of joy, thanksgiving to God, and a listing of the importance of God’s Word. Take a few minutes and read Psalm 119 and praise God for His eternal Word.

King Solomon wrote much of the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs are short sayings that teach a truth. Since God had granted Solomon great wisdom, much of his writing centered around ways to live a holy life to God. Solomon also wrote in Ecclesiastes why God created the world—so people would worship God and see how good He is.

Wisdom in the Bible is not just words about how to live. God gives us wisdom because He wants us to be like Jesus—in how we live, how we speak, and how we think. We become wise by knowing and loving Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Family Activity: Choose a favorite praise or worship song, look up the lyrics online and talk about the words. Then, sing the song! If you have a hymnal, mark favorite family hymns. Locate in the index a hymn with text from the Book of Psalms and read the text.

Go further: Spend some time journaling with your kids. Encourage them to write down the things God reveals to them in His Word. Discuss differences between what God says is wise, and what the world says is wise.