Jesus Calls His Disciples

The holidays are over, we’re settling into life with a new baby, and we’re ready to get back to “school” with the ABC Jesus Loves Me 3-Year Old Curriculum, picking up where we left off with Week 20: Jesus calling the 12 disciples.  I’m so excited to be getting back to our Bible lessons for a number of reasons.  First, Elijah is growing up so fast, and he’s showing more interest in what we’re doing so he’ll be joining us a lot more.

Also, we’ve spent so much time in the Old Testament and now it’s time to focus on the New Testament.  I’m excited to “introduce” my boys to Jesus.  Obviously they’ve heard His name at home and at church, and they know a few stories about Him, but we haven’t spent any time really intentionally going through the gospels.  (Elijah flips through The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers saying, “There’s Jesus, there’s Jesus, there’s Jesus… The End.” It makes me smile, because really, isn’t that what the whole Bible is about?  But I’m hoping he’ll soon be able to differentiate between the stories of men in the Old Testament and the stories that are actually about the Lord.)

The last reason I’m excited is because Ian got a new Bible for Christmas and I’m looking forward to using it with our lessons.  He loves bringing his Bible to church, and we’ve enjoyed spending time just flipping through it, getting familiar with where certain stories are, the maps at the back, etc.  I want it to be a part of his daily life.  I chose the ESV Seek and Find Bible because it uses the full ESV text while making the Bible accessible to kids 5 to 9.  Okay, so Ian’s still a couple months shy of 4, but it was the best I could do when searching for a “real” Bible.  I love that has so many full-page color illustrations, each accompanied by a clearly written story that can be read separately from the text.  (These stories aren’t exact copies of the Scripture passage, but they use a lot of the same wording while telling the story in a way kids can easily understand.  So it’s almost like a really good Bible storybook integrated with a full Bible translation.)  I’ve read a few of these stories to Ian and they really keep his attention, probably because he can see the picture right there.

My two main objectives this week were to help the boys 1) understand that that the disciples followed Jesus to copy what He did, and 2) start becoming familiar with the names of the Twelve.  I used a few different passages for this week’s lesson.  The curriculum suggested Luke 5:1-11, but I focused on Matthew 4:18-23 because it contained the verse I chose to have the boys memorize: “Come, follow me… and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 (NIV1984).  I also referenced the list of the twelve disciples from Luke 6:14-16.

Rather than introducing the story using our flannel board set as I’ve always done, I started out our week by putting on our iPod playlist as we ran errands Monday morning.  Here’s what we listened to several times throughout the week:

We listened to the whole list a couple times through as we drove, and both boys started asking questions about what they heard.  As soon as the story started, Elijah asked, “What’s this movie, Mommy?” so I knew he was interested.  After hearing it, he tried to list the disciples from the passage (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) all on his own and only needed a little help from me before he had them down.  Ian wanted to know why we were singing about being a disciple, so we talked about how we can choose to follow Jesus just like those fishermen in the story.  It was a great introduction so they were really receptive when we got out the flannel board set later on.  (There weren’t really pieces to tell the story of Jesus calling the men in their boats, so I just chose 12 men and a Jesus figure and did the story on my own.)

I read with Ian from his Bible, but I wanted to make sure Elijah really understood it as well, so we also read from The Beginner’s Bible (by Karyn Henley) and Classic Bible Stories: A Family Treasury

Other things we did were to play “Follow the Leader,” and sort (these) disciples picture cards, putting them into three groups as a memorization tool, as they seem to be grouped in the lists in the Synoptic gospels and Acts. (Oops, is my nerd side showing? Sorry. I just love studying the Bible, and if my children can start learning things like this while they’re little I want to jump on it!)  At first I tried to teach the boys this song about the 12 Disciples (to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”), but then I realized the Karen & Kids episode on our playlist used this one (to the tune of “Bringing in the Sheaves”).  So I switched since it was more fun singing along (though it breaks up the groups by putting Bartholomew at the end).

For our Bible notebook page I combined a fun fish craft from DLTK with a “Fisher of Men” idea from Danielle’s Place.  We colored with markers on coffee filters, then sprayed them with water to make the colors run.

After they dried, I cut a fish shape out of Ian’s and glued on a boy I drew (which he didn’t want to color, so it looks pretty dull).  We taped on a thin stick to be a fishing pole and tied on a piece of yarn.

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So it was a fun first week back!  Along with our Bible story, we rowed a Five in a Row (FIAR) book, Madeline, which was a big hit.  My post on that will be coming soon.

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