Jonah, Prophet to Nineveh

Last week, kids at Antioch saw Hosea’s amazing love for his unfaithful wife that provided a picture of God’s greater love for His unfaithful people. This week, we will look at Jonah, which offers a powerful contrast.

The Book of Jonah is not primarily about Jonah and a big fish. While that part of the story sure is interesting, the story of Jonah centers around the mercy of God for people throughout the earth—even Israel’s worst enemies!

God spoke to Jonah. He said:  “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do”(Jonah 1:2). Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. No wonder Jonah ran the other way!

However, no one can outrun God. (Ps. 139:9-10) 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!” He advised them to stop sinning and instead live like God instructs.

The people of Nineveh immediately repented—they begged God to forgive them, then they mourned their bad behaviors. They put on sack cloth and sat in ashes and cried out to God.  And God withheld His judgment. He did not demolish the city.

How did Jonah react? “This made Jonah very unhappy, and he became angry.” (Jonah 4:1). Jonah refused to thank God for the mercy He showed to the Ninevites, and refused to love the people of Nineveh, even when God did.

God was not pleased by this response and prompted Jonah to examine his heart. He left Jonah—and the reader—with a question to consider: “Shouldn’t I show concern for the great city Nineveh, which has more than one hundred twenty thousand people who do not know right from wrong, and many animals, too??” (Jonah 4:11).

God loves people—and, as kids will also observe, loves the animals He has made, too! His love never ends, and His mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). Mercy means “being treated better than you deserve”—the story of Jonah is filled mercy. God treated Jonah better than he deserved. God treated the Ninevites better than they deserved. And God treats us better than we deserve every single day! His love is unending and his kindness is real!

As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:

  • God loves people.
  • God sent Jonah to Nineveh because He loves people.
  • Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.
  • God sent Jesus because He loves us.
  • What is God like? God is merciful and loving.
  • What is mercy? Being treated better than you deserve.

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What Is My Preschooler Learning in September?

Happy Autumn!

We’re excited to begin a new season with you and your sweet preschoolers. This month we will be teaching kids the bottom line, I can trust God, and the memory verse, “Trust the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5, NCV). Click here to view the motions for the memory verse!

During September kids will hear the following stories:

  • Noah (God’s Plan) • Genesis 6:8-33; 7:1-24 | I can believe what God says. God told Noah that a flood was coming, but that God would keep Noah safe if he followed God’s plan. God told Noah to build a huge ark and put his family and every kind of animal inside it. Noah obeyed, and the flood came. God kept his promise and kept Noah safe!
  • Noah (God’s Promise) • Genesis 8:1–9:17 | God keeps His promises. After many, many days, God dried up some of the water so that there was dry land for Noah and his family and all of the animals. He put a rainbow in the sky and told Noah that the rainbow was the sign of His promise that He would never send a flood to cover the whole earth again.
  • Jonah • Jonah 1:1–3:10 | I should go God’s way. The people of Ninevah did not follow God, but God still loved them. God picked Jonah to give a message to the Ninevites, so they could learn how to be friends with God! Jonah didn’t want to give the message, he didn’t think those bad people deserved a second chance, so he ran away. He ended up on a boat, and then in the ocean, and then in the belly of a big fish! After talking to God, Jonah decided to obey and talk to the Ninevites. They decided to follow God and Jonah learned that God’s plan is the best!
  • Naaman • 2 Kings 5:1-14 | I can trust God even when it’s hard. Naaman had a skin disease and went to Elisha for help. Elisha told Naaman that God would heal him if he washed himself seven times in the dirty Jordan river. That plan was very different than what Naaman expected, so he got angry and didn’t want to do it. But when he decided to trust God and obey, he was healed!

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Click here for a fun video telling the story of Noah.

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Click here to view a video of the story of Jonah.

A preview video can be found here, and the Parent Cue for September can be found here.

We can’t wait to see what God has to teach us—kids and adults alike—about trusting Him this September. See you soon!

Antioch Kids: Elementary!

From the very beginning, God set up leaders on earth. We see in Genesis 1, God instructed Adam to rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, and the livestock that moves on the ground. Much later in the Old Testament, God called out prophets, judges, kings, and priests to lead His people. Each of these leaders, although different in many ways, had one main thing in common. Their job was to follow God. An interesting pattern can be seen when they trusted and obeyed God—the people under their leadership prospered.

Obedience is trusting those who lead you by doing what you’re asked to do. God asks us to trust Him by giving us specific things to do to accomplish His work around us. He may even ask us to do something that seems too hard or too uncomfortable. But we can choose to trust that He’ll work out the details and take care of our needs. Then it’s easier for us to choose to obey and act on what we know, because we trust our ultimate Leader.

The monthly memory verse is: “Obey your leaders. Put yourselves under their authority.” (Hebrews 13:17, NIrV) Often, it’s hardest to obey when God asks us to trust another person that He has chosen to lead us. But, as long as their instructions line up with God’s commands, do what they ask of us.

In Week One’s Bible story, God places Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with just one command (Genesis 1, 2, 3:1-24). When they make their own plan and disobey God, it has profound and lasting affects. Our Bottom Line is: I should trust and obey even when I think my way is better. Our leaders see the bigger picture and understand the greater consequences.

In Week Two’s Bible story, Noah had a history of trusting God, and continued to obey God to the smallest detail while building the ark (Genesis 6–8). Even when everyone else disobeyed, Noah followed God. Our Bottom Line is: I should trust and obey even when others don’t. Developing a pattern of obedience might prepare us for trusting God in a moment when the stakes are even higher.

In Week Three’s Bible story, God makes a big promise to Abraham, and then asks Abraham to move to a new place (Genesis 12:1-5; 13:2-18; 15:1-6). Abraham doesn’t know where or how God will keep His promises. But he trusts God. Our Bottom Line is: I should trust and obey even if I don’t know how it will all work out. We always know we can trust God, so we can confidently obey.

In Week Four’s Bible story, God asks Abraham to do something shocking (Genesis 15, 18, 21, 22). When Abraham is willing to obey and sacrifice what he loves, he demonstrates his unwavering trust in God to keep His promises. Our Bottom Line is: I should trust and obey even if it costs me something. We can trust that God wants what’s best for us.

We want to make it easy for you to continue teaching your kids about these things throughout the week! We provide you will resources to do just that! Simply download them by clicking the links below.

Week 1 Resource,   Week 2 Resource,   Week 3 Resource,   Week 4 Resource

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 By Jessica McKee ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

Antioch Kids: Preschool!

Choices. We have to make them EVERY day. Do I want to wear this pair of shoes or that pair of shoes? Do I want this sandwich or that sandwich for lunch? Those types of choices aren’t life altering, but some of the choices we make are. Do I want to take this job or do I want to move and take that job? That’s a big decision. And, where can we go for help making that decision? Why, God, of course. Because God knows what’s best for me.

Now, preschoolers aren’t deciding where they need to move yet, but they are making some important decisions in their world. Should I obey mom? Should I share with Suzy? Even they can look to God for help with answers. We want to teach them to look to Him now with the easier stuff (although it’s not easy for them) so they will look to Him for the harder stuff later in life.

Preschoolers will see how God knew what was best for our Bible friends so many years ago as they investigate the stories of Adam and Eve, Jonah, Naamen, and Joshua and Caleb. While visiting these stories, we will discuss the hard choices they had to make and that the best results always came when they chose what God wanted them to do. Because (say it with me) God knows what’s best for me.

We will be praying that your preschooler has moments filled with wonder as we give preschoolers a look at the God who loves them, made them, and wants to be their friend forever.

We want to encourage you to keep teaching your preschoolers these things throughout the week! Here is a free resources to help you do just that: Family Resource for Preschoolers (click to download).

Can’t wait to see you Sunday!

We want to encourage you to keep teaching your preschoolers these things throughout the week! Here is a free resources to help you do just that: Family Resource for Preschoolers (click to download).

Can’t wait to see you Sunday!

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