Remembering and Anticipation

First Sunday of Lent, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

In this week’s lesson, the people of God are hearing a reminder of God’s covenant/promise as they are about to end their time in the desert and cross over into the promised land. We hear this story as we are crossing into Lent, into our time in the desert as a reminder that this period of time is not forever, and that God keeps God’s promises, even when things are difficult. They remember God’s promises as they anticipate their future with God.

Download the lesson plans for the First Sunday of Lent

LPTW Lent 1, Year C, Old Testament, Younger Children
LPTW Lent 1, Year C, Old Testament, Older Children

The Good, Peaceful Leader Comes

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: Micah 5: 2-5a

This is the fourth Sunday of Advent, the four weeks that prepare us for Christmas. Advent means “coming” and the One who is coming is the messiah, Jesus. We remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth and we make ourselves ready for the time that Jesus will come again, when God will make all things new. The stories we hear in this season are from the prophets, who bring us messages of great hope and deep joy as we wait and watch and wonder.

Download the lesson plan for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

LPTW Advent 4, Year C, Old Testament, Younger Children
LPTW Advent 4, Year C, Old Testament, Older Children

Rejoice! God Will Care for God’s People

Third Sunday of Advent, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-20

This is the third Sunday of Advent, the four weeks that prepare us for Christmas. Advent means “coming” and the One who is coming is the messiah, Jesus. We remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth and we make ourselves ready for the time that Jesus will come again, when God will make all things new. The stories we hear in this season are from the prophets, who bring us messages of great hope and deep joy as we wait and watch and wonder.

Download the lesson plan for the Third Sunday in Advent

LPTW Advent 3, Year C, Old Testament, Younger Children
LPTW Advent 3, Year C, Old Testament, Older Children

God’s Goodness Glows

Second Sunday of Advent, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: Baruch 5:1-9

This is the second Sunday of Advent, the four weeks that prepare us for Christmas. Advent means “coming” and the One who is coming is the messiah, Jesus. We remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth and we make ourselves ready for the time that Jesus will come again, when God will make all things new. The stories we hear in this season are from the prophets, who bring us messages of great hope and deep joy as we wait and watch and wonder.

Download the lesson plan for the Second Sunday in Advent

LPTW Advent 2, Year C, Old Testament, Younger Children
LPTW Advent 2, Year C, Old Testament, Older Children

God Promises Justice and Goodness

First Sunday of Advent, Year C, Old Testament Lesson

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Today we begin the season of Advent, the four weeks that prepare us for Christmas. Advent means “coming” and the One who is coming is the Messiah, Jesus. We remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth and we make ourselves ready for the time that Jesus will come again, when God will make all things new. The stories we hear in this season are from the prophets who bring messages of great hope and deep joy as we wait and watch and wonder.

Download the lesson plan for the First Sunday in Advent

LPTW Advent 1, Year C, Old Testament, Younger Children
LPTW Advent 1, Year C, Old Testament, Older Children

Cleaning the Temple

Third Sunday in Lent, Year B
Scripture: John 2:13-22

Events teach. Often the learning comes after the event. Jesus teaches with elements that have immediate impact as well as lingering meaning. And they usually land well outside the expected. So, with Passover looming, Jesus goes into the busy temple and proceeds to clean house. “Take these things out of here!” he demands of the money changers, the animal merchants – even those who sold doves. Then he announces: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” A temple that took 46 years to build? Could he mean the temple God has been building since the beginning of time? What “things” need to be removed from our own personal temples?

Download the Lesson Plans for the Third Sunday in Lent

LPTW Lent 3, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Lent 3, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Lent 3, Year B, Adults
LPTW Lent 3, Year B, All

Shepherds and Giving Thanks

Last Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

The prophet Ezekiel’s ministry happened during a time of great upheaval, beginning in 593 BCE (just before the fall of Jerusalem) through 571 BCE (into the Babylonian exile). Throughout the Book of Ezekiel, we hear a message of judgment, destruction and restoration. Ezekiel is warning of the judgment of the leaders and others who have only worried about themselves or have forgotten the ways of God. Our lesson today is a ray of hope from Ezekiel to those who were in the Babylonian exile, telling them of God’s promise to look for them, gather them, care for them, and bring them home as a shepherd bring the sheep home and tends to them after they have been lost.

Note: This is also the last day in the church year, so Option 2 of the lesson focuses a bit more on that if you wish to help the children prepare for the New Year we begin next Sunday on the First Sunday in Advent.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plan for the Last Sunday in Pentecost

LPTW Last Pentecost, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Last Pentecost, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Being a Leader

Proper 28, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Judges 4:1-7                                                                      

We have spent a good deal of time during Pentecost working our way through the journey of the Israelites. We have talked about Moses’ death and how Joshua took over the role of leader. We are now in the book of Judges, the people of Israel have reached the Promised Land and Joshua has died. Even though they have reached the Promised Land, it does not mean that it is there land yet and they have been fighting with the Canaanites for the land that God promised them. However, once Joshua died, they have been without one central leader and throughout the book of Judges, we see the people of Israel struggle with continuing to remain faithful to God without their leader.

There is a pattern throughout Judges that we see in today’s lesson. It goes something like this: the next generation of Israelites strays from God, God punishes them through oppression of foreign people, the people realize their ways and turn to God to repent and beg God to save them, and in the end, God delivers the people through a judge.

The judges in the book of Judges are not the judges that we think of today. They are leaders who have been raised up by God to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors. They have spiritual and military power and help the people of Israel fight their battles to free them and gain the land God had promised them.

Today, we hear about Deborah.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plan for Proper 28

LPTW Proper 28, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 28, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Serving the Lord, Walking with God

Proper 27, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

This passage comes toward the end of Joshua. Joshua has led them into the promised land and brought them all together to renew their covenant, their promises with God. Joshua helps them understand the weight and importance of their decision by recounting the past for them, going back to what their ancestors went through and the choices they made on their journey. By going back to the beginning of their story, he is showing the Israelites that there has always been a place for them on the path with God.

As we hear the exchange between Joshua and the people, the refrain, “Serve the LORD,” comes again and again. This is not just about worship, but also about serving, about being the person of God in the world. Joshua knows from history and experience that the people of Israel have trouble staying focused on God, especially then the going gets tough. He tries to impress upon them the weight and importance of this decision. This is a life choice and he wants them to understand that.

The Israelites pledge and choose to serve God because of what God has done for them. They retell their story of following God and say to Joshua, if God has done all these things, then this is our God.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plans for Proper 27

LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Faith and Following God

Proper 26, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Joshua 3:7-17 (4:1-7 optional)

After Moses’ death, God commissioned Joshua, Moses’ assistant, to continue to lead the people of Israel. God makes promises to Joshua just as promises had been made to Moses about the land they were to possess and how God was to protect them on their journey. Keep in mind that those on the journey are now the children, grandchildren, or maybe even great grandchildren of the Israelites that were freed. They have been journeying their whole lives, they have heard God’s promises, they have followed Moses’ lead and now Joshua is called upon to be the leader of God’s people and lead them into the promised land.

Today’s story tells us about Joshua readying and taking the Israelites across the Jordan.

Note: I would encourage you to read a few verses further than the lectionary gives us today. If you include the next seven verses (Joshua 4:1-7) you will hear about the setting of the 12 stones to help the future generations remember their crossing over through the Jordan, into the promised land. I’ve included it as optional below.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plans for Proper 26

LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 26, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament