God Speaks to Elijah:  I Kings 19:1-15

fire

For Vacation Bible School this summer, our parish used Group Publishing’s curriculum “Everest:  Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.”  This is the second week of family devotions based on the five Bible stories that we learned at VBS.  (If you missed last week’s, find it here: https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/ravens-feed-elijah-i-kings-171-7/).  Enjoy learning from your kids; you might be surprised what they have to teach you!

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), a family Bible with this story or access to the internet, containers with lids (or empty toilet paper roll), dried beans (peas, corn, pebbles), fancy duct tape

Gather:  We like to sit in a circle on the floor for God Time.  Finding some pillows or cushions to sit on makes it even more comfortable.  My kids like to use pillow pets for this purpose!  Once you are in a circle, light a candle (or turn on a battery-operated one; we use an LED tea light in a pretty metal container).

Activity:  Noise Makers

Today, we will make the activity first, because we need it to tell the story.  Take an empty container with a lid or a toilet paper tube or paper towel tube cut in half.  Fill it with dried beans, peas, corn, or small pebbles.  Close the lid and cover with fancy duct tape.  Voila!  Noise makers!  See the pictures for this activity below:

1.  WP_20150523_08_54_14_Pro  2.  filling noisemakers  3.  noisemaker filled  4.  noisemaker covered  5.  completed noisemaker  6.  shake it

Story Scavenger Hunt:  To tell this story, you and your family will now need to go on a scavenger hunt.  I urge you to make this a part of your God Time; help them to find all of these things, don’t make it work by doing it yourself.  As a family, look for these things and bring them to your God Time area:
Fan (or something that makes wind)
Blanket (large enough for your whole family to sit around)
Balls (small balls that won’t hurt anything if they get tossed around inside.  You could also use rolled up socks)
Matches/candle/grill/bonfire pit (or something that makes fire)
Noisemakers

Once you have gathered all of these items in your God Time area, you are ready to begin the story.  You can tell it like this:

One time, God told Elijah to go to a cave and wait there until God arrived.  So Elijah went.  While he was waiting, there was a giant wind (turn on the fan and encourage your family to make wind noises).  But God wasn’t in the wind.  After the wind, there was an earthquake (shake the blanket with the balls in the middle).  But God wasn’t in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, there was a fire (light the fire).  But God wasn’t in the fire (put the fire out).  All of those things had been really loud (shake the noise makers)!  After all of this, there was the sound of sheer silence.  Elijah went out of the cave, and God spoke to Elijah in a tiny whisper.  “I love you,” God whispered, “and I will take care of you, no matter what.”

My family did this story about three times in a row, with my girls catching on a little more each time.

Discuss:  When God was hiding in the cave, what came first?  What came second?  What came third?  When did God finally show up?  What did God have to say to Elijah?  Why do you think God encouraged Elijah?  How do you think God encourages you?  How can we be encouraging of others?

Song:   Vacation Bible School Dance Party:  If you want to, you and your family can take this opportunity to have your very own VBS Dance Party.  Play the music, do the actions, or just get up and dance!

If you want to learn a new song, you could learn my Holy Spirit Song with actions.  Here is the Youtube video:

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Dear God, we thank you that you spoke to Elijah in a whisper.  Help us to always listen for your voice, and to encourage one another.  In your name we pray, Amen.

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Ravens Feed Elijah: I Kings 17:1-7

Our parish just finished a great week of Vacation Bible School.  This year, we used Group Publishing’s curriculum “Everest:  Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.”  For the next five weeks, our Family God Time will be based on the five stories that we learned in Bible School.  Maybe some of our kids will be able to teach our parents a thing or two about these stories!

Raven

Supplies:  God Time pillows, candle and holder (see “Gathering,” below), a family Bible with this story or access to the internet, ingredients for pita bread (see “Activity,” below)

Gather:  We like to sit in a circle on the floor for God Time.  Finding some pillows or cushions to sit on makes it even more comfortable.  My kids like to use pillow pets for this purpose!  Once you are in a circle, light a candle (or turn on a battery-operated one; we use an LED tea light in a pretty metal container).

Story:  Read the story of the Ravens Feed Elijah from I Kings 17 in My First Hands-On Bible or another children’s or family Bible.  If you are using the My First Hands-On Bible, feel free to do the activities described there.  If you don’t have a children’s Bible, check out this version:  I Kings 17:1-7

Discuss:  Do you remember a time when you were hungry or thirsty?  Tell these stories to one another.  What do you think it would be like for a raven (a big black bird) to bring you food?  Have you ever gotten to drink water from a stream, river, or lake?  What was it like (what do you imagine it would be like)?  How does God provide food to you and your family?

Song:   Vacation Bible School Dance Party:  If you want to, you and your family can take this opportunity to have your very own VBS Dance Party.  Play the music, do the actions, or just get up and dance!

If you want to learn a new song, you could learn the chorus of “We Plow the Fields and Scatter” from church.  Here are the words and the motions we use in our family:

All good gifts around us (arms in together to out)
Are sent from heaven above (arms up to sky)
We thank you, Lord (sign “thank you” and “god”)
We thank you, Lord (sign “thank you” and “god”)
For all your love (arms in slowly to sign for “love”)

You can find the tune here:  http://www.hymnary.org/text/we_plow_the_fields_and_scatter (click on “Midi” to hear the song)

Activity:  Make pita bread on pizza stone (or other bread).

When my husband was a kid, his dad was stationed in Saudi Arabia in the Air Force, and the whole family lived there for a few years.  One of his favorite memories from his time there was going to the marketplace and watching men with special ovens make fresh pita bread.  They would roll out the dough and throw it on the roof of the oven.  It would stick there until it was done baking.  When it fell, the men would take it out and serve it, piping hot.  He has learned how to make it in a similar way at home with a regular oven and a pizza stone, and the recipe follows.  If you are not feeling this ambitious, you could also make toast with your kids, or grill bread on the grill and talk about how Elijah’s bread was made on hot stones (see I Kings 19:3-8 for another story about Elijah getting fed by angels).

Pita bread
1c warm water
1 T sugar (or honey)
1 T dry yeast (1 pkg.)
3c All Purpose flour
1 t salt
3 T olive oil

  1. Mix the warm water, sugar, and  yeast together.  Let it sit for five minutes, or until lots of bubbles form on the surface.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the olive oil and yeast mixture and knead together to form a ball.
  3. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Preheat the oven to 500-525 degrees with the pizza stone inside.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece out on a floured surface with a rolling pin.
  5. Depending on the size of your pizza stone, you can fit 2-3 at a time. Carefully slide them onto the pizza stone and close the oven.  Watch them with the oven light on until they puff up and turn light brown.
  6. CAUTION! Hot steam!  Remove them from the oven carefully and transfer them to a plate.  Cover with a cloth to keep warm.  Serve with butter or olive oil or stuff with your favorite sandwich fixings.

Here are some pics of the Pita process:

Pita into ovenPuffed Up Pita 5 seconds from tasty! Cooked Pita Delicious Homemade Pita

Prayer:  (You can do this all together, or as a “repeat after me” prayer, depending on reading ability) Say or sing the refrain from “We Plow the Fields and Scatter,” located above.  Just add an “Amen!”