Session 1: Our God is a Loving God
By the end of this session participants should be able to . . .
1. Define God as the One who loves all people and who teaches us to love Him and each other.
2. List particular ways God shows His love for us in our daily lives.
3. Name at least three places in the Bible when God showed His love for people.
Look through St. Paul’s definition of love in 1 Corinthian 13:4-8a. Read through it a few times, replacing the word “love” with “God” and then “I”. Reflect on how God truly does love in these ways and how, while we are called to love in the same way, often we fall short.
Also: see outlines
A: Easy care plants (one per child), plant pots, planting soil
B: Medium-sixed boxes, magazines, construction paper, glue/tape, rocks (one per child) that they can hold comfortable in one hand, journals,
Both: Paints, glue, sea shells, etc. to decorate pots and/or rocks, bibles.
A: Who are the People Who Love Us?
Say, “For the next (period of time of program) we are going to talk about all the persons with whom we have special relationships and how our relationships with them effect choices we make in our life.”
Get a big piece of butcher paper or newsprint. Write on the top of the paper “Who are the people who love us?” Brainstorm with the students all the people they can think of who love them. [Parents, grandparents, friends, God, teachers, etc.]
When they have exhausted all possible answers ask, “What is it about how these people treat us, that makes us think they love us?” [They take care of us, feed us, buy us clothes to wear, correct us when we are wrong, protect us, etc.]
Exploration: God’s love is all around us
If they haven’t mentioned Him yet, ask “Does God love us?[Yes.] Why do you think so?” [He made us, makes food grow for us to eat, etc.]
Read the attached Parable of the Prodigal Son and discuss the questions at the bottom of the sheet.
Say, “The entire Bible is full of examples of God’s love for us His creatures. We’re going to have a kind of scavenger hunt now to learn about some more of the ways God shows us His love for us.” Split participants into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a set of texts. Be prepared to give a quick lesson on how to look things up in the Bible.
Say, “In your group read through your set of readings. For each reading write down one or two things it says about the way God shows His love for us.” Next to each reading is listed one possible answer.
A. Genesis 2:4-24 [God created us and gave us each other to help us through life]; Psalm 104 [God created the whole world in such a way that it can give us what we need.]