Looking Back in Thanksgiving

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything

Imagine you are Joshua standing right on the edge of the promised land. You’ve come out of Egypt, wandered in the desert for 40 years and you don’t know what is coming next. Joshua looks back at all God has done for his people and knows that God loves them, will take care of them and will rescue them. That is who he is. And that is who God still is today! How has he rescued us? How do we know he loves us? What can we thank him for? Let’s find out.

Game: Joshua’s Coming
Captain’s coming with different actions. Promised Land (run to short end), Egypt (run to other short end), Manna (Pick up food from floor), Parting of the red sea (run to two long sides), camping in threes (arms over head in groups of whatever number is shouted), Joshua’s coming (Stand to attention shout YES SIR). Giants in the land (Make yourself as tall as possible). Milk and honey (everybody has to stick to each other and make a river). After some practice rounds the last person to do the actions will be out.

Game: Canaanites footsteps
Exactly the same as Grandmother’s footsteps. The Canaanite stands facing a wall (Canaan) with all other players at the opposite end of the room (Egypt). The ‘Israelites’ have to sneak up and touch the wall by the Canaanite without being seen. The Canaanite can turn round whenever they want and anybody they see moving must go back to Egypt. You’ll probably need a leader to adjudicate!

Game: Wandering in the desert
Very much like an unmusical chairs. There is a randomly spaced cushion/chair per child in the room. The kids must wander around the wilderness until a leader shouts ‘CAMP’ when they must sit on a chair/cushion. However a camp (or more) will be removed between each turn. Our group had cones and put them on their head as a tent when camping. Also to spice things up I shouted Cucumber, Cocoa, Caterpillar etc.

Memory Verse:
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you or forsake you. Joshua 1:5 The kids made their own actions up to help them remember this

Josh looking back: A couple of Israelites read Joshua’s diary and recap some of their adventures since leaving Egypt. As it happened both actors had Hebraic names so that’s what I called the characters – there’s no reason for that to stay though. We used this as an introduction for talk one.
This video about how we can remember God’s love for us went down very well as an introduction to talk 2.

Talk 1 covers the reasons why Joshua can look back and be thankful to God, here’s a powerpoint to accompany it: Talk 1
Talk 2 links it to Jesus, the reason we can look back and be thankful and there’s a presentation for this too: Talk 2
There’s always a chance that features saved in a .pptx won’t be exactly the same when opened on a different computer, if these are a garbled mess please comment and let me know.

We had a bookmark with the memory verse on which they could colour and add stickers as they liked. Also with a hole punch at one end, and a bit of knot tying from the leaders, the kids could attach ribbons.

Small groups:
Because we had the whole age range from 3-13 we split them into small groups by ages and produced worksheets for the younger ones and questions for the older ones. Here are the worksheets/questions and accompanying notes to go with talks one and two stacked by age: 3-5 worksheets 1 and 2,5-7 worksheets 1 and 2, 7-9 Small Group notes 1 and 2, Older Small Group 1, Older Small Group 2.

Your Love – Bob Kauflin: Sovereign Grace Praise
Super Saviour – Colin Buchanan: Super Saviour
God’s Love is Big – Simon Parry: Great Big God 3

For the younger groups prayer notes are included on the worksheets or leaders notes using things that we’ve discussed to fuel the prayers. One idea – particularly if your group struggles to pray out loud – is to have a stick or small staff, like Moses, that you can pass around the group: if you’re holding the staff it’s your turn to pray out loud. This is a handy way of removing fears, such as starting at the same time as someone else. No-one has to pray aloud but they can hold on to the staff and have a quiet moment in which to talk to God without having to listen to anyone else.