I had been struggling to find the right way to help my young kids understand the happenings of the Bible (particularly the history in the Old Testament) so the point comes across without being diluted in the way most kids’ Bibles and books are. The book What God is Doing was a prayer answered for my family! The author, Anne Marie Gosnell, is such a sweet and knowledgeable lady and I’m so blessed to have the privilege of reviewing this book.
In a nutshell, Anne Marie uses what are called object lessons to present the biblical truths of the Old Testament. Think of how Jesus explained things in parables so people could understand. Object lessons teach the Bible in a very visual and hands-on way to explain the nature of our loving yet all powerful God so kids can understand. It’s not dumbing it down or watering it down — it actually teaches critical thinking skills!
Note that I received a complementary copy of the book so I could review it. All of my postings (this post, Facebook, Instagram) are my own honest opinion.
What God is Doing includes 25 Old Testament lessons plus a bonus lesson covering the birth of Jesus. Each lesson includes the following:
- Scripture focus (e.g., Genesis 1)
- Materials list (most are things you have around your house or are easily obtainable like blocks, vinegar, balloons, a white board, etc.)
- The geography of where that story took place
- Background for context
- Object lesson with directions for what the parent or teacher says and does, and what the kids should be expected to say if they are understanding
- The Bible lesson (including verses to read), which applies what they just experienced during the object lesson as an illustration of what is going on in that particular Bible story
- Life application of the lesson, which is practical but leads them to a fuller understanding of God and what the Christian walk looks like
- A comment box to reflect on how the lesson went and how you might improve as a teacher
- A tip for us as the parents or teachers to think about for our own beliefs, to ensure that we are also understanding properly and thus are able to teach the lessons properly.
After the 26 lessons, there are various supplemental resources including coloring pages, tips on teaching, and advice on leading a child to Christ, which is of course the ultimate goal of any Bible lessons we are doing!
For my review of What God is Doing, I’m going to discuss the first lesson, which covers the creation story. The materials needed included alphabet tiles (think Scrabble) but I actually don’t have any, but it was easy enough to make some from some cardboard I had waiting to go to the recycling can. Also needed were blocks or Legos, a white board, and the poster for that lesson (more on that later).
The lesson starts by spelling out the word “Creation” with the letter tiles, then jumbling them up and tossing them down to show they do not and cannot spell the word by themselves. The tiles will only spell “Creation” if a designer (think “Intelligent Designer”) puts them in the right order to make it all work together to make sense as a unit. “Chaos cannot create order.” The Big Bang theory is blown out of the water right then and there.
We also used a pre-made (by me) Lego model of a garage with a toy car in it (could have been anything) to illustrate how someone has to make things and we know this despite not seeing them actually do it. We know that all Scripture was written by God and God is all powerful. So we can believe when the Bible tells us that God created our earth and its inhabitants in just six days, even though there were no humans around until the sixth day to witness any of it. In addition, we cannot speak the Legos to build the toy car garage (we tried, which was fun) nor can we make the Legos themselves. All of this points back to our Intelligent Designer.
Lastly, we read through the Genesis 1 story of creation and I drew each day’s creations on a white board. God has given us enough detail in Scripture to understand what He was doing despite not giving us 100% of the details. But we can believe it because we believe the Bible is from God. He has given us just enough of the info we need to understand Him and what he was doing. Here we are starting to form the basis for trusting God…that He is capable of anything, that He can work out the most minute details in a flash, and that He has plans for how things should work.
Now, there are beautiful color posters (printer paper size) that are available to download individually for free from the author’s website. If you prefer KJV posters, you can purchase those on her site here. For us, since I have a laser printer that only prints black ink, I decided to show the blank coloring pages instead and then let them color that at the end as a reinforcement. You can use the verse on the poster or coloring sheet as a memory verse as well.
So, how did my kids like the lesson? My six year old had a lot of fun with it! She took it seriously and participated fully. She paid attention and seemed to be getting it. My four year old, I call her my dreamer as she always has her head in the clouds, paid more attention to this than to many other things I’ve tried. She started losing interest while I was going through Genesis 1 doing the drawing on the white board. But overall, she did very well with this.
I want to be sure to touch on the fact that this book is not meant as an indoctrination tool, to just say “the Bible says this and you should believe it.” The point of the object lessons is to illustrate the points being made about the nature of God or about what He was up to at any given time. Anne Marie talks about how Christians look to the Bible to develop their worldview and then look at their circumstances and weigh it according to that worldview, versus the secular way of looking at the world and judging it based on our own thoughts and feelings. The lessons gradually build a trust in God that allows the Christian child to grow up understanding that God loves us, has plans for us and that we can believe His Word because He is powerful but consistent and loving.
Other lessons I’m really looking forward to teaching include Tower of Babel, Jacob Wrestles with God, Joshua Takes Command, and Solomon Asks for Wisdom. I also appreciate that some of the less well-known stories of the Old Testament are included, such as Zerubbabel, Ezra and the time between the testaments.
As homeschoolers, the lessons are really easy to incorporate into our day, but they would be wonderful for any family or youth group even. The lessons are easy to prep for, they’re fun, and they really get the kids thinking not just about God but about life and what it means to be a Christian. This book helps simplify the complex task of teaching our kids about the Lord.
What God is Doing officially launches today, November 27, 2017.
Anne Marie has some A-MAZING bonuses included if you purchase this week, through December 1! First off, the normal price of the book is $19.99. It will be 25% off during launch week, plus Amazon sometimes discounts things on top of that which means it could be even less depending on when you look (at the time of this writing, it was $13.38 for the paperback!). In addition, if you email your receipt from Amazon to firstname.lastname@example.org, Anne Marie will send you a digital copy of her other book, Walk This Way, and the poster packs (not just as multiple individual downloads) for both books for FREE! It is truly a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about God and how everything points back to His plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ.
Go to Amazon right now!
Check out more on Anne Marie’s site, Future Flying Saucers. Last but not least, here is my very first Facebook live video! Be gentle, lol.