Sharon Dunham was recognized this morning for her service to Elkhorn Hills UMC for the last 13+ years teaching Sunday School. Mrs. D, as she is affectionately called, leads the 4th/5th grade Sunday school class with fun, hands-on, engaging lessons about how to apply the bible to our everyday life. She spoke briefly about some of her favorite lessons and the memories that she and the students made while learning them. Her message today, and her classroom teaching techniques are all about Making Memories.
This is Mrs. Dunham’s last year teaching Sunday School. Thank you, Sharon, for your loving service to God through Elkhorn Hills UMC. Your students and their parents are grateful for your dedication and your lasting influence on our lives. Thank you for Making Memories with us!
The suffering of Job
According to biblical scholars, the Book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. It is a story about suffering… and faith. At its beginning, all was going well with Job. He had it all: A large family, wealth, and blessings of every kind imaginable. At that time, Job may have been the richest man on the face of the earth. Then, Satan affects suffering on Job, causing him to lose his wealth. Job’s unrelenting faith in God is the lesson and the kids remember it because of Lincoln Logs.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22
As they study this lesson, Mrs. D and her students built a model of Job’s empire with Lincoln Logs. Then, just as Satan caused Job’s suffering, the students destroy the Lincoln log empire.
Nothing Can Separate You from God’s Love
Another memorable lesson featured yarn ball fights to teach a lesson about how God’s unfailing love. At the end, the kids tried to untangle the yarn and re-roll it into balls. Just as that was impossible, it is impossible to separate us from God’s love.
” neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39
This lesson teaches us about having faith. To have faith means you have trust, belief, dependence upon God. A mustard seed is very, very tiny. But once planted, it grows into a plant large enough to provide a valuable food and shelter for animals. Jesus said a little faith can have incredible results. We don’t need a lot of faith – just as much as a mustard seed – to provoke great results – because our God is an awesome God! We must believe in Him and not worry about what we can or can’t do. God will not ask us to do more than we can. He wants us to be willing to do His work. He’ll provide the rest. In Mrs. D’s lesson, the kids made bookmarks with mustard seeds to remind them to have faith.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20
Expectations for Life
All of Mrs. D’s students know what God expects from them after leaving her class. It’s posted on the wall and talked about each week. In addition to their classroom prayer, they recite Micah 6:8
The Lord has shown you what is good. He has told you what he requires of you. You must act with justice. You must love to show mercy. And you must be humble as you live in the sight of your God.
Finally, Mrs. D told us about the lessons students learned with the Bible Bucks. After earning so many bible bucks from bringing their bibles to class, bringing a friend to class, bringing a non-perishable food item to donate, bringing offering, etc., the kids could exchange their Bible Bucks for something in the Bible Buck Bin. Sometimes the “the Bible Buck Bin” was empty, just like in life. We don’t always get a prize, and that’s okay. We take the good with the bad.