In addition to our Teachers Guide, Student Handout and “The First First Family” lesson plans, BELOW ON THIS PAGE you will find more teaching resources for use with Sunday Software’s Abraham and Sarah software.
To print, toggle open the resource, select the text with your mouse to copy, and paste it into your own document. From there you are welcome to customize it into your own lesson resources. Please just remember to include the copyright info. Or, select the Create PDF option on this page to download a pdf of this page.
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in Sunday Software’s Abraham & Sarah
Abraham and Sarah CD features four songs -each written for a particular learning area and subject in the CD. In most cases, the lyrics/verses intentionally “compact” a large concept down to a few pithy and memorable words.
Verse 2 in I Heard a Voice Today, is a good example of this compacting technique we often use when writing lyrics: “there is a land I know, where the nations come and go. I’ll plant your people there, to show the world I care“. In one sentence we’ve taught, Why God wants Abraham to go to Canaan, What he’s going to do there, and What Abraham and his descendants mission is going to be.
Dissecting song lyrics has a long history of success in teaching, thus, you’re going to want to watch the music videos with your students, stop and discuss them. In the case of “O Father Abraham” we’ve included the lyrics interactive on the page.
If you want to JUST use the music apart from the program itself, explore the CDs files and open the videos.mpg with your computer’s Quicktime Player. This will give you a set of play controls
Here are the four songs in Abraham CD, with teaching notes:
Click the links to hear audio clips.
(G, Em, Ds) Music and Lyrics by Neil MacQueen. Arranged and Performed by Colin MacQueen.
I heard a voice today, Saying come over here this way. I have a job for you, and your wife Sarah too, Oh it’s true
Said, there is a land I know, where the nations come and go. I’ll plant your people there, to show the world I care, Oh it’s true
Nothing expedient, A Call for obedience, Nothing expedient, A Call for Obedience
This is the song heard at the opening of the program right after the kids’ opening narration. I Heard a Voice Today imagines Abraham’s recollection of hearing God’s voice for the first time while living in Haran. The Call is found in Genesis 15 which is dealt with in the COVENANT section of the CD. The style of guitar in this song is reminiscent of a traveling beat. The song flavor is U2.In the second verse we introduce the idea that God called Abraham and Sarah to a strategically located land from which to spread his message.In the third verse –the repeating refrain sets the tone for the entire story of The Call and Covenant —it won’t be anything quick or easy. The rhyme is intentional: God’s call doesn’t promise you a rose garden.You might ask your older students what the word “expedient” means and what the singer meant by saying “nothing expedient.” This would be a good question to put on a handout too.
(D, Ds, A, G)Music and Lyrics by Neil MacQueen. Arranged and Performed by Neil and Colin MacQueen
Sarah, did you think that God forgotten?
From your womb, there’s a nation to begotten
And we hear laughter around the world…
Sarah, we can see it in your eyes
the word of hope from your family will arise
And we hear laughter around the world…
Sarah, did you think that God forgotten?
Sarah’s Song picks up on the Hebrew meaning of Isaac’s name, “laughter,” and stretches the concept to a “laughter heard round the world.” Sarah’s happiness and giddy hope is ours too. The angels know that from this family will arise the one who wipes away tears -Jesus Christ. The song’s beat is meant to parallel “I Heard a Voice Today” –Abraham’s Call. For style we picked a late 1970’s Styx flavor.
This section of the CD has some built-in reflection content. You can also print the lyrics from the program –and they come with comments. Why did God make her wait? Click the links in Sarah’s section of the CD to hear her account of the encounter with angelic visitors.
Some extra thoughts:
Why did God choose a family to bring his message to the world? What does God hope to discover by making us wait for his promises to be fulfilled? What is the “word of hope” ?
(D, Ds, F, C)
(Fanatasy as in fanatic + fantasy.)
Music and Lyrics by Neil MacQueen
Arranged and Performed by Colin MacQueen
I know what they’re saying about me, throwin’ it all away
Temporary form of insane fanat-asy, he’ll come ’round some day
But I believe in believe in heaven on earth
and I believe in a holy birth
I believe you gotta put God first
Temporary form of insane fanat-asy, ain’t no place or way I’d rather be,
How ’bout you, …how ’bout you, …how ’bout you?
The interactive section associated with this song is extensive. I actually wrote this song many years ago. It was based on a tune I used to play with a band connected with our youth group. We were doing different styles and this one was a mid-90’s Clash/punk style. The lyrics are based on some conversations and comments I had with friends during my college years as I was trying on Christianity and thoughts of becoming a minister. It was good discussion among our musicians.
Abraham must have heard the same taunts and derision when he told others that he too heard the voice of God calling him to a new place. Many young people today experience the same when they outwardly express their faith. The Insane Fanatasy section in the CD calls them to consider this, and leave their comments behind for other users of the CD to read.
Throughout history, some pretty cool people of faith have been called insane “fanatics.” The video with this song shows your students some of them, and puts your students in that picture, and asks “how ’bout you?”
Can you and your students identify all the images? They are: Moses, Jesus, Abraham/Isaac, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Joan of Arc. Joan heard voices too!
Music and Lyrics by Neil MacQueen
Sung by Eric Dove. Arranged and Performed by Colin MacQueen
O Father Abraham -what would you have done
O Father Abraham -would you’ve killed your son
Did you believe enough in this God of visions
What was in your heart at the moment of decision
O Father Abraham – what did Sarah say
About her favorite son – on that faithful day
Did she question, did she wonder why
Did Isaac curse this test – did God hear his cry
O Father Abraham – see this sacrifice
Reveals the heart of God – it foretells the Christ
One world stopping, a new one just begun
No more death in the offering of the son
O Father Abraham …
There’s an entire “interactive reflection section” in the CD connected with this song and animation. Lots of questions to ponder.When I first set out to design this CD, I didn’t know that the Near-Sacrifice would feature so prominently in the story or CD. But it became clear that God’s request for Abraham’s son was the ultimate test and thus would be the ultimate center of the CD. It can’t be ignored. But we wondered how to do this story knowing young children would be part of our audience. We decided that our questions were probably those of Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah as well.The idea of putting young people in the megaliths surrounding the altar came after I read an article in Biblical Archaeological Review magazine about the stone altars found in Canaan in ancient pre-Israelite times. Our visual design was informed by that article, as was the idea of the stones as “witnesses.” Who better to witness this story that students like yours.We also knew the part of the story Abraham never knew –that Jesus would pass through this same test and become the lamb. Hence the visual and lyrical connection between the two. You should ask you students if they understand the “there was no “literal cross-shaped altar” in the actual Bible story. It is a symbolic addition. Why is it there?”The kids song heard wafting in the black opening screen of “O Father Abraham” are an intentional nod to that classic children’s Sunday School tune. The style of the song is something in the area of U2. FYI… That’s country recording artist and songwriter Eric Dove singing the vocals to O Father Abraham. Eric grew up in Central Ohio, and is a friend of SoundWrangler recording studios where we create and record all our music and voices. ALL SONGS copyright Sunday Software. All rights reserved.You are welcome to perform them for non-profit use.
The Archaeology behind the Rock Witnesses and Altar
Traditional religious art has depicted Abraham’s altar as a simple pile of stones in the wilderness. In our CD, however, we have depicted this sacred spot MORE ACCURATELY in line with the archaeological evidence from that area and time period.
In addition to providing a focal point for ceremony, Sacred Stones were thought to represent or provide an abode for the presence of the gods or God, or ancestors and spirits. The people of Israel set up Sacred Stones or allowed them to exist. But at various times the practice was frowned upon, and Kings would order them “thrown down”. Thus, the Bible sometimes calls the stones which the patriarchs set up, “altars” or “memorials.” Eventually, all such altars were destroyed by the centralizing forces and theology of the Temple. and history. The construction of worship altars with “Sacred Stones” was a widespread custom in ancient Israel and throughout the region. They are mentioned several times in the Bible. The world’s most famous example of “sacred stones” is Stonehenge. As you can see in the photograph from Professor Avner, sacred stones can still be found in the Middle East.
Tradition places Abraham’s altar at Mt. Moriah (aka Mt Zion) –the rocky hill upon which Jerusalem was later built. Tradition also holds that Abraham’s part of the “foundation stone” for the Temple. To this day the “foundation stone” can still be seen in Jerusalem when you enter the Dome of the Rock.
The stones functioned as witness and reminder. And in our Abraham and Sarah CD we pick up this theme by having the stone reveal images of our children who come to witness to this story and ask questions. Through the magic of “green screen” video technology we have placed five kids into the scene to witness the near-sacrifice and ask some important questions, such as, “Why?” and “What does this mean?” These witnesses then become the focal point of the thought-provoking 3-D animation and video set to a song: “O Father Abraham.”
The “Near Sacrifice” of Isaac is a difficult but important story.
And that’s one of the reasons we put the kids into the stone to witness it. The near-sacrifice is the culminating test of Abraham (and Sarah’s) obedience and it foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice. It also demonstrates God’s essential nature. God is merciful, and will not burden us with unrealistic expectations. Indeed, one of the study notes in this section talks about the practice of “child sacrifice” in that time, and how this story REPUDIATES that practice. Our God is the God of Life. However, if you don’t need to teach this section, it can be bypassed in the software, or used only in part.
O Father Abraham, see this sacrifice, …reveals the heart of God, it foretells the Christ,
One world stopping, a new one just begun,
No more death in the offering of the son.
From the song, “O Father Abraham” -a teaching music video with interactive lyrics in Sunday Software’s Abraham and Sarah CD.
Our thanks to Israeli archaeologist, Dr. Uzi Avner, for permission to use his photo of the “sacred stones” site in the CD and in the study guide. His photo originally appeared in Biblical Archaeological Review magazine. He used to teach at Hebrew University, Jerusalem and did his Thesis on “Researches in the Material and Spiritual Culture of the Negev and Sinai population during the 6th-3’rd Millennia B.C.”
Using Abraham software with Younger Children
Most of our CDs like Abraham & Sarah get used with a wide age-range in variety of settings in the church.
Optimally, Abraham & Sarah and most of our software is EASIEST to use with 3rd through 8th grade because they can quickly understand a program’s interface, read text on the screen, and do well following the teacher’s instructions.
That said, many of us also have preschoolers and early readers to whom we “STRETCH” our software down to in order to make good use our software budgets. When designing software, we try to keep that in mind. And we put a lot of age-appropriate tips in our program outlines that you can print from this site.
From a design point of view, we believe it’s better to make a CD that appeals slightly more to the older kids, because the younger kids aren’t as discriminating and don’t mind your help or adjustments. And because you’ll be re-using CDs again over the next few years, it’s good to have CDs they can grow into. Saves your budget too!
I have both preschoolers and Middle Schoolers coming into my lab. So I’ve become something of an expert at stretching our software. By the way… I have devoted an entire chapter to this subject in my book about “stretching” down to preschoolers and up to teens. (It has a lot of good tips and the book is spiral bound so you can copy those pages and give them to your teachers.)
Here’s a picture of a preschool Sunday School class from my church using Abraham & Sarah CD.
My co-lab leader Jim (pictured) and I had been using Abraham & Sarah with our older age groups with great success that month. When it was our preschoolers’ week in the lab, Jim and I wondered whether or not the “Near Sacrifice of Isaac” was too much for them. Having used it with 1st and 2nd graders already, we decided to give it a try with our preschoolers (ready to pull the plug at the first sign of distress!). The preschoolers were totally fine with it. We explained it at their level, and they watched the story animation and music video intently. In fact, they wanted to see it twice. The kids clicked the lyrics discussion activity and Jim and I read the content off the screen -adding age appropriate adjustments on the fly. Afterwards, we led a rousing version of the classic “Father Abraham” song (right arm, left arm, spin around….).
The key to using any software with younger children is:
- Be right there with them at the computer, ready to explain things and read things. Interpret/rephrase on the fly.
- Know what to skip. For example, we didn’t use the “Insane Fanatasy” music video and exercise with younger children. It’s mainly on the CD for older elementary students and teens.
Older Elementary and Teens do great with every portion of the Abraham & Sarah CD. It’s one of the few CDs in our catalog that doesn’t have content older teens would consider beneath them. Music videos appeal to children and teens. We usually view them twice: once for the visuals, once for the lyrics. The “Insane Fanatasy” video and activity is especially “ripe” for discussion with kids 4th grade and up.
The QUESTIONS found in ABRAHAM AND SARAH software
The following questions are for greater discussion depth and older students.
Written by Neil MacQueen, Sunday Software
Note: All the following songs can be played three ways:
1. By accessing them in their learning areas within the CD.
2. By going to the Music Video Player in the Pay It Forward section and just playing a video.
3. Or by exploring the CD’s files and playing the ‘movies’ separately in Quicktime.
Beginning of CD:
Here is the voiceover at the beginning of the CD …it asks a question:
Long before the time of Jesus, Before the time of David , and Ruth and Moses, God visited a man named Abram in the lands of UR and Haran
and called him to take his family on a difficult journey to a new land called Canaan. His descendants were to become a Kingdom of Priests
…a people dedicated to receiving the message of God and sharing it with the world. This is their story. Is it yours?
Why did the narrators ask if this story is “yours”? How could it be “your” story?
When we read the Bible, we can place ourselves in the story. We can imagine “how would I have answered God’s call?”
Song: “I heard a Voice Today”
(Video showing Abraham’s caravan, the desert. The song and video end in our Scriptorium –the place where students can access the rest of the story. You can replay this song in the Scriptorium’s panel when you click exit.
The Song says, “…I have a job for you….I’ll plant your people there to show the world I care…”
What would make God pick Abraham and Sarah for this mission? What qualities would they need? Why did God pick a couple from Iraq? (that’s where Haran is) Why send them to Canaan? –God must have seen something in their character. God definitely saw potential in planting a people to serve him at the crossroads between great empires.
For older students: At the end of the song the lyrics say “nothing expedient, a call for obedience.” What do you think that means? What does it say about following God?
Genesis 15: God tells Abraham to build place a sacrifice on the altar, then puts him in a deep sleep as the sky turns to night. Then God blesses the offering and establishes his Covenant.
SO… in the SO “star word” presentation you are asked the following questions:
What promises have you made to God?
What is hard about keeping these promises?
Who and What can help you keep your promises to God?
ALTAR… in the Altar “star word” presentation you are asked the following question:
Which do you think is better? …an altar …or a communion table …and why?
Altars are a place to put your sacrifice. A Table is a place for feeding and fellowship. Protestant Christians do not have altars, they have “chancel” areas where the Table is present. What does this tell you about how we think about God?
Why did God first give the Covenant to Abraham instead of …the king of a large Kingdom. Why start small?
What do you think about our use of young voices as the voice of God?
What does God’s voice sound like anyway?
Genesis 18: Sarah retells her story of the angels visiting her and Abraham outside their tent. It has FIVE areas (here called “buttons”) to explore:
- Button 1: “Sarah’s Story – Genesis 18” (hear/see)
- Button 2: “About My Life” (hear/see)
- Button 3: “Why I laughed” (hear/see)
- Button 4: “Sarah’s Song” (hear/see)
- Button 5: “Sarah’s Song Lyrics” (see graphic below for details)
Button 5 Details:
Below is a screenshot of the four “flip” questions that appear when you click on Sarah’s Song Lyrics. Clicking on them ‘flips’ the panel to reveal a statement and discussion question.
Sarah’s Song Lyrics Graphic — Questions 1-4:
Here’s what’s on the flip side of those four question panels see above:
|Flip side of #1||Flip side of #2|
|Flip side of #3||Flip side of #4|
Abraham brings Isaac to altar with stone megaliths “witnessing” it.
Voiceover: We believe in a God who tests us. God tested Abraham, Sarah and Isaac’s faith by asking for the sacrifice of Isaac. This is that story. It reveals what you can expect from God. It reveals what God can expect from you. It reveals what God will do for us all.
The Megaliths have the following clickable labels:
- ==Megalith One: “Read and hear Genesis 22”
- ==Megalith Two: “Dig into the Story”
- ==Megalith Three: “O Father Abraham” song/video and following up questions to click on.
- ==Megalith Four: “Lyrics and Questions“
Extra Notes on Megaliths 2 and 3 (The Sacred Stones)
==Megalith 2: =Dig into the story
When this monolith is clicked, it appears large on the right side of the screen and the following THREE clickable text phrases appear (see drawing on this page). When the phrase is clicked, the following text appears across the screen. They include some graphics I’ve given you.
Phrase 1: “Child Sacrifice?”
What do our offerings say about us to God?
What does the offering of the ram and Jesus say about God?
For further reading: Hebrews 10:1-18
Phrase 2: What are these stones about?
Additional Question: What are our “sacred stones” in our day and faith?
Phrase 3: “What is faith?”
Additional Questions: What is your definition of faith?
What would God have done if Abraham, Sarah, or Isaac had said “no” to the test?
How do you think Abraham explained the test to Isaac?
What would you have done if you had been Abraham? Sarah? Isaac?
What sort of test might God design in today’s world for Abraham?
How does God still test today’s faithful?
Megalith 3: O Father Abraham Video
After the music video is over you will see a graphic of the altar/megaliths with kids standing inside the 5 stones. The following phrases are written on the stone around the kids.
Stone phrase 1: Would you’ve killed your son?
Answer 1: As difficult as this may be to accept, Abraham probably trusted God enough to do whatever God asked. Do you have that much faith?
Stone phrase 2: Did she question?
Answer 2: The Bible doesn’t say what Sarah thought about the near-sacrifice, but you can bet she was upset about it. Like a parent, God doesn’t expect us to understand or even agree with everything God requires, but God does expect us to trust and obey. Do you love God that much?
Stone phrase 3: Reveals the heart of God…
Stone phrase 4: It foretells the Christ…
Stone phrase 5: View and Print Lyrics
Would you have followed through on God’s orders?
If you were Sarah, what would you be thinking, doing?
How does this story reveal the character of God?
How is the story of Isaac’s near-sacrifice similar and dissimilar to Christ’s sacrifice?
Why would God offer his own son but not ask Abraham and Sarah to do the same? What does that say about our God?
How can a person learn to obey and trust God completely?
The song title comes from the put-down suffered by a young man when he made his religious convictions known to his friends. “Religious Fanatic + Fantasy”
Following God in your life can sometimes bring people down on you. Listen to the song of one young person who chose to follow God, and the actual words which friends said about that decision. Then respond with your own words.
LISTEN -launches the music video.
RESPOND -launches the set of questions you see below in this outline. Students can type in responses. These get saved in the computer.
PRINT LYRICS -prints the Lyrics along with the RESPOND guestbook texts.
Here are the questions in the activity behind the RESPOND Button:
My faith in God is as strong as _____________.
“Throwing it all away”
Name two things a person must be willing to give up to follow God: ________ and _________.
“I know what they’re saying about me”
Write down one thing people probably said about Abraham behind his back when he told them about his call to go to a new land.
What would your friends at school say if you started talking about your faith in God more openly and started making changes in the way you lived your life and treated others?
“He’ll come ’round some day”
Name something that can cause someone to lose faith or stumble on their walk with God.
“But I believe”
If someone asked you to sum up what you believe about God, what would you tell them?
Insane: 1. a degree of mental malfunctioning 2. Extreme foolishness; folly
Fanatic: extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm for a cause (abbreviation: fan)
Fantasy: creative invention of the mind, hallucination, unrealistic
Insane Fanatasy: what some people believe faith or the religious life is.
For older children/youth: There is such a thing as a “religious fanatic” we should be cautious of. Jesus called them “zealots”. Typically, a zealot is someone who allows their religious beliefs to over-rule the law of love and forgiveness and humility that Jesus preached.
“How ’bout U ?”
If your faith were a car what kind of car would you say it is right now?
If your journey with God was a road, what kind of road are you on right now?
What sign is God waving at you on the road up ahead?
What two people can help you the most on your journey right now?
Pay it Forward:
This is an activity you can do now or print and have them take home.
1. Print a Certificate of Completion –a fun way for students to show others what they did and perhaps generate discussion with mum and dad.
2. Pay It Forward –an experiment in promoting good deeds. Print this form and send home with students. Ask them to bring it back next time you gather.
3. Music Video Player –we’ve provided you a quick way to preview/review the four major music videos in the CD