Sunday, January 31, 2016

Faithful Families Resources January 31 2016

Weekly Inspiration
What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow.
~Martin Luther

Family Closeness
Pass the Orange
This simple game can’t be played sitting down. Everyone will need to stand up in a line. The first person takes an orange (any other reasonably sized piece of fruit could be used) and holds it between their chin and chest. This piece of fruit then needs to be passed down the line of family members from neck to neck. No hands are allowed.

Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What activity brings you the greatest joy?
  • What activity gives you a sense of purpose and excitement?

With your family read:  Luke 5.1-11
 Questions for Discussion:
  • Why didn't Simon want to put the nets down as Jesus instructed?
  • What was Simon’s response to Jesus when the nets filled with fish?
  • What do you think we learn about Jesus from this passage?
  • What do you think it means to catch people?

Prayer and Celebration
Drawn Prayers
Give each family member a piece of paper and some pens or pencils for drawing. Either in silence or with some quiet music on, invite your family to draw on the paper, the people and things they want to pray for. This could include drawing the outcome that you might desire for particular situations. As your family draws encourage them to do so in silence so they may listen to what God has to say to them. At the end of the allocated time encourage everyone to share what they have drawn and what they are praying for.

Family volunteering allows parents, children and other family members to spend time together while contributing to the community and causes they care about. It’s a great way for families to enjoy quality time with each other and introduce family members to the benefits of volunteering. Family volunteering can be a practical way to express values to children and young people.

Volunteering provides parents and other family members the opportunity to be a positive role model by demonstrating how to be involved with the community, and how to make a difference and enjoy it. People who volunteer when they are young are more likely to continue to volunteer throughout their adult life.

Volunteering in your family group can also improve communication among family members, strengthen family bonds and be a lot of fun.
(excerpt from Family Volunteering: Information for Families)

Family Time

In Steve Biddulph’s book Raising Girls he cites the work of Peter Benson who “discovered that children and young teenagers almost always have something inside them – an interest, enthusiasm, talent or concern – which if it is supported gives them incredible joy, motivation and direction.” He calls this thing their spark. This week ask your children the question in the sharing section above and explore with them what their spark might be. How might you as a parent support your child in engaging in that activity? Benson claims that there are three things a child needs for their spark to burn brightly. Firstly an adult in the family must support them, secondly someone in wider community must encourage and help them and third their needs to be the opportunity to encourage and engage the spark.

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Faithful Families Resources January 24 2016

Epiphany 4C

Weekly Inspiration
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
~1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (NIV84)

Family Closeness
Question web
You will need a ball of wool for this game. Make sure there is nothing on your table that could be knocked over. Whoever starts must hold onto the end of the wool and throw the ball to someone around the table. They then ask a question for that person to answer. Some suggestions are listed below. Once the question is answered they hold onto the string and throw to someone else around the table and asks them a question. See how many time you can go around your table before your web is tricky to hold. 
  • If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the
  • future or in history would you visit?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  •  If your house was burning down, what three objects would you try and save?
  • If you could talk to any one person now living, who would it be and why?
  • If you HAD to give up one of your senses (hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling,
  • tasting) which would it be and why?
  • If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
  • Do you have a pet? If not, what sort of pet would you like?
  • Name a gift you will never forget?
  • Name one thing you really like about yourself.
  • What's your favourite thing to do in the summer?

 Idea and questions by  Grahame Knox

  • Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What makes you angry?
  • What do you do when you are angry?
  • How do you stop yourself from doing the wrong thing when you are angry?  
With your family read:  Luke 4.21-30
 Questions for Discussion:
  • How did the people respond to Jesus at first?
  • How did they feel after he had finished speaking?
  • What made them angry?

Prayer and Celebration
Balloon Prayer
There are two ways you might use this idea to pray. Both involve writing words in permanent marker on a balloon. The first way involves your family writing one or two words naming the things or people they wish to pray for at different places over the balloon. When you have finished doing this toss the balloon around the dinner table. The words that your hands touch or a near to when you catch the balloon are the things that person must pray about. The second way uses the same method but instead of things to pray for write down different types of prayer like: praise, thanksgiving, asking, confession, waiting. Whatever your hands land on that is the type of prayer your family must do – this probably works best if everyone takes turns at each individual type of prayer.
As a family or in your church think about how you might bless the lives of those who live around you. Reflect on those people in your local area, who may be your neighbours or go to church with you, who serve in the community. Examples might be teachers or police officers, charity or emergency workers. Think of ways that you might let them know they are valued. This could include small things like making a thank you card together as a family or making a biscuit or cake for them to take to work to share. How often do we stop to thank those who look after us every day, who take risks for us or do jobs that really aren’t that pleasant? Acting in this way builds habits of thankfulness and empathy in ourselves and our children.

Family Time
Geocaching can be a great family activity that will take you to places you have never seen while solving puzzles at the same time. It is almost like a giant game of hide and seek. If you have never heard of it before check out:

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Faithful Families Resources January 17 2016

Epiphany 3C

Weekly Inspiration
The same Jesus who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future.
~Adrian Rogers

Family Closeness
Read my lips
Family members have to say something, at least a sentence, without moving their lips. The rest of the family has to guess what they are saying. Pick up a random book at the reading age of your family and read a sentence from it.

Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What  about you does only your family know?
  • Are there things about you only your friends know?
  • What does it mean to know someone?

With your family read:  Luke 4.14-21
 Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think it means to “be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit”?
  • What did the people in Galilee think of Jesus?
  • What things did Jesus say God had sent him to do?
  • How does your family do these things as part of God’s mission?

Prayer and Celebration
There are many ways and patterns of prayer.  Praying with Pat-C-ana is just one [pronounced Patsyanna].  It was originally written by Rev Richard Browning for use by children at church and school. The prayer below can be used as a way of remembering and teaching which finger represents which type of prayers.

From the thumb to little finger 
we pray with PAT-C-ANA:
Praise and adoration -
Thank you, thank you.
Confession saying sorry:
    its forgiveness that we need.
Asking 'n asking: for others then for me.
From the thumb to little finger
we pray to God the Father.
 The prayers below help to unpack the type of prayer to use with each finger or can be used
Praying with PAT-C-ANA

Thumb: Praise and adoration
Awesome Lord and Father, the earth is yours and all that is in it. You are our God and we are your people;
Index finger: Thanksgiving
Thank you for life and love, for a home to live and a family to love.
Middle finger:  Confession
Forgive us when we hurt others, and when we offend you.
Help us to love like you love us.
Ring finger:  Asking for others
We pray for…
my family and friends and those that I love.
Little finger: Asking for me
And lastly for me, I place myself into your loving care.
This week encourage your family members to serve each other. Get them to think of one nice and helpful thing they could do for the parents or siblings. Here are some ideas:

  • Make someone’s bed for them
  • Do someone else’s chore
  • Pick up someone else’s mess
  • Clean up the dog or cat waste.

Family Time
Bible Story Theme Night

Think of a bible story - like Noah’s Ark or the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
Think of how you might have a family fun night focused on the theme of the story. This might include: Themed food, games, music, decorations, the telling of the story with costumes. Let your imagination run wild.

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

Faithful Families Resources January 10 2016

faithful families

Weekly Inspiration
If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.
~Francis of Assisi

Family Closeness
No Yes or No
This is a simple but fun game that can be played around the dinner table. One person is up and must answer questions from the rest of the family without saying the words “yes” or “no”. It is the task of everyone else to get them to say these words. Questions can be asked by anyone in random order or a particular family member may be given the chance to try and trick the one who is up.

Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What are some ways to show hospitality to others?
  • How can you show someone you care about them?
  • How would you like your family to show care for you?

With your family read: John 2.1-11
 Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think Jesus mother told him there was no wine?
  • What do you think of Jesus response to his mother?
  • What do you think of Jesus making wine at a wedding as his first miracle?
  • What do you think this story tells us about Jesus and about God? 

Prayer and Celebration
Squeezy Prayer
One way to pray is to use "squeezy" prayers. Everyone holds hands in a circle. An adult will begin the prayer. When they have finished they  squeeze the person's hand next to them to show it is their turn. They may pray out loud, or silently, or may squeeze on to the next person.  When the squeeze has reached the starting person they may say another closing prayer or just: Amen.

Here are suggestions for ways of using the squeezy prayer:
  • Using a squeezy prayer ask God for something that is needed in the world…like peace or understanding or for help in a particular problem in the world.
  • Using a squeezy prayer say thank you for a good friend or friends. Say them by name and even say something you like about them.
  • Using a squeezy prayer say thank you for something that you are good at. 
Clean up a park or your neighbourhood

One simple way of serving your local community is to spend some time picking up rubbish in a local park or in your neighbourhood. This is a wonderful way to teach children about Christian stewardship of the earth. Have a conversation about how as followers of Jesus we  are to live as Jesus kingdom has come and this means being part of the restoration of the earth. You might also like to talk about how we should do good even when it cannot be seen by others.

In some places it may not be safe for children or adults to collect rubbish because of needles or other dangerous items. An assessment of this needs to be made in your area and appropriate safety precautions (gloves etc) employed or the decision to do something else.

Family Time
Build a Fort Night
With your family make a fort in your house big enough for your whole family to sit in. This can be done by hanging and draping blankets and  sheets over chairs and dining room tables and whatever else is around. Try to build the biggest fort you can. Eat dinner in it together and play some games. Read Psalm 46.1-3 together and have a discussion about what it means for God to be your fortress and shelter.

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning