Friday, April 28, 2017

Faithful Families Update for Third Sunday of Easter 2017

 


We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that she is someone today. 
 ~ Stacia Tauscher

Family Closeness
Game
Animal, Vegetable or Mineral
Think of something that fits into the animal, vegetable or mineral category. The categories are Animal (people, animals, insects), Vegetable (anything that is a plant) and Mineral (any object that isn't alive). Your family then must ask you questions to work out what it is. This could be limited to twenty questions but doesn't have to be. All the questions must be answered with a yes or no, except the first which asks whether the object is animal, vegetable or mineral. This is a great game to teach your children, but they may need a little coaching; it is OK to give them some clues. This is a game for all ages.

Sharing
These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. 
  • What is a small thing you have done that made a big difference to someone?
  • What is something small someone does for you that makes a big difference to the way you feel?
  • Remember a time when you were surprised by something. Tell the story to your family.
  • What is one small thing you could do for your family members to make a difference to their week?
  • One of your friends never gets any treats in his lunch box and always asks you to share yours. What do you do?

Story
With your family read Luke 24.13-35: The road to Emmaus
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at 

Questions for Discussion: 
  • What village were these two followers of Jesus going to?
  • Why do you think they were leaving Jerusalem even though people were saying Jesus was alive?
  • What did Jesus do that helped the disciples see who he was? Why was this action important?
  • How does the follower’s mood change throughout this passage of scripture?
The renowned artist Paul Gustave Dore (1821-1883) lost his passport while travelling in Europe. When he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards. Giving his name to the official, Dore hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass. The guard, however, said that many people attempted to cross the border by claiming to be persons they were not. Dore insisted that he was the man he claimed to be. "All right," said the official, "we'll give you a test, and if you pass it we'll allow you to go through." Handing him a pencil and a sheet of paper, he told the artist to sketch several peasants standing nearby. Dore did it so quickly and skillfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be. His work confirmed his word!

How might people recognise us today as followers of Jesus? 
  
Prayer and Celebration
A simple way of praying this week involves your family using their imagination to see the things they wish to pray for. One of the adults will lead this and may choose one or a variety of the prayers listed here.

Instructions:
Invite your family to use their imagination to create in their mind a picture of that thing or person they wish to pray for. Below are some ideas for things you can pray for.  After saying the phrase, leave some space for silence as your family sees the thing they wish to pray for. You might like to finish with the Lord’s prayer.
  • A hurt that needs healing…
  • A friend in trouble…
  • Something to say thank you for…
  • A problem that needs solving…
  • Something to say sorry for…
  • Someone to say sorry to…
  • Someone who needs my friendship…
  • Someone who needs words of praise…

 Service
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
Love Poster
This week, create a Love Poster. On the top of the poster, write: "Love one another as I have loved you." Brainstorm practical ways family members can love each other the way Jesus loves your family. (Share bathroom time, take out the wheelie bins without being asked, say nice things to each other, etc.) Discuss the cost of each activity. (How will you have to change to live out what your family wrote down?) At the bottom of the poster, write the word "Sacrifice." Discuss the meaning of the word and how love demands sacrifice. End the discussion by reading John 15:9-14. Emphasize Jesus died for us because he loved us and was willing to sacrifice everything for us.

word-sunday.com Larry Broding (Copyright 1999-2002)

(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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Faithful Families Update: Second Sunday of Easter


Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.
Dr Haim Ginott

Family Closeness
Game:
Faith Walk
Blindfold your family and lead them through the house on a faith walk. Get them to feel different things around the house. Spin them around a few times to confuse them, then see if they can tell what room they are in. Ask them what they learnt about their home by seeing with ‘different’ eyes (that is, their fingers).

Sharing:
These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. The key is to listen!

If you were told tomorrow that you had won a million dollars, how would it change the way you act or live?
  • If you were told tomorrow that you were going to jail forever, how would it change the way you act or live?
  • If you were told tomorrow that you were adopted, how would it change the way you act or the way you live?
  • If you were told today that you are a special child of God, how would it change the way you act or live?

Story
With your family read John 20.19-31: Jesus appears to the disciples
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/believe_it_or_not.htm    

Questions for Discussion: 
  • What did Jesus say to the disciples? Why do you think he said this?
  • Why do you think that Thomas didn’t believe all the other disciples, that Jesus was alive?
  • What did Jesus do to help Thomas believe?
  • Why did the author John say these things had been written?

Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story.

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? 
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Prayer and Celebration
The patterns of prayer and celebration in the home add to the richness of children’s experience of faith – here are some ways you can deepen the lived practices of a faithful life at home.

Meal table practices of sharing and listening, grace and thankfulness with the things we have, like food.
(How might your family begin a mealtime pattern? It can be as simple as a prayer, or even a pause for silence, or include elements such as Bible reading, story telling, creating a special space using candles and table cloths, and always turning off the TV and other distractions.)
Patterns of Celebration
(How does your family celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries? What are some of the ways that these might be made special? Food. Story Telling. Photos. Prayers of Thankfulness.)
Reading the Bible together
(Growing like Christ requires us to know him and know about him. Reading the Bible with your family and discussing it is a powerful way to open dialogue and grow.)
Sharing stories
(Family stories, stories of faith, stories that teach about virtues and Christian character can be excellent ways of teaching children important values)

Service 
Children need opportunities to learn how to serve. These can begin in the home by providing them with chances to participate fully as family members.
How might children participate more fully in your family? God delegates to us much responsibility in the kingdom of God. I wonder how you delegate responsibility to your children.
Here are some ideas to help you delegate responsibility in your family.
  • Define clearly and creatively the responsibilities being delegated to your children. What is it exactly you want them to do? How often do you want them to do it? Give them a job description, outlining their task, how they are to do it, how often. Put it on the fridge or somewhere prominent.
  • Give them some training. One way is to follow the McDonald’s Model: I do it and you watch. We do it together. You do it and I watch. You do it and I do something else.
  •  Delegate segments that make sense and not bits and pieces. Help your child to see how the task they are doing contributes to the life of your family.
  • Choose the right task for your child. Make sure they have the skills and understanding to do the task.
  • To mutually set goals and standards of performance, expectations must be clearly defined. E.g. when washing the dishes, what does "clean" look like?
  • Give accurate and honest feedback.
  • Really delegate. When handing over a job, allow your child to do the job you have entrusted them to do.
  
Family Time
Tell your children every day how special they are, that you believe in them, that you love them. Write some letters to your children telling them what you think is special about them or encouraging them. Put the letters in a place they might find them or in their lunch box. At bedtime, say a prayer out loud for your children. Pray that God might bless them, that they might feel special and loved, pray that they may become all God has made them to be. Make a pocket out of a paper bag, decorate it and stick it up in your child’s room. Put special messages and notes in it to tell your children you think they are special.

Doing these things might help your children see themselves in a new and special way. In seeing themselves as people who are loved, watch them grow into all that they might be.

(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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Faithful Families Resources for Palm Sunday 2017


A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.
Fran├žois Rabelais

Family Closeness
Game:
Blobtionary
Just like pictionary only using play doh. This can be played with two or more. Write twenty words down on a piece of paper and put them in a hat. The difficulty of the word will depend on the ages playing. One person picks out the word and has to make the ‘it’ using the play doh. The other person has to guess what word is being made. No speaking or gesturing to give hints is allowed. Words could include: Dog, Girl, Elephant, happy. Use your imagination. If four or more are playing then two teams can race to make the one word.

Sharing:
These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. The key is to listen!!
Which are you like…and why or how?
This one helps older children use their imagination:
  •  a couch or a rocking chair
  • green or yellow
  •  pizza or icecream
  •   Saturday or Wednesday
  •  an onion or an apple

Story
With your family read Matthew 21.1-11: Jesus enters Jerusalem
 (for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/cheers2jeers.html

 Questions for Discussion:
  • What did Jesus ride on into the city?
  • What was the name of the city Jesus rode into?
  • What did the people put on the ground in front of Jesus?
  • Why do you think they did this?

Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story. (I wonder how Jesus felt? I wonder what was going on in this story?)

Once upon a time, two weevils travelled from the farm to the big city to seek their fortune. Upon arriving, the first weevil got a job in the movies. As time went by, he moved to bigger and better movies until he became internationally renowned as a great movie star. The other weevil, however, was unable to find any employment and, as time passed, he faded into total obscurity. That was fifty years ago. But today, do you suppose anyone remembers that weevil who was once a great movie star? No! But we do remember the other one - the one who was a failure - for, even today, we refer to him as "the lesser of two weevils."

Prayer and Celebration
This week, we focus on prayers of praise and adoration. Think about the adoration Jesus was given as he entered Jerusalem.  Sing a song of praise together at the dinner table. Find something to wave in the air while you are singing. It could be a palm branch or something you find close at hand like a tea towel or t-shirt. Remember that the people who waved palm branches at Jesus found whatever was at hand. Name all the things that are great about Jesus and why you think he is special.

Service
Throughout any year there are many days that are dedicated to different charities or issues in society. There are websites like http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/calendar/ that list these days that are occurring in your state, region or country. This can be used as a tool to broaden the horizon of your children about the many needs in the world and the ways people seek to address them.
  • Look up what is happening in any particular week.
  • Explore the organisation that is sponsoring it or the issue behind it.
  • Pray as a family for the needs highlighted by the day or week, being celebrated and for the organisations working in the area.
  • Consider attending events or running your own to support a particular need.
  • Think about ways you might contribute or donate to make a difference.

Family Time
Palm Crosses
Many churches celebrate the coming Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) as Palm Sunday. On this day we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey and people placing branches on the ground before him. This week, why not make your own palm crosses at home as a way of helping your children remember the story.

Below is a link to a YouTube video that will show you how to do it. There are many other websites online that will show you how to make them.


(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