Sunday, September 25, 2016

Faithful Families Resources September 25 2016


"A man must talk to God about his children before he talks to his children about God."

~ Ed Cole

Family Closeness
Game
Buckerk
Everyone puts their hands on their eyes making fake glasses with thumb and forefinger. Someone starts by moving their right hand out and saying “buck” (like a chicken), the person to their right then does the same, this continues around the circle until somebody moves both hands away from their face at the same time and says “BUCKERK” (like a crazy chicken). The person to their left then moves their left hand away from their face while saying “buck” and the pattern continues. One hand in the direction and “buck” to continue along, and two hands and “BUCKERK” to change the direction.

Sharing
Family Fill-Ins
With your family complete as many of these statements as you can:

We are a family who
likes…
learns…
cares for…
helps…
would never…
would rather…
loves to…
will someday…

(Adventures for Growing Families. Wes & Sheryl Haystead)

Story
With your family read Luke 17.5-10
Questions for Discussion:
  • What does it mean to have faith the size of a mustard seed?
  • What can we do to serve Jesus?

Prayer and Celebration
Thank You Board
It is easy for children and adults to get into a rut of praying for the same things every night or week. One way of avoiding this is to create a thank you board. This could be a small white board or piece of cardboard. Each time you pray together encourage your children to think of three things they are grateful or want to thank God for. Write them on post it notes and stick them to the board. The next time you come to pray tell your family to give thanks for three things that are not on the board. In this way the imagination is expanded and we come to realise there is a whole world of things to give thanks for.

(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, September 18, 2016

Faithful Families Resources September 18 2016


I ask you to lay to heart the lesson which God's dealings with His people is meant to teach you. Fear not to withhold from your child anything you think will do him harm, whatever his own wishes may be. This is God's plan.
 ~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Chocolate Games
This is a game that could be played for desert. You will need a block of chocolate , a knife and fork and some dice. Each family members takes turns rolling the dice. When someone rolls a double they get the knife and fork, and must cut a single piece of chocolate off the block. The piece must be picked up with a fork and eaten. No hands are to touch the chocolate. Leave the wrapping on the chocolate at the start of the game. To make the game harder you can get the person who rolls doubles to put on a jacket and gloves before they begin to cut. Another variation of this game is to use m & m’s and chop sticks. You might need to get online to learn how to use chop sticks if you haven’t before.
  
Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
Finish these sentences:
  • I’m grateful to my friends because . . .
  • I feel good when . . .
  • I feel small when . . .

Story
With your family read:  Luke 16.19-31
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at

Questions for Discussion:
  • What did the rich man want Lazarus to do for him?
  • What was the rich many told about his first request?
  • What do you think this story is about?
  • What is it encouraging us to do?

Prayer and Celebration
A simple way of praying this week that 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. Finishing with the Lord’s prayer may be a good option for finishing this time of prayer.

Instructions:
As we come to pray I invite you to use your imagination to create in your mind a picture of that thing  which you wish to pray for… I will give you four phrases to use, to help you see those things that need your prayer… There will be space…and then you will hear “God of love”, …to which you may respond…hear our prayer… 
  • A hurt that needs healing…
  • A friend in trouble…
  • Something to say thankyou 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…

Family Activity
Pajama Rides
This activity is focussed around creating fun memories with your children. On a suitable night , children are put to bed early. After a few minutes you go back into their room, wake them up and yell out “pajama ride”. The children get their shoes on, everyone hops in the car and you go out and get ice cream.

(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, September 11, 2016

Faithful Families Resources September 11 2016


Weekly Inspiration
Parents, I beseech you, for your children's sake, beware of over-indulgence. I call on you to remember, it is your first duty to consult their real interests, and not their fancies and likings; to train them, not to humour them to profit, not merely to please. ~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Mirror. One person must be the leader and the other the mirror. The mirror must copy exactly all the hand and face movements of the leader.
  
Sharing:
Begin a habit of asking around your family what is one thing you learned today. (A story is told of one family who were using this pattern whose children would look through the encyclopaedia before meal time to have something to bring, another family had to bring a new word to the dinner table and so would flip through the dictionary. (The Big Book of Family Fun. Gwen Ellis)

Story
With your family read:  Luke 16.1-13
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/dishonest_manager.htm

Questions for Discussion:
  • What did the manager do to look after himself?
  • Do you think this was an honest thing to do?
  • Does it surprise you that his master praised him for this?
  • What little things can you be faithful with?
  • What different masters do people serve? 

Prayer and Celebration
 Prayer Habitd
As children grow there are many habits we want them to learn, that we hope might become automatic in their life, such as washing hands before meal or brushing teeth. Years and years of doing these activities hopefully ingrain the habit for life. In the teaching of these habits is an opportunity to remember God and to prayer. When washing a toddler or young child’s hand before a meal take the time to say a prayer out loud. This could be a memorised prayer or it could be a line of scripture like – Psalm 51.10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. You could also stick prayers in the places that children do these activities to remind them to pray.

Family Activity
Games Night
Have a night entirely dedicated to games. Games books can be found in any book store or make up your own. You can also find a bunch of games that are easy to play in this blog. Alternatively pull out some board games to play- our favourite is Pictionary. 

(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, September 4, 2016

Faithful Families Resources September 4 2016


Tell them of the duty and privilege of going to the house of God, and joining in the prayers of the congregation. Tell them that wherever the Lord's people are gathered together, there the Lord Jesus is present in an especial manner, and that those who absent themselves must expect, like the Apostle Thomas, to miss a blessing.
~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Interlocking Interests
This works best with three but can be done with four. If your family is bigger than this you can create multiple diagrams. You will need a large piece of paper and some different colour felt pens. Draw a Venn diagram with a circle for each family member. If you aren’t sure what this is, look here. Each group of family members is to discuss their similarities and differences. After the discussion, they fill in the diagram showing their similarities and differences. When they agree they write their preferences in the overlapping areas of the diagram. When their answers are different they write in the outside area of the circles. If only two members of the group share something in common there should be an area that they have in

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • If you could have any question answered, what would it be?
  • If you could do your dream job 10 years from now, what would it be?
  •  If you had to be allergic to something, what would it be?
  • If you sat down next to Jesus on a bus, what would you talk about?

 Story
With your family read:  Luke 15.1-10
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/lost_sheep.htm
  
Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think Jesus ate with sinners?
  • Why were the Pharisees (religious people) upset by this?
  • What do you think about the story of the lost sheep?
  • Why do you think God is so happy about people turning back to him?

Prayer and Celebration
Intercessory Prayer.

A useful image used for intercessory prayer is a stretcher.  From Mark 2.3-12, some people lowered their paralytic friend through the roof into the presence of Jesus.  This is a good image of the work of intercessory prayer.  That is, don’t labour too hard with the words  to use, simply do the hard work of placing or ‘lowering’ the person into the presence of Jesus.

Place on the stretcher, someone you know who needs help.
Silence
Lower on the stretcher someone who you can love better this week.
Silence
Put onto the stretcher a place that needs peace.
Silence
Put onto the stretcher one who needs healing.
Silence
Put on the stretcher a hope of yours for your life.
Silence
Lord in your mercy, receive our prayer.
  
Family Activity
Masks

You will need paint or crayons, felt pens and scissors and white card for this activity.  Give each family members a piece of white card. Get  them to draw and cut out a lifesized shape of a face. They can also cut out eyes and a mouth if they wish. Everyone then has to decorate their card face. One side represents what they think people believe about them i.e. on the outside. The other side represents what they feel about themselves i.e. things going on the inside, what people do not necessarily know or see. 

(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, August 28, 2016

Faithful Families Resources August 28 2016


This, remember, is the first step in religion which a child is able to take. Long before he can read, you can teach him to kneel by his mother's side, and repeat the simple words of prayer and praise which she puts in his mouth.
~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Apple Ahead
Family members must play this game in pairs. Each pair has to hold an apple between their foreheads. Other family members then give instructions like: walk to the lounge room, or jump three times or get an orange from the fridge. The pair must drop the apple as they carry out each task.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
Sharing questions serve many purposes but basically they are about stimulating discussion so that you can listen to what is happening in your family’s life. It is also about getting to know your family better, connecting with them, discovering and exploring them. How often is it that we think we know our wife or husband or children or brother or sister…yet there is so much to still discover? Listening and being listened to is a profound experience for people of any age.

Sharing may be as long as you like but should not be an interrogation. You may not need any questions to have a great listening conversation with your family but do encourage everyone to participate, especially the youngest. Here are some ideas to get you going:

If you could choose one day in your life to live over again what day would it be? Was it a good day or a bad day? Would you do anything differently? What is the best day you have ever had? Why did you like it so much? What activity do you like doing most in your week?

What is the best gift you have ever received? Who gave it to you? What was it for? Why did you like it so much?
Can you remember a time when you were impatient while waiting for something? What was it? Why was waiting so hard? What do you hate waiting for? What is something you can do that makes waiting not so bad?

Story
With your family read:  Luke 14.25-33
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/count_the_cost.html

Questions for Discussion:
  • Do you think Jesus is saying we should hate out family?
  • What should people do if their family doesn't like them following Jesus?
  • What do you think Jesus means by taking up your cross?
  • What things can get in the way of us fully following Jesus?

Prayer and Celebration
Counting your blessings
Take your family outside on clear night or even better take them out into the country to look up the stars. Spend some time thinking of all the good things God has given you in your life. Nothing is really too small to give thanks for. Just like the stars at first you might only see a few but as you get accustomed to it you will see more and more things that you want to thank God for.

Family Activity
Go star watching
Linking with this weeks prayer activity why not by a star chart and take your family outside on a nice clear night to look at the stars and watch how the night sky changes over and hour or so. You could do this lying on a blanket in your backyard or take everyone for a drive to a place where there is less light pollution so you can really see the stars. If you live in Australia teach your children how to find south using the Southern Cross. You can learn how to do this here.  

(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, August 21, 2016

Faithful Families Resources August 21 2016


You cannot make your children love the Bible, I allow. None but the Holy Ghost can give us a heart to delight in the Word. But you can make your children acquainted with the Bible; and be sure they cannot be acquainted with that blessed book too soon, or too well.
~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
The Cereal Box Game
You will need a large empty cereal box for this game. Each family member takes a turn to pick up the box with their teeth without let anything but their feet touch the ground. After each round a few centimetres are cut off the top of the box and everyone has another go. Keep going until the last person can’t pick up the cereal box. Make sure you do it on a carpeted surface and older family members may need to do some warming up and stretching before trying this.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
This is an appropriate one for Australian’s right now in the midst of a short but tedious election campaign.
  • If you were running for Prime Minister/President what things would you want to change about the country?
  • What issues do you think should be most important?
  • Why do you think politicians don’t always do what they say they will do?

Story
With your family read:  Luke 14.1,7-14
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look 
  
Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think Jesus told this parable?
  • Why do you think humility was important to Jesus?
  • Why did Jesus tell the Pharisees to invite the poor to their home?

Prayer and Celebration
Psalm Prayers

The Psalms can be great models of prayer, especially for praise and adoration.
Choose a psalm that expresses this and pray it together with your family. Some good P & A psalms are: 8, 19, 23, 29, 33,47, 48, 66, 84, 96 – 100, 104, 108, 111, 134, 135, 145 – 150.

Family Activity
Family Time Line
To help your family think about good things God has  given you, work together to make a family time line. Draw a line in the centre of a long sheet of paper. Choose a starting date to write at the left end of the line. Your time line may cover a week, a one  month period, or the school holidays, or a year. To help family members think of time line events, ask questions such as: "What was something we did that we really enjoyed? How did someone help us in a special way? Who are some new friends our family made?" Display the time line on a wall or door. Allow younger children to enjoy drawing pictures to illustrate the time line. (Adventures for Growing Families. Wes & Sheryl Haystead.)

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

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Faithful Families Resources August 14 2016


I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
~ C. S. Lewis

Family Closeness
Game:
Alliteration
Pick a letter at random. Go around your family taking turns to say a different word beginning with that letter. Go around as many times as you can. Stop only when a word is repeated or you can’t think of any more. (New Games for Community. C Gapes)

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating conversation at the dinner table.
Do you find it hard to sit and do nothing? Why?
What is your favourite place to do nothing?

Story
With your family read:  Luke 13.10-17
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/bent-out-of-shape.htm

Questions for Discussion:
  • Why was the synagogue leader upset by what Jesus did?
  • Have you ever not helped someone because you were supposed to be doing something else.

Prayer and Celebration
Prayer Beads

Prayer Beads can be a helpful way to be still and pray while doing 'nothing' at the same time. Sometimes it is hard to sit and pray and we might need help stilling ourselves. Prayer beads can be used with all different kinds of prayers as prayer itself or to settles oneself to pray.

See this Society of St Francis page for a way of using them. Children could use prayer beads with simpler prayers.


(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