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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Faithful Families Resources August 7 2016



If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. 

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Family Closeness
Game
The Listening Game

Grab some different items from around the house. Show your family members the items, you might even let them touch them. Tell your family to close their eyes. Pick up an item and make a sound with it. Your family have to guess which item made the sound. For example tapping a glass, running your fingers along a comb or shaking a sauce bottle.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion around the table.
  •  What is your favourite place to spend alone time?
  • What do you like about it?
  • If you could spend the day with one person, who would it be? What would you do?
Story
With your family read:  Luke 12.51-53
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/dividing_line.htm

Questions for Discussion
  • What do you disagree with your friends about?
  • Do you think there would be anything that would stop you being friends?
  • Why do you think following Jesus might cause some people to be against you?

Prayer and Celebration
Bubble Wrap Prayers

We often have many cares and worries we wish to pray for. Sometimes it is good to have a small action of release as we pray to show we hand these things over to God. A great way to do this is to pop a bubble wrap bubble as you say the prayer.

Service
Some ideas for showing you care in your community:
  • Drop off a small donation at a local food bank.
  • Send thank-you notes to local police officers.
  • Make a small gift of appreciation for your child's teacher.
(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, July 31, 2016

Faithful Families Resources July 31 2016


Weekly Inspiration

This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, "How will this affect their souls?".
~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
One family member is chosen to be "Simon". Simon then calls out an action for everyone to follow. It could be anything like touch your nose or wave your hands. When giving an action the words “Simon says” must be used before the action. For example: Simon says touch your nose. When this formula is used everyone must do the action. The trick is for Simon to tell people an action without saying “Simon says” first. If anyone then does the action they are out of the game.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
Choose one word that starts with each letter of your name that describes you. For example if your name is Joe you might choose jolly, optimistic and exhausted. Parents might need to help younger ones with possible words.

Story
With your family read:  Luke 12.32-40
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/treasure_heart.html

Questions for Discussion:
  • How do you think you get treasure in heaven?
  • Jesus says “where your treasure is, there your heart is also”
  • What do you think this means?
  • What might is mean to always be ready for Jesus?

Prayer and Celebration
Passing of the Cross
At the dinner table a holding cross is passed from member to member. Whoever holds the cross is the person who prays.  This prayer begins with one person who either says a prayer out loud or silently says or imagines a prayer. The cross is passed when the person who holds it is finished.  Each person takes their turn.  Prompts may be given by parents as the cross is passed.
Eg. See…a friend in need, a hurt that needs healing…etc.
Pray one sentence…prompt:  thank you God for
  
Service
 Service Project for Families with Teenagers and Young Adults 
  • Coach a sports team for young children
  • Speak out about social issues in your community
  • Use more indepth skills to create items for people in need
 Family Activity
Hands and Feet
Draw around the outlines of your children's hands and feet onto cardboard. Cut them out and write words on them that might help them to remember how they help Jesus build his kingdom. They might be words like serve, share, love, grow. Alternatively draw pictures of these things or get your children to draw pictures of these things. Blue tack or sticky tape them around the house so that they might be reminded throughout the week that they are workers in the kingdom of God.

(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, July 24, 2016

Faithful Families Resources July 24 2016


Weekly Inspiration

Love is one grand secret of successful training. Anger and harshness may frighten, but they will not persuade the child that you are right; and if he sees you often out of temper, you will soon cease to have his respect. A father who speaks to his son as Saul did to Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:30) need not expect to retain his influence over that son's mind.
~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Zip Zap
This is a  basic game consisting of two words- "Zip" and "Zap". Someone will begin the "flow" by turning to the person next to them and saying "Zip". The flow will continue in the same direction with everyone saying "Zip" until someone decides to reverse the flow by saying "Zap." At that time, the person who just got "zapped" will look at the "zap"-er and say "Zip!" Flow then reverses from it's original with everyone saying Zip again. Example: The "Zip" starts clockwise around the circle until 1 person looks the other way and says "Zap." Then the "Zip" flows counterclockwise until someone else says "Zap." 

Zip continues the flow, Zap reverses it. 


If someone says the wrong word, mumbles, stalls, or looks the wrong way for the word they said, they're out. Continue playing until down to 2 players. 

(The Source for Youth Ministry)
  
Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
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 12.13-21 (The Rich Man who built a barn)
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at:

Questions for Discussion:
  • What does Jesus warn people against in this story?
  • What did the man in the story do that Jesus showed to be foolish?
  • What could he have done with his extra wealth?
  • What do you think it means to be rich towards God? 

Prayer and Celebration
Praying ACTS
Often children get into the habit of always praying thank you prayers or always praying asking prayers. One way to help them broaden their idea of prayer is to teach them this simple way of remembering some different types of prayer.
A – adoration : Prayers telling God how wonderful He is.
C – confession : Prayers saying sorry for the wrong we have done.
T – thanksgiving : Prayers thanking God for all He has done.
S – supplication: Prayers asking God for the things we and others need.

On different days of the week you might like to get your family to talk about and pray each of the different types of prayers. Alternatively you could write the four letters on pieces of paper and pick them out of a hat to determine which one you will use. When it come to confession prayers help your children think not just about their own personal sin but the things we as a people have failed to do – like care for the environment or the needy.

Service
Compliments
Encourage your family to have a week of compliments. Practice by starting with your own family and encourage everyone to find things they want to compliment or encourage each other about. Expand this to the places you work or go to school or play. Compliments could be for anything, even small things. It might be for something someone does well, for something positive in their character, or for something they have done that was beneficial. This may seem like a small way to serve but it is something that even young children can learn to do. It not only is a way of serving but also a way of shaping character.


Family Activity
Plant a Garden Together

 It doesn't have to be a huge garden but it might encourage your children to eat more vegetables. Plant the things that are guaranteed to produce like zucchinis, cherry tomatoes and beans. Find some more information on this activity 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, July 17, 2016

Faithful Families Resources July 17 2016

 Weekly Inspiration

[God] gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that you do not neglect such an opportunity. Once you let it slip, it is gone forever.
~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Sleeping Lions
This game could be played at the dinner table or on the floor. One family member is up and they are the hunter. Everyone else must either put their hands and heads down on the table and not move or lie completely still on the floor. The hunter must try to make the sleeping lions move by making them laugh. The hunter is not allowed to touch the sleeping lion. Once a lion has been woken they then join the hunter to try to wake the others.

Sharing:
Which of the following do you think would be best, and why?
  • Dinner with everyone at the table and the TV on with your favourite program.
  • Dinner in which everybody took what they wanted from the fridge and no one had the same thing.
  • Dinner with the whole family together and no TV on. 

Story
With your family read:  Luke 11.1-13 (On Prayer)
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/knock_knock.htm

 Questions for Discussion:
  • What are some of the things the prayer Jesus taught suggests we should pray for?
  • What do you think of the story about the friend who asks for bread at midnight?
  • Do you think we need to pester God to hear our prayers?
  • Do you think God would ever give you something bad if you prayed for good things?


Prayer and Celebration
Praying for another Family
Help to expand your family’s prayer world by praying for another family in your neighbourhood or church. Maybe you could do a kind of prayer swap. Find a family, it may be like yours or not, it doesn't matter, and ask them if you could pray for each other. Find out each week what they would like prayer for and pray for those things around the dinner table. Tell them what things your family would like pray for. Alternatively adopt some prayer grandparents. Again your family can pray for them and they can pray for you. This is a good way to help your children think about others and understand their life while engaging in the ministry of prayer.

Service
Be the change (pun intended)
Get a large jar and throughout the year toss any spare change your family has in it. At the end of the year or when the jar is full cash it in at the bank and choose a charity to give the money too. It may not be a huge amount but having the jar in a visible place will help your family remember that they have a goal and a charity to support. Your children could also be encouraged to place some of their pocket money in the jar each week.

Family Activity
Make a Time Capsule

Taken from www.realsimple.com

“Preserving your artifacts is a fun way to celebrate your family now and later—just don’t bury the collection. “When it’s unearthed, if ever, it’s usually a soggy mess,” says Paul Stephen Hudson, a cofounder of the Atlanta-based International Time Capsule Society. Pile everything into an archival box, then stow it away in a cool, dark place. Include the big stuff (artwork, school reports, notes to your future selves) and the little (movie stubs, a printout of a Facebook page, a toy with its batteries removed so they don’t corrode). Items that won’t stand the test of time: delicate clothing, food, or tapes and discs that will be outdated by technology. Add a silica-gel pack (which comes with new shoes) to absorb moisture, and set a date for the big reveal in 25 years.”

(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, July 10, 2016

Faithful Families Resources July 10 2016


Weekly Inspiration

The question for the child is not "Do I want to be good?" but "Whom do I want to be like?"

-  Bruno Bettelheim

Family Closeness
Game:
My Grandmothers Trunk
Someone starts by completing this sentence with an object  that begins with the letter A, My grandmother keeps _____ in her trunk.” The next person completes the sentence repeating the A word and adding a word that starts with B. This continues around the circle, each person repeating what the others said and adding another with the next letter of the alphabet. (Youth Ministry Encyclopaedia. Lyman Coleman. JBCE)

Sharing:
Write down these sentence starters and put them in a bowl. Pick one out each night and ask your family members to complete the sentence.
  • I know God loves me because…
  • I’m glad that God…
  • I wish God would… 

Story
With your family read:  Luke 10:38-42 (Mary and Martha)
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at 

Questions for Discussion:
  •  What bothered Martha?
  • What did Martha want Mary to do?
  • What did Jesus want Martha to do?
  • Who are you more like Mary or Martha? 

Prayer and Celebration
Prayer Pot
Cards are made, and on them are the names of people and things that are really important to the family.  It may just be photos of family members; it may include particular projects or things that have a focus in the family, for example a certain missionary, or World Vision child, or a major event coming up, or particular people who are in need of special prayers. These cards are placed in a special bowl or pot.  On any one night, three cards are taken out and used as prompts for conversation or prayer. Children who are learning to pray might be given sentence starters like:
  • Lord Jesus, thank you for...
  • Creator God, please help...
  • Heavenly Father, in your hands we place... 

Service
Many churches have a food pantry for people in need. When you go shopping, especially if you take your children shopping, invite them to choose an item to place in the food hamper. It doesn’t matter if they choose something that you might not think appropriate...like coco pops...even people in need like coco pops.

Family Activity
 Use an old newspapers to make costumes for your family. Have a fashion parade and take some photos. Make “formal dress” and wear them to the table for a special dinner.

[Having trouble playing?  When Jesus said we must change and become like children, he could have meant many things.  One of them surely is about playing.  Play is a serious way of being together and learning together.  This is the principle activity through which children learn and grow.  A corollary to that is laughter.  The God who brings laughter [see Sarah’s words in Genesis 21.6] speaks through Jesus and tells us to change and . . . play like children? So let go, have fun, and live life with enthusiasm](Living faithfully, simply) 

(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