Sunday, December 4, 2016

Faithful Families Resources December 4 2016


Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."
- C.S.Lewis

We are now in the season of Advent, a time that is focussed on waiting with anticipation. We wait with anticipation for the return of Christ, we relive in our own lives the expectation of the birth of Christ and his birth in our own heart everyday. We wait with anticipation for the kingdom of God to be fulfilled on earth. Over the these  four weeks the material will be shaped around four themes that are relevant to this time: promise, waiting, journey and gift.

In addition to the weekly resources have a look at the special Advent  page for some ideas and resources on how to celebrate the season well in your home.

In addition to the weekly resources have a look at the special Advent  page for some ideas and resources on how to celebrate the season well in your home.

Family Closeness
Game:
Alphabet Car Game
Since the theme this week is journey here is a game you can play next time you are in the car. It is a simple game that requires players to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on car number plates. A letter on a number plate can only be claimed by one player, the first to call it out. Multiple letters on the one number plate can be claimed and by different players. Whoever gets to z first is the winner. Find some more travel games for the car at the bottom of the blog.
  
Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.

  • What are the best and worst things about long journeys?
  • What is your favourite thing to do on a journey?
  • Where is your favourite place to journey to?
Story
 With your family read Matthew 11.2-11
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at

Questions for Discussion:

  • Who was it that John’s disciples were waiting for?
  • What evidence did Jesus give that he was the one?
  • How did John prepare the way for Jesus?

Prayer and Celebration
A prayer for Advent
We thank you, Lord God, for the prophets and leaders who looked forward to the coming of Jesus the Saviour.
We thank you for those who prepared the way for him, like John the Baptist.
We thank you for the angels you sent with the message about Jesus.
and we thank you for Mary, who believed the message and was willing to do your will.
we thank you most of all for Jesus, who was born to save us.

In this Advent time, when we get ready for Christmas, help us to hear your message, to be excited that you want to be with us, and help us to an tto be part of your plan for this world you care so much about.
Amen.

http://www.lunt.org.uk/resources/pages/liturgy/prayers_school.htm
  
Service
Here are some more Advent Service Ideas
Get a group together to sing at a nursing home.
Go through your cupboard and give some clothes to a charity.
Encourage your children to think of what toys they have that are still in good condition that they might give to a charity.
With your family choose a way to give a gift to a needy family. This may be best done through a registered charity or church. If you can make food donations take your children shopping to buy the food so they can actually see what it is they are giving. Some charities have schemes where people give gift-wrapped presents for children from needy families.


Family Time
Are trips in the car a nightmare? Why not turn them into a family adventure. Here are a few ideas.
Semi Search
All you need is a sheet of paper to keep score, one person to be scorekeeper and a writing utensil. Each player chooses a colour. Each player's name and chosen colour is then written down on the score card by the score keeper, who will announce when there is a winner. Each player announces each semitrailer on the road that is his chosen colour. One mark, or point, is given for each semi the person identifies as his colour. The game can be played until one person reaches a certain number of points. Most people play Semi Search until one person reaches 50 points, but a longer game can be played for older children.

Traveling Bingo
 Bingo cards will need to be made prior to the trip, but only take a few minutes to make. Be sure to make several sets to allow for more then one game of Car Bingo to be played, especially if travelling a long distance. To make the Bingo cards, draw five columns of five boxes centered on the paper. You can use coloured or white paper, whichever is more convenient. Over the top of each column, one letter per column, print the letters B-I-N-G-O. Next, draw or place stickers of various items that may be encountered along the trip. Some popular suggestions are cows, tractors, umbrellas, dogs, horses, sheep, barns, lawn furniture, radio or television towers, different colours and types of cars (such as a red truck or blue station wagon), police cars, ambulances or fire trucks. You want the children, and/or adults, playing to have to search for the objects. Each player is given one card and a writing utensil to mark their boxes. When an object on the card is identified, an "X" is marked on the box for the object. When a person completes a row (up, down, across or diagonal), he wins. The game can be played until one person wins two games, or if fewer people are playing, the first to win three out of five.

The State Game
To prepare to play the State Game takes a little more effort than the other car games. However, if travelling a long distance, especially across country, the effort is well worth it. To play the State Game, make a list of all the Australian states on a sheet of paper. Make as many copies of this list as may be needed while travelling. Each player is given one list of the states and one writing utensil. The object is to find as many different states on the license plates of other vehicles as possible. The game can be played once or again played until one person wins two games. Be sure to make plenty of copies of the state lists, as this game becomes popular fairly quickly. 

Guess Mobile
Name a guess master -- the person who poses a guessing challenge. He or she could ask passengers to guess the color of the next passing car, or how long before you get to the next town. Or, with three clues, what it is that someone else sees.

Car Scavenger Hunt

Hand your kids a pack of index cards and ask them to write or draw pictures of 50 things they might see on a trip. Keep the cards for scavenger hunts when players vie to match what they see with the cards.

(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, November 27, 2016

Faithful Families Resources November 27 2016


Wait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14

We are now in the season of Advent, a time that is focussed on waiting with anticipation. We wait with anticipation for the return of Christ; we relive in our own lives the expectation of the birth of Christ and his birth in our own heart every day. We wait with anticipation for the kingdom of God to be fulfilled on earth. Over these four weeks the material will be shaped around four themes that are relevant to this time: promise, waiting, journey and gift.

Family Closeness
Game:
Everyone closes their eyes and must guess how long a minute is, by opening their eyes when they think a minute is up. Try playing this game using a piece of music. Did players guess a longer or shorter time for a minute? Another way to play is to get everyone to walk between two walls trying to move slowly or quickly enough that they will reach the wall just as a minute is up. If you reach the wall before time you are out.
 (Inspired by Christine Gapes. New Games for Community)

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.

What do you hate waiting for?
When do you find waiting most difficult?
What do you do to make waiting easier?
What can’t you wait for?

Story
  
With your family read Matthew 3.1-12
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at

Questions for Discussion:
  • What was the message John the Baptist had?
  • Why do you think John dressed and lived as he did?
  • What do you think it means to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire?

Prayer and Celebration
Advent Prayer Pattern
This pattern may be used this week to begin meal times or to begin a family sharing time.
It may begin by asking everyone to quieten down and to think about what it means to wait and to think of one word to describe that feeling. During the prayer the leader is going to say: “Waiting feels like…” and each person will be free to speak her word aloud. Parents might need to help little ones with a word that describes the feeling of waiting.

1.        Music. Choose a piece of gentle music to listen to. Try some different pieces each time to try and find one that expresses a feeling of waiting.

2.        Prayer: All of us wait. Each day brings its own dose of waiting. We wait in the dentist’s office, at sports practice, at school, for parents and children, for brothers and sisters. We wait for dinner to be ready, for the refund, for the letter from a friend. We wait to be big enough to ride the roller coaster, old enough to stay up late, secure enough to be on our own. Our waiting feels like…(give people a chance to voice their feeling) Advent calls us to celebrate waiting. Each time we wait, help us to remember how the world waited for a saviour. Help us to remember we are always waiting for your return. Help us find and recognise you in each other. As we wait. We are Advent people.

3.        Lord, the N…family is waiting for you.
All: Come, Lord Jesus.

(Rituals and Icebreakers. Kathleen O’Connel Chesto.Ligouri)

Service

Now is a great time of year as we move towards Christmas to begin think about how you may serve those in need. Christmas can be a sad and lonely time of year for many people. How might your family serve Christ the King this Advent and Christmas, and make a different in people’s lives at the same time. Here are a few quick ideas.
Instead of or as well, buying gifts for each other buy an animal for a family overseas.
Serve in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

Family Time
Nativity Exploration

In this period as we move towards Christmas why not use art work to explore the story a Jesus birth. Apart from the many Christmas cards that you may receive the internet also provides a wealth of resources. If you go to http://www.textweek.com/art/nativity.htm you will find links to many depictions of the birth of Christ through the ages. Invite your family to choose their favourite picture and to describe what they like about it? Discuss the different pictures and what you find interesting in them. Get each member to draw their own nativity picture and explain it.

(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, November 20, 2016

Faithful Families Resources November 20 2016


God never made a promise that was too good to be true.

~Dwight L. Moody

This week we enter the season of Advent, a time that is focussed on waiting with anticipation. We wait with anticipation for the return of Christ, we relive in our own lives the expectation of the birth of Christ and his birth in our own heart every day. We wait with anticipation for the kingdom of God to be fulfilled on earth. Over the next four weeks the material will be shaped around four themes that are relevant to this time: promise, waiting, journey and gift.

In addition to the weekly resources have a look at the special Advent page for some ideas and resources on how to celebrate the season well in your home.

Family Closeness
Game:
Pay Off
This simplified version of pay off can be played with any number of family members. Everyone needs a red token or piece of paper and a black token or piece of paper. Family members will get points depending on what token they and others show. At the start you decide on how many rounds you will play. It should probably be at least five. Family members decide which token they will show but not let other family members know. On the count of three everyone will place their token on the table at the same time. Points are awarded in the following way:
  • If everyone puts down red – everyone loses two points.
  • If some family members put down red and some put down black – those who put down black get 2 points, those who put down red lose 2 points.
  • If everyone puts down black – everyone gets 2 points.

 Only have discussions after every three rounds about what you put down or to make promises about what you will put down next go. This could be a good source of family discussion about promises and keeping them.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.

What are the biggest promises people make in their life?
Why are some promises hard to keep?
How do you feel if someone doesn’t keep their promise?
What do you think God has promised us?

Story 
With your family read Matthew 24.36-44
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at 

Questions for Discussion:
What do you think this reading is about?
What does it mean to be ready?
How can we always be ready to meet Jesus?

Prayer and Celebration
This week take a look at the special Advent page to get some great ideas for celebrating this season. Most of the ideas will require some preparation.

Service
The Advent Conspiracy website provides a great way to think about Advent with the charge to : Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. It encourages us to think about how we might reshape the time that leads to Christmas in a life giving and countercultural way.
http://www.adventconspiracy.org/

Family Time

Begin thinking about how you might do something really special together as a family for Christmas. How might you really spend quality time together, how might you truly give of yourselves to one another. Throughout this blog there are hundreds of ideas for spending time with your family. Find something special and enjoy the time.

(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, November 13, 2016

Faithful Families Resources November 13 2016


Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
~ Elizabeth Stone

Family Closeness
Game:
King of the Table
Everyone at the table gets an empty plastic  cup and places it to the side of them – this is their throne. Screw up some pieces of soft paper into small balls that will fit inside the cups (cotton balls could also be used as an even gentler option). Make sure you have plenty - maybe ten each.  On the count of three everyone begins throwing their paper trying to get it in each other’s cup. The cup can’t be defended. As soon as someones cup has paper in it they must turn it over. Whoever is the last to have their cup filled is the King or Queen of the Table.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What would be the best thing about being king or queen?
  • What would be the worth thing about being king or queen?
  • What would a good king or queen be like?
  • What would a terrible king or queen be like?
Story
This Sunday (coming) is celebrated by many churches as ‘Christ the King’. It is the last Sunday in the church’s year before the season of Advent, a special time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ and his return. Apart from the reading listed below, you might like to read some of the other passage where Jesus uses the image of a king in his parables. Try Matthew 22.1-4 and Luke 19.11-26

With your family read Luke 23.33-43
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/christ_king.htm

Questions for Discussion:
  • What does this reading have to do with Jesus being a king?
  • Why would Jesus let this happen to himself?
  • Why didn’t the people believe? Why do you think the criminal believed?
  • What kind of king is Jesus?
Prayer and Celebration
Praise to the King
In this week when we celebrate Christ the King focus on prayers of praise and adoration. Have your family think of all the wonderful things they would want to say about God and put these in a prayer. In 1st Chronicles 29:10-13 King David prays a prayer of praise to God.

“Praise be to You, O Lord,
      God of our father Israel,
      from everlasting to everlasting.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power
      and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
      for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.

Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom,
      You are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from You;
      You are the ruler of all things.

In Your hands are strength and power
      to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give You thanks,
      and praise Your glorious name.” (NIV)

Family Time
King or Queen for a Day

This might best be done in the holidays when there is some time to spend. Let each of your family members, including parents, be king or queen for the day. This might begin with a crowning in the morning along with breakfast in bed. The king or queen doesn’t have to do any chores on this particular day, the rest of the family look after them. Let the regent choose what games and activities the family might engage in for the day as well as what food they might eat. It is important that some family guidelines are set for this so that it remains a fun game and not something that might turn children into “bossy little emperors”. At the end of the day during dinner talk about the experience of being king or queen for the day. What was good about it, what wasn’t so great.

(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, November 6, 2016

Faithful Families Resources November 6 2016



“Let your eyes light up  when your children are around. Laugh more. Tell them how empty and quiet it is when they’re not there. Enjoy  the things they bring to your life. Attend their activities, not as if they were compulsory for parents, but throw yourself into their lives”
~ Valeri Bell

Family Closeness
Game:
Write or print different phrases on small pieces of paper. Make enough for your whole family. Place them under each of your families plates. Make the phrases usable but strange. Eg: “I wish I was a mouse” or “Have you eaten centipede?” Before dinner get everyone to read the card under their plate to themselves, keeping it a secret from the rest of the family. Everyone has to use their phrase during dinner as naturally as they can in conversation. Potentiallt this could be a race in which whoever uses their phrase last loses. Or it can be a competition in which family members have to figure out when someone has used their assigned phrase.  

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What are the three most interesting things about you?
  • Name five reasons you’re glad to be alive.
  • If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
  • What’s your favorite song?  Why?

Story
With your family read:  Luke 21.5-19
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at:
http://www.sermons4kids.com/when_afraid.htm

Questions for Discussion:
  • This is a hard reading to hear. What do you think about it?
  • What is Jesus preparing his disciples for?
  • What is the reassurance Jesus gives at the end?

Prayer and Celebration
Thank you God for giving us food

One way of praying is through song. You may be familiar with the song that goes:

Thank you God for giving us food.
Thank you God for giving us food.
Thank you God for giving us food
Right where we are.

(If you type the first line in to youtube you can hear people singing it)
Sing around your table and let members of your family substitute the word food for anything they would like to say thank you for.

Family Activity
Butchers Paper Table Topic
Cover your dinner table top with butcher’s paper and bring out the crayons. Your family can draw and write and have discussion around the table while you are creating works of art.

(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, October 30, 2016

Faithful Families Resources October 30 2016


The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day.
~ M. Grundler

Family Closeness
Game:
Tickle Tag
Sit comfortably with your feet outstretched. One foot is "home base" and may not be moved. The other foot is the "attacker" which may move in attempting to tickle the home base of the other person, before they tickle you.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • If you had to give up all your toys but one which one would you keep and why?
  • What is your favourite breakfast?
  • What is one thing that could be invented to make your life easier?

Story
With your family read:  Luke 20.27-38
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/in_heaven_forever.htm

Questions for Discussion:
  • What do you think of the Sadducees story?
  • How did Jesus answer their question?
  • What do you think Jesus is saying about heaven and marriage?

Prayer and Celebration
Hand Prayer

There are many different ways that a hand can be used as a guide to prayer. Some methods have appeared on this blog at other times. Here is another way to use your hand to pray for specific things.

Thumb - those closest to you (family and friends)
Pointer - those who lead and guide you (teachers, pastors, police, coaches)
Middle - those in authority (city, nation and world leaders)
Ring - this weakest finger reminds us of those who are sick, lonely or sad
Pinky - this smallest finger reminds us to pray for ourselves last

Family Activity
Create Self-Portraits
You may have hundreds of photos of your family but drawing a self portrait adds a dimension that a photo doesn’t have. Sit down as a family to create your self portraits. Take your time and use nice paper the same size for everyone. You might like to put your pictures of the wall gallery style and you could even frame them using coloured card. 

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, October 23, 2016

Faithful Families Resources October 23 2016


The Lord teach you all how precious Christ is, and what a mighty and complete work He hath done for our salvation.Then, I feel confident you will use every means to bring your children to Jesus, that they may live through Him. The Lord teach you all your need of the Holy Spirit, to renew, sanctify, and quicken your souls...

The Lord grant this, and then I have a good hope that youwill indeed train up your children well, — train well for this life, and train well for the life to come; train well for earth, and train well for heaven; train them for God, for Christ, and for eternity.

~J. C. Ryle

Family Closeness
Game:
Quack!
Everyone stands with their legs apart and their bodies hanging down with their hands holding their knees or ankles. While looking between your knees, walk backward. Every time you touch someone, backside to backside, make eye contact through your legs and loudly say "Quack!" Then move on till you bump someone else.

Sharing:
Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • What do you think will be different about your life by next year?
  • What is the best costume you have ever worn?
  • If you found a $100 what would you do with it?

Story
With your family read:  Luke 19.1-10
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/little_man_big_problem.htm

Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think Zacchaeus was so eager to see Jesus?
  • Why did the people grumble when Jesus wanted to eat with him?
  • What do you think made Zacchaeus have a change of heart?
Prayer and Celebration
Paper Towel Prayer:
Take a roll of paper towels and spend some time putting a prayer concern on each sheet. Then reroll it.Every day tear off one sheet and offer prayers for that particular concern or person. Your family might like to write prayers around the edge of the paper towel.

Family Activity
Make Dinner Together
Once a week or as a one off involve your whole family in the dinner making process. Have different members set the table, help in the preparation and making of the meal as well as in cleaning up. Make it that everyone has to stay together until the whole thing is done. Afterwards you might like to play a family game together.

(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