Sunday, March 9, 2014

Faithful Families Resources March 9 2014

A mother, father and their seven year old daughter were seated in a restaurant. The waitress first took the order from the adults, and then, she turned to the little girl. “What will you have?” she asked. The little girl looked timidly at her parents and then said to the waitress, “I’ll have a hot dog on a bun.” “No hot dog,” said her mother. “She’ll have a nice piece of roasted chicken.” “With mashed potatoes and vegetables,” added her father. The waitress kept looking straight at the little girl and she asked, “Would you like tomato sauce or mustard on your hot dog?” “Mustard, please,” replied the little girl. “Coming right up,” said the waitress, as she headed to the kitchen. The family sat in stunned silence. Finally the little girl looked at her parents and said, ‘You know what? She thinks that I am real!”

Family Closeness
Everyone shuts their eyes and someone calls out an emotion (joy, sorrow, happiness). Everyone tries to portray this emotion through facial expression. When the caller says open, everyone must open their eyes to see each other’s expression.

Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.
  • Have you ever found yourself in a big mess as a result of telling a lie?
  • Who did you lie to?
  •  What mess did it create?
  • What did you do? Is it now resolved? How?
  • What would you do differently next time?

(Have You Ever…Les Christie. Zondervan)

With your family read: John 3.1-17  Nicodemus Visits Jesus
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at

 Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think Nicodemus might have visited Jesus at night?
  • What do you think Jesus meant by being born anew or born from above?
  • What might is it mean to be changed into a child of God?
  • When you are in trouble do prefer someone to help you or tell you what you have done wrong?

Prayer and Celebration
We are now in the season of Lent, the forty days preceding Easter Day. This is traditionally a time of repentance (saying sorry and turning from sin). The resources for prayer and celebration for the next six weeks will focus on ways your family might “celebrate” well this season. Lent is a good time to focus on God’s care and provision and on our dependence on him, but also on saying sorry.

Why do we have “seasons” of the church year? In a wonderful way they help us to tell more fully the story of faith, the story of Jesus. During Advent we are alerted to the coming of Christ, not only as a baby 2000 years ago, but also of his return. In Epiphany we become aware of the presence of God in our world and the mission of Christ to proclaim the redeeming kingdom of God. This season, Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter focuses on repentance, turning from sin, turning from self worship, remembering that God is our creator. Lent also focuses on the covenant or promises God has made with his people through the ages and now.

Often in Lent people give up something they enjoy like chocolate or coffee or ice-cream or TV, this is a form of fasting to help us remember our ultimate dependence on God. Sometimes people take something up like the reading of scripture more intently or more regular visits to church.

Lent is a season of remembering to say sorry to God for missing the mark. While Lent is a time of repentance and penitence it does not have to be a morbid time as we also look forward to the Resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Why not use some symbols to help your family get a feel for the Season of Lent. Some of the following things could be used during your family prayer time or mealtime ritual to mark the season.

Smell:  Rosemary.
Taste:   Salt.
Feel:     Hessian
Sound: “I’m sorry”

This is a possible prayer to use during this season at the meal table or other times.

God calls us to say sorry for wrong doing.
God calls us to remember that he made us.
God calls us to remember his promises.
God calls us to live a new way,
not by might,
not by power,
but by faith…

 The Anglican Board of Mission has a fantastic app out that has a prayer, reflection and activity for every day of Lent. Links to download it can be found here:

There are many ways to entrench patterns of compassion, thoughtfulness and care for others into our family life.  Our children should have significant memories of kindness and generous acts of faithful serving.  These should be spontaneous as well as constructed events. Examples of this include:
Connecting with a local service [aged care home meals on wheels, service for disabled, animal welfare league, local conservation group, rural fire brigade, S.E.S. etc etc], volunteering as a family.

Family Time
Candlelight Talk
Turn off all the lights and sit with your family. Discuss what it might be like living in the dark. What might some of the problems be? Light a candle and talk about how one of the names for God is light. Ask, “What difference does lighting this candle make to our room?” Talk about the difference knowing God makes in your life. (Adventures for Growing Families. Wes & Sheryl Haystead)

(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

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