Monday, September 25, 2017

Faithful Families Resources for 1 October 2017

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
~Rabindranath Tagore

Family Closeness
The other chocolate game
You will need as many different types of chocolate bars as there are players for this game. Alternatively it could be played with other random objects. Everyone is seated around the table. At the start of the game, put the chocolate bars in the middle of the table where everyone can see them. Set a timer for ten or so minutes. Everyone takes turns rolling the die until someone rolls a 1 or 6. When a 1 or a 6 is rolled, that person can do one of two things: they can take one of the bars from the table and hide it in their lap or ask for one by name that some else has taken. For example: John rolls a six and says, “I want the Snickers that Peter has.” If Peter has the Snickers, he hands it over to John. If not, it is the next family member's turn. People roll the die and take bars from each other until time is up. At the end, the family should put the chocolate bars back in the middle and share them out.

  • Who put your parents in charge of you?
  • Why is it important for children to listen to their parents?
  • When do you think your parents stop having responsibility for you?
  • What do you think it is like being a parent?

With your family read: Matthew 21.23-32
 Questions for Discussion:
  • Who gave Jesus permission to do all the things he did?
  • Is it better to say no to your parents but then do what they ask or say yes and then not do what they asked?
  • Why did the Pharisees and other people find it hard to believe in Jesus?
  • Why do people find it hard to follow Jesus today?

 Prayer and Celebration
Teaspoon Prayers
One simple pattern for shaping prayer is to remember the three words – thank you, sorry and please. The first three letters of these are TSP which reminds us of a teaspoon. Teach this to your children so that they can remember a way of praying that includes these three things. Have a teaspoon on your dinner table to remind the family to pray for these three things before eating each night. You could even decorate the teaspoon in some special way so that it stands out and you don’t forget.

Bonus Family Activity
15 Minute Activity Pick
Make a commitment to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing an activity of your children’s choice.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Faithful Families Resources for 24 September 2017

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. Mark 10:13-16 ESV

Family Closeness
Gather about twenty objects and put them on a tray.  When you are ready to play uncover the tray and give everyone about two minutes to memorise what is on it. Then take it away. Give everyone a pen and pencil and give them a few minutes to write down what they remember on the tray. Children might need helping in writing the names of object. (Youth Ministry Encyclopedia, Lyman Coleman)

What character from a book or television are you most like? How are you like them?
If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
Who is someone who has made a difference in your life?

With your family read: Matthew 20.1-16
 Questions for Discussion:
  • Why were the people who worked all day upset?
  • Do you think what the landowner did was fair? Why or why not?
  • If in this parable the landowner represents God, what do we learn about God?
  • God’s grace means everyone is loved, forgiven and accepted no matter what they have done. What do you think about this?
  • What do you think about the statement: God gives us what we need, not what we deserve?

Prayer and Celebration
Prayer Placemats
Use your computer to create some prayer placemats for your dinner table. These could simply have three or four different prayers printed on them for your family to pray together at the dinner table. Your children could then colour them in or decorate them. To finish them off, laminate them so they will last longer. If your children are as handy at desktop publishing as many are, get them to design the placemats.

Bonus Family Activity
Crowd Squeezer
Step 1: Spread a sheet or blanket on the grass and challenge everyone to pile on top so that no part of any person's body touches the ground beyond the blanket.
Step 2: If the group succeeds, fold the blanket in half and try again.
Step 3: Continue in this way to see how small an area you can all squeeze.    

Monday, September 11, 2017

Faithful Families Resources for 17 September 2017

Parents shouldn't give up doing what is best for their children even when their children are ungrateful. ~Martin Luther
Family Closeness
Stopwatch Games
With a stopwatch and a bit of imagination, your family can clock hours of crazy contests.
  • How long does it take to blow a perfect bubble after you put a new piece of gum in your mouth?
  • How long can you chew your food for before it disappears?
  • How many times can you click in a minute?
  • How long does it take to run around the house?
  •  How many baskets can you shoot in 2 minutes?

  • 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?

With your family read: Matthew 18.21-35
 Questions for Discussion:
  • Is forgiving someone seventy times a lot?
  • Do you think Jesus really meant we should keep count?
  • Who do you think the king might be in this story?
  • Who do you think the first slave might be?
  • Knowing God forgives us, why do we often find it hard to forgive?

Prayer and Celebration
Gratitude Board
On the fridge or at your table, keep a small whiteboard called a gratitude board, and on it things are recorded and dated (whenever someone is passing by) that they want to say thank you for or that they are glad about. These can be used once a week or on a more regular basis as the focus for family prayers.

Bonus Family Activity
Follow the Leader
Depending on the age of your children play a game of follow the leader. The leader goes around the house doing a variety of things e.g. crawl across the carpet, jump through the dining room, climb over a bed, clap hands in the bathroom etc. Everybody has to do what the leader does.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Faithful Families Resources for 10 Sept 2017 (14th after Pentecost, Year A)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. ~Deuteronomy 6.4-7

Family Closeness
Blind Draw
Everyone is given a sheet of paper and a pen. You have three minutes to draw a picture of something that everyone agrees to...but you must either close your eyes or be blindfolded or have the light turned out.

  • What is the hardest thing about being (your age) years old?
  • What is the best thing about being (your age) years old?
  • What things don’t boys understand about girls?
  • What things don’t girls understand about boys?

With your family read: Matthew 18.15-20
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at

 Questions for Discussion:
  • Why do you think it might be wise to point out someone’s sin against you in private first?
  • What kinds of sins do you think this instruction might cover?
  • Are there things people might do which should immediately be taken to someone in power like a parent or teacher or police officer?
  • Why might it be necessary to take someone with you if someone won’t listen to you when you point out their sin?
  • How did Jesus treat tax collectors and sinners?

Prayer and Celebration
Prayers of Confession
Prayers of confession are a normal part of a Christian’s prayer life. All of us, including children, do things we wish we hadn’t, or don’t do the things we should. Confession (saying sorry and asking God for forgiveness) is something that parents should model to children. There are various ways we might engage our children in prayers of confession.

Burning Prayers
Your family might like to individually write down things they would like to say sorry for. These prayers might then be placed in a bowl and burnt as a symbol of God’s forgiveness.
The following words might be used to help children have a language for this type of prayer:
 I got really angry today.  I think I know why, and I wish I wouldn’t.  I feel so out of control.  I feel disappointed.  Jesus, I am sorry for any hurt I have caused today.  Help me to be gentle.  Help me to love more and more.  Help me to love.  Help me to put aside the things that hurt others, you, and me.  I am sorry for . . . .  Grant your grace to me, that I might grow more into who I am, and who you call me to be.

Words from Scripture might be used to help children see that God takes away our sins from us and forgives us.
These could include:
If you sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us. Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people.” (1 John 2:1–2, CEV)

How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west!” (Psalm 103:12, CEV)

  • Explore creative ways you could raise the profile of a particular charity that you would like to support.
  • Talk about why it is good to give to charity in secret. Read Matthew 6.2 - 4
  • Discuss how you might get the balance between these two right and why they are both important.

Bonus Family Activity
Collage of Dreams
Use photos, words and pictures from old magazines, glue, sparkles etc to make a collage of the things your family would like to do with their life. This might begin by each member making a list of 10 or 100 things that they would like to do in their life…like skydive or write a book or learn to ride a bike. Alternatively the collage might be about things your family might like to do this year together. Put the collage up somewhere visible to remind you of your dreams and plans.