Inspired by a workshop at the Orange Conference (http://www.theorangeconference.com), I plan to provide ideas that you and your family can do together. Typically they will be quite inexpensive, and able to be done at home, at the cottage, or travelling along in the car or for a rainy day.
1. When it’s a time for eating popcorn – talk about how all of us are like kernels of corn. Not much on our own, kind of hard and not very appealing. But when we add the power of the Holy Spirit (whatever your heat source is), we are transformed from the inside out.
Popcorn only works because the water at the very core of the kernel boils, and the goodness inside explodes out. That’s like us, too. Our goodness inside explodes out when the Spirit brings us to life. It’s still us, just like the corn is till corn, it’s just in a different form. And it’s one that makes people happy. The scent brings people to it, and it’s hard to stop after just a little bit. People are attracted to others who have the Spirit in them. They are exciting to be around, they make others happy. It’s still them, only different and better.
2. If you are going to the cottage, or camping – or just away from the lights of the city, here’s an easy discussion.
Read the story of Abraham from Genesis with your family – it starts at chapter 11, but we are going to focus on the first few verses of chapter 15.
Abram was promised that he would be the father of a great nation. It had been many years, and still he and his wife had no children. Abram asks God again, and tells him to look at the stars – that his decendants will out number them.
Have each family member make a “viewing window” with their hands – how ever you decide to do this is fine. Then, count the number of stars in that ‘window”. If there are that many in such a little part of the sky, just imagine how many there are in the whole sky. And God promised Abram he would out number them.
Talk about promises. How disappointing is it when someone breaks a promise? Sometimes all parents have to break a promise to do something – tell the kids how much it bothers you to break that promise. God always keeps His promise. Remember that every time you look at the stars. If God kept his promise to Abram (later Abraham), He will keep His promises to you.
3. Remember the game following the leader? This version can be played in the park, in the car (as long as you are not driving), or on a walk. Let your child(ren) take turns with you being the leader. Then talk about which is easier – to lead or to follow. Talk about how important it is to trust your leader. They need to keep you safe, not ask you to do things that will be dangerous or embarrassing.
We know that we can trust God and Jesus to lead us into ways that are safe. He will never ask us to do things that are embarassing – and He will always be with us.
4. David talks about the different postures of worship. Get out the playdoh, or pipe cleaners, or modelling clay -anything that can be sculpted. Take a look through the Psalms (the middle book of the Bible), and see how many examples of ways to worship God there are:
Here’s some hints:
King David danced, raise our hands, lay with our faces down before God, clapping, praying, singing songs, all are great ways to Worship. Model these different poses.
5. Read Psalm 40:8 -I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
If you happen to have an “old” camera that uses film – hold up a canister and ask if anyone knows what is on it. Or – use your memory card from the digital and ask the same question. See if the family can remember what shots were taken on it. Make the point that eventually, what is inside the camera will come out, and everyone will be able to see it. It’s the same with us – things that are in our hearts, come out in our actions.
When we do what we know God want us to, we show that God’s rules are “written on our hearts”. We can show others what it is like to love God through our actions. Talk about ways you as a family (and as individuals) can show others that you love Jesus. (for instance – say grace together, even when at a restaurant; or waiting very patiently in line when others are not doing so; or helping to carry someone groceries to their car…)
6. John 21:15-19 tells us of a time when Jesus was talking to Peter. This conversation took place after Peter has denied Jesus 3 times, and after Jesus has risen from the dead.
3 times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Peter answers, “Yes, Lord” each time. With each answer – Jesus counters each denial, and charges Peter to “feed my sheep” and “feed my lambs”.
Have the kids go out and collect up some handfuls of grass and leaves. Place a plastic bowl full in front of the kids, and have them serve up the grass. Read the Bible passage and then ask if this is that is what is meant by “Feed my Lambs”. “What do you think it means?”, begins your discussion. Notice in the reading that Jesus uses both terms to talk about His people. Just like a flock of sheep, the church is made up of both adult and young people. Jesus is telling us that both are important, and we are to care for them.
Talk about different ways we can feed the sheep and lambs of God’s church.