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Turn back to God

Family resources leading to Sunday 10th January 2021

First Sunday after the Epiphany– Year B

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together ~ Vincent Van Gogh


Welcome back to another year with Faithful Families Resources. I hope that you have had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year with your family and the ones you love. My prayer for you is that 2021` may be a year of renewal for you being faithful with your family.

The purpose of this blog is to provide families with the weekly resources, ideas and encouragement to be faithful with their family. Usually these resources will include ideas and activities to encourage: 

1.Family closeness 

2. Exploration of the Biblical and faith story. 

3. Patterns of prayer and celebration 

4. Service.

These resources aren’t complicated and the activities are quite simple, but to have any effect they need to be done. Remember it is often the small daily and weekly rituals that have the greatest impact on people’s lives. Imagine the impact of a little bit of the Bible read every night at the dinner table across a year. Imagine the difference simple but faithful prayers might make in the mind of a child.I wonder how you might be faithful with your family this year.

Weekly Inspiration

One day an expert was speaking to a group of students and on time management and he used this illustration. Firstly he took out a wide mouthed jar, then he produced about a dozen large rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”Then he said, “Really?” 
He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel.  Then he dumped some gravel in and shook  the jar  causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him.  “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!”  he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand.  He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.  Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?””No!”  the class shouted.  Once again he said, “Good!”  
Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.  Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!””No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point.  The truth this illustration teaches is this: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

I wonder…what are the big rocks you wish to fit into your family life this year?

Family Closeness

Game

Teeth
Everyone sits around the dinner table and chooses a fruit or vegetable. Person 1 starts by chanting their  fruit/veggie (eg. Strawberry, Strawberry).  Person 2 must then chant person 1’s fruit/veggie followed by theirs (eg. Strawberry, Strawberry, Broccoli, Broccoli). The next person would then chant Person 2’s fruit/veggie followed by theirs (eg. Broccoli, Broccoli, Banana, Banana) and so on. As you go around the table each person must choose a different fruit/veggie each time and one that hasn’t been named already.
What makes this game weird and fun is that you can’t show your teeth  at any point (which you do by pulling your lips over your teeth). If anyone does happen to show their teeth raise the alarm by screaming “teeth teeth” and flapping your arms at the player like wings (making sure you don’t show your teeth in the process!)

.(Idea taken from youthgroupgames.com.au)

Sharing

Questions for stimulating discussion in your family.

  • What is something you hope to do more of this year?
  • What is something you hope doesn’t happen this year?
  • What is something new you want to try this year?
  • What could your family do together this year that would help you to grow closer?

Story With your family read: Mark 1.4-11

Questions for Discussion:

It was not the practice in Judaism for members to be baptised, only gentiles (non Jews) needed to be baptised when they joined the faith. What John was calling Jewish people to do was very unusual. The word repentance often used in this passage means to turn away from. John was calling people to turn away from their sin.

  • What was the purpose of John’s baptism?
  • How is John the Baptist described in this passage? What words might you use to describe him?
  • What do you think it means to be baptised with the Holy Spirit?
  • Why do you think Jesus got baptised if he had no sin?
  • How do you think Jesus felt hearing the words: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Prayer and Celebration

12 Types of Prayer

In his book ‘The hour that changes the world’, Dick Eastman outlines twelve different types of prayer. In this miniseries explore the many different types of prayer with your children.

Watching

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

For children this type of prayer is about developing a sense of what things need to be prayed for. Approaching pray from this angle might include a time of silence when we ask God to show us what things in our world need our prayer. It could include looking at the news to see what is happening locally, nationally or internationally and asking the questions: What should we pray for? How might we pray for it? What does God want for this situation or person? In this approach to pray the focus is not so much on praying for these things but in being alert to what is going on and discerning needs. Take your time doing this, don’t rush and have a good conversation with your children. This is about broadening their prayer world.

Service

Growing a just, inclusive, sustainable and diverse world.

This is a great time of year to make some plans for how you might serve God by serving those in need. You might begin with prayer asking God to guide your family in how you might live out the command to love neighbour. Here are some areas you might think about getting involved in the kingdom of God by helping to grow a just, inclusive, sustainable and diverse world.

Justice speaks of a free people with a home to live in, food to eat, clean water to drink and access to the things needed for life.  The dignity and rights of others are respected and wrongs sought to be corrected. Where can you help create a more just world?


Inclusiveness ensures that the gifts and needs of forgotten peoples are remembered and honoured.  Such people are those for example who live with disability, are unemployed or are elderly. How can you help to make a more inclusive world?

Diverse communities celebrate the wonderful differences in people as a strength to be shared and a richness to be enjoyed. How can you help to nurture and support refugees or those who are different in your community?

Sustainable communities are the only ones that will survive, where deep respect for life and our deep interconnectedness leads to fair and life giving stewardship of the world in which we live. In what ways might your family live in more sustainable ways?

Family Time

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 

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