Take 5 for Family Devotions

Family devotions prove time and time again to be the most effective method for passing on the faith (outside of the Holy Spirit of course).  Family devotions show the importance that parents put on worshiping God in the home, as well as provide an opportunity for families to grow in their faith together.  They help families take the faith they practice on Sundays and turn it into something they do everyday… following Jesus is not something we do, its who we are – and Family Devotions help kids grasp that idea.

But – how do you do family devotions?

It doesn’t have to be difficult, complex, or long.  Check out this PDF called “Take 5 for Family Devotions” for easy ideas for creating family devotions in your home.

 

Family Devotion Page

Backpack Blessing

Place your hands on the backpack and have your children do the same – then have them repeat this prayer and blessing.

Heavenly Father,
Bless this backpack and all it contains.
Let this pack represent the coming school year and all that it entails.
Lord watch over me as I travel to school and back home.
Bless me with courage as I enter 2nd grade.
Fill me with a love of learning
and a passion for school.
Bless my teachers with wisdom and compassion.

Guide my choices
and keep me mindful of my actions.
Give me your Holy Spirit
that my faith might grow
and that I might love you more.
I dedicate this backpack
and this school year to you Lord,
may my time at school bring you Joy.
May my thoughts and actions
bring glory to your name.
In Jesus’ Holy Name
– Amen.

Continue the Blessing throughout the school year by adding notes of prayers and blessings for your kids to their backpacks or lunches.  Here are some Bible verses and ideas for notes to add.

Backpack Blessing Ideas

Pop Culture and Faith – Books (5/24/2012)

Have you ever considered using popular culture to make connections to your faith as you teach your children about Jesus? Books are wonderful avenues into faith discussions. From children’s books that explore nature, teach lessons, and talk about life to young adult literature that become immensely popular like Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games.

Using Popular Culture as a spring board into Spiritual conversations and discussions about God help connect faith to all of life. By engaging our children in meaningful conversations we not only participate in their lives, but share what it means to be a follow of Jesus in this world.

Conversation Starters

Questions to use with your kids…
Children’s Books
  • Did you learn about a new animal or part of God’s Creation?
  • What lesson did the characters learn?
  • What was your favorite part of the story?
  • What was your favorite picture?
Harry Potter
  • Who is your favorite character and why?
  • How did Harry show bravery?
  • How does God want us to show bravery?
  • How does good and evil get demonstrated?
  • God talks about witchcraft in the Bible – He says to avoid it at all costs – How can we keep Harry Potter in the land of fantasy?
Twilight
  • Role Models – What characteristics do you look up to in the various characters?
  • What aspects of their personality do you not like?
  • What makes you like these books?
  • Bella and Edward wait until marriage to go beyond kissing – what does God say about that?
The Hunger Games
  • Who do you relate to the most in the books?
  • What would you do if you were selected as a tribute?
  • How would being a follower of Jesus impact your decisions if you were in the Hunger Games?
  • Who sacrificed the most?
  • What would you be willing to do to protect the ones you love?

Web Resources for Families

 List and descriptions of 100 best Children’s Books from childrensbooksguide.com

From parents.com a series of “Best Children’s Books by Age”

Poll results of the top 100 Children’s Novels. Results include classics like “Charlotte’s’ Web” and “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” along with newer books like “Harry Potter”.

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Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich


Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Pop Culture and Faith – Music (5/17/2012)

Have you ever considered using popular culture to make connections to your faith as you teach your children about Jesus? Music is a big part of our daily lives both as humans and as Christians. Music is all around us and is used to tell a story, convey an emotion, or teach a lesson. Music also helps create memories. All of this means that music is a wonderful tool for passing on the faith.

Connect with your kids about the music they are listening to. Talk about the lyrics, the content, the theme, and the emotions. Use this as an opening to talk about Jesus and living for Him.

Bonus Activities for Families

with devotional thoughts
Name that Tune

Try playing “Name that Tune” with your kids – Make the connection to music and memory. Throw in some church songs to see how they are remembering theology and God’s story through music.

Name that Band

Turn on the radio in the car and see who can guess the band first. Use this as a way to listen to music together. Share with your kids Music and Groups from your youth.

Play a singing game

Use your imagination to change the lyrics of popular children’s songs to connect with Bible stories. For example: Instead of “The Farmer in the Dell,” “The Disciples in the Dell.” Or “London Bridges Falling Down” to “The Walls of Jericho are Falling Down.”

Some Questions to Spark Discussion

* What is the song about?

* What words jump out at you?

* What emotions or feelings are being expressed?

* Does the music project the same feelings as the words?

* As Christians, how do you react to this song?

* What are the Christian teachings in this song?

* Do you agree with the message of this song? Why or why not?

Web Resources for Families

www.hollywoodjesus.com

Use this site for reviews and even ideas for Christian Connections to Popular Music.

www.billboard.com

Billboard.com has all the information on what songs are popular in various genres of music and with various segments of the population.  Use this to find out what “kids are listening to these days.”

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Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich


Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Pop Culture and Faith – Television (5/10/2012)

Have you ever considered using popular culture to make connections to your faith as you teach your children about Jesus? Television is a big part of the American Culture. On average kids watch TV for 28 hours peer week – yet they only have meaningful conversations with their parents for a few minutes per week. Learn to engage your children in conversation about the television shows they are watching. Work to create connections between the programs and our faith.

There are 4 things to be looking for as you watch TV – Themes, Quotes, Characters, and Opposites.

Check out this video for ideas and methods for engaging your children in conversations about God that connect to TV shows.

Stats on TV

Used in this week’s Video

NOTE: These stats are a few years old – today TV watching is actually down but “Screen Time” is up. Screen time includes TV, Computers, Phones, Tablets, etc.
Television Statistics
According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.

I. FAMILY LIFE
  • Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99
  • Number of TV sets in the average U.S. household: 2.24
  • Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66
  • Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
  • Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
  • Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
  • Value of that time assuming an average wage of S5/hour: S1.25 trillion
  • Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56
  • Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million
  • Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
  • Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49
II CHILDREN
  • Approximate number of studies examining TV’s effects on children: 4,000
  • Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful
  • conversation with their children: 3.5
  • Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
  • Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
  • Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children’s TV watching: 73
  • Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV
  • and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
  • Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
  • Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
III VIOLENCE
  • Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000
  • Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
  • Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79
IV. COMMERCIALISM
  • Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
  • Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
  • Percentage of survey participants (1993) who said that TV commercials
  • aimed at children make them too materialistic: 92
  • Rank of food products/fast-food restaurants among TV advertisements to kids: 1
  • Total spending by 100 leading TV advertisers in 1993: $15 billion
V. GENERAL
  • Percentage of local TV news broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30
  • Percentage devoted to stories about crime, disaster and war: 53.8
  • Percentage devoted to public service announcements: 0.7
  • Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges: 59
  • Percentage who can name at least three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: 17

Compiled by TV-Free America
1322 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Web Resources for Families

http://www.seedsfamilyworship.net/family-worship-activities/ 

Family Worship is a powerful tool for passing on the faith.  Check out this web site for ideas and resources for Family Worship.

http://www.faithathome.com/

Faith at home offers lots of advice, books, and ideas for parents as they work to teach the faith.

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich


Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Pop Culture and Your Faith – Movies 5-3-2012

Have you ever considered using popular culture to make connections to your faith as you teach your children about Jesus? Movies are a big part of our American culture. Movies also can be used to make spiritual connections.

There are 4 things to be looking for when you watch a movie – Themes, Quotes, Characters, and Opposites.

Check out this preview to a few of this summer’s blockbusters… get some ideas before you go to the movies about how to talk about Jesus after the movie.

Really like the idea? Here are some book resources to help develop your skills.

Web Resources

www.hollywoodjesus.com

HollywoodJesus.com is perhaps the best resource for ideas and connections between Movies, Music, TV and more with Jesus and your faith.

www.rottentomatoes.com

Rotten Tomatoes is a place to get all sorts of reviews – it also has a nice collection of quotes that you can use to make faith connections.

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich
Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Following Jesus (email 4-26-2012)


As parents the best way to pass the faith on to our kids, is to be followers of Jesus ourselves. Jesus promises in Matthew 11 that he will make our burden light as we learn to follow him.

Play “Follow the Leader” and “Simon Says” with your kids. Use these games to talk about following Jesus.

Learn to follow Jesus by spending time in His Word.

How to Lead by Following

A reading from I am a Follower by Leonard Sweet

   What does this dancing guy on a hillside have to do with following Jesus? A lot more than you think.
   Take a look at what’s happening here in this moving parable. Look closer. Remind you a little of that crowd on the hillside passing out loaves and fishes? Jesus set the story in motion, but his disciples passed the food. If they hadn’t, the crowd wouldn’t have eaten—or been fed.
   Like all life’s decisions, dances begin with a motion, then someone passes the motion, and the motion goes forward with a yes from all. The way of the dance may start with an unconventional and unique way of moving. But the truth is, without someone to stand up and join in—to be a “first follower”—no true dance is born.
   If dancing is your life, then whose beat do you feel moving with the rhythms of your body? First followers feel the Jesus way, share the Jesus truth, and live the Jesus life. And they pass the Jesus dance on to others.
   So who is that first follower? Who is that risk taker willing to stand beside that unexpected innovator and be a dancing fool? Would it be you? Would you lay down your coat and get up and dance for Jesus? In front of everybody else? Knowing you’d be following a way of living different from everyone else, knowing you’d be taking on a new identity as a mover and a shaker, knowing your newest friend may well alienate you from the rest? A first follower is a way paver, a true disciple, and a life sharer. A first follower chooses a way to go even when no one else is going there. A first follower recognizes the truth even when no one sees the beauty of an ordinary dance. A first follower knows that to dance from the soul means to embody the dance itself.
   We are the followers. He is the dance. Feel the rhythm, pass the motion, make some music. Get up and dance.  (I Am A Follower, pp. 3-4)

Be the First Follower

Passing on the faith to our children means we need to be the ‘First Followers.’ We are the guy or gal who joins the dance when no one else has joined—and by doing so our children and others will join the dance, and become followers as well.

Being the first follower takes courage—but its worth it! Eternally worth it.

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an
email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as
they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage
others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families”
to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich


Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Leave a Comment…Share Your Thoughts

Debunking a cultural myth (email 4/19/2012)

  • Do parents lose their influence as their kids get older?
  • Can parents shape the religious lives and attitudes of their children?
  • –Or, is that something that everyone has to choose for themselves?
  • Should parents should “stay out of it” and let children choose their own path?

Our culture tells us that parents should ‘stay out of it’ and let children choose their own path. Even the popular TV show Mike and Molly make such claims. Is that true? Should parents ‘stay out of it’? If we stay out of it, why should we think that things will work out the way we want them to?

here’s the Mike and Molly Video Clip (discussed in Joel’s video)

Are you the second Generation?

A study conducted in 1980 called “Young Adolescents and Their Parents” surveyed 8000 young Americans. They found that only 10% of church families discussed faith with any regularity. A whopping 43% NEVER talked about God at home.

Chances are you grew up in this era. Which means you did not grow up with the model of faith development at home. You probably didn’t have family devotions on a regular basis. You probably didn’t pray too often with your family, and you probably didn’t read the Bible at home.

It is not surprising therefore to see the next generation—today’s parents—not know what to do when it comes to faith at home. We were raised to believe that at church is where matters of God and faith happen. The role of moms and dads was to get their kids to church and in church programs. It only made sense then that churches grew their programs for kids, youth, and young adults.

Mark Holmen in his book Impress Faith on Your Kids, says, “I do not believe we have bad parents today. I don’t think you want to be a bad parent. Yet when it comes to doing what we need to do to lead our kids to life, through faith in Christ, I don’t think parents have any idea how important their actions and behaviors are.” (page 35)

There is good news and bad news in that thought. As parents we have the influence – good news! But we get what we are – nerve racking news.

If we want our kids to live for Jesus—loving Him with all of their heart, and loving others as they love themselves…. —well, then, that’s exactly what we need to be.

  • If you want your child to read the Bible more – then you need to read the Bible more
  • If you want your child to pray more – then you need to pray more
  • If you want your child to show compassion and mercy – then you need to show compassion and mercy
  • If you want God to be number one in your child’s life – then God needs to be number one in your life.
  • The opposite is also true… if you want your kids to have a shallow faith, a faith that doesn’t impact or inform their lives, a faith that crumbles under pressure and is easily swayed… then be that way yourself.
  • Want to know what you will get from your kids? Look in the mirror, and that will likely be an accurate predictor.

Quotes on parental influence

“Your home is the single most powerful arena on earth to change a life for God.”

Bruce Wilkinson – The Prayer of Jabez – page 32

“The Bible is unmistakably clear that it is the parents’ job to disciple their children.”

 Steve Wright – Rethink – page 146

“All of the different approaches to studying parental influences in the religious socialization pro­cess converge on a single conclu­sion: Parents play an extremely important role in the developing religious attitudes and practices of their offspring. In fact, few re­searchers would quarrel with the conclusion that parents are the most important influence in this regard.”

 Bob Altemeyer and Bruce Hunsberger – Amazing Conversions – page 226

“The responsibility for raising spiritual champions, according to the Bible, belongs to the parents. The spiritual nurture of children is supposed to take place in the home. Organizations and people from outside the home might support those efforts, but the responsibility is squarely laid at the feet of the family. This is not a job for specialists. It is a job for parents.”

George Barna – Revolutionary Parenting – pages 11-12

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich


Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

LEAVE A COMMENT…Share Your Thoughts