Personalized Advent Calendars – email 12/6/2012

Advent Calendars can be a wonderful tool for families to get into devotions together.  But they can also be customized to help us accomplish more this Advent Season.  Here are some ideas for creating your own countdown to Christmas.

Web Links to Get You Started with Ideas for Your Own 25 Days To Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar

Mom’s Toolbox – Family Advent Ideas

Life as Mom – 25 Days of Anticipation and Family Fun

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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 toÊwww.familiesinfaith.orgÊ

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

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Family Ideas for Showing Thanks (Thanksgiving 11-21-2012)

Family Ideas for Showing Thanks at Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving it is a great time to recall all the things God has provided for us and to Thank Him.  Plan some things to do this Thanksgiving to share what you are thankful for.  Have some fun with your kids as you come up with ideas for showing thankfulness.  Share your ideas with us at http://www.familiesinfaith.org

Web Links for Further Training and Resources

Thanksgiving ideas for Families
from Building Faith

The 5 Kernels of Corn
From Happy Home Fairy

Family Book of Thanks
From Tip Junkie

Thanksgiving Journal Prompts for Kids
From Journal Buddies

______________________________________________________________
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

Get the app!

Link to the Families in Faith apps

prayers for my children - video

Praying for Your Children (email 11-08-2012)

Daily Prayer Ideas for Parents

One important job for parents is to lift their children up to the Lord in prayer.  Here are some prayer ideas broken into the 7 days of the week.  You can download a PDF of these prayer ideas here.

daily ideas praying for your children - png image

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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

Leave a Comment…Share Your Thoughts

Get the app!

Link to the Families in Faith apps

Praise – Family Time Training (email 11-1-2012)

Praise God in Tough Situations

Here is November’s Family Time Training Event.  Family Time is a ministry of home devotions for families that creatively combine fun object lessons with Christian Teaching.  This month’s free lesson (designed to get you comfortable and interested in Family Time) is called “Praise” and focuses on Paul’s reaction to being imprisoned.  Paul praised God – and others came to know Jesus as a result.

Praise

Family Time training logo

Down load the Script for “Praise” by clicking the link below or going to www.famtime.com.
PDF – Praise – Family Time Training Event – Script

______________________________________________________________
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

Get the app!

Link to the Families in Faith apps

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”.

______________________________________________________________

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.”

______________________________________________________________

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

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

Easter Traditions 4/5/2012


Easter is the celebration of the most important event in the history of the world – the resurrection of Jesus. Many of the traditions associated with Easter have pagan backgrounds but that does not mean we cannot use them to point to Jesus and His resurrection.

Develop Easter traditions in your home with your family that celebrate the gift of God’s Son, and His compassion and humility of dying on the cross and rising again. Keep the resurrection and the new life won by Christ as the center and focus of your celebration.

A Touching Easter Story

— Read it – you won’t regret it!

Jeremy was born with a twisted body and slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day, she called his parents to come to St. Theresa’s for a consultation. As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’ t have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!”

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. “Miss Miller,” he said, “there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here.”

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy!”

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris’ face turned red. She stammered, “Wh-why that’s very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat.”

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. “Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically – all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises.

Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them. That evening, Doris’ kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.

In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said. “When plants peek through the ground we know that Spring is here.” A small girl in the first row waved her arm. “That’s my egg Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too.” Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine!”

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, “My Daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents! Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?” Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy – your egg is empty!” He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty, too!”

Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?” “Oh yes!” Jeremy said, “Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up!”

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Web Links and Other Ideas

 Fun Facts about Easter Candy

The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century and remain among the most popular treats associated with Easter.

90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter each year.

16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter. Each day, five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter.

Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind only Halloween.

88 percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of creating Easter baskets for their kids.

76 percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first.

Red jelly beans are kids’ favorite.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25-ft high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported by an internal steel frame.

More Easter links…

Hot Cross Bun – History and Recipe

Easter at Home 2012– blog with family devotion ideas for Easter at home

Home School Ideas – 12 activities to teach Easter and Holy Week at Home

______________________________________________________________

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