Lent in a Dish Week 1: Jesus in the Wilderness

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This year during Family God Time, we will be using a resource from St. Cuthbert Episcopal Church in Houston, TX, but with a Family God Time twist.  It is called “Lent in a Bag,” but we will be creating our own “Lent in a Dish” projects.  I thought of the dish because of the beautiful Lenten garden that my daughter created in Sunday School last year, and thought that there could be a way to use both resources to create something meaningful over the course of several weeks.

You can read more about the original “Lent in a Bag” resource here:  http://www.buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/in-a-bag-trifold-Cuthbert-4-1.pdf  You can read more about the Lenten dish gardens here:  http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2013/03/mini-resurrection-garden-easter-craft.html

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about Jesus in the wilderness.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 4:1-13
Read Jesus’ words about being ready in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+4%3A1-13&version=ERV

We used the Whirl Story Bible for our resource.  You can purchase one here:  http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/19372/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition?c=285812

Discuss as a family:
Have you ever been tempted to do something you shouldn’t?  Tell the story.
Have you ever been able to resist temptation?
How hungry do you think Jesus was?

Song:  I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
This is my favorite Lent song for kids.  It gets the somber mood, but has a way to get the wiggles out.  We held hands and walked in place while singing.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Sand Pictures
Last week, we gathered all of the supplies we needed for the whole Lenten season Lent in a Dish.  You can find the supply list here:  https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/preparing-for-lent-2017/

This week, we need the dish and sand (and a pencil or stick).

My husband decided that glass pie plates would work better for our dishes, because they can be used for other things once Lent has concluded.  Pour sand into each dish and allow your kids to make pictures in the sand with the eraser end of a pencil.  Some suggestions include hearts, crosses, spirals, or hand prints.  You could also ask your kids to tell the story of Jesus in the wilderness using the sand.  We did this in the kitchen, because sand did kind of go everywhere.  After they have had some time to play, remind them that this dish is going to have something added to it each week to tell the story of Lent.  Place the dishes in a place where your family can see them over the course of the week.

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn about Jesus in the wilderness.  Lead and guide us in the times when we are tempted to always follow you.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Preparing for Lent 2017

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 1 this year.  This year during Family God Time, we will be using a resource from St. Cuthbert Episcopal Church in Houston, TX, but with a Family God Time twist.  It is called “Lent in a Bag,” but we will be creating our own “Lent in a Dish” projects.  I thought of the dish because of the beautiful Lenten garden that my daughter created in Sunday School last year, and thought that there could be a way to use both resources to create something meaningful over the course of several weeks.

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Because this project requires a bunch of resources, I thought it might be good to spend our devotion time before the first Sunday in Lent gathering these supplies as a family so that we will be ready to go when it is time.  You can read more about the original “Lent in a Bag” resource here:  http://www.buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/in-a-bag-trifold-Cuthbert-4-1.pdf  You can read more about the Lenten dish gardens here:  http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2013/03/mini-resurrection-garden-easter-craft.html

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to prepare for Lent.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 12:35-40
Read Jesus’ words about being ready in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+12%3A35-40&version=ERV

You can also find a chant with an easy way to memorize our focus verse for this week here:

Discuss as a family:
What are some special times of the year that you and your family get ready for?
How do you get ready?
Today, we are going to begin getting ready for Lent.  What preparations do you think we might want to make?

Song:  Prepare the Royal Highway
This song is usually sung during Advent, but we also use it in our church on Palm Sunday, so I think it works for Lenten preparation.  This version was produced by a children’s ministry in Hopkins, MN, and I think it is a wonderful way to show what we are singing about as we sing.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Preparing for Lent
Gather the following supplies together as a family.  As you do, you can wonder together about what we might use each of these things for.  I recommend gathering enough supplies for one project for each child in your household, but do what works best for your family.

  1. A wide dish with a low lip.  We are using terra cotta pot saucers.
  2. Decorative sand. I got mine at the dollar store.
  3. A palm-sized rock. You can also find these at the dollar store.
  4. Peach, white, or brown pipe cleaners. We will use these to make stick figures in week 3.
  5. A small candle or LED candle. We will use one size larger than a tea light.
  6. Quick maturing grass seed or sprout seed. You want something that will start to show in 7 days or less.
  7. A small amount of potting soil for the grass seed.

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Gather these supplies together into a box or bag so that you can easily access each part when it is time (we are leaving the potting soil in the garage until we need it).  That’s it!  You and your family are prepared for Lent!  We will begin our journey together next week.

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to prepare for Lent.  Lead and guide us as we travel through this season.  In your name we pray, Amen.

A Surprise Special Guest: Luke 19

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about welcoming you into our house at all times.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 19
Read the story of Zacchaeus in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19%3A1-10&version=ERV

For this story, my family and I used the Whirl Story Bible.  You can purchase one here:
http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/19372/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition?c=285812

Discuss as a family:
What would it be like if Jesus came to our house?  How would we make him feel welcome?  How can we make each person who visits us feel welcome, just like Jesus?

Song:  Come, Lord Jesus
I found this song when I was looking for a way to sing the prayer “Come, Lord Jesus.”  I love it because it is real, and certainly looks like the craziness in my household sometimes.  Hope you feel it, too!

Activity:  House Blessing
During the season of Epiphany, it is traditional to bless your house as you prepare for the coming year.  We invited some friends over to do it with us.  All you need is a piece of chalk, a step ladder, a candle (ours smells like frankincense to remind us of the wise men), and this sheet:  epiphany-house-blessing-2017

This year, after we chalked the doorpost of our house, we let each child choose one other room to specifically bless.  We blessed one bedroom, our library room, and the bathroom.  Choose the number of rooms that you will bless on the ages and attention spans of your children.  You can make up your own prayers for rooms not listed on the sheet.

Here is a pic of our doorpost.  It was too cold to mark the outside, so we marked the inside.  Sorry it is so faint; my children were horrified that I was writing on the walls!

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20 + CMB + 17

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and may our year in you be blessed!  Amen.

Share! Luke 12:13-21

Treasure chest

I have a confession to make:  our family was both sick and traveling last week, so we did not make the time or have the energy to do Family God Time together.  Now my husband is sick, so, although we hope to get back on track soon, I just don’t know when that will be.

However, I was able to find a great resource for you and your family this week from a trusted resource called Vibrant Faith @ Home.

Last week in church, we talked about how it is hard to share with one another, but it is really fun when someone shares with us.  You can read the Bible story here:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+12%3A13-21&version=ERV

This week, you will share with one another the gifts and talents that God has gifted each one of you.  Find the link to the activity below, and have fun feeding your family’s faith this week!

http://vibrantfaithathome.org/item/share-your-treasure

vibrantfaithathomelong

Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Luke 11:1-4

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn how to pray like you.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 11:1-4
Read the story “The Lord’s Prayer” from a children’s Bible, your family Bible, or you can read the version that I told to my family below:

One day, Jesus was off praying by himself.  When he returned to his friends, they asked him to teach them how to pray, and he said,
“Our Father
who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom
and the power
and the glory
forever and ever.  Amen.

Discuss as a family:
In the ELCA Lutheran tradition, this prayer is the bedrock of everything that we do.  When we gather for worship, we pray this prayer.  When we gather for Bible Study, we pray this prayer.  When we gather for committee meetings, we pray this prayer.  It follows us everywhere!  Because we know it so well, it might actually be hard to teach it to our children.  We know it by heart, and maybe haven’t even thougth about the words for a long time.  I offer some definitions for you, below, as an aid to helping your kids really understand what they are praying.  We will be reinforcing this prayer in our song and our craft this week, so don’t worry about getting all of the details perfectly down during your discussion time.

art:  is, dwells, lives
hallowed:  holy, sacred, clean
thy, thine:  your (referring to God)
trespasses: sins, things we did wrong, ways that we hurt God or others by “trespassing” into their territory
glory:  high regard, someone we look up to

**optional:  based on your discussion, come up with your own version of the Lord’s Prayer that has words that everyone in your family understands!

Song:  The Lord’s Prayer Song with Motions
Here is a version that I learned at camp and added motions to in order to help my family learn to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Lord’s Prayer Mobile
One of my most re-pinned Pinterest pins is the Greatest Commandment Mobile.  I thought I could adapt the idea to the Lord’s Prayer.  First, I found an awesome poster on Pinterest:

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http://www.housemixblog.com/2015/11/24/the-lords-prayer-poster-for-kids/

I took that idea, changed the words to the prayer we pray in our churches, and then made it so it could be cut out in two ways.  I recommend printing these files on cardstock, as they last longer.

If you want to cut out just squares, use this version:

Lord’s Prayer Square Mobile

If you want to cut around each illustration, use this version:

Lord’s Prayer Shape Mobile

If you just want to color a poster for your room, use this version:

Lord’s Prayer Coloring Poster

Once the pieces are cut out and colored, use a hole punch to punch a hole in the top and bottom of each piece, and string them together with string, yarn, or lanyard.  Here is a pic of our finished products:

Lord's Prayer Mobile

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: Pray the Lord’s Prayer together as a family.  It can be sung, repeat-after-me, in unison, or your own new version.  As I always say in worship, Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray…

Jesus Loves Me?: Luke 18:15-17

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about how much Jesus loves us.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 18:15-17
Read the story “Jesus Blesses the Children” or “Jesus Welcomes the Children” from a children’s Bible, your family Bible, or you can find an easy to read version here:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+18%3A15-17&version=ERV

Discuss as a family:
Why do you think Jesus’ friends didn’t want children to see Jesus?  Why do you think Jesus welcomed them?  How do you think Jesus feels about us?  What kind of people does Jesus love?  What age of people does Jesus love?  Does Jesus love you?  How do you know?

Song:  Jesus Loves Me
This Family God Time actually came about on the fly.  My middle daughter came up to me with her prayer book and asked if we could do “Jesus loves me” after supper.  I thought she meant she wanted us to sing the song together, so I said yes.  As I was loading the dishwasher, she came up to me again, and I stopped to sing the classic song “Jesus Loves Me.”  She listened, and then said, “Okay, now we go in the living room for God Time for Jesus Loves Me.”  I was surprised, but didn’t want to pass up an opportunity, so we went for it.  They wanted to sing a song called “Jesus Loves Me” from Group’s Cave Quest Bible School.  You can hear a clip of the song here:

https://www.group.com/category/ministry-resources/childrens-ministry/vbs/cave-quest.do

Choose “music” at the top of the page.  It is the last song in this category.

This is my youngest daughter’s favorite song from Bible School.  She will often ask it as a question:  “Mama, Jesus love me?”  “Yes,” I say, “Jesus loves you.”  Then, she launches into the song.

Of course, you could also sing the classic version!

Activity:  Jesus Loves Me Hearts
For our activity, I cut out hearts and wrote “Jesus loves me!” around the edge.  Then, I let my girls use two heart paper punches and fancy paper to cut out multiple small hearts.  They glued their small hearts to the large heart, and our project was complete.  They have been using them as fans and cards to give one another.  I suppose you could even hang them on a bulletin board or the fridge, if you want!  This morning, my oldest daughter told me she wants a heart to decorate for each of our family members, so we all remember how much Jesus loves us.  Guess I know what I am doing over my lunch break J.

Here are our finished products:WP_20160718_18_35_31_Pro

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Can be a repeat after me prayer if you have non-readers in your family)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for loving each of us, big and small, young and old.  Help us to to remember that you love us always, no matter what.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Good Samaritan Review

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This week, the gospel lesson that you will hear in church is from Luke 10.  It is the story of the Greatest Commandment and the Good Samaritan.  My family did a three part series on this story last year, and thought it would be timely to share it again.  Here are the links to the three devotions:

The Greatest Commandment

The Good Samaritan, part 1

The Good Samaritan, part 2

Have fun feeding your family’s faith this week!