Family God Time: JESUS WELCOMES CHILDREN: Mark 9:33-37

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear God, we thank you that you welcome everyone as children, and that we have a place in your kingdom.  Help us to learn how to make everyone welcome.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Mark 9:33-37
Read about Jesus Welcoming Children in a children’s Bible or online here:

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What is something that you are really great at? How could you use that gift or talent to serve God?
  2. What is something that you really struggle with? Who could be Jesus for you as you struggle?
  3. How do you know that you are welcome when you go someplace?
  4. What are some ways that you could be welcoming to others?

Song:  God Welcomes All
Here is a song that we are going to be learning in church this fall.  It reminds us that all are welcome, young and old alike!

God Welcomes All Emily Scott Houston 2011 from All Saints Company on Vimeo.

Activity:  Welcome Placemats        
We are entering into a time of year when lots of our family members come to visit.  Instead of making a welcome mat that would get stepped on, I thought it would be fun to make welcome placemats that we include on the table when we have visitors.  I found the instructions here: (I used leftover colored cardstock from other projects.  We did not glue them together.  We did use glue dots to stick the banner to the front.)

This is what ours look like:
Welcome Placemats

Thank you for spending some God Time with your family!  I hope this was a holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
God be in my head, and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes, and in my looking.
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking.
God be in my heart, and in my thinking.
God be at my end, and at my departing.  Amen.

Family God Time: VBS Recap 2018

Do you remember way back to the beginning of the summer, when we had a wonderful, faith-filled week of Vacation Bible School together?  As the summer draws to a close, county fair time arrives, and our back-to-school preparations get into full swing, let’s take one last week to review all that we learned in Vacation Bible School.

You may choose to revisit your favorite story, or, if you missed one (or two or three) over the course of the summer, here’s another chance to once again dive deep into God’s story.  I hope that your time of Bible storytelling, songs, and activities will be a holy time for you and your family.

Family God Time:  God is with Moses in the River

Family God Time:  God’s People Enter the Promised Land

Family God Time:  God Heals Naaman in the Jordan River

Family God Time:  God Saves Paul from the Sea

Family God Time:  Jesus is Baptized

Are you looking for Daily Devos coloring, prayer, and discussion on these stories that you can do on your own?  Look here:



Daily Devos: God Sets His Bow in the Clouds



Dear God, we thank you that you set your bow in the clouds, and that you remember how much you love us.  Help us to always be aware of the greatness of your love for us.  Amen.



Find the original post with this coloring page here:


8God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”


What do you think of when you experience a storm? What do you think of when you see a rainbow?  What does God think of?  What are some of the ways that you remember that God loves you?

Daily Devos: An Unclean Spirit Mark 1:21-28

Here is a new section of Family God Time:  Daily Devos!  In our family, we read the verses for the day while the food is being served for supper, and discuss the questions as we eat.  We pray the prayer before we leave the table.

You can get the whole week of devotions in a pdf file here:  Daily Devos Book Unclean Spirit 18

I hope this time will be a holy time for you and your family!


Be silent

Prayer of the Week:  Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are powerful, and that you see us for who we really are.  Help us to hear your Word and gladly learn it.  In your name we pray, Amen.


MARK 1:21 [Jesus and his disciples] went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Do you worship God with your family on Sundays?  What is that experience like?  Why do you think that Jesus decided to go to church (the synagogue) and teach?


MARK 1:22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

BIG QUESTIONS:  What do you think it would have been like to be taught by Jesus?  Who is someone in your life who you trust to teach you?


MARK 1:23-24 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Have you ever recognized someone who you haven’t seen for a long time?  What was that experience like?  Why do you think that an unclean spirit recognized Jesus?


MARK 1:25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Has anyone ever told you that you had to be quiet?  What was that experience like?  Why do you think that Jesus told the unclean spirit to be quiet and come out of the man?


MARK 1:26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.

BIG QUESTIONS:  How do you think the man who was released from the unclean spirit felt about Jesus?  Why do you think that it matters that unclean spirits listen to and obey Jesus?


MARK 1:27 They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Who are some people who have authority over you?  What is that experience like?  Why do you think the crowd was so confused by Jesus’ power and authority?


MARK 1:28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Who is the most famous person that you have ever met?  What was that experience like?  What famous person would you like to meet?  Why?  How do you think Jesus felt about becoming famous?

Thanksgiving 2017: Psalm 118

Each year at our family Thanksgiving meal, we try to do some kind of activity that reminds us that we give thanks, not just in general, but also specifically to God.  This year, we will do this through an art project for the picture window in dining room.

A few weeks ago, I introduced the idea of giving thanks to my kids with a craft I found at Michael’s:


We hung them on the inside of our picture window, facing out, along with some leaf stickers on waxed paper.  The kids couldn’t wait to take a picture:


They have been so excited to share their art installation that I thought we would include our family members who are joining us for Thanksgiving.  Before dinner, each person will get a stack of paper leaves:


Here is the file to print the leaves out:  Leaves for Thanksgiving 2017
I printed them on card stock in “Spice Market” colors.

Everyone will also get something to write with, and the instructions to write what they are thankful for, one thing on each leaf.  While they work, I will play this song from Psalm 118 for inspiration:

When it is time for the meal, we will take turns going around the table and saying what is on our leaves, with the rest of the family responding “Thanks be to God.”  The kids will use gift wrapping tape to secure the leaves to the window as we pray.  We will conclude our prayers with a “repeat-after-me” version of this prayer:

Thanksgiving Prayer for Harvest Time
Loving God, all that we have
comes from your goodness
and the work of those who love us.
Bless us and the food we share.
Watch over those who care for us.
Open our eyes to the needs of the poor
during this time of
harvest and thanksgiving.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
(Elizabeth McMahon Jeep, Blessings and Prayers through the Year, Liturgy Training Publications 2004)

May God bless you and your family as we celebrate!  May it be a holy time for you.

Advent 2017: #jesusbirthatoz

jesusbirthatoz cover001.jpg

This Advent, our entire parish is diving deeply into the story of Jesus’ birth, including all of the stories around Jesus’ birth from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.  I am in the process of writing a daily devotion for the entire parish, which is gathered weekly into our “The Story of the Birth of Jesus from Beginning to End” flip book.  The resource is written toward my confirmation students, who are in fifth-eighth grade, but each day has elements that can be appreciated by younger children and adults, as well.

In our house, we have decided to make it a daily time at supper.  After our meal prayer and while the food is being served, our second grader reads the Bible verses and the questions for the day and shows us the picture.  As we eat, each of us has the opportunity to answer the questions for the day at our own level (I sometimes have to rephrase them for our four-year-olds).  Before everyone leaves the table, one of the children leads us in the prayer for the day repeat-after-me style (I whisper it into the ears of the ones who can’t yet read).

We are only a few days into the devotion, but I am encouraged by how interested they are in it.  We will be talking about it at church, as well, and given opportunities to decorate it each week as we wish.

If you and your family would like to use this resource, you can find it at

New devotions will be available each week until January 21, so check back often.  I hope that this season is meaningful for you and your family!

Gideon’s Army: Judges 7

**For the next three weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer. Our curriculum was Group’s Maker Fun Factory.
You can find week one of this series here: God Creates Us
You can find week 2 here: Rahab and the Spies

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 Gideon’s army. Help our time together to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Judges 7
Read the story of Gideon’s army in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time. You can find it here:

Now, read Joshua 1:9:

Discuss as a family:
Who was Gideon?
What was Gideon’s army?
How did they defeat the Midianites?

Song: Be Strong and Courageous
Our focus verse for the day at VBS was Joshua 1:9. Here is a video to remind us of this verse:

Activity: Gideon’s Torches and Noisemakers
My favorite part of this story is when a small group of 300 people defeats an entire army by using their brains instead of their strength. We thought it would be fun to pretend to be that army for God Time.

To make the torches, gather a small, inexpensive LED flashlight, a roll of red tulle, duct tape (we used the orage tape from last week), and a scissor. For noisemakers, we purchased glowing whistles from the seasonal section of WalMart. I could have just used glow wands for this craft, but I wanted something that they could play with again and again. The glow whistles still work long after the glow stick part has faded.


Wrap the tulle around the end of the flashlight to look like the flame coming off of a torch. Secure the tulle to the flashlight with the duct tape. Open the whistles and crack them to make them glow.


Our girls then had a wonderful time running up and down a darkened hallway yelling “For the Lord and for Gideon!” I surely would have run away in fear!


Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you. Join us next week for another VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you give us strength and courage. Help us to always stand up for what is right. In your name we pray, Amen.