Family Time

If you are a parental figure, consider and answer these 7 questions. . .

1. How hard is it for you to set aside “family time”? What have you found to be most helpful to make sure your family gets priority time?

2. Today. Right now. How can you better serve your children?

  • Spending more time with them?
  • Giving them your undivided attention?
  • Giving them more affection?
  • Blessing them with special meals and other fun/meaningful occasions?

3. How could you get your children more involved in planning and celebrating family traditions? Are there ways you could enhance the spiritual dimension of your traditions?

4. How can you formally (e. g. family devotions) and informally (e. g. throughout your daily routine) communicate to your children the lasting values of who God is and what He has done?

5. What was the best vacation your family ever took? How can you begin planning a vacation that will honor the Lord by producing great memories for your children?

6. How regularly do you  go to (participate in) worship services as a family? What’s the most and least positive aspect of your family’s church involvement?

7. What can you do (as a parent) to make your family’s church (or worship) experience – and your children’s feelings about it – better?

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From Generation To Generation (Psalm 78:1 – 8)

From Generation to Generation (Psalm 78:1 – 8). Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.

Scripture Text:

Psalm 78 (New American Standard Bible)

Listen, O my people, to my instruction;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

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Questions:

1. People in Biblical times did not have universal access to Scripture. What took the place of history books, schools and seminaries?

2. What were your favorite stories when you were young:

  • Mother Goose?
  • Aesop’s Fables?
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales?
  • Home-spun stories?
  • Bible stories?
  • Others: ___________?

3. What are the favorite stories for any children you may have (at home, in school, in church)?

4. Who is the keeper of your family stories and traditions? Do you ever hear of times when your folks or grandparents were young? What warning to future generations is implicit in their oft-repeated stories?

5. What do you know about your family history? Why is that important to you?

6. What does the psalmist say about the history of God’s family in verses 1 – 3?

7. Think about some of the oldest stories in Scripture – creation, Adam & Eve, Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel. Why is it important that these stories are not lost? Why are they meaningful today?

8. This psalm was written by Asaph. What do we know about him (1 Chronicles 6:31, 39; 1 Chronicles 15:16, 17, 19; 1 Chronicles 16:4, 5)?

9. What did Asaph say was the responsibility of the present generation of God’s family to the next generation? Briefly look at Psalms 73 – 83. How did Asaph fulfill that responsibility? How can Christians emulate his example?

10. American essayist George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” What does that mean to you?

11. Compare Santayana’s quote with Psalm 78:7, 8. In what ways are these two authors saying the same things?

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Application:

These are some ways Christians/churches pass along God’s Word (and their faith) to the next generation. . .

  • Vacation Bible School
  • Sunday School
  • children’s worship services
  • parents reading the Bible to their children
  • multigenerational Bible studies
  • multigenerational service projects and mission trips
  • mentoring between older and younger church members
  • special church services where the “senior saints” of the congregation are honored and given time to offer their stories
  • potluck meals and church social events that give time for older people to share their stories and their lives with younger people

1. Which of these methods does your congregation currently use to pass the Word from generation to generation?

2. In which do you currently take part? What activities could you join to help pass on God’s Word to those who are younger than you?

3. How do these methods live out Psalm 78? Which of these methods would be most effective to add to your congregation?

4. Come up with some other good methods your congregation could use that are not on this list.

5. How did God’s Word get passed on to you? Tell your story to one of your peers and/or someone younger than you?

6. Why is it important that believers continue to help the next generations learn and grow?

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What To Do When Your Parents Say “No” (Ephesians 6:1 – 3)

What To Do When Your Parents Say “No” (Ephesians 6:1 – 3). Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:1 – 3 (New American Standard Bible)

Introductory Questions:

1. How do “honor” and “obey” differ in meaning?

2. What does it mean to obey your parents “in the Lord”?

3. How long should a person keep honoring his or her parents? How does this question apply to a child? A teen? A young married person? A middle-aged person?

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Parents Are People Too

As a Christian and as a son or daughter, you’re expected to honor your father and mother. But how can you when they just don’t seem to understand?

1. Find out what works and what doesn’t work. Arguing and throwing a temper tantrum is a poor way to build a trusting relationship with your parents. You might accomplish a short-term goal if they give in. Yet the Bible commands you to honor your parents. Parents will usually treat you with respect if you earn it.

2. Many kids secretly rebel against their parents’ wishes. Planning to do behind their backs what your parents have already objected to is deceitful. You wouldn’t trust someone who talked about you behind your back, but in essence, this is what you expect your parents to do if you secretly rebel.

3. Unconditional acceptance of parental standards might seem like the most obvious way to “honor” your parents, but it may not be. Parents are people. They make mistakes. Learning from mistakes helps everyone grow spiritually. Your parents might never learn to trust you if they never allow you to venture out on your own. So don’t be afraid to occasionally ask them to reconsider a decision.

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Timing Is Everything

1. Choosing a time when your parents have a minute to discuss the matter – not when they’re stressed out or not after a rough day. Be considerate of their needs as well as your own.

2. When you’re ready to talk, try not to put them on the defensive. Let them know you respect their judgment, but you feel more discussion might be in order.

3. Then present your facts. Make sure you’re honest and direct with your parents. Give them a chance to explain their concerns with you. This builds trust and respect between you and your parents.

4. Really listen. You might discover your parents were justified in their decision. They could surprise you with how well they understand your situation. Or they might reveal an incident from their past that would help you understand their reactions.

5. Discuss the problem honestly and intelligently. Allow your parents to come to a final conclusion. Whatever the decision, stick to it. Otherwise, your parents may not trust you the next time.

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Related Articles (links) on this blog:

Instructions for Christian Fathers (parents)

Family Expectations: Case Studies for Young People (3 part series)

Quick List: Six Principles for Interpersonal Communication

It’s Your Decision: Anger Prevention and Conflict Resolution

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