Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 Father's Day Family Devotion Guide (TBC)

2016 Father's Day Family Devotion Guide
A few tips:
· Make your preparation simple.  If you will thoughtfully read through the lesson ahead of time, you should be adequately prepared.
· Just the act of having a family devotion or worship time says something to your kids about what it important.  It can be a challenge to make family devotions an enjoyable and profitable time, but it will never happen if you don’t try.
· Plan a time when everybody can participate.  Make sure they know not to make other plans for that time.  Keep it short. Keep it simple.
· Let  the children interrupt and ask questions at the right times. This is not just a sermon. Let everybody ask, speak, tell, share, and participate. You want to know what they are thinking and whether they understand.
· Include everyone, even the young ones. While it may seem easier to have a quiet time with just the older ones, it is so important to include your little ones in this family time.  As they grow and mature, they will learn to sit quietly during the devotion time.
· It’s important to remember their ages.  If you have small children, you are probably not going to have a deep teaching time.  Try to include different approaches that are age appropriate.
· Let them be children. They’re fidgety. They’re impatient. They’re children. Try to keep a semblance of order during this time together, but be realistic and patient.  Yelling at them to be quiet and sit still defeats the purpose.
· Turn off all electronics. I know this may seem like a given, but it needs to be mentioned.

I. Prayer:
· The leader (probably dad) should start this time by asking God to bless your time together. 
· You might also want to encourage the family to take turns thanking God for something they appreciate about Dad.

III. Scripture Reading:  Luke 15:11-32*
(The theme of this parable is the Father's love and open welcome to all those who repent and turn to Him.  We all need Christ's grace and salvation whether we have sinned grievously or been faithful to church traditions and work.)
11Jesus then told another story.  There was a man that had two sons. 12 The younger son went to his father. “Father, please give me now my part of your things”, he said. So, the father gave both sons their part of his things. 13 After a few days, the younger son sold what his father had given to him. Then he left home. He took with him the money and everything that he had. He went on a long journey to a country far away. He wasted all his money there and he did many bad things. 14 Then after he had spent everything, something bad happened in that country. There was almost no food anywhere. So, the young man had nothing to eat. 15 He went to a man from that country and he asked for work. The man sent him into his fields to watch his pigs. 16 Nobody gave him anything to eat. So he even wanted to eat the food that the pigs were eating.
17 Then the son began to think about what he had done. “My father has many servants”, he said to himself, “and they have plenty of food to eat. They even have extra food. But I shall die here because I do not have any food. 18 So I will go to my father. ‘I have done bad things against God’, I will tell him. ‘And I have done them against you. 19 So I am not good enough for you to call me your son any longer. Instead, please accept me as one of your servants.’ ”
20 So he stood up and he returned to his father. But he was still a long way from the house when his father saw him. He felt very sorry for his son and he ran towards him. Then he put his arms around him and he kissed him. 21 “Father”, the son said, “I have done bad things against God and against you. So I am not good enough for you to call me your son.” 22 But the father shouted to his servants. “Hurry!” he said. “Fetch the most beautiful coat that we have. Put it on him and put a ring on one of his fingers. Put shoes on his feet. 23 Fetch the young cow that we keep ready to eat on a special day. It is already fat. Kill it and prepare it. We shall eat a big meal and we shall be happy together. 24 I thought that this son of mine was dead. But now he has returned to me alive. I thought that he had left me for all time. But now he has come home.” Then they began to be happy together.
25 While these things were happening, the older son was working in the field. On his way back to the house, he heard music. He heard people who were dancing. 26 So he spoke to one of the servants. “What is happening?” he asked him. 27 “Your brother has returned”, the servant replied. “Your father has killed the young fat cow for him. He did this because your brother is alive and well.” 28 When he heard this, he was very angry. He would not go into the house, so his father came out. “Please come in”, he said. 29 “Listen”, replied the older son, “I have worked for you for many years. I have always obeyed you. But you never even killed a young goat for me. If you had done that, I could have been happy with my friends. We could have had a meal together. 30 But now this other son of yours has returned. He has wasted all the money that you gave to him. He has spent it on women of the streets. But you have killed the young fat cow just for him.” 31 “My son”, said his father, “you are always with me. All that I have is yours. 32 We thought that your brother was dead. But now he has returned to us alive. We thought that he had left us for all time. But now he has come home. So we must be happy together.” 
* We have provided the passage in the easy to read and understand Easy English Bible.  If your children are older you might prefer to use another version like the English Standard Version.

 III. Lessons and applications
· 15:11 Jesus told another story...”  Jesus told three stories to the Pharisees and scribes after they had complained that Jesus ate with bad people.  What were the other two stories about?  What is the common theme to all three of these stories?  (Luke 19:10)  Are there people you don’t like because of bad things they do?  Do we need to agree with them before we can treat them kindly?  (Matthew 5:43-48)  (
· 15:12 “the father gave”  What did the father do for his sons?  What does this teach us about our heavenly Father?  What did the young son do with what his father gave him?  Was this the right thing to do?  Why? 
(Parents: It is important here to use the son’s foolish actions to highlight the father’s unconditional and generous love.  This is a picture of our heavenly Father.  Also, remember that the son’s actions were unwise for two reasons.  First, He was selfish and ungrateful toward his father.  Second, He spent his money foolishly on bad things  and was left with nothing.)
· 15:17 “the son began to think about what he had done”  What caused the younger son to think about his father?  What did he decide to tell his father about what he had done?  Can you think of a Bible word that describes what the son told his father?  (Confess: Psalm 51; Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9; Repent: Mark 1:15; Acts 17:17-20, 30-31; Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9
· 15:20 “when his father saw him.”  What did the father think when he saw his son?  (Mark 1:40-41; 6:34)  What did he do?  Does that surprise you?  Why?  What did verse 24 say that they felt?  Why did the father feel that way? 
· 15:25 “the older son was working ”  Why was the older son so upset about the party?  Was he right about the things he and his younger brother had done?  Why did the father say he should still be happy? (He gave more than one reason)  (Luke 15:7)  What did this brother need to repent of?  Salvation is a gift based on Jesus has done on the cross, not on what we do.
· Name this parable: The traditional name for this story is “The Prodigal Son.”  That emphasizes how bad the son was when the father welcomed him back.  Some people like to call it “The Loving Father” or  “The Prodigal God.”  Why do you think they would call God “prodigal?”  Think about what this story is teaching and talk about what your would call it.
Challenge each family member to examine themselves 
whether they have repented and turned, with faith in Christ, 
to their loving heavenly Father. 

IV. Family Activities: Below are some activities that will help reinforce the theme.  Pick one or two of these that will work best for your family.
· LOST AND FOUND RUN: Play this game like a Hide and Seek game, or hide things that the children have to FIND as the teacher calls out an item. When FOUND, the children will shout -- LOST BUT FOUND, etc.
· PRODIGAL SON PUPPET: Give each child a brown or white paper lunch bag, as well as markers, yarn for hair, eyes, and brown felt for the children to glue items on the paper bag to make a "prodigal son". Sit in a circle after the bags are completed and have the bag puppets take turns in telling what bad choices he made and what a celebration his father had for him when he returned home. The parent can ask the bag puppets questions if the children have trouble telling part of the story.
Further study on interpreting parables:

 (Optional Hymns and Songs Suggestions)  
· “Amazing Grace”  (
· “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” (
· “Unfailing Love” by Chris Tomlin  (
· “Prodigal Son Song” by the Donut Repair Club (

V. Closing:
· A father should remember that he was a husband first, and one of the best things he can do for his children is to love and cherish their mother.  His example will help set the tone for the whole family.
· The father should take a few minutes to speak words of blessing and encouragement to his wife and children, and then close in prayer for them.  If the father is not available, mom or an older child can close in prayer.
Bible Trivia about Fathers: Who am I?
1.  I felt so honored when the prophet arrived to say that God had chosen to anoint one of my sons as king! Who am I?  
2. My father was in such disbelief when he was told that I was going to be born that he was literally dumbstruck. What is his name?   --
3. I can't believe that one of my sons is best friends with my worst enemy! Who is my son?    --
4. I had a son named Isaac. Who am I?
5.  I was the son of Hachaliah and the cup-bearer to king Artaxerxes. Who am I? 
6. I was one of the seven daughters of Jethro, the Midianite priest. I met a very helpful man while out watering my father’s flocks who I later married.  Who was he?
· Science teacher: When is the boiling point reached?
Science student: When my father sees my report card!
· Son: For $20, I’ll be good.
Dad: Oh, yeah?  When I was your age, I was good for nothing.
Amber’s dad puns:
· When I was young, I wanted to study archaeology, but my dad thought it was nothing more than a lot of skullduggery .
· I had to decide between making  a salad with my mom or playing catch with my dad, it was a toss-up.
· A clown decided to retire and hand over the business to his son. His son said, 'I don't know dad, those are big shoes to fill'.
Trivia answers below:  

1. Jesse– 1 Samuel 16:12. Zechariah– Luke 1:8-203. Jonathan- 1 Samuel 20:30-31;  
4. Abraham- Genesis 21:35. Nehemiah – Nehemiah 1:16. Moses.– Exodus 2:16-21  

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