It’s All About the Father’s Love

broomby Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International

Jesus told many stories to help his disciples understand His life’s work.  A cluster of three is recorded in Luke 15 and this may be the best place for us to begin our walk.  In each account, something (or someone) is lost – a coin, a lamb, a son.  It’s as if Jesus is trying to cover all the bases, to find a way to appeal to the values and lifestyles of everyone.  But, one common theme is clear for all three stories: it’s the one who has lost something that goes all out to find it.  In the longer, final account it is clearly the father who must deal with his loss and who searches the horizon for the wayward son to come home.

Depending on the size of your family and the ages of your children, you will have to decide how much of this chapter you will want to…

ENGAGE.  It‘s probably best to decide on one of the three stories for your focus.  Initially, you’ll read it, perhaps several times from different versions of the Bible, including a Bible Story Book if some of your family members are pre-readers.  If your children are older and capable of it, you could introduce your chosen parable by summarizing the other two and pointing out (or letting them discover for themselves) where the stories are alike and where they are very different.

EXPLORE the meaning.  Questions you might ask: How do these stories help us understand what life was like in Jesus day?  How was life different from ours?  Like ours?  For which of the stories does Jesus stop to explain their meaning?  How do you think the people listening to Jesus responded?  Is there a personal message for us, today?  Allow time for responses here.

EXPERIENCE the stories.  Here you’ll fit the activity to the ages, interests and talents of your kids.  Some may draw, some may produce a drama, some may create a poem or song, a psalm or a prayer.  Adults participate in this as well and when time allows, everyone expresses himself for the benefit of all.

EMBRACE the Savior.  At some point it will be appropriate to ask something like this:  If Jesus, Himself, joined our family circle, what do you think He would do or say?  Don’t be afraid of slow responses.  Silence is all right; give time to think.  One thing we know He did say is found in Luke 19:10.  (Pick one person ahead of time to be ready to read this from his Bible, or from a card you’ve provided with the verse printed out.) For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Conclude with prayers of praise and thanksgiving…once we were lost but now we’re found!

PREPARING TO WALK

Consider some of the following:

  • Set aside space.   Find a corner in the family room or some other part of the house where you can gather comfortably (adequate lighting, comfortable seating and the like).  You might include a table or stand where you can create a worship center.
  • Gather materials ahead of time.  Here are some ideas: cardboard, two-fold poster board (think science fair) to display art work.  A basket for art supplies like markers, color pencils/crayons, 3X5 and 4X6 cards, construction paper, sticky notes and the like.  A basket to hold puppets, head scarves and sashes for drama presentations.  A basket with homemade musical instruments.
  • Choose visuals like a favorite picture of Jesus (the Good Shepherd?) and a glass-held candle to light, helping you recognize the presence of Jesus Who is ever-present by His Spirit.  A family-time journal will help you record your experiences.
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