Your Own Summer Games
Here are several Bible-related games that can teach valuable life-lessons while you have fun together as a family. Summer is a great time to develop a child's appreciation for the Bible.
During the four weekends this summer, plan a Bible-related game that your entire family can enjoy - and at the same time gain a few useful ideas from the Bible. I've given you five options to choose from. That gives you one extra for a rainy day!
With liberty and freedom in the news and activities the first weekend, play this easy game. Assign one story to each family member to tell briefly and show how it still relates to freedom today. (Older youngsters and parents can read the story ahead of time themselves, but for younger kids, help them to tell the story simply.)
- Freedom from a bully: I Samuel 17: 38-50
- Freedom from imprisonment: Acts 12: 1-12
- Freedom from a life-long illness: John 5: 2-9 F
- reedom from sexist laws: Numbers 27: 1-7
- Freedom from insufficient money: II Kings 4: 1-7
Make a present-day point with each story. For example, in the last one, if there is a teen-aged youngster in the family, talk about what he has "in his house" that can increase his earning ability.
Planting a Garden
Show what happens to seeds (and seeds in one's thinking) if they are properly planted and tended versus improperly started. Base this on Luke 8: 4-8. Begin this fun project early in the month so your seeds have time to sprout and grow. Fill a large flat pan (a rectangular Pyrex will do) with good soil in the center half. At one end place flat rocks, and at the other end put some gravel. Using small seeds such as alyssum, work together to plant your garden: place seeds in the gravel, upon the rocks, and in the center soil. (You can omit the part about thorns as this is too difficult.) Follow the story and water the seeds as necessary. See how the three sections fare. Be sure to make the point of the story as told in Luke 8: 9-15.
Most family members can think of ways to act-out these "Who am I characters" by themselves, but younger ones may need whispered suggestions. As each person begins, remember that there is no talking, just acting-out what the person is doing. Some suggestions: Daniel in the lions den, David writing a psalm, Elijah being fed by ravens, Jacob fooling his father Isaac to get Esau's blessing, Jesus turning water into wine, Jesus healing the widow's dead son, Jesus feeding the multitude, Jesus healing the ear of Malchus, the risen Jesus preparing breakfast for the fishing disciples, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus, Jonah praying in the fish's belly, Joseph caring for his brothers during a famine, Mary Magdalene discovering the empty tomb, Pharaoh's daughter finding baby Moses, Moses breaking the first stone Commandments, Noah seeing the dove while on the ark, Paul unhurt when a viper bites his hand, Peter denying Jesus three times, Samuel being awakened by God calling him.
Modern Day Parables
Choose a well-known parable for each family member (do this in advance so each has time to think about his parable). The parable is to be told in modern language so it is difficult for others to identify it. Good parables of Jesus are: Building upon the rock or the sand (Matthew 7: 24-27), The rich fool (Luke 12: 15-21), The lost coin (Luke 15: 8-10), The lost sheep (Matthew 18-12-14), The good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), The prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-24), The prodigal's brother (Luke 15: 25-32). The object is to see how long the story teller can continue until the parable is recognized. For example, in telling the parable of the prodigal's brother, the teller might say: "This guy was very good, did what he was told, but one day his feelings were really hurt when he saw what was going on at his house...."
Your Own Last-of-the-Month Supper
As July ends, prepare a simple meal of various breads and spreads served with grape juice while one adult reads the story of "The Last Supper" (Luke 22: 14-30). Discuss the significance of friendship and loyalty, dishonesty and jealousy, and the meaning of the bread and wine. Also discuss Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet and the events that followed the last supper.
These activities are more subtle forms of learning life-lessons, but they are also very memorable. When youngsters have a bit more time to spend with the family, choose to use some of that time to enhance their appreciation of the Bible.