Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reflection - Christian Family

Source (book): "Faithful to the end", Question 2, Page 41.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


The HOLY FAMILY
PHOTO: The HOLY FAMILY
Posted by Pope St. Leo the Great, OUR LADY OF FATIMA CRUSADER BULLETIN, Vol. 41, Issue No. 108
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-c0O5I3UVrVw/VUsztO2kXLI/AAAAAAAAf-Q/1wPkRKmmfwY/s1600/hlyfamly.JPG
http://www.salvemariaregina.info/Images/hlyfamly.JPG
http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-108.html

 

If you were brought up in a Christian Family, share how you have been blessed by a good heritage of learning biblical truths, values, and developing godly habits. If you are are a parent, share how you are ensuring that your children have a home environment that is conducive for true Christian nurture. How the church help her families to pass on the faith?


If you were brought up in a Christian Family, share how you have been blessed by a good heritage of learning biblical truths, values, and developing godly habits.
Timothy's Rich Family Hertiage [1]
Blessed by a good heritage: Have a godly mother and grandmother who were devout in the practice of their faith
Having referred to his rich Jewish heritage in the history of his forefathers, Paul then reminds Timothy of his own immediate family's heritage. As a half Jew - for his mother was a Jewess and his father a Greek (Act 16:1) - Timothy shared Paul's Jewish heritage. In addition, he was blessed to have a godly grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. Both women were probably converted to the Christian faith along with Timothy through Paul's ministry. Theirs was a heritage of "sincere faith" (2 Timothy 1:5). Before they became Christians, these women were devout in the practice of their Jewish faith.



Blessed by a good heritage: Have a godly mother and grandmother who were devout in the practice of their faith
PHOTO: Blessed by a good heritage: Have a godly mother and grandmother who were devout in the practice of their faith
Timothy was blessed to have a godly grandmother Lois and mother Eunice.
Picture by Daniel Ridgway Knight (March 15, 1839 - March 9, 1924), American painter - Women Washing Clothes by a Stream
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1BVDXK-nlFs/VUszrAc9I9I/AAAAAAAAf9w/D9jmI7OMC9U/s1600/Daniel%2BRidgway%2BKnight%2B-%2BWomen%2BWashing%2BClothes%2Bby%2Ba%2BStream.jpg
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-PmAWnk7EKYQ/TXvT_kdWmKI/AAAAAAAAhZ8/gZ7TBJ5PZ8c/s1042/Daniel%2520Ridgway%2520Knight%2520-%2520Women%2520Washing%2520Clothes%2520by%2520a%2520Stream.jpg
https://g1b2i3.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/daniel-ridgway-knight-15-martie-1839-9-martie-1924-pictor-american/



Blessed by a good heritage: Known the holy Scriptures and easily recognised that Jesus was the promised Messiah
Later in the epistle, Paul remarked how Timothy had a godly heritage and that he was no stranger to the Scriptures: "From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures" (2 Timothy 3:15). From young, Timothy was nurtured in the Jewish faith and taught the Scriptures. This was most likely done by his mother and grandmother. We can imagine how they spent time reading the Scriptures to Timothy and telling him about God and the stories of His people. They must have taught him Jewish hymns and psalms and initiated him into Jewish practices. Their hearts were ready when the gospel was preached to them, for their Jewish faith was ploughed ground for the seed of the gospel to be sown. They must have easily recognised that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that their Jewish faith anticipated Him.



Blessed by a good heritage: Known the holy Scriptures and easily recognised that Jesus was the promised Messiah
PHOTO: Blessed by a good heritage: Known the holy Scriptures and easily recognised that Jesus was the promised Messiah
Timothy had a godly heritage and that he was no stranger to the Scriptures: "From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures" (2 Timothy 3:15).
Picture from pixshark.com, Children Bible Study Clipart
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xbcxaHonOqY/VUszr8XxRwI/AAAAAAAAf90/bejvU2kmz8g/s1600/Holy-Bible.163205658.jpg
http://christrescuemission.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Holy-Bible.163205658.jpg
http://pixshark.com/children-bible-study-clipart.htm



Blessed by a good heritage: Young Christians continued to be encouraged and nurtured
After they became Christians, Lois and Eunice probably continued to encourage and nurture young Timothy. The totality of their faith in God and their newfound faith in Christ must have been an inspiration to Timothy. Paul reminded Timothy of this wonderful heritage in his family. [1]



Blessed by a good heritage: Young Christians continued to be encouraged and nurtured
PHOTO: Blessed by a good heritage: Young Christians continued to be encouraged and nurtured
Lois and Eunice probably continued to encourage and nurture young Timothy. The totality of their faith in God and their newfound faith in Christ must have been an inspiration to Timothy.
Pinned by Yvonne on Pinterest
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-O_oLDgYfilU/VUszrJPby0I/AAAAAAAAf9o/0G-ISO5WAuk/s1600/1ff251ecbdf3c99fc1be16f8ecb6ce25.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1f/f2/51/1ff251ecbdf3c99fc1be16f8ecb6ce25.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/345018021429640492/



If you are are a parent, share how you are ensuring that your children have a home environment that is conducive for true Christian nurture.

Parent ensure that they spent significant and regular time with each child, teaching them about God and helping them to read the Bible
[1] It is indeed a blessing to grow up in a godly family. Through there is no guarantee that godly parents will produce godly children, godly parents have a significant positive influence on their children. Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism, has 19 children. Through several of them died early, Susanna left a lasting influence on John and Charles. She made it a point to spent significant and regular time with each child, teaching them about God and helping them to read the Bible. At the age of five, each child was introduced to the alphabet and began reading the Bible [3]. John Wesley was particularly inspired and influenced by his mother. He would often consult her on important matters and take her advice seriously. For example, she was instrumental in his decision to use lay preachers (A person who is not ordained but is appointed to lead Church services in a religious denomination) in his mission. [4]



 Parent ensure that they spent significant and regular time with each child, teaching them about God and helping them to read the Bible

PHOTO: Parent ensure that they spent significant and regular time with each child, teaching them about God and helping them to read the Bible
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GrBpB02jPDI/VUszuW3kR1I/AAAAAAAAf-k/HfhSV3EDNvQ/s1600/mother_and_child-1401072.jpg
http://wallpapersinhq.com/images/big/mother_and_child-1401072.jpg
http://wallpapersinhq.com/98869-mother_and_child/



Parent ensure that their godliness inspires the younger generations to continue on the faith
There are numerous biographies of illustrious Christians who attribute their faith to their godly parents. A praying mother or father will leave lasting impressions on their children. It is always inspiring to read about a continuous line of pastors or missionaries across a few generations. In Indian Christian history, Vedanayagam Sastriar (1774-1864) was an extraordinarily gifted poet in the royal court of Tanjore in the 19th century following his early conversion and subsequent theological studies. He become a great Christian poet and hymn writer, and wrote more than 500 lyrics, several of which are still used today, and 130 books. His son continued the tradition and this has been going on for many generations till this day.
This family has a rich tradition of Christian music and ministry - unbroken for two centuries. [5]



Parent ensure that their godliness inspires the younger generations to continue on the faith
PHOTO: Parent ensure that their godliness inspires the younger generations to continue on the faith
There are numerous biographies of illustrious Christians who attribute their faith to their godly parents. A praying mother or father will leave lasting impressions on their children.
Picture posted by Kristina Seleshanko on 19 October 2012
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vujdDSBqUdA/VUszuNE7UNI/AAAAAAAAf-g/BmDrDMPBbpU/s1600/momchild.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GxJKTIEqUQw/UHcwIhl2WKI/AAAAAAAADjo/gFYCWZT6xiU/s1600/momchild.jpg
http://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.sg/2012/10/a-proverb-31-womans-priorities.html#.VUXYjfCYQz8



Parent ensure that rich Christian heritage and godliness continue in the generations that follow
The implications of such stories about parents and grandparents are to be noted. If we come form a family background with rich Christian heritage and godliness, it is important to continue that heritage in the generations that follow. If we do not have this heritage, for instance in the case of converts from other religious backgrounds, then it is important to begin this history of godliness in your family. This is especially important in our fast-paced society today, where people are often too busy to give attention to the most important matters in life, with truly long-term consequences. [1]



Parent ensure that rich Christian heritage and godliness continue in the generations that follow
PHOTO: Parent ensure that rich Christian heritage and godliness continue in the generations that follow
THE HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENT OF PARENTS IS TO RAISE GODLY CHILDREN.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XWD5H3kJPoo/VUszrDYGYqI/AAAAAAAAf9s/CDZt1PQwLro/s1600/4e5483eb4dc9b88eed5506b860a4a1cb.jpg
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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274860383482360770/



Parent ensure that Christian virtues in the home make up a godly heritage that will bless those who grow up in such home
The way we love, trust, and fear God; read and obey the Bible; pray; love the church; serve God; practise Christian virtues such as honesty, patience, simplicity, and generosity; and relate with people, will leave their mark on the young. Time taken to talk about spiritual matters and share inspiring stories will bear lasting fruit. Godly rules, rituals and relationships in the home make up a godly heritage that will bless those who grow up in such home. [1]



Parent ensure that Christian virtues in the home make up a godly heritage that will bless those who grow up in such home
PHOTO: Parent ensure that Christian virtues in the home make up a godly heritage that will bless those who grow up in such home
Time taken to talk about spiritual matters and share inspiring stories will bear lasting fruit.
By cartoonist Reynolds, Dan, uploaded on 13 March 2014 - 'Do you have any oranges?'
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RSHOCwYt_r4/VUszvTrNzPI/AAAAAAAAf-4/8kxOiaJtAFs/s1600/religion-fruit-orange-christian-christianity-virtue-dren974_low.jpg
https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/religion-fruit-orange-christian-christianity-virtue-dren974_low.jpg
https://www.cartoonstock.com/cartoonview.asp?catref=dren974



Parent ensure that they Love their children. Keep a loving, open relationship [6]
First and foremost, love them. Keep a loving, open relationship. This is going to be very difficult, because chances are there is a lot pain on both sides. Well, love them anyway, and remember that people change; kids grow up and grow old. Have some faith in the course of life. Frequently, a rebellious, antagonistic stance in an 18-year-old mellows considerably by the time that 18-year-old marries and has children.
Prodigals (a man or boy who has left his family in order to do something that the family disapprove of and has now returned home feeling sorry for what he has done) do return to the fold, and some of it is simply a consequence of aging.
Finally, for parents of prodigals, recognize that religion and love are not the same things. A lot of parents personalize the rejection of religion as a rejection of them as parents. That's easy to do, because religion means so terribly much to these devout parents. They want their kids to have the benefits of a faith life that they have enjoyed. They want to see their children in heaven. But don't confuse religious conformity with love, and don't confuse a lack of religious conformity with a lack of love. [6]



Parent ensure that they Love their children. Keep a loving, open relationship
PHOTO: Parent ensure that they Love their children. Keep a loving, open relationship
Frequently, a rebellious, antagonistic stance in an 18-year-old mellows considerably by the time that 18-year-old marries and has children. Prodigals do return to the fold, and some of it is simply a consequence of aging.
Posted by 赤城山学園 (Mount Akagi Institute)
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3YoynpFYFN0/VUszsfnLRjI/AAAAAAAAf-E/2NzHY9UmLUY/s1600/aqwea.png
http://www.akagaku.net/wp-content/uploads/aqwea.png
http://www.akagaku.net/ja/going-back-to-the-father/



Parents should not underestimate the religious influence of grandparents [6]
Due to increased life expectancy, grandparents today can and want to have a greater religious influence in the lives of their grandchildren. Almost 4 in 10 of the grandchildren were in the same faith tradition as their grandparents. In part, this number can be attributed to grandparents who are raising grandchildren full-time.
In 2008, 2.5 million grandparents were primarily responsible for the care of one or more grandchildren.
However, sometimes there is a "skipped generation" effect, where grandchildren emulate the faith of a grandparent instead of a parent's example. For instance, we studied the Sabelli family, whose great-grandfather Leo was a warm, charismatic figure. Though his children had rocky marriages and were not strong faith role models, the grandchildren remember him as the strength and rock of the family.
Granddaughter Shari Sabelli, now 58 years old, recalls sitting in the pew with her grandpa, a red carnation in his lapel; the same ritual week after week made the church a place where she felt secure. That kind of grandparental influence that reaches back five decades is quite dramatic. [6]



Parents should not underestimate the religious influence of grandparents
PHOTO: Parents should not underestimate the religious influence of grandparents
Due to increased life expectancy, grandparents today can and want to have a greater religious influence in the lives of their grandchildren. Almost 4 in 10 of the grandchildren were in the same faith tradition as their grandparents. In part, this number can be attributed to grandparents who are raising grandchildren full-time.
In 2008, 2.5 million grandparents were primarily responsible for the care of one or more grandchildren.

However, sometimes there is a "skipped generation" effect, where grandchildren emulate the faith of a grandparent instead of a parent's example.
Picture from imgarcade.com - Grandparents With Grandchildren Being Active
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ul4QWZSrv0g/VUszsH32z_I/AAAAAAAAf94/Mr3zVAdJ0Jc/s1600/active-grandmother-612x300.jpg
http://activeforlife.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/active-grandmother-612x300.jpg
http://imgarcade.com/1/grandparents-with-grandchildren-being-active/



Parent bring your children to church [6]
One fairly obvious thing, more obvious than I expected, lies in parents who provide consistent modeling. If the parents aren't consistent, the kids won't have religious role models to emulate. In other words, don't just send your children to church, bring them!
The second thing we found was that the quality of the relationship between the child and the parent affects the success or lack of success in transmission. Warm, affirming parents, especially fathers, tend to be the most successful. For example, we followed a very religious father who comes from a long line of Mormon patriarchs, a stalwart of the church who allowed for no tampering with tradition or slippage in his five children's devotion. His son, Austin, goes away to a mission where he has a nervous breakdown and is sent home. His father is furious, and Austin leaves the church. Again and again, we saw that fervent faith cannot compensate for a distant, inflexible dad. Being a role model is irrelevant if the child doesn't feel the parent's example is worth following. [6]



Parent bring your children to church
PHOTO: Parent bring your children to church
One fairly obvious thing, more obvious than I expected, lies in parents who provide consistent modeling. If the parents aren't consistent, the kids won't have religious role models to emulate. In other words, don't just send your children to church, bring them!
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children (Isaiah 54:13).
Posted by Charliese Lewis on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 9:18 AM
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1EVeDgeE7eY/VUsztTGDgXI/AAAAAAAAf-I/a6Fea_pwfY4/s1600/kid_angels_choir-1.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uY5Z6WtkX_s/VJLhSRLZPbI/AAAAAAAABfc/k32w3m6bmHs/s1600/kid_angels_choir.jpg
http://theafterchurchexperience.blogspot.sg/2014/12/ace-315-its-okay-to-have-proud-parent.html



How the church help her families to pass on the faith?
Churches can help to spark faith from generation to generation [7]
The data, according to Bengtson, "indicates a trend towards polarization in religious intensity over time." [8]

In every way that the study tested, those at either end of the spectrum of religiosity (either very religious or not at all religious) transferred that quality to the next generation at significantly higher rates than those in the middle. For example, parents who attend church "weekly or more" and those who attend "never" passed that quality on to their kids 59% and 55% of the time, respectively. Those who attend either "monthly" or "once a year," on the other hand, had young adult children who fit into the same category 31% and 26% of the time. Similar statistics carried across the various measures of religiosity.



Churches can help to spark faith from generation to generation
PHOTO: Churches can help to spark faith from generation to generation
One of the biggest steps churches can take, therefore, to help spark faith from generation to generation is to encourage and equip parents in their discipleship. When a kid sees and hears that faith actually makes a difference in Mom and Dad's lives, they're much more likely to follow suit.
Posted by  scrapwordsmom on Monday, 22 October 2012 at 11:57 AM
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-W2dwVzoTFWs/VUsztnNNwaI/AAAAAAAAf-Y/iLeJpPEtQ1M/s1600/lds-pictures-of-jesus-christ-with-children_1.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qPBW4yj-Hgw/UIV2m1dPQ6I/AAAAAAAAGek/fY_SMprzi9Y/s1600/lds-pictures-of-jesus-christ-with-children_1.jpg
http://wordsofmeproject.blogspot.sg/2012/10/week-fouralready.html



Bengtson says that one reason for this data "is parental behavior, such as role modeling and consistency. If the parents are not themselves involved in religious activities, if their actions are not consistent with what they preach, children are rarely motivated to follow in their parents' religious footsteps."

One of the biggest steps churches can take, therefore, to help spark faith from generation to generation is to encourage and equip parents in their discipleship. When a kid sees and hears that faith actually makes a difference in Mom and Dad's lives, they're much more likely to follow suit. [7]


The following is taken from "HELPING FAMILIES CHANGE - How can your church motivate families to change their routine to pass down faith with consistency and intentionality?", By IMPARTING FAITH, COPYRIGHT © 2012.


Understand the change process [9]
5 stages to change [10]
Stage 1: Pre-contemplation (Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)
Stage 2: Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of  wanting to make a change)
Stage 3: Preparation (Getting ready to change)
Stage 4: Action/Willpower (Changing behavior)
Stage 5: Maintenance (Maintaining the behavior change) and Relapse (Returning to older behaviors and abandoning the new changes)  [10]



The Stages of Change Model (Prochaska, DiClemente & Todd Atkins)
PHOTO: The Stages of Change Model (Prochaska, DiClemente & Todd Atkins)
Posted by AddictionInfo.org on 5 May 2015

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dhVopoonRP0/VUszvtKXItI/AAAAAAAAf-w/xjq5yNWgXq4/s1600/stagesofchangegraphic.png
http://www.addictioninfo.org/images/stagesofchangegraphic.png
http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/11/1/Stages-of-Change-Model/Page1.html


The mediums that contribute to the different stages of change [9]
Pre-contemplation- Sermons, Classes, and Imparting Faith Book
Contemplation- Sermons, Classes, Parent Discussion Groups, and Imparting Faith Book
Preparation- Parent Discussion Groups, Simulation Groups, Imparting Faith Book
Action- Simulation Groups, (Ultimately the family must initiate action, but your church can help them take the first step in the process through a simulation)
Maintenance- Follow up discussion groups 6 months after initiation, announcements, emails, handouts, web links, and references to Imparting Faith sermon and class discussions [9]

Discussion groups provide an opportunity to address a smaller crowd and provide a natural opportunity to accomplish 5 things [9]
(1) Show families what passing down their faith looks like among families with children of different ages and circumstances.
(2) Relieve anxiety and worry about doing faith activities in their homes.
(3) Explain how making a decision to become more intentional about imparting faith will change the spiritual growth of their children.
(4) Introduce parents to other church members who will help them through this change. 
(5) Identify challenges in passing down faith to specific ages. [9]

SIMULATIONS [9]
The purpose of the simulations is to:
(1) Provide families an opportunity to make a commitment to imparting faith to their children.
(2) Provide an opportunity for families to act immediately on their commitment to intentionally passing down their faith with other parents nearby.
(3) Enhance parents’ confidence in their ability to do faith activities regularly within their children. [9]

REMINDERS [9]
Announcements, emails, handouts, web links, and sermon references provide simple reminders to families who may have good intentions, but who have not actually started doing faith activities with their children. 

This will be a key in helping families maintain their focus on growing their children to be faithful believers. [9]
Please read the details at this website . . . . . . . . 
http://www.impartfaith.com/helpingfamilieschange.html, By IMPARTING FAITH, COPYRIGHT © 2012.


Understand the change process
PHOTO: Understand the change process
Picture taken from Vistage Malaysia - Eight Steps to Facilitate Change

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-J0BDu2rmDHs/VUszss6sBpI/AAAAAAAAf98/254MjoXfOvs/s1600/change20process.jpg
http://vistage.com.my/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/change20process.jpg
http://vistage.com.my/blog/eight-steps-to-facilitate-change/



The reflection question and content is from the book "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014, by Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012.



An evening family prayer
PHOTO: An evening family prayer
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded to us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food and the bright skies
that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Amen.
–Robert Louis Stevenson

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-u0MQNHi699o/VUszu5F7v8I/AAAAAAAAf-s/LIbZtmoYCX0/s1600/postcardPhysiciansPrayer600.jpg
https://cmda.org/Library/imglib/postcardPhysiciansPrayer600.jpg
http://galleryhip.com/christian-family-praying.html




Reference

[1] From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART ONE: UNITED WITH CHRIST, Chapter 3 "I know my Heritage" (2 Timothy 1:3-7), Page 36 - 38.

[3] John Pollock, Wesley the Preacher: The Definitive Biography of John Wesley (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 1989), Page 20 - 21.

[4] Janet Benge and Ceoff Benge, John Wesley: The World His Parish (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2007), Page 121 - 122.

[5] Details of this continuous ministry across several generations are found at www.sastriars.org/index.html.
One of the key living sastriars, Durairaj Baga vathar Vedanayagam Sastriar, was called by God to continue in this tradition of ministry when he read Isaiah 59:21, http://www.sastriars.org/present_sastriars.html.

[6] Religion Runs in the Family, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/august-web-only/religion-runs-in-family.html?start=2, © 2015 Christianity Today, Interview by Amy Ziettlow on 20 September 2013

[7] Helping Kids Keep the Faith - Four Research Insights Every Parent Needs to know, http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/articles/helping-kids-keep-the-faith, Copyright © 2015 Fuller Youth Institute, by Dr. Bengtson (Photo by Dustin McClure).

[8] Bengtson, Vern L. with Norella M. Putney and Susan Harris, Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations, New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, Page 61.

[9] HELPING FAMILIES CHANGE - How can your church motivate families to change their routine to pass down faith with consistency and intentionality?, http://www.impartfaith.com/helpingfamilieschange.html, By IMPARTING FAITH, COPYRIGHT © 2012.

[10] The concepts regarding stages of change come from the Transtheoretical Model, http://www.prochange.com/ttm.


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