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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | overview of theme

Family Lives If the Church is meant to be a family, then what can we learn about the Church, and what part do we play in making church life a happy family life? Well, ladies and gents, you can see from the title and subheading above, we are heading into interesting territory this month: exploring family life – perhaps one of the world’s taboo subjects. After all, you don’t criticise family – do you! Well, perhaps we need to start with the bigger questions. What is family? Is family important? Who says Church is meant to be a family at all? Presumably someone does, or we wouldn’t refer to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and Channel 4 wouldn’t have been able to make Father Ted (*miss that show!). Family life has changed significantly over the years. It may be that if you were to take a snapshot of families in years gone by, or pulled together a cross section for interview, you may have got very similar reports of what constitutes family. Today however, there is no obvious 2.4 children picture of mum, dad, and two kids. Now you could factor in single parents, single-sex couples, adopted and fostered kids. There are all manner of people coming together to be a family unit. Also, the way individual families are constructed has changed. No longer do sons necessarily follow their dads into the family business, or daughters learn to behave like their mums; youth culture is one of the factors that has changed all that – and the Church needs to be better at digesting what family is all about!

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So when we start to picture Church as a family, we are immediately struck by the obvious fact that there are no set criteria for family now. TV families range from Family Guy and My Family to The Simpsons, Modern Family, Two and a Half Men, The Royle Family, all with their own ways of doing things and living and loving together etc. Perhaps we need to establish some core themes that signify what we mean when using the term, and then see if they can be applied to Church. But as we seek to do that, we get struck with the question ‘What is Church’? Let’s leave that question for another month; we have plenty to be getting on with. We only pause to note that when we talk about the Church, we could be picturing our local Salvation Army corps, or perhaps chatting about the entire Church including all denominations. Presumably we can say that both need to be a family, but they would have to be family in different ways. We will be mostly focusing on local church, and how to be family in this setting. The family is of massive importance. The Government understands this, or at least they should if they want to stay in power for long. Tiny babies understand this long before they can crawl, or even talk, as they know that above all else they are reliant on their parents to survive. It is obvious that family is something we need, and have to get right. Families are legally obliged to look out for one another. Parents who do not manage to provide adequate warmth, food and shelter to their children can get into a lot of trouble. Do we always approach Church in the same way? The Salvation Army is steeped in this great tradition, with our Founder famously pointing out that it was tough for people to listen to be saved when they were suffering miserable toothache and cold feet. You sort that out, and then you can share together. Perhaps this is the first step to becoming family: recognising that there are people out there who need love and support, and that we, the Church, continued over >>>

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are ‘obliged’ to be the ones who help! Family lives are complex. It seems that has always been the case – the Bible is full of family disputes, heart-warming stories, and everything in between. Take the efforts required of his family by Noah with his ‘little boat-building project’; the brotherly rivalry of Jacob and Esau; or the more disastrous example of Cain and Abel: or the relationship between King David and his sons Solomon and Absalom. With all this in mind, please put your ‘most sensitive’ hats on before rocking up to cell group for the coming month as we celebrate family style, and choose to learn how to be better siblings, sons and daughters together.

For Youth Leaders: In writing these notes, we take into account that not all who take part in these cell gatherings will have positive experiences of family. So whenever the term is used, or at various points we take time to reflect on our own families, we suggest that individuals choose what exactly this means for them. For example, you may have a youth member with a poor experience of the fostering system where they have moved placements several times and sometimes struggle to get on with their foster-family. They may consider their close friends, church leaders, foster- or birth parents as family.

celloutlines

MARCH 2011

celloutlines | overview of theme (continued...)

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week one These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

You can choose your friends... Kit list: • Pens • Paper • Post-it Notes

Welcome Write the following quotes on separate pieces of paper, then read them through. Which do you agree with? Which do you disagree with? Are there any you do not understand that you can work out as a group? Put them in order, of things you most agree with, to things you least agree with. • ‘A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.’ • ‘A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living’ • ‘All people are your relatives, therefore expect only trouble from them.’ • ‘I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.’ • ‘The family is a haven in a heartless world.’ • ‘Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.’ • ‘We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiralling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.’ • ‘A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.’

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• ‘You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.’ Last quote – ‘You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.’ Imagine if you could – sit down and sketch out a family tree for a partner, using celebrities, comic, historical, biblical and fictional characters etc to come up with the perfect family group to reflect their interests, personality, and ambitions. Try to come up with three or four generations of family members and sketch out a tree diagram. Explain why you have chosen each family member. Are you happy with your new family? What changes would you make?

Word Psalm 68:6 Here are three versions of a verse from Psalm 68. God places the lonely in families, he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy; But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. (New Living Translation) continued over >>>

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week one (continued...) God gives the lonely a home. He leads prisoners out with joy, but those who turn against God will live in a dry land. (New Century Version) You find families for those who are lonely. You set prisoners free and let them prosper, but all who rebel will live in a scorching desert. (Contemporary English Version) This one small verse is a fantastic example of what God is like. The psalmists often choose to use big extremes to try and best describe God. Extreme 1: God is loving and cares for the lonely. The first part of this verse shows how our loving, caring God picks out people who are ignored, forgotten and marginalised and offers them a place in the family. Israel was actually set up to be very good at providing for those who had nothing. There are lots of rules about this, from ensuring that widows and orphans were taken care of after a death in the family, through to making sure the poor could get food. Extreme 2: The rebels are in trouble. The biblical picture in the Old Testament was fairly bleak for people who lived outside of Israel, or for those in Israel who were sinners. This is particularly challenging, as we now would read back over these passages with much more understanding of the forgiveness of God, having had the chance to meet Jesus, read the New Testament, and see God’s personality though him. The most obvious example of a rebellious young man in the New Testament is found at… [Read Luke 15:11-31] How do you compare what the psalmist says in the short verse above, to what we see of God in this story of a forgiving father?

Worship

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God designed us to be social beings, and has created the family and community to make sure we are not alone. Give time to be thankful that God doesn’t want us to be lonely! Take a few moments to pray in small groups – thanking God that he understands us to the most intimate detail. He knows our thoughts, hopes and fears. He is completely perfect, and able to create entire universes just by speaking, but he still wants to be our friend and family member. Next, think of family members that have influenced you in positive ways. Thank God for them, and ask him to bless them going forward. Finally, think of family members who really need prayer at the moment. Praying for our family can be one of the most important things we do.

Witness Plan a quiet ‘bless my family’ campaign. No matter where you are in terms of relationships with your family, there is always room for those loving relationships to grow. Consider ways to bless them this coming week. Think about the family member you are targeting with your blessing campaign, and try to find something that will really make a difference. This might be cleaning your room; spending less time continued over >>>

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on Facebook and more time on homework; making a cup of tea for them each day after school/college/ work… As a group, come up with lots of ideas for blessing your families on Post-it Notes, and stick them on a board/wall/door. Look at the many suggestions, and plan out your coming week. Are you going to choose lots of these ideas and do some of them daily – or perhaps choose one bigger theme for example, and ‘try to be more considerate of your little brother’ all week long? Don’t forget, this isn’t necessarily about just your parents. Perhaps you have grandparents who would appreciate a call or a visit, or a cousin who would benefit from a cheery text! Important: As a group, fire each other up for this, and do not tell anyone outside of the group what you are doing! Also, don’t try to bless everyone with the hope that they will instantly recognise it and praise you for your actions. Give it your best shot, and we’ll chat next week about whether this has led to any good stories!

By next week: Start thinking about the idea of promises. Why are they important? Can you find some famous examples of promises online?

celloutlines

MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week one (continued...)

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week two These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

You can choose your family… (Or rather, God can) Kit list: • Yellow Post-it Notes • Pink Post-it Notes • Pens • A3 paper • Magazines

Welcome: ‘A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it’. Briefly discuss the quote above. How does this idea make you feel? Take the Famous Family Quiz: Choose a group leader to read out the questions. Split the remaining group into teams. You will need a pen and paper to scribble answers, and a Bible. Hopefully you’ll spot which questions you need the Bible for! (Answers in red) 1. What is the name of David Beckham’s youngest son? Cruz 2. What is the name of Homer Simpson’s son? Bart 3. What is the surname of Harry Potter’s aunt and uncle? The Dursleys

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4. What were the names of Abraham’s sons? Isaac, Ishmael (and later, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah) 5. What is the name of the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur? Dino 6. What is the name of seven-times world champion F1 driver Michael Schumacher’s brother? Ralf 7. What was Prince William’s nickname as a child? Wombat 8. How many children do Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have? Three 9. What are the names of King David’s sons? According to Chronicles 3:1-9: Amnon, Daniel, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, Ithream, Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, Jerimonth (and Mephibosheth Adopted) 10. What is Kylie Minogue’s sister’s name? Dannii 11. Can you name all of Jacob’s sons? Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Benjamin, Joseph continued over >>>

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week two (continued...) 12. How many sisters are there in blast from the past soft rock/pop band - The Corrs? Three 13. What is the surname of the famous England footballing brothers Phil and Gary? Neville This week we will be considering how God is fashioning us into an extended ‘famous’ family that will last for eternity.

Word: God constantly wants his people to behave more like family. God makes many covenants where he essentially promises certain people to be their God, and to give them a long family line stretching out into eternity. This is not just a promise to Israel, however, but a promise that talks of the whole world being part of God’s family. Read: Genesis 9: 7-11 – Noah’s Covenant Genesis 17 – Abraham’s Covenant Genesis 28: 10-22 – Jacob’s Covenant Jeremiah 31:31-32 (below) ‘“That’s right. The time is coming when I will make a brand-new covenant with Israel and Judah. It won’t be a repeat of the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant even though I did my part as their Master.” God’s Decree. ‘“This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them—write it on their hearts!—and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” God’s Decree.’ (The Message)

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Luke 22:14-20 – Jesus talks about the New Covenant. These passages all talk about God choosing his people, and how we are to allow him to be our God. What does it mean for us in real everyday life to let God be God? Let’s consider that in the worship section…

Worship: Lots of incredible theologians argue that we often challenge God by wanting to be the leader of our own lives. In other words, despite being offered the gift of his promise, we want to be god of what we say and do. Create a poster detailing what it would mean for God to be your God both today and for ever. Try and include the things you would need to leave up to him – for example, your future, hopes and dreams, the safety of your family and friends, the types of things you say, wear, and watch on the TV. You may also want to include cuttings from magazines, prayers and sketches to really get down what you want to say. continued over >>>

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Witness: How did your blessing campaign work out? Take some time to share stories of your quiet campaign. Week Two’s witness section is quite simple, really: plan to expand on what you have done already. Are there things that your friends have done that worked out really well and would also work for you? Consider any reason why things may not have worked out well – perhaps one week wasn’t enough time for someone to notice what you are doing. Perhaps your targeted friends/family were blessed, but haven’t had time to thank you yet. Think of new ways to show people that you are letting God be your God every day! You could link this to fruits of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Chat for one last time as a group this week about how you can make these ideas come to life in the coming week to bless the people who are all around you. Jot ideas on Post-it Notes to take away as a reminder!

By next week: Start thinking about the how a local church such as yours can really be a family. What does a family provide that we should be doing on a wider scale?

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MARCH 2011

Hang up your poster somewhere prominent as a declaration that you want to be part of God’s ongoing covenant.

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week three These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

Happy Families – Fitting into the jigsaw puzzle? Kit list: • Yellow Post-it Notes • Pink Post-it Notes • Pens • Paper • Photos representing ‘Family’

Welcome: Family roles: Using one set of yellow Post-it Notes, write down as many different roles that are necessary to make a happy, holistic family. Three possible examples to get you going: • Safety • Love • Finances Now consider your church. Which family roles are also necessary to make sure the church functions well? Are there any additional roles? Write on your set of pink Post-it Notes the names or positions of people who play a big part in delivering these roles at church. Where do you feel you fit into the church family?

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Word: There are lots of great references in the Bible that highlight how God chooses to show his character to us through the picture of family. The most obvious example of this is in Jesus referring to God as ‘Abba’ (father). This was a symbol of closeness that no one would dare to have used before. Before Jesus, people just didn’t think of God in this intimate way. As well as helping us see the closeness God wants for us, there are also great biblical examples of how a church is meant to behave: Read Acts 2:45-47 ‘And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. ‘They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved’ (The Message). continued over >>>

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week three (continued...) How can you as a cell group live out some of these principles?

Worship: A key element of both family and church life revolves around praying together. This is one of the ways we can choose to fit in – by joining or starting prayer groups, and choosing to pray for others. Split into two groups: Group 1: Write a prayer thanking God for your church family. Group 2: Write a prayer focusing particularly on your cell group. Use this opportunity to be thankful for God’s involvement in your church life, and for the great people who make up your congregation. Come back together and read both prayers as one large group. You can decide the best way of reading (all together, or a couple of lines each).

Witness: Each week of this series, our Witness section has focused outwards on blessing and thanking our own families, or friends at school/college/work and in the community. As this session has been dedicated to our own church family, we will now concentrate our attention there. Consider ways of thanking the people named on your pink Post-it Notes. For maximum effect, you may try and find a way to do this outside of the usual church programme. Example: Using pictures from magazines or good old Google, design a postcard that demonstrates church as family. As a group write postcards thanking people for their contribution to the family feel of your church.

By next week:

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Start thinking about how your own identity is formed by the way you grow up and who you grow up with. Check out this clip from the Orange advert – ‘I am everyone…’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI_cRXoBaoY&feature=channel

continued over >>>

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week four These Cell Outlines are written by ALOVE UK. They are available each week from our web site. For more information and other cell resources, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/alove/resources

The Generations Game Kit list: • Post-it Notes • Pens • A5 paper • Laptop – projector (ways of showing video clips) Play the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI_cRXoBaoY&feature=channel

Welcome For the past few years, there have been a number of programmes, such as Who Do you Think you Are on the BBC, devoted to helping famous people like Jeremy Clarkson, Barbara Windsor, David Tennant and Carol Vorderman trace their family trees, and see if they were related in any way to significant (famous) people of the past. Genealogy may not be a subject that excites you. In fact, it’s usually a subject relegated to amateur historians (well, those and professional historians!) but it seems that genealogy is important. Or so the Bible would have us believe, with many sections devoted to detailing huge family lines like the one from Luke we will see in the Word section today. One reason for this is in distinguishing what makes us who we are. In Week 1 we had a great quote… ‘We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.’

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Here’s another: ‘Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.’ Do any of your group know where your family originates from… What your family name means… If you have a ‘family coat of arms’ etc? It seems that we are to some degree a product of those who came before us. (How many times have you heard people worry that they are turning into their parents!) Whilst you will not necessarily be like those who have gone before, you will have some of their traits – eg, as a famous advert for a family tree website demonstrated, you get your eye colouring, height and a number of other things from your genes. In biblical times, knowing which family line people came from was very important; it helped get a picture of their identity. That’s why hearing someone who was the local carpenter’s son claim to be the Son of God was a big deal! continued over >>>

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MARCH 2011 celloutlines

celloutlines | week four (continued...) Today, the royal family would be a great example of those who think heritage is important. They have whole galleries dedicated to demonstrating their blood line – to prove they have the right to rule, and that they are part of an important heritage. Timed exercise: Using A5 paper, sketch out as many portraits as you can of family members (or close friends) in three minutes. Put these portraits around the room as a gallery of people who make you who you are.

Word Bible passages of ancestry can be quite dull, and often skipped over. But they are vital. The passage below literally traces Jesus back through David to Adam, and then back to God himself. In some cultures such as the Maori, families can still recite their ancestry right back to the beginning of their community. Read: (Suggestion – To make it more exciting, try rapping it!) Luke 3:21–38 (New International Version) ‘When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” ‘Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,   the son of Heli, the son of Matthat,    the son of Levi, the son of Melki,    the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,   the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,    the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,    the son of Naggai, the son of Maath,    the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,    the son of Josek, the son of Joda,   the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,    the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,    the son of Neri, the son of Melki,    the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,    the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,   the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,    the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,    the son of Levi, the son of Simeon,    the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,    the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,   the son of Melea, the son of Menna,    the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,    the son of David, the son of Jesse,    the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, continued over >>>

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week four (continued...)   the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,   the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,    the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,    the son of Judah, the son of Jacob,    the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,    the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,   the son of Serug, the son of Reu,    the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,    the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan,    the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,    the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,   the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,    the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,    the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh,    the son of Seth, the son of Adam,    the son of God.’ *The reason Luke goes to so much trouble to explain that Jesus is the son of God, is that he believed that in Jesus’ dying and being resurrected, somehow God was adopting us as children alongside his son Jesus. God constantly chooses to be our dad! Have you ever spent time looking at some of these ancestry lines in the Bible? There are some scholars who devote their entire lives looking at these detailed bits that we often skip. Why do you think these passages are important enough to be included?

Worship This week we are going to get active in praising and thanking God for his gift of family. Split into two groups. Each group will need a pen, paper and lots of creativity!

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Following on from last week’s Post-it Note challenge of writing down family roles, take some time to fill the page describing what family means to you. Get your sentences to follow the structure: ‘Family means….’ (For example, ‘Family means… always having someone there for you. Family means… constant queuing for the toilet in the morning. Family means… memories of holiday trips to the water park.’) Once you are happy with your full page of ideas, swap papers with the other group. Using your new list, act out freeze-frames of some of the scenarios. Each group takes it in turns, and sees if the other group can work out what you are performing. Remember that this is the worship part of the session, so your performance should be an act of gratitude that God has created all these amazing ways of being family to each other. As a group: Try and find a freeze-frame that says – ‘Family means… being Jesus’ brothers and sisters.’

continued over >>>

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Witness You have now successfully completed a month of your ‘bless the family’ campaign, and next week new cell notes will arrive as you continue to consider how to live lives that are rich in God’s sight. However, blessing your family is something that can be ongoing. Take some time to remember the good things that have come as a result of your efforts to be a good witness over the last three weeks. How can you as a group and as individuals carry on this idea of being great family members for the rest of the year? Are there key family members that you feel you could build better relationships with? Are there other family members that don’t really get why you follow Jesus? Take some time to chat through as a group how you may be the best possible witnesses going forward, living out the family element of Jesus’ Church to your actual family and friends.

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MARCH 2011

celloutlines | week four (continued...)

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March Cell 2011  

Family Lives

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