Maudlin and Associates ™
Karen Maudlin
Psy.D., CPCC
Kenneth Davison
Psy.D.
Cindy Takiguchi
LCSW
Manette Galván Turner
LCPC
Robert Gregory
Ph.D.
Daniel Doebler
LCPC
Trevor Simpson
LCPC


Get Ready

You'll need a mustard seed for each family member (look in the spice section of the grocery store). Place each one in a small glass jar (such as a baby food jar) or if you have time, use an iron to seal each seed between two two-by-two-inch pieces of wax paper (place a towel between the iron and the wax paper). You'll also need a picture of a full-grown mustard tree (check on the Internet or in an encyclopedia).

Read the Word

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches" (Matthew 13:31-32).

Talk It Over
WEEK 1: The Tiny Seed

Place a seed in front of each family member, then read the passage. Now place the picture of the tree in the center of the group. Can you imagine this tiny seed turning into a large tree? What do you think Jesus meant when he said the kingdom of God is like this small seed? How is your faith in God like the mustard seed? End your time by asking God to help your faith grow. Post the picture of the tree on the refrigerator and have each person keep his or her seed during the month as a reminder of our faith and what it can become.

WEEK 2: The Gardener

Make sure everyone has his or her seed, then ask one of the older children to read the passage. Talk together about the ways God has planted, nurtured, weeded and watered your family's faith. What are the roots of faith in your family? Do you know the first Christian in your family tree? Over the next week, see if you can find out. End your time by thanking God for being faithful to your family.

WEEK 3: Growing Together

After reading the passage, ask each person to share one way he or she has received protection or support from another family member. Now read the passage again. As you read, ask each family member to place his or her seed in the center of the group, one at a time. End your time by asking God to help your family grow closer to him and to each other.

WEEK 4: The Garden

Once everyone has his or her seed, ask the youngest reader in the family to read the passage. Have everyone talk about what they think heaven is like. We know very little about heaven, but we know we will be with Jesus and praising him forever. What activities and attitudes can your family adopt to make life on earth more like heaven? End your time by thanking God for the promise of heaven.

Remember This

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree … " (Matthew 13:31-32).

Want More?
AGES 3-5:

Take your seeds and go outside to find the largest tree in your yard. Notice its size, its shade, its shelter, its color and the feeling you have standing under it. Now look at your seed. Do you think God can help your faith grow from a small seed into a big tree? Help your child ask God to help his faith grow.

AGES 6-9:

As a family, plant a mustard seed in a small pot. Take turns watering and tending it. Talk about how it feels to be the gardener. How do you think God feels when he takes care of us and sees our faith grow? Have your child draw a picture of a tree, and write the "Remember This" passage on the paper so she can memorize it this month.

AGES 10-14:

Have your child write the "Remember This" passage on a notecard or a drawing of a tree. See if he can memorize it this month. Help your child list three ways he can give others a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven this month through his words and actions.

FAMILY:

Together, think of ways your family can be a shelter for others: sharing a meal with a lonely friend, babysitting for other tired parents, sending a note of encouragement to someone who is struggling. Pray about these ideas and try to follow through on at least one of them this month.