Sunday, October 26, 2014
Bible readings: Joshua 3:7-17, Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37, 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13, Matthew 23:1-12
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is my image of Eringa Waterhole (http://www.exploroz.com/Places/71886/SA/Eringa_Waterhole.aspx) north of the Oodnadatta Track (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oodnadatta_Track) near Hamilton Station (or ranch or farm or homestead or whatever you call them in your part of the world) (http://www.exploroz.com/Places/40214/SA/Hamilton_Station.aspx). This really is a pool in the desert. Please feel free to use the image for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This is a free Corel clipart with my text.
Lower Left: This image comes from Church Galleries (see my link at left)
Listening Song: Go Light Your World
By Kathy Trocolli on her album, Greatest Hits, or on WOW 1996 (pictured at left)
Kids Story: Gertrude McFuzz
Found in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr Seuss, Collins, 1950, ISBN 0001717588 (pictured at left). This fits well with the Matthew reading because it talks about how we often act to impress.
Quiz: Who Am I?
Play this with the congregation as per usual - one line at a time until somebody gets it.
I was born on the 16th January 1902 in Tientsin, China.
My parents were missionaries for the London Missionary Society.
My baptismal names were reversed on the way to my baptism when my parents realised my initials would spell a rude word.
My grandfather was a grocer who often got into trouble for sing Moody and Sankey hymns which were considered far too modern and evangelical.
I enrolled at the School for the Sons of Missionaries in London when I was six years old,
My lasting school comment was " I don't think much of lessons, but I can run".
I started a Science degree at Edinburgh University in 1920.
I committed my life to Jesus when I was at university.
I played international Rugby for Scotland but I retired early.
In 1921 I lost the only race I ever lost in Scotland.
I was known as the only athlete to speak to a black athlete at one track meeting.
I always shook hands with all those I was running against.
I would often dig the starting holes for my opponents.
I would give less experienced runners the inside lanes.
I was once pushed over and off the track - but got up, gained the twenty yards I had lost, and still won.
I was selected for the 1924 British Olympic team to race in the 100 meters.
When I discovered that the heats were on Sunday I refused to compete.
I ran the 400 meters which I had not trained for - and won!
I am Eric Liddell (Chariots or Fire)
Film Clip: Chariots of Fire
(pictured at left) There are heaps of clips which fit this theme. Two which come to mind are the one of him telling the Prince he will not run on Sunday and the one of him winning the race at the Paris Olympics.
Story: What is a SaintFind this story at http://preachingpoint.org/the-marks-of-a-saint/
Story: What was Eric Liddell's Secret
Find the answer at http://www.evcsj.org/blogs/2008/08/eric-liddell-going-for-gold.html
Story: Hudson Taylor
Years ago the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Saviour. Whether we realise it or not, our example leaves an impression on others. Source unknown. Also found at http://net.bible.org/illustration.php?topic=815
Story: Saints Depend on God
A young theology college graduate came up to the pulpit, very self confident and smug. He was immaculately dressed. He knew he had what it took. He began to deliver his first sermon to his first church but when he started to speak, the words simply wouldn’t come out. Humiliated, he burst into tears and ended up leaving the pulpit, obviously humbled. There were two old ladies sitting in the front row and one remarked to the other, "If he'd come in like he went out, he would have gone out like he came in." Source unknown (but let me know if you know).
Discussion: Matthew 23:1-12
1. In verses 1-7 what are the things which prevent God's light from shining through us.
2. In verses 8-12, what are the things that allow God's light to shine through us?
3. Think of a saint you have known or still know. Describe that saint to the person next to you and explain the influence they have had on you.
Book: Hope is an Open Heart
By Lauren Thompson, Scholastic Press, 2008, ISBN 139781741692228. This beautiful book fits anywhere in this service - call to worship, children's talk, sermon, or response (pictured at left).
Light a candle in memory of:
1. A saint you have known who has died, or
2. In thankfulness for a saint who still has the light of God shining through them, or
3. As a symbolic statement of your own intent to live as a saint.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Bible readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Matthew 22:34-46
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart background with the Biblical text.
Upper Right: This is my image taken from the summit of Mt Nebo (biblical Moab, present day Jordan) with the Biblical text. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower left: This is free clipart from Heartlight (see my links column at left).
Listening Song: Gather At The River
By Point of Grace on their album, The Whole Truth (pictured at left) or on the WOW 2001 album. This song is about loving one another.
Film Clip: Liar Liar
This clip can be found at the excellent Wingclips site - see my links column at left or go to the following address:
Grown Ups Lie - Movie Clip from Liar Liar at WingClips.com.
Discussion: Liar Liar
1. Do you agree that adults have to lie sometimes to be kind?
2. How transparent should we be to those around us?
3. Where does God fit into this discussion?
Drama: We are a Family
Found in Let's Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 31 (pictured at left). A drama about not being at home with God.
Story: Sharing the Gospel
Found at the following address:
Type the name of the author, Cecil Northcott, in to find the story.
Poem: The Real Problem
By Adrian Plass in Clearing Away the Rubbish, Minstral, 1988, ISBN 1854240250, page 142 (pictured at right). A poem about not being at home with each other.
Quote: Robert Frost
"Home is where when you go there they have to take you in." Found in Death of a Hired Man.
Prayer for Others: Based on the Gospel reading
Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2010, ISBN 9780949656911, page 152 (pictured at left). This is a beautiful "hands on" prayer.
Have three stations for people to visit in any order - each with input and response activities as follows
Station 1:Have the poem, The Real Problem (above), printed on the other side of the adult response frames (below). Ask people to read the poem first and then respond with the frames in the same way as I have described in the Response Activity below. Provide pens or pencils so that they can do this.
Have a poster of the story, Sharing the Gospel (above), pinned up and in large print - it is a small story so it will be easy to do this. Ask people to read the story and then respond as per the prayer for others (above).
Have pens or pencils and a pile of A5 sheets of paper with 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8 on the B side with the question "How does your list compare with Paul's?" beneath the reading. On the A side, which they will look at first, have the following:
1. Write a list, in order of priority, of those you wish to please the most.
2. Turn the sheet over and read the other side.
Give each person a small folded card (three fitted on an A4 for me) with two empty frames printed on the inside. Reassure everybody that this is an activity between themselves and God - that no one will see what they write or draw. Ask people to write or draw their public image in the left hand frame, and the real person in the right hand frame. Play some nice thinking music while they are doing this. To conclude, either pray a prayer about committing/giving all of ourselves to God and/or challenge people to put their cards in with their offering as an act of commitment.
Kids Talk: The Greatest Commandment
Found in Saving the Ants by Ruth Gilmore, Augsburg, 2001, ISBN 0806640804, page 116 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospel reading.
Prayer of Confession: Based on Psalm 90
By Rachel C. Hackenburg and found in Before the Amen: Creative Resources for Worship by Marin C and Maria I Tirabassi (Eds), The Pilgrim Press, 2007, ISBN 9780829817508, pages 200.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Bible Readings: Exodus 33, 12-23, Psalm 99, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22
About the Images:
Upper Left: A copyright free wikimedia commons image on to which I put the text.
Upper Right: My photo, so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: A Microsoft free clipart image with words from Bill Easum's book, Leadership on the Other Side (see Adult Response below).
Listening Song: The Message
By 4 Him on their album, The Message (pictured at left) or on WOW 1997 or on Nothing But Pop. This song is a great introduction for the Thessalonians reading.
Kid's Story: An Important Message
Tell the kids about Paul - about how he left the Thessalonians an important message. Have 1 Thessalonians 1:4 printed out on a large sheet of cardboard and then cut it up as a jigsaw puzzle and have the kids help you put the message back together again.
Divide it up to be read in four or five sections and sing the Taize response: The Lord is my Song in between as a response.
Discussion: Matthew reading
What are some of the things which can make us afraid?
Drama: Church? What Church?
Interviewer: Tell me what you think of the church?
1: I think it's just a money making concern.
2: People who go are just hypocrites. They should practice what they preach.
3: Teaches you good morals, I suppose, but I've got a business to run.
4: It helps us Christians look after each other.
Interviewer: What sort of Christian do you think you are?
1: I've got a Bible at home and I'll use it if I have to!
3: Pretty good actually - I never miss going to church at Christmas and Easter.
2: I think it's fun to go to church but don't tell my friends that. They'll think I am a loser.
4: I'm the sort of Christian who is sure that God loves me.
Interviewer: Why do you go to church?
3; Oh, that's easy....to check out the girls/boys.
2: My family make me!
1: To pick up the latest gossip around town.
4; To tell God he's terrific.
Interviewer: What do you do in church?
1: Count the bricks.
2: Read who wrote the hymns and work out how old they are.
3: Check out what everyone's wearing.
4; Get involved!
Interviewer: Why do you belong to church?
Copyright: Ann Scull
Discussion: For the drama: Church? What Church?
1. Why do you belong to a church?
2. Why do you belong to this church?
3. The Thessalonians reading tells us that faith, loving work and hope are all gifts from God. Which gift do you want most at the moment?
4. What is it about our relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing.
A; Did you see the paper today?
B: (hopelessly) I know, Jesus on the front page again
A: Did you read what he said?
B: Some rubbish about how you shouldn’t worry about what anybody thinks of you! What kind of person says that!
A: Someone stuck in the 70’s man!
B: Well we know he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him – you can tell that by his fashion sense…… and his friends.
A: Hippy fishermen!
B: and how only what God wants, counts!
A: What sort of citizen says that? What about what the Prime minister wants!
B; What about what the Queen wants!
A: What about what the taxman wants!
B: He’s a traitor!
A: He should be arrested
B: Yes! I tried to make him admit that he’s a traitor
A: DID you!
B: I got a HUGE crowd together and I said “OK Jesus, should we use everything we have for God, or should we pay it all in taxes to the government?
A: I thought - If he says “give everything to God” we can arrest him for telling people to be naughty to the government. If he says “we should pay our taxes” then all his followers will see that he doesn’t give everything to God at all!
B: Brilliant! What did he say?
A: Well, first I THINK he called me an idiot, and then he asked me for a coin. Then he said “whose face is on it? I said “The King’s! Then he said Well, it must belong to him then – give him what belongs to him, but give God what belongs to God…you know the difference don’t you? He said.
B: That was a good answer – a very good answer.
Copyright: Rosie Broadstock (free use for worship and related activities).
Index 4173 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Based on 1 Thessalonians 1:8. This story can also be found at
Story: Tested by the Lord.
Index 2149 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Based on 1 Thessalonians 1:8. This story can also be found at
http://www.thecorner-stone.org/zLf-Li.aspx. Scroll down or search the site for the author: G. Campbell Morgan
Found in Stories From the Heart by Alice Gray (compiler), Vision House, 1996, ISBN 1885305419, page 25 (pictured at right).This story fits in really well with gospel reading.
Quote: Jim Elliot (one of the five missionaries killed in south America in the 1950's)
God is on his throne and man is on his footstool. But there is only a knee's distance between.
Adult Response: Handout
Give everyone a business card ((pictured at top) with the question "What is it about my relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing?" This is a Bill Easum question found in his book Leadership On The Other Side, Abingdon Press 2000, ISBN 0687085888. Encourage people to take the card home and think about their answer and how they could share their answer with others.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Bible Readings: Exodus 32:1-14, Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23, Philippians 4:1-9, Matthew 22:1-14
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free Imagebank image with a quote from William H. Willimon. You can find more great images from the Imagebank site by visiting them through my links column at left.
Upper Right: This is a free Microsoft clipart image with my text.
Lower Left: This is a free Microsoft clipart image with my text
Listening Song: Douchas (Hope)
By The Crossing on their album, Douchas (pictured at left)
Kids' Story: The Golden Calf
Tell the story in your own words and illustrate it with images from the Brick Testament - http://www.thebricktestament.com/exodus/the_golden_calf.html. You have no idea how much enjoyment the adults derive from this as well!!Film Clip: Meet the Parents
Show the clip (below) where Jack (father) asks Greg to say grace.
Discussion: Meet the Parents
1. Why do you think that Greg is uncomfortable praying?
2. What does it mean to be religious?
3. What does it mean to have a relationship with God?
4. What is the difference between the two?
Film Clip: The Almighty Exodus
Found at Max 7 website, this is a great short summary of the Exodus which can be used for any part of the story as an overview or as an introduction for either children or adults. Go to
Drama: The Mystery of the Missing Athletes
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 58 (pictured at left). This is the gospel story with athletes replacing the wedding guests.
Drama: The Feast
Found in Let's Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 20 (pictured at right). This is a conversation between two of the King's servants.
Story: Choosing Mary
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 64 (pictured at left). This story is based on the idea that God chooses/invites us.
Group Activity: Matthew 22:1-14
Give everyone a copy of the gospel reading. Divide the congregation into six groups. Give each of the groups a character or a group of characters out of the Matthew story: the king, the son, the servants, the first guests, the second guests, the people who were not dressed properly. Give each group the same questions to discuss:
1. Who are you? (just to make sure everybody in the group is on the same page)
2. What part do you play in the story?
3. Who do you think you might represent?
4. Why do you do what you do in the story?
5. How do you think you might feel about what happens in the story?
N.B. If you have heaps of people you may have to have multiples of each group.
Prayer for Others:
Ask everyone to think of a person or a place that God wants to invite to his party. Then have a time of silence when people can pray for that person or place.
Adult Response: Change
Screen the words of the poem Change by Charles Singer. I found it in in Imaging the Word Volume 3 by Susan A Blain, Sharon Iverson Gouwens, Catherine O'Callagan and Grant Spradling, (Eds.), United Church Press, 1996, ISBN 0829801862, page 49 (pictured in an earlier blog). I put images with each line and played reflective music in the background. I used Missing by Vangelis on his album, Odyssey for the music (pictured at left). Towards the end, I projected the following words: "Which piece of clothing do you have in short supply?" and passed around cards with the various lines from the poem printed on them. People were asked to take the card they needed the most. This was followed by a time of silent prayer.
Bible Readings: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20, Psalm 19, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is my image taken at Lake Tyers Beach (http://www.discovereastgippsland.com.au/laketyersbeach.asp) so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This is a free imagebank image - please visit this excellent site via my links column at left.
Lower Left: This is an Hermano Leon free image - please visit this excellent site via my links column at left.
Listening Song: I Want to Know You
By Sonic Flood on their self titled album (pictured at right) or on the album, WOW 2000.
Kids Story: The Man Who Changed His Name
By Loyal Kolbrek and Don Kuecker, Arch books, 1972, ISBN 0570060664 (pictured at left). The story of Paul makes a good story for the kids as well as providing background for the Philippians reading.
Kids Story: Keep Your Promise!
Found in The Lectionary Story Bible Year A by Ralph Milton and Margaret Kyle, Woodlake, 2007, ISBN 978155145547I, page 216 (pictured at right). This story explains one aspect of the gospel reading to the kids. I think that this is a difficult parable to explain to children in language they will understand but this little story is a great help.
Film Clip: Martian Child
Show the clip (below) where David and Harlee are attempting to teach Dennis how to play baseball.
Discussion: Martian Child
1. In order to help Dennis play baseball, what two pieces of advice and/or encouragement does David give to him?
2. How is this advice/encouragement useful to us as Christians?
Story: Joshua Bell
Story 321 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at right) . This story is matched with the Philippians reading.
Story: Thomas Edison, The Failure
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 131 (pictured at left). This story is linked to the Philippians reading.