Sunday, July 24, 2016

Proper 18 Ordinary 23 (September 4): Letting Go Letting God


 
 Bible Readings: Jeremiah 18:1-11, Psalm 139 1-6, 13-18, Philemon 1-21, Luke 14:25-33.

About the Images:
Upper Left: Sometimes , in order to appreciate beauty, we have to let go of things that make life comfortable.  This is an image of the Simpson Desert in the Australian outback. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities. For more info on the Simpson, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert 
Upper Right: This is a free Microsoft clipart image and goes very well with my theme of Letting Go, Letting God.
Lower Left: This goes with the image above - the things we voluntarily let go of in order to appreciate something better - like swapping a house for a swag when we want to enjoy the beauty of an isolated desert.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.



Listening Song: I've Always Loved You
By Third Day on their album, Time (pictured at left). This makes a great declaration of grace after the prayer of Confession. I made a film clip of this song matching the words with relevant images.




Listening Song: Psalm 139
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at right). I made a film clip of this song putting relevant images up as it played.

Kid's Time: Holidays
Show them some photos of a camping holiday and relate this to the things that they need to leave behind in order to have an exciting time eg you cannot take your bed camping, instead you take a swag, you cannot take your oven, instead you light a fire, you cannot take your electric kettle, instead you take a billy etc etc. Relate this to the gospel reading.




Film Clip: The Apostle
Use the scene right near the end of the film where Sonny lets go of his church and allows himself to be arrested so that he can clean up the wrongs things in his life.








Story: How Will The Church be Lighted?
Just google the title of this story and you will find it easily in any number of places.



Adult Response:
Ask people to find a partner and discuss the following two questions together:

1. What do you find hard to let go of?
2. What sort of things make it hard for you to be a disciple? Is it time, is it energy, is it doubt about God, is it some sadness or loss?
Afterwards ask each person to write a prayer for their partner (provide paper and pens) and seal it in an envelope (also provided) on which they will put their partner's name and address. Ask everyone to put their letters in the offering plate as it comes around. I collected all the envelopes and posted them about a month later. I received heaps of good feedback on this. People were not only touched by the prayer they received, but they also appreciated the reminder it brought to them of their discussion.

Proper 17 Ordinary 22 (August 28): Hospitality


 
Bible Readings: Jeremiah 2:4-13, Psalm 81:10-16, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14. 


About the images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart image with my text.
Upper Right: This is a photo of my daughter Kate and her friend Adrian, from Singapore, giving each other cross cultural cooking tips. Please feel free to use this image for worship and other related activities.
Lower Left: Staying in the town of Bethlehem on the West Bank regularly , I am always overwhelmed by the depth and the breadth of the hospitality showered upon us when we are there.  This is ka'ak being cooked - best breakfast ever! Please feel free to use this image for worship and other related activities.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.



Listening Song: Come to the Table
by Michael Card on his album, Joy in the Journey, 1984 (pictured at right).

Film Clip: Les Miserables

Use the clip at the very beginning of the film where the bishop invites Valjean in and treats him as an honoured guest. This clip can be sourcesdfrom the excellent Wingclips site - see my link column at left. There is a cost for quality clips but it is minimal and well worth it.



Story: Take As Much As You Can


Index 1602 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990

Story: Robert Coles meets Dorothy Day

A great story which explains the gospel reading beautifully. Found in Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles, Addison-Wesley, 1987, ISBN-10: 0201079747 (pictured at left)

History: The Early Church in Rome
A story about the generosity of the early Roman church written by William Willimon and found in Pulpit Resources, July September, 2001, page 41.


Also:
Prayers: 
Found in The Abingdon Worship Annual by Mary J Scifres and B. J. Beu (Eds.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2012, ISBN 9781426746796, page 205 (pictured at right). There are plenty of prayers for different parts of the service based on all of the readings. 
 
Story: The Quality of Silence
Found in  Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, page 239 (pictured at left).  I think this fits well with any of the readings. 
 
Poem and Prayer: No Such Thing (as a free meal)
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 172 (pictured at right).  This lovely poem and prayer connects well with  the gospel reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Proper 16 Ordinary 21 C (August 21): Freedom/Hearing God's Call



 
 
 

















Bible Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-5, Hebrews 12:18-29, Luke 13: 10-17

NOT FINISHED HERE YET - MORE TO COME

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free Microsoft clip art.
Upper Right: This image comes from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com. This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful free images and templates via the site archives.

Lower Left: This is a free image from the Hermano Leon site - see my link column at left.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.



Listening Song: Psalm 103:1-5
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at left). I used this beautiful song as part of the pardon for the prayer of confession and set it to a series of images.

Kid's Story: The Gospel Story
I got this idea from doing mime clown workshops years ago. Talk to the children about the woman's physical disability but then encourage them to mime with their whole bodies how they feel
when they are sad (most go all droopy and slump forward),
when they feeling guilty (ditto)
when they are feeling bullied (ditto)
when they are worried (ditto) etc etc.
I think you probably get the picture from there :-) and can go on and relate it to freedom we have in Jesus. While you are doing the mimes with them you have to over emphasise it and make a bit of a fool of yourself, but I reckon that's not too hard for most of us.


Kid's Story: Jeremiah

Use a balloon to represent Jeremiah. First he was a deflated balloon, unsure of himself, lacking confidence and unsure of what to say. Emphasise that God didn't mind that Jeremiah was young and inexperienced and that God gave Jeremiah all the resources he needed to get the job done. As a consequence, Jeremiah became an inflated balloon filled with God's Spirit.



Film Clip or Story: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Use the dialogue where Susan and Lucy ask Mr and Mrs Beaver to describe Aslan. Start when Mr Beaver says "Aslan a man?" and finish when he says "Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you". Found in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis, Puffin Books, 1950 (pictured at left) or in the film of the same name (pictured at right).






Film: Cocoon
(pictured at left) Use any scene at the start where the elderly people are made out to be the living dead and contrast this with the thoughts of the Psalmist in Psalm 71.



Story: Thermometers and Thermostats 
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 198 (pictured at right). This gos well with the gospel reading.



Quote: John Bell
"Women make up half the world's population
do two thirds of the world's productive work,
own ten percent of the world's wealth,
and one per cent of the world's land."
Found in Ten Things They Never Told Me About Jesus by John Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 2009, ISBN 9781905010608, page 83 (pictured at left). An excellent book!




Quote: Unknown Source
I intend to stay alive for the whole of my life




Poem: My Name is Known to You
by Kathy Galloway and found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, Page 234. This works really well with projected images and music and matches in with each of the readings. For background music I used Immortal Memory by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Kennedy on their beautiful album, Immortal Memory.
 
Group Discussion:
What do you think God is calling our church to do?
How can we personally be involved?
Where does each one of us fit?

Adult Response:
Give everybody a small card with the following questions and a space to quietly think.
Are we........
  • Like Jeremiah? - despite feeling inadequate or inexperienced we trust God and answer God's call to us
  • Like the Psalmist? - willing and able to share a lifetime of experiences which reflect what we have learnt as we have grown into our relationship with God
  • Like the woman in the gospel? - eagerly sharing what God has recently done in your life.
  • Like the leader of the synagogue in the gospel? - unable to recognise God at work because our religious baggage gets in the way

Proper 15 Ordinary 20 C (August 14): Restoration/Sticking with God


 


STILL WORKING ON THIS ONE - MORE TO COME


Bible Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19, Hebrews 11:29-12:2, Luke 12:49-56



About the Images:
Upper left  This is a free background powerpoint template from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com
Upper right:This is a free image from www.commons.wikipedia.com
Lower Left: Psalm 80 talks about God "enthroned above the cherubim".  This is a reminder to the people reading/singing the Psalm of the Ark of the Covenant, a wooden box with golden carvings of heavenly beings (cherubim), which led the people out of Israel.  This is my photo of a replica which I saw in Timna, Israel a few years back.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.




Listening Song: Standing Outside the Fire
By Garth Brooke on his album, In Pieces (pictured at right). This song goes well with the gospel reading.



Listening Song: Witness
By Nicole C Mullen on her album, Talk About It.


(pictured at left).  This song goes well with the Hebrews reading.

Listening Song: Psalm 80: Restore Us

By Sons of Korah on their album, Resurrection (pictured at right).


Confession Prayer Based on The Balloon Man Story (below):
Give everyone a balloon.

Pray along the following lines leaving spaces for people to pray by themselves: Are you hanging on to a handful of balloons that keep you from sticking with God. Are they friends? Bad Habits? Possessions? your pride? Your career? A complacent faith? A self indulgent faith?

Assurance of Pardon:
Maybe it is time to let go of those balloons so you can stick close to God.

Take home the balloon, find a place to be alone with God, blow up your balloon and, as you let it go, let go of what it represents to you - the things which come between you and God. And remind yourself that God loves you, God wants to be with you and God gives you strength and courage.



Story: The Balloon Man
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 39 (pictured at left). This story goes really well with the Hebrews reading.



Psalm: Psalm 80
A great version to be found in Psalms Now by Leslie F Brandt, Concordia, (3rd Ed.) 2004, ISBN 0758606486 (pictured at left).


Children's Drama: Stick with God

Have a roll of paper and large cut out individual letters for the words "Stick with God" nearby. As you tell the children that they are going to make a banner with the words "stick with God" on it, walk across and pick up the roll of paper and letters. As you return, trip over and drop the lot all over the floor. Make a bit of a drama of the whole thing and wail, 'oh no!! Look at the mess I've made. It's all spoilt!! What am I going to do now?!!". Have a few people in the congregation worded up to offer you advice:
eg., Pray about it.
Yell at God for not helping enough.
Figure it out for yourself.

Give up and do something else.
Ask for help.
Ask the kids what you should do. You will be amazed how astute they will be. Finish by giving them the roll of paper, the letters, glue, scissors and magazines. Ask them to sort the letters, make the banner and put pictures that show situations which we could pray for as we stick with God.

Adult Discussion:
If you were sinking in quick sand (or get them to make suggestions) would you
Pray about it.

Yell at God for not helping enough.
Figure it out for yourself.
Give up and do something else.


Ask for help.

Film Clip: How To Make An American Quilt
Show the clip which shows the making of the laundry wall covered in broken crockery. You will have to introduce this clip by explaining how the sister in law and husband have betrayed the woman very badly.




Discussion: How To Make An American Quilt
What are the obstacles that hinder our faith and prevent us sticking close to God.



Film Clip: Despicable Me
I found this at the Wingclip site (see my links) and I used the clip where Gru lays down the house rules. I think it goes well with the Psalm for this week.




Discussion: Despicable Me
These questions were aimed mainly at the children with adult help.
1. Have you ever found it difficult to work out what the rules are?
2. What happens when you get it wrong?
3. How do you think the people in the psalm were feeling?
4. How do you think God was feeling?




Film Clip: Amazing Grace
(pictured at right). Use the clip where Newton and Wilberforce are talking together in the church. This is one of the film's free clips available from the film's web page. This goes well with the Hebrews reading.



Discussion Questions: Amazing Grace
1. Share what you know about Newton and Wilberforce.
2. What do you think drove each man to persevere for so long for the abolition of the slave trade?

3. How important do you think our determination and our perseverance are to our faith?

Drama: I've Got the Faith
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnston (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 28. This drama fits in well with the Hebrews reading.


Story: Hindrances
Story No. 302 in in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551. This goes well with the Hebrew reading.



Meditation Stations based on the Hebrews reading:
Encourage people to visit these stations in any order and allow about 5 minutes per station.
Station 1:
Have a large Christ candle burning beside tea lights, a bowl of sand and some pens. On enough small slips of paper for everyone, print the following:
The Cloud of Witnesses: Have a think about the people who have influenced your faith and helped you focus on Jesus. They may be biblical characters, they may be figures from history, they maybe past or present friends, workmates, teachers or family members. Think of the one or two who have influenced and encouraged you the most. Write their initials on the bottom of a tea light and then light it and place it on the tray. Spend some time thanking God for that person/s. Also think of the people who you could be encouraging in their faith journey. Pray for them as well.

Station 2:
Print the following on enough slips of paper for everyone:
1. Become aware of the gentle rhythm of your breathing.
2. Remind yourself that God is present here tonight.
3. Read these words from Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
4. What are the things that slow you down and stop you focusing on Jesus? Have a chat with God about them.
5. Which are the phrases or words or feelings in these verses that speak to you. Think about them for awhile and be open to what God is saying to you.
6. Turn the verses into a prayer.
Station 3.
Have a large collection of photos or pictures of people running in all sorts of places, passing batons, resting, puffing, running together and alone. I used all the Microsoft photo clip art using the search word "running", but use any resources you have at your disposal - as long as there is a big enough selection for about a third of your people to choose one each at any given time.
Also print the following on enough slips of paper for everyone:
1. Spend some time looking at all the photos.
2. What kind of a race are you running?
3. How is your determination and perseverance?
4. Are you running with friends?
5. Are you focussed on Jesus?
6. Choose the photo you think best describes how you feel at the moment and then talk to God about it.
7. Return the photo before you move on to the next station.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Proper 14 Ordinary 19 C (August 07): Faith

 
 
NOT FINISHED HERE YET - MORE TO COME


Bible Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20, Psalm 50:1-8, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Luke 12:32-40

About the Images:
Upper Left:
This is a free Microsoft clipart image which I have added my own text to.

Upper Right:
This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and other related activities. The photo is taken at Metung (http://www.metung.com) on the Gippsland Lakes where my husband, Joe, in a previous job, had to sometimes work at the top of a boat's mast. He had to have heaps of faith in the men who raised his bosun's chair (the thing he is sitting on) and in the ropes they used - that nothing and nobody would let go :)
Lower Left: This is a free image from http://www.servicioskoinonia.org/cerezo
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.


Decor:
Have a lit lantern on the communion table.



Listening Song: Treasure
By Iona on their album,
Beyond These Shores (pictured at left). This song goes very well with the gospel reading.

Listening Song: God of Wonders

by Mac Powell and Cliff and Daniella Young on the album City on a Hill or WOW 2001 (pictured  at right). This song goes well with Hebrews reading.

Confession: Scarlet and Snow
Found in Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668, page 9 and 36 (pictured at left).  This fits in well with the gospel reading.




Kid's Object Lesson: What is faith?
Compare faith to a block of chocolate. Ask the kids whether chocolate is best kept in its wrapper or opened up and eaten. Faith has to be used - if you keep a block of chocolate in its wrapper you will never enjoy it or get any benefit from it......and we all know what a great benefit chocolate is to the human race:-)

Discussion: What Are Your Treasures?
Ask people to think of three things that they would take to a desert island providing there was plenty of food and shelter on the island already.
Ask them to tell the person next to them about at least one of the three things they would take.

Discussion: Faith
1. Define faith
2. How does your own faith make you feel connected to God?
3. Does faith equal success?
4. Is faith about the present or the future or both?

Psalm: No 50
I call this the "turning up isn't enough" psalm.



Film Clip: Keeping the Faith
(pictured at right) Jake is a rabbi and Brian is a priest. Brian defines faith to his congregation in an interesting clip about 12 minutes in from the start of the film.



 Discussion: On the Keeping the Faith film clip
1. Faith is ....?
2. How does your faith make you feel connected to God?
3. Does faith equal success?
4. Is faith about the present or the future?

Ad Clip: Mosquito
Use the ad from X Box entitled Mosquito:



Discussion: On the Mosquito Ad film clip
1.What was the original purpose of the mosquito?
2.What distracted the mosquitos?
3. When it comes to our lives with God, what distracts us?

Drama: Coffee with Jesus
Have five people standing in a line facing the congregation.
They each in turn have a mobile phone conversation with Jesus starting off as follows:
"G'day Jesus, how are you? What's up?"
Then a pause (as if listening) to which they respond: "You want go out for a coffee? That would be great but...
Each of the first four have an excuse. No 1 is too busy keeping fit, No 2 is too busy with their study and/or career, No 3 is too busy with family/house/car etc and No 4 is too busy doing church stuff. When each of these four give their excuses keep it natural by letting them make up the dialogue as they go. As each one finishes their conversation, they look quite sad and turn around and face away from the congregation with their arms folded.
When No 5 has his/her conversation it starts off exactly the same way but this person accepts the invitation with delight and walks off happily.




Drama: I Hate Flying
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 26 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the Hebrews reading.




Story: How to Trap a Monkey
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 118 (pictured at right). This story is connected to the gospel reading.

Story: Seeing What Eyes Can't
Found in When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado, Word, 1996, ISBN 0849913241, page 97. This story goes well with the Hebrews reading.

Story: Who Changed the Price Tags?
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 112. This story goes well with the gospel reading.



Litany: The Heavenly City
Found in Rough Diamonds by Paul Burbridge, Monarch, 2001,
ISBN 185424518X, page 129 (pictured at left). This litany fits in well with the Hebrews reading.


Prayer For Others:
Provide a large piece of butcher's paper (if your congregation is large you may need a few),scissors, glue sticks and newspapers. Ask people to prayerfully cut out and glue on to the paper, the articles or pictures that they want to pray about. Pray together and then cut the sheets of paper up in to as many pieces as there are people. Give each person a piece to take home to use in their personal prayer time for the world.

Adult Response:
Light a candle (or use the lantern) and turn off all the lights. Make the point that even a small flame like this gives of energy, light and power - like faith. Ask people to shut their eyes, relax for a moment and listen to some meditative music. Project the following questions for people to consider:
1. What is your greatest treasure?
2. What have you invested your life in?
3. Will these things matter in the context of eternity?
4. What is God calling you to be passionate about?
 

Proper 13 Ordinary 18 C (July 31): The Things We Leave Behind/God, the Loving Parent/Good stuff,God Stuff and Other Stuff

 

 
 
Bible Readings: Hosea 11:1-11. Psalm 107: 1-9,43, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21




About the Images:
Upper Left:
This is a free Microsoft clipart image and I used it for the Response activity set out below.   I put six images to an A4 (letter) sized sheet -any more and the image does not have enough room for people to write on it easily.

Upper Right:
I made this image for the gospel reading. They are both my photos so please feel free to use them for worship purposes and other related activities. The reflected buildings are near Camberwell Junction in Melbourne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CamberwellJunction) and the head stones are from the fascinating cemetery on Norfolk Island(http://www.pitcairners.org/vt_cemetery.html).
Lower Left: This image comes from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com. This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful free images and templates via the site archives.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.




Opening Response: In Quietness and Darkness
Found in Present on Earth by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 2008, ISBN 0901557642, page 32 (pictured at left). This matches well with the gospel reading.


Listening Song: The Things We Leave Behind
By Michael Card on his album, Poiema, 1994 (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Drama: The Barn Builder
Found in Forty More Devotions that Work With Youth by Geraldine Anderson (Ed.), JBCE, 1990, ISBN 0858198118, page 38 (pictured at left).

Drama: From the Files of Miles Wenckbach
Found in Drama Resources 1 by the Youth Office of the Lutheran Church of Australia (eds.), Lutheran Publishing House, page 54. This fits well with the Hosea reading.

Discussion: On the Hosea Reading
How/when do we take God's love for granted?
In what ways, do we shut God out of our lives?





Story: Cliff Hangers
Found in The New Century Version Youth Bible, Word, 1991, ISBN 0849909252, page 1027, (pictured at left). This goes with the gospel reading,

Story: What is Your Price?
Found in When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado, Word, 1996, ISBN 0849913241, page 65 (pictured at right) This goes with the gospel reading.

Story: Materialism
Story No 423 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers edited by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at left). This also goes with the gospel reading.

Response Activity: For the Luke Reading
Somewhere at the beginning of the service, give everybody a picture of a closed gift box with a large label on it (see image above)and ask them to imagine that inside is the thing that they want most in the world. Give them a minute to think what it is and then to share answers. At the end of the service ask people to look at the box again and ask them what they think God would put in the box for them. If you give them a pen or pencil as well, they can write their response each time on the label.


Prayer For Others: Materialism
Found in Worship Ideas For Youth Ministry, Group, 1997, ISBN 076442002X, page 69 (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.