Sunday, March 01, 2015

Lent 3 B (March 8): Turning the World Upsidedown


































Bible readings: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18-23, John 2:13-22

About the images:
Upper Left: This one is mine so use as you wish for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This one comes from Cerezo Barredo's weekly gospel illustrations which are always well embedded into our modern lives as you can see from this one. You can find Cerezo Barredo's illustrations matching up to the weekly lectionary via www.textweek.com or via http://www.servicioskoinonia.org/cerezo
Lower Left: This is a free image from the Heartlight site - see my links column to the left
Lower Right: This is my image with text from the New Living Translation.  The image is of Chambers Pillar and Castle Rock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chambers_Pillar). Please feel free to use the image for worship and related activities.

Decor:
Try upsetting everything at the front of your worship space before people arrive. Scatter a few coins around and a few broken wooden crates as well. A word of warning though: we had a member of the congregation arrive early - we only just managed to stop her ringing the police because she thought vandals had entered during the night. It is a confronting sight and brings home to the congregation the enormity of what Jesus did.

Kid's Story

Have four large card faces - a happy one, a sad one, an angry one and a shocked one. Tell the kids and the congregation that they have a response to make for each card - for the happy one they are to shout "hurray", for the sad one they are to say "Oh no!", for the angry one they are to growl and for the shocked one they are to say "what!?". Then have someone either read or tell the gospel story for today and as you hold up the appropriate face cards for the different parts of the story the congregation and the kids will respond with the appropriate expression. (Hope this makes sense - it was a bit hard to explain :-) )

Film Clip: John 2:13-22
Found in the Gospel of John by the Visual Bible Society (pictured at left). A word for word version on John in the Good News translation . It is excellent!!!!

Psalm 19
This psalm particularly lends itself to a series of projected images as it is read.

Discussion:
Ask people to shut their eyes and think about Jesus.
What does he look like?
What colour are his eyes? What colour is his hair?
How does he look?
Ask people to describe their picture of Jesus to the person sitting next to them.
Then show them the image: The Angry Christ by Lino Pontebon. This image can be found in The Bible through Asian Eyes by Masao Takenaka and Ron O'Grady,Pace, 1991 (pictured at right).
Ask them to discuss what they think of this picture with the person beside them?
How do you feel about this picture?
N.B. If you can't get hold of this image (which is excellent), any image of an angry Jesus in the temple will work almost as well. The Pontebon image works so well because t is only of Jesus' face.


Meditation Question (accompanied with thinking music):
Where do you think Jesus might like to overturn the tables in
A) your life,
B) your church, and
C) your community?


Response Activity/Meditation: I Believe
Have a Christ candle burning, a heap of tapers and a bowl of sand for lit tapers. Give everyone an A5 copy (use parchment paper if possible so they have a nice keepsake copy) of I Believe by Roddy Hamilton, 1999. This is a beautiful creed which can be found at http://website.lineone.net/~abbotsford/i_believe.htm. Allow people time to read it. Ask them to note the part they like best and then, as it is read out aloud, to light a taper at the front of the worship space when the reader gets to their favourite phrase or sentence.

Response Activity: Which Room?
I think I based this activity on a tiny little book I was given about 30 years ago which I have long since lost - I think it was called My Heart, Christ's Home.
If you compare your spiritual life to the rooms in a house, in which room of your house do you think Jesus might like to overturn the tables:
1. The kitchen - your appetites and desires
2. The veranda - the place you relax and hang out in
3. The bedroom wardrobe - your secret hangups
4. The study - your reading material
5. The garage - your gifts, skills and talents
6. The lounge room - your relationships
Seeing houses vary all over the world, you may have to change this to suit your culture and housing style.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lent 2 B (March 1): Discipleship







































Bible readings: Genesis 17:1-7,15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38

About the images:
Upper Left: A smoky sunset Lake Tyers Beach (http://www.caravanparkphotos.com.au/lake_tyers_camp/index.htm). Looking out across an empty ocean is a good reminder that discipleship does not always have a perceived outcome. We must faithfully step out not always knowing what is to come or where we will end up. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: I just love this verse. The image is from Microsoft free clipart.
Lower Left: Another beach scene from the same area as the one above it but on a misty morning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninety_Mile_Beach,_Victoria). The quote is from the Edge of the World song below. This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: Another line from the song below - this time the photo has been taken from behind a small waterfall in Morton National Park near Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales (http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/Morton-National-Park). This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.


Listening Song: Edge of the World

On Beyond These Shores by Iona, 1993 (pictured at left) The cover insert has some good info on St Brendon, who sailed away across the sea trusting that God would lead him into new places. This song is about discipleship.

Story: The Chicken and the Pig
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice (ed.) Youth Specialities, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 63 (pictured at right). This story illustrates the cost of true discipleship.

Story: Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Go to
http://www.dbonhoeffer.org/node/3 to find an amazing story of discipleship.

Story: Life of St Brendan
See http://www.heritage.nf.ca/exploration/brendan.html and http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintb21.htm for more info on St Brendan.


Discussion Questions:
What scares you most about being a disciple?
What are the characteristics of a disciple?


Useful Quote:
"Chris
tians in the west have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church members, pew fillers, hymn singers, sermon tasters, Bible readers, even born again believers or spirit filled charismatics - but not true disciples of Jesus". Found in Discipleship by David Watson, Hodder and Stoughton, 1981, ISBN 0340265728, page 16 (pictured at left).

Another Useful Quote:
"For countless Christians in the West 'Discipleship' means little more than going to church regularly, giving a proportion of one's income -usually at best one tenth and often below that figure - and getting involved in a limited number of church activities". Also found in Discipleship by David Watson.

N.B. A BIG thank you to Karen from California for replacing my lost copy of this book :)

Poem/Prayer: When I Became a Christian
Found in Cleaning Away the Rubbish by Adrian Plass, Minstral, 1988, ISBN 1854240250, page 173 (pictured at right). A great modern poem about discipleship.

Poem/Prayer: St Brendan's Prayer

Found at http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/stb21001.htm

Also:
Response Activity: The Good Fight
From Bringing the Word to Life Together Year B by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2011, ISBN 9781921945038, page 51ff (pictured at left). This activity is based on the gospel reading.

Poem and prayer: get back.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 83 (pictured at right). These are based on the gospel reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2015 by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2014, page 38ff. These ideas are based on all of the readings.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lent 1 B (February 22): Promise




























Bible Readings: Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Peter 3:18-22,Mark 1:9-15

About the Images:
Upper Right: This is a free Corel clipart with my text.
Upper Left: A rainbow on Australia's Highway No 1 at Kilmany - Kilmany is in the Wellington shire (http://www.tourismwellington.com.au) but is too small to have a web page of its own.
Lower Left: This is a modern day photo of the Judaean wilderness - I don't think it has changed all that much since Jesus' day.  This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: this is a wonderfully cross shaped plant (if someone knows what it is, please let me know) I found growing in the desert in Central Australia. This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.

Worship Space Decor:
Drape 4-6 metre shiny and bright lengths of material in the order and colours of the rainbow (six colours are sufficient - indigo was only chosen to make the number of colours equal seven a few centuries ago because seven was considered a more perfect number than six!)

Listening Song: Dive
Sung by Steven Curtis Chapman on his album, Speechless, Sparrow Records. 1999 (pictured at right) or on WOW 2001 and on other albums too.  Following Jesus means diving deep and losing ourselves in the flood of living water.

Listening Song: Who You Are?
(see clip below) Sung by Caedmon's Call on their album, In the Company of Angels or on WOW 2003. This song goes well with the gospel reading.



Kid's Story: Noah's Ark
by Jan Latourette and Sally Mathews, Lutheran Publishing House, 1982, ISBN 0859101959 (pictured at right).

Film Clip: Noah's Ark
On Leunig Animated, Fruitcup Films, 2001 (see clip below). This little clip is a great introduction to a prayer of confession.



Film Clip:Toy Story
When Woody reminds Buzz that his owner's name is written on the sole of his foot in indelible ink. Relate to how God has our names written on the palm of his hand.



Drama: It's a Sign
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 46, (pictured in an earlier post). This drama is based on the Genesis reading. It looks at the definition of promise.

Drama: Noah's Ark
Skit 21 in Clown Ministry by Floyd Schaffer and Penne Sewell, Group Books, 1984, ISBN 0936664185, (pictured at right).

Story: "What I want!"
Found as story No 232 in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree,Monarch, 2003 (pictured in an earlier post). This story is related to the gospel reading.


Discussion:
Give a the congregation three pictures (via overhead projector, data projector or handout) - one of an overwhelming sea, one of the ark all shut up and one of a rainbow - and ask them to think which best represents their relationship with God at this time. Ask them to share their responses in pairs or threes.

Response Activity:
Give each person a business card with a rainbow printed on one side with a blank back on the other side. Ask people to write one of God's promises which gives them encouragement on the blank side. Instead of passing the peace, greet someone by swapping the card. Read the new card and then swap it with somebody else. Do this a number of times so that each person will have read a number of promises.

Response Activity:
Plait bracelets made of embroidery cotton in the colours of the rainbow - they look best if you combine red and orange, yellow and green and blue and purple to get the three plaiting strands. Encourage people to wear them as a prayer/reminder of God's promises to them. It's fun to do this by working in groups. If you have used the above discussion, then use those groups to build on the trust and comeraderie they will have established between themselves.

 


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Transfiguration Sunday B (February 15): Being a Light in the Darkness: Staying close to God

















Bible Readings: Psalm 50:1-6, Mark 9:2-9, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, 2 Kings 2:1-12

About the Images:
Upper left and right: These are both copyright free and from Wikimedia.com. I thought they were both great examples of 2 Corinthians 4:6b - God, who said, "Let light shine out of the darkness" has shone in our hearts.
Lower Left:  This is an image from the Church of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor in the Holy Land. This is my image so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This image is from the free Heartlight site - see my links column at left.

Listening Song: go Light Your Candle
by Kathy Troccoli on Sounds of Heaven 1995, Greatest Hits 2003 (pictured at right) or WOW 1996.

Kids Story:
Make some flash cards with different emotions (eg smily face, sad face etc). Give each flash card to a different child and then tell the story of the 2 Kings or Mark reading. Ask the kids to listen carefully as you tell the story and to hold up their card when they think one of the characters feels like their card. Everybody then has to use their face to reflect that card.

Youth Idea:
Get a few kids to play a short game of the theatre sport Space
Jump (if you don't know how to play this find out at http://phillips.personal.nccu.edu.tw/improv/jump.html) and then connect it to our lives and to the gospel story in that we are often so busy going from thing to thing that life often feels like a game of Space Jump and the disciples must have felt very much like they were playing a game of Space Jump with Jesus on the day of the transfiguration.

Film Clip: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
 Show the part where Dumbledore, in his welcome address, talks about turning on the light.



Discussi
on: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
1. What does Dumbledore mean when he says "Turn
on the light" ?
2. How do we, as Christians, turn on the light in a dark world?


Drama: Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 92, (pictured at right).This drama is based on the Gospel reading.

Discussion Questions:
Alone: When has God's glory touched you?
Brainstorm Together: How did it make you feel?
Together: How does this effect you in your daily life?

Story: Life
Story No 148
in Your Point Being by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 (UK), (pictured at left). This story fits well with the Corinthians reading.

Story: A Candle in the Darkness
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681 (pictured at right). This story connects particularly with the 2 Corinthians reading but also with the others.

Prop for above story:
Use a self igniting candle and explain: Daniel’s light shone very brightly (light candle) - sometime ours does too and at other times it is just a tiny glow. But, no matter what happens, once we have met God, there is no reason why our light should ever go out (blow out self lighting candle and then pause while candle reignites). The trick is to stay close to God.

Response Activity:
Ask kids to hand out a small birthday candle to each member of the congregation. Encourage everybody to light their candle each dinner time this week to remind them of the light of God.


 


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Epiphany 5 B (February 08): Coping with Stress/Prayer/Clues for Coping























Bible readings: Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 147:1-11,20c, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39.

About the Images:
Upper Right: This image comes from Image bank - http://www.imagebank.org.uk . This is an excellent free image site and well worth bookmarking.
Upper Left: We all need clues for coping with the heat.  A few years ago we had a record number of days over 43C  (that's about 110F). This photo is of my husband, Joe, giving my car some tender loving care so it copes - even if he doesn't :-).
Lower Left: This is a free image is from Heartlight (see my links column at left)
Lower Right: This is an image from Church galleries (see my links column at left)

Listening Song: On The Wings of An Eagle
By Russell Morris on the soundtrack of The Dish (pictured at left). This goes well with the Isaiah reading.

Drama: The Things You Do To Get a Decent Meal
Found in Mega Drama 3, Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109178, page 52, (pictured at the right). This is based on the gospel reading.

Discussion: In age groups
What sort of things add stress to our lives these days?

Story: Alive and Present
By Steve Goodier and found at http://sweetpovertyflats.savingadvice.com/family-ramblins/
This talks about the objective in life being the journey, not the goal.

Story: Sharpen
your Axe
Found in Hot illustrations for Youth Talks, Youth Specialties Inc, ISBN 0310402611, 1994, pages 180-181 (pictured at left). This story is about the importance of prayer and staying in touch with God.

Prayer:
Give people the opportunity to find a quiet resting place with God by presenting the Isaiah reading (either as a data projection or as a printed leaflet - use both words and pictures) while playing some reflective music. Watermarks on the album Watermarks (pictured at right) or The First of Autumn on the album A Day Without Rain (pictured at left), both by Enya, both work well and are about the right length. Encourage people to watch, read and listen, and hear what God is saying to them to them.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Epiphany 4B (February 1): Power and Authority


















Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 111, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28

About the Images:
Upper Left: Lake Tyers beach early in the morning, East Gippsland, Australia (http://www.caravanparkphotos.com.au/lake_tyers_camp/index.htm). Nothing like a stormy sunrise to remind you of God's power and authority. This is my  photo - so feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: A compilation of microsoft free clipart.
Lower Left: This is the first line of a lovely Aussie Hymn by Elizabeth J. Smith (Together in Song 188)  which I think goes really well with ideas of God's creative power. The image of the Simpson desert French line is mine so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. For more info on the simpson please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert
Lower Right:  This is an image from Churchgalleries (see my links column at left).

Listening Song: Healing Rain
By Michael W Smi
th on his album, Healing Rain, or on WOW 2006 (pictured at left). This song goes nicely with the gospel reading.

Kids Story: Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak, Randon House, 1963 (pictured at right).This story fits in very well with the gospel reading,

Image: The Scream by Edvard Munch.
Great picture portraying the demon of loneliness,
social isolation etc etc.

Film Clip: Arthur and the Invisibles
There is a great clip when Art
hur has his 10th birthday which portrays the demon of parental neglect.



Discussion: Arthur and the Invisibles
1. What makes Arthur really sad?
2. What happens when we are hurt badly by something someone does or says to us?
3. As Christians, how can we cope?


Drama: Not Everyone Knows This
Found in Mega Drama 3, Verena Johnson (ed), Openbook 2002,ISBN 0859109178 (v.3) page 34 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the Corinthians reading.

Quote: Etty Hillesum
My battles are fought out inside with my own demons (from An Interrupted Life)


Quote: Frederick Buechner
God does not give us neat answers, he gives us himself.

Quote; Frederick Buechner

It suddenly dawned on them that their wildest dreams hadn't been half wild enough.


Story: Sarah Windchester's Story
Found in In
the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado, Word, 1991, pp. 193-195 (pictured at left). A good example of the demon of guilt.

Story: Aristotle's Claims
Find this story at http://onelifeministries.org/PathOfSpirit/090507_TruthClaimsandDiscernment.asp under the heading Wisdom. This story makes a good contrast with Jesus' authority in the gospel reading.

Story: Jesus Walks His Talk
This story is found at http://net.bible.org/illustration.php?id=4708 under the heading Need for Godly Leaders but I like my title better :-)

Story: No One Stops Them Ringing Their Bells
This story is found at http://www.calvaryriverton.org/sermons/debbie/s-012906.html when you type "Alexander Solzhenitsyn" in Find. It is about the meaning of authority. This story is actually embedded in this site in a sermon on the Corinthians reading.


Adult response:
Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask: What is bothering you most? Is their something specific in your life or is there someone you love who needs the healing touch of Jesus? What ever it is, write it down on the piece of paper and lay it at the foot of the cross to signify that you want Jesus to have the authority from now on in that situation from now on.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Epiphany 3B (January 25): Following/God Gives Second Chances




























Bible readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20

About the images:
Upper Left: I took this photo up at Hervey Bay (http://www.hervey.com.au) a few years ago - two whales were so interested in us and the boat we were on that they hung around for ages popping out of the water beside us to get a closer look. Feel free to use this image for worship and related activities. 
Upper Right: A free Microsoft clipart image with my text.
Lower Left: My image of Uluru with Biblical text.  Please feel free to use for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: A free Heartlight image - see my links column at left

Listenin
g Song: More
By Matthew West on his album, Happy, universal South/Sparrow Records,or on WOW Hits 2005
(pictured at left). This goes well with the Jonah reading.

Listening Song: I Am
By Jill Phillips on her self titled album and on WOW 2000. (pictured at right). This goes well with the Jonah reading.


Image: "Jonah and the Whale" by He Qi (2001).
Look at the painting. Notice the face looking over the whole scene in the top left hand corner.

Film Clip: The Colour Purple 
Sh
ugs father refuses to speak to her but when she returns to the church with all her friends singing "Listen, God's trying to Tell You something" he realises he has been given a second chance her back as his daughter.



Discussion: The Colour Purple
1. Who was given a second chance in this film clip?
2. Do you think God has anything to do with it?
3. How does it feel when someone gives you a second chance?

Film Clip: Veggie Tails: Jonah
I can never work out who usually enjoys Veggie Tales the most - the kids or the adults.



Drama: Has God Been Talking To You Lately?
Found in in Mega Drama 2 edited by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2001, page 27 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the Jonah reading.

Discussion:
What is it in the story of Jonah that tells us that God is the God of second chances.

Story:
When The Tag Was Changed
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997,
ISBN 0830718834, page 201 (pictured at left). This story goes well with the Jonah reading.

Adult Response: Prayer Stations:
Station 1: A Mirror and Card:
The card reads: Ask yourself: Do you need a second chance from God?

Are you also hard on yourself - do you need to give yourself a second chance as well? Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that it is you that God loves. Read these words from Isaiah 43:4. God says: “You are precious and honoured in my sight and …I love you” What do these words say to you about God’s love for you?
Station 2: Christ candle, tapers and card
The card reads: Think of somebody who you need to give a second chance to. Think about that person now. Light a taper as a symbol, that just as God is willing to give you a second chance, you will give them a second chance.
Station 3: Map, tea lights and card
The card reads: Think of a part of the world that needs a second chance – a place where there is need or a war or natural or man made disaster. Think about that place now and place a lighted tea light on the location of that place on the map.