Thursday, August 28, 2014

Proper 18 Ordinary 23 A (September 7): Our God of new beginnings and second chances

Bible readings: Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20

About the Image:
Upper Left:
This is a free image from the Hermano Leon site - see my links column at left.
Upper Right: This is a free Imagebank image from their excellent, although slightly disorganised, site. See my link column at left.
Lower Left: This is a free Heartlight image from their site which you can access through my links column at left.

Listening Song: Just Like You
By Keb Mo on his album, Just Like You (pictured a
t left).This goes well with the gospel reading.

Call to Worship: All God's People
Found in Crafts For Creative Worship by Jan Brind and Tessa Wilkinson, Canturbury Press, 2009, page 205 (pictured at right). This goes well with the Romans reading. 

Drama: No Thumping Whatsoever
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 21 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Film Clip: The Day is Near
This goes really well with the Romans reading - it's from the Work of the People (see more excellent clips from their site which you can find via my links column - the clips cost but they are well worth it)


Story: Don't Hire a Hit Man
d in Could Someone Wake Me up Before I Drool on the Desk by Kevin Johnson, Bethany House Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1556614160, page 49 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospel reading.

After read
ing the Romans reading and the gospel reading, divide into groups to discuss together and make a list together of the means by which a Christian community can live in harmony.

Quote: Do It Anyway
Probably written originally by Dr Kent M. Keith and adapted by Mother Teresa. Find the original and the adapted words at

Adult Response:
Give everybody a piece of spring blossom. Tell everyone that the blossom is a sign of spring, new life and new growth. In the silence, encourage people to think of a broken relationship in their lives and encourage them to ask God to show them how to repair it.

Adult Response:
Give everyone a small piece of self hardening modelling clay (1cm cube is big enough for this) and
1. Ask people to mould their feelings about someone they disagree with in their faith community.
2. Ask them to mould the clay back into a ball
3. Ask them to mould the clay into a symbol of Jesus' love for them.
4. Encourage them to take home their symbol as an example of relationship.

Poem and prayer: wherever two.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 52 (pictured at left). These are based on the gospel reading.

Response Activity: Love Your Neighbour

Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 134ff. This is based on the Gospel reading .

Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2013, page 188ff.

Father's Day (Australia - and maybe some other places?) Resources:

Listening song; Butterfly kisses
By Bob Carlisle on his album of the same name (pictured at right)  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Proper 17 Ordinary 22 A (August 31): Living God's Call

Bible readings; Exodus 3:1-5, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is made up of two free microsoft clip art images with my text.
Upper right: This is a free microsoft clip art image with my text.
Lower left: This is a fee image from the Heartlight collection - see my links at left.

Film Clip: The Prince of Egypt
Show the burning bush scene from the film The Prince of Egypt (pictured at left)

Discussion: The Prince of Egypt
Where are some places we may meet God?
What do you think God might say to us as a church?

Quiz: Who Am I?

In line with the Exodus reading which points to God using ordinary people to achieve great things, choose a well known ordinary (and lay) person in your congregation who has a significant ministry, and, with their permission, turn their life and ministry into a game of Who Am I?

Discussion: In pairs or fours

1. How does our relationship with God show up in our relationships

a. with outsiders
b. with those we don't get on with, and
c. with those who suffer?
2. Talk together about dreams for our congregation and how we could put our dreams into practice.

Drama: The Sheep
(dressed very simply as a sheep eg. woolly ears wanders up the centre aisle of the church calling out): Hey, where is everybody? Is this Mt Horeb?

Barbara (dressed similarly, at lectern): Yeah, here we are, Bartholomew. Come over here. Did you get lost coming over the desert again?

Yeah, I stopped too long at that first rest area. I'll never be anything but a straggler. (sighs)

Barbara: My word, you certainly missed out on all the excitement today anyway.

Bartholomew: Why, what ever happened?

Barbara: Well, just as Moses was about to have a bit of a smoko after getting us all here he stopped dead in his tracks because right in front of him was this great big humungous burning bush.

Bartholomew: A bush fire - out here?

Barbara: No, no…. not a bush fire just a bush on fire and it didn't burn away like you'd expect it too and .......(whispered loudly) it had an angel of the Lord in it!

Bartholomew: Fair dinkum - you must have all been scared out of your wits.

Barbara: We all scattered like sheep - but I didn't go too far because I wanted to see what happened.
Bartholomew: What did Moses do?

Barbara: Well, you could see he was interested. He went over to have a closer look and God's voice came out of the bush saying "Moses, Moses.

Bartholomew: Wow (breathed) And then?

Barbara: Moses said " I am..m…m…m

Bartholomew: Huh, he'd be stuttering worse than usual, I bet. I can just imagine!
Barbara: God said " Don’t come any closer. Take off you sandals because the place where you are standing is holy ground." Well, by this stage Moses had both his sandals off and he was face down on the ground. He was just too scared to look at God. Mind you, none of us were looking either but I kept my ears open.

Bartholomew: I dunno if I'd have had the guts to hang around.

Barbara: Well, God spoke again. He said "I‘ve seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and I am very concerned about their suffering. So I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey - So now, go, I am sending you to lead my people out of Egypt."

Bartholomew: Well, that's a bit of a promotion for Moses - from a leader of sheep to a leader of a whole nation of people! (Looks around) Is he still here? Did he go?

Barbara: Well, actually he had a bit of crisis in confidence. His actual words were "W..w..who am I, that I should g..g..go to Pharaoh and b..b..bring the Israelites out of Egypt."

Bartholomew: Wow, that's almost like giving cheek. What happened to him? Did God give him a bit of a zap or something?

Barbara: Nuh. Nothing. God understood and said " I’ll be with you and when you bring the people out of Egypt you will worship me right here. That’ll be the proof that I have sent you."

Bartholomew: So... then what.

Barbara: Well then Moses got a little cheeky. He said, Ok then, who will I say sent me. In other words “what’s ya name?”
Bartholomew: Ooooh. God must’ve got mad then?

Barbara: No, not really. He just told him “I AM” ….but in a pretty big voice as you can well imagine. Now look! Its time we stopped talking and got in to a bit of serious grass eating. I think Moses is starting to keep a journal – he’s calling it Exodus or something. You’ll find the rest of the story there.

Copyright Ann Scull 1999 - please feel free to adapt - it has Australian figures of speech that may not translate well into other cultures.

Story: Unbaptised Arms
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 169 (pictured at right). This story is matched with the Romans reading.

Quote: Brother Roger
In the silence of the heart,
tirelessly God whispers to each of us:

"Do not be afraid. I am here".

Response Activity:
Give everyone a small journal (you can sometimes buy tiny little ones in discount shops very cheaply) and ask them to write a few words to God in the silence (or with quiet music playing) about what they think God has been speaking to them about recently.

For Australians: Refugee and Migrant Sunday: August 31

Listening Song: I Guess I Get a Little Emotional Sometimes
By Paul Kelly and can be downloaded from his site-

TV Series: Go Back to Where You Came From
Watch one of the episodes of this excellent series instead of a sermon. Talk about it together afterwards.   I would suggest you watch either episode two or three. Please check if there are any copyright issues.

TV Clip: Clark and Dawe on Asylum Seekers
Clarke and Dawe have a few of these - I like this one in particular because you can't be accused of siding with a particular major political party if you use it.

Prayer for Others
Have a large map of the world and tea lights
or flowers or both. Ask people to place a lit tea light or a flower on a part of the world where there are refugees in need of our help and prayers. In the background, play the Moby song mentioned below.

Listening Song: Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad
By Moby on his album Play (pictured at right).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Proper 16 Ordinary 21 A (August 24): who is this man?/Five courageous Women

Bible Readings: Exodus 1:8 -2:10, Psalm 124, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20.

About the Image:
Upper Left: A free microsoft clip art cropped and offset with my text added.
Upper Right: This is an image of reeds along the edge of the Nile river in Egypt. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities.
Lower Left: This is an image of mud brick walls along the edge of the Nile river in Egypt. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities.

Introduction to Gospel reading:
Ask people to turn to the person on their right and say one positive thing about that person; then ask them
to turn to the person on their left and say one positive thing about themselves.

Worship Outline: Women at the Water
By Katherine Low 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 163ff (pictured at right). This is based on the Exodus reading and includes preparation of the worship space, prayers, and scripted readings. Excellent stuff!

Kids: The Ba
by in the Basket                 
Found in The Picture Strip Bible by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 18599964970, page 26 (pictured at left)

Film Clip: If You Had not been with us
This comes from the excellent sight, The Work of the People and can be accessed via my links column at left. I tis based directly on the Psalm.


Drama: Wake Up and Shake Up
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 44 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the Romans reading.

Poem/Prayer: Was He Cracked, Crooked or Correct?
Found in God Thoughts by Dick Williams, Falcon Books, 1969, ISBN 854915214, page 48 (pictured at left). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Poem/Prayer: Moses
By Roddy Hamilton and found in his archives under 1st August 2008 on his Mucky Paws site (see my Links column at left). I put images with this poem and backed it with the Lisa Gerrard music mentioned immediately below.

Listening Music: The Promised Womb
By Lisa Gerrard on her album, The Best of Lisa Gerrard (pictured at right).

Quote: CS Lewis
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' This is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." From his book Mere Christianity, too many editions to list!!

Sermon Ideas: Who Are Our Pharaohs?
Found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year A by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild (Eds.) Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 066422507, page 224

Film Clip:Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
(pictured at left) Show the clip where he escapes from the car crusher. It matches beautifully with the Psalm and goes pretty well with the Exodus reading as well. I found this clip on the Wingclips site - see my links column at left or watch it for yourself: Car Escape - Movie Clip from Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker at