Thursday, September 18, 2014

Proper 23 Ordinary 28 A (October 12): The invitation/True worship

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 - 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 Ath
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 Illus
trations 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.


Proper 22 Ordinary 27 A (October 5): Running the race

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 ( 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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Proper 21 Ordinary 26 A (September 28): The God who Comes to us/Attitude

Bible readings: Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 78, 1-4, 12-16, Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:23-32

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is the cross outside Bairnsdale Uniting church and either my image or that of Judy Williams. Either way please feel free to use it for worship and other related activities.
Upper Right: This is my image (of a Norfolk Island walking track) and my words. Please feel free to use it for worship and other related activities. 

Lower Left: This image, from Wikimedia commons, is a work of the U.S Air Force employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties.  As a work of the U.S Federal Government, the image is in the public domain.  The text is mine.   

Listening Song: Talk About It
By Nicole C Mullins on her album, Talk About It (pictured at right).

Kid's Story: The Two Sons
By Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen, found originally as an individual book, Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1986, ISBN 0855790652; (pictured at left) and lately in Stories Jesus Told (pictured in an earlier post) by the above authors, Candle books, 2005, ISBN 101859855881.

Kid's Story: Yertle the Turtle
Found in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr Seuss, Collins, 1950, ISBN 0001717588. (pictured at right). This fits well with the Philippians reading because it talks about the pitfalls of putting yourself first.

Film Clip: The Day After Tomorrow(pictured at left) Show the clip where Jack promises his son, Sam, that he will come for him no matter what.

Discussion: The Day After Tomorrow
1.Why does Jack promise to come for Sam?

2. In what way do you think that God has come for us? See the Philippians reading.

Film Clip: The Remains of the Day
Show the clip where Miss Kenton , after threatening that she will leave if the Jewish girls are dismissed, then decides to stay on regardless. This scene comes a little over an hour into the film.

Discussion: Remains of the Day
1. Why did Miss Kenton change her mind?
2. What do you think of Miss Kenton?

Quiz: Winners
ound in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 148 (pictured at left). This quizzes people on who are the real winners in our memories and therefore goes well with the Philippians reading.

Drama: In Their Shoes
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 98 (pictured at right). This drama is about Jesus coming to earth and what the angels think of this. It is based on the Philippians reading.

Drama: The Boy who Said Yes and then Didn't Go
One person sits down and the other two stand one on each side of him/her with their hands on his/her shoulders. He looks from one to the other as they speak. Of the two standing, one has a sign which says “yes” (speaker 1) and the other has a sign that says “but didn’t go” (speaker 2)
1. Poor Josh, he always being put down by someone. I think I’ll say g’day to him.
2. Uh oh, here comes Josh. Avoid him at all costs - he is so uncool
1. I’m going to pray for reconciliation between aboriginals and white people today.
2. Did you hear about the break in – bet it was the koori’s again.
1. I always try to be polite to the adults at church.
2. I’m going to give my teachers hell today.
1. I always put ten percent of my income in the offering
2. 40 hour famine support? – nah, charity begins at home.
1. I am going to spend time with Mum this week.
2. If I walk just behind her when we go down the street nobody should guess that we are related.
1. I pay for everything I buy.
2. It is so easy to slip through the checkout without paying for everything.
1. I am leading the prayer of thanksgiving in church.
2. but so many things really cheese me off … let me tell you about my present list of complaints.
1. I help with the little kids
2. Little kids are so easy to boss around.
1. I chatted with the elderly people at church during morning tea
2. Some of them are just so out of it – what a laugh.
Copyright 2002 Ann Scull and Rosemary Broadstock

Story: Make Me Like Joe
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 114 (pictured at left). This story is about what it means to be an imitator of Christ.

Story: The Hermit's Gift
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 112. This story illustrates the Philippian reading - about the effect that our regard for each other can have on other people. This is a generic story which is also found in many places on the web.

Response Activity:
Because part of the Philippians reading is probably an ancient creedal type hymn, this could be a good opportunity to encourage people to write their own creed or hymn. For those who are more hands on, have small pieces of clay available and encourage those people to model who they believe Jesus to be or how thier faith can be expressed.

Response Activity:
Make a bridge with a plank of wood and some bricks over a river made of fabric. Give everybody two tea lights and a texta. Ask then to think of something they find difficult to say yes to God about and draw a symbol of that on the bottom of their tea light. The ask them to think of somebody who does not come up to their expectations as a Christian and draw a symbol representing them on the other tea light. Encourage people to sit in the darkened worship space and talk to God about both themselves and the person who disappoints them. When they are ready invite them to thank God for the grace which God gives freely to everybody and then to come out and light both candles from the Christ candle and place them both on the bridge.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Proper 20 Ordinary 25 A (September 21): Focus and Purpose/The Generosity of God

Bible Readings: Exodus 16:2-15, Psalm 105:1-6,37-45, Philippians 1:21-30, Matthew 20:1-16

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart with my text. This image matches the Philippians reading.
Upper Right:
This is my image with text as acknowledged. I took this image in central Australia and you can see what a battle this tree has had to survive by the way it has grown. It seemed to illustrate Pauk Harvey's quote very well. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities. This images match the Philippians reading.

Lower left: This is a clipart image from Church Galleries (see my links olumn at left)

For Kids: Fair Wages

Found in Saving the Ants by Ruth Gilmore, Augsburg, 2001, ISBN 0806640804, page 106. This is based on the gospel reading (pictured at right).

Discussion questions:
How does God help us cope with the uncomfortable things in our lives?
How does God give us hope and strength?

Story: The Greyhound Races
Found in Hot Illus
trations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 106 (pictured at left). This story illustrates the Philippian words about purpose.

Story: Last Supper Story 2
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 162 (pictured at left).
This story illustrates the Philippian words about focus.

Story: Bad Tyre, Good Business

In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 33 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the  gospel reading.

Reading: Letter From A Communist
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 105 (pictured at left). This reading challenges our commitment - when you read it, don't tell the congregation who wrote it - let them try to guess.

Poem/Prayer: Realigned Again
A revelation, poem and prayer by Kelly Hall. Music by Tracy Howe Wispelwey/The Restoration Project. This comes from The Work of the People (see my link at left) . This poem prayer is about renewal, surrender, transformation, rethinking and realigning one's life.


Response Activity:
Ask or project: What would you have to change in your lifestyle and in the way you deal with the harder parts of your life in order to live the life God has called you to?
Give out business cards with the words from Psalm 105:3-4: Be glad that we belong to God. Go to God for help. Seek God's presence continually.

Heaps of Service Ideas: All Worked Up
Found in Multi-Sensory Parables by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 50ff (pictured at right). Lots of good stuff here relevant to the gospel reading.
Poem and prayer: working to rule.
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: The Generosity of God

Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 139ff. 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 198ff.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Proper 19 Ordinary 24 A (September 14): Coping With Difference/Forgiveness/Rescue

Bible Readings: Exodus 14:19-31, Psalm 114, Exodus 15: 1b-11,20-21, Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35.
About th
e Images:
Upper Left: Sign seen in a Lygon Street coffee house in Melbourne, Australia. It says to me that it is not so hard to work with differences - everybody just needs to have a bit of a go.
Upper Right: This is a mediacom free clipart with text from the Matthew West song below.

Lower Left: This is a Church galleries image - see my links column at the left.

Listening Song: What If I Stumble
By dc
Talk on their album, Jesus Freak (pictured at left) This song goes well with the Romans reading and to a lesser extent with the Exodus reading.

Listening Song: Only Grace
By Matthew West on his album, History or on WOW 2007 (pictured at right). This goes very well with the Gospel reading.

Kid's Story; Soundscape
This can be done with a heap of Bible stories but it works very well with this one. It is an old , old idea that has been about in Sunday school and beach mission resources for years and years but it is an oldie that's a goodie! Tell the story of the Exodus using a bucket of w
ater and a wooden spoon or hands to make the sound of the sea, a saucepan and a wooden spoon or a drum or banging feet for the Egyptians, the congregation or a group of children for the crowd and complaining voices, sand in a large flat tin dish and a pair of hands in sneakers or hands patting thighs for marching feet, and a tin whistle or flute played softly or any sort of God noise you can think of for God. Give out the sound effects to a few kids and tell them to use their sound effect every time they hear their key word eg sea, Egyptian, marching, complaining, God. Then tell the story! Make sure you emphasis the key word so that you give the sound effects kids a good warning as to when they are to employ their particular sound effect. It's great fun. Adults like it too!

Kid's Story: Rescue
Found in The Lion's Book of Bible Stories and Prayers by Mary Batchelor, Lion, 1980, ISBN 0867602058, page 8 (pictured at left). This is a lovely kid's version of the Exodus story and it has two prayers for kids as well. I used it with the above soundscape.

Film Clip: Changing Lanes
(pictured at right). This clip fits in nicely with the gospel reading. You will have to give a quick summary of this film because the clip comes from quite near the end when Gavin's boss explains how he has justified an injustice and Gavin then finds Doyle waiting for him in his office. The two men discuss what the day has taught them.

Discussion: Changing Lanes
Gavin and Doyle tell each other that they are sorry for their actions that day.
1. Why can we say sorry for the little things but find it really difficult to say sorry for the things which effect us and others deeply?
2. What is the relationship between our experiences of being forgiven by God and our ability to let go of what others owe us? 
Film Clip: End of the Spear
If you are able to remember the 60's and 70's (all power to you if you can!) you will remember the book and film Through the Gates of Splendour about the five American missionaries who were killed in South America by the indigenous inhabitants. This film (pictured at left) is about the wives and children of the missionaries. They return to evangelise these same indians. I found the clip at (a brilliant site - see my links column at left) under the heading forgiveness. 

Drama ; You Call That Prayer?
Leader: Thank you for all coming today. We welcome you (looks at 2) to your first meeting with us today. We will now close in prayer. Just jump in if you feel like it and I’ll close at the end.
1: Dear God, thanks for bringing us here today and learning more about you.

2. Yes, Lord!
3: Help us to spread the Good News in Bairnsdale (or wherever you live).
Help us to know what to say and do.
2; Oh Yes Lord. Be with us Lord!
4: Help us to grow closer to you. ….

2: Ha
llelujah!! Yes, Lord.
4. AND (slightly frustrated) to grow closer to one another.

2: Yes
Lord, Yes Lord, Amen, Thank you Lord for this group. Thank you Lord that I am able to worship in your holy name. Father, here in this place. Lord, send your Spirit to be with us and guide us. Open our hearts to the leading of your Spirit as we share together. Father, in Jesus wonderful name we praise you. Thank you Lord, Amen.
Leader: (after awkward pause) Um, hear all our prayers spoken and unspo
ken. Amen . Thanks everyone. Before we go any further (looks at 2) I think you should know a few things about our group
1: We don’t go in for all that weird superspiritual stuff.
3: If
you are going to fit in with us you’d better learn a few things.
As each person disagrees in the following dialogue have them step away from the group – by the end they should be against the walls and shouting at each other.

4: Yeah, and we don’t believe in dancing! It leads to all kinds of sinful tho
ughts and lewd behaviour.
1: That’s funny! I don’t have a problem with dancing. Its R rated movies we don’t agree with.

3: Excuse
me? R rated movies? There’s some great R rated’s around at the moment. The censors are just a little over careful. What we really don’t like is people who believe in all that healing miracle stuff.
4: Of course we believe in miracles. My Nana was healed by a miracle. She’s a living
, breathing example! But if you speak in tongues – now that’s another story.
1: Hang on a minute. I speak in tongues. (Sharp intake of breath from other two) You know, you are most likely not going to fit in with us unless you like pop music. We do not believe in COUNTRY music!!!!!
3: He means techno.

4. No… dubstep!

1: The main thing is opposition to R Rated movies.

4: No!!!! It’s the tongues thing

3: It’s the healing miracle stuff
4: Dancing!

1: R
Rated movies!
4: Tongues!

Leader: Welcome to our church!
Copyright Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull ( I am pretty sure this is ours :-) Somebody let me know if you have seen something like it somewhere else).

Drama: The Unforgiving Servant
Found in Lets Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 27. This is a sort of mine/dramatic reading of the gospel with a chorus. I am going to make the whole congregation the chorus because I think it will be more fun that way and easier to organise.

Drama: What Seems to Be the Problem?
d in Lets Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book Publishers, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 19. This is a funny modern day take on the gospel.

Discussion Questions:
1. Why is it important to concentrate on the basics of faith rather than on those things which separate us?

2. What are some practical ways we can reach out to people who express themselves differently than we do? 
Quote: Meister Eckhardt
"God does not ask anything of you other than for you to let yourself go and let God be God in you".

Response Activity: Pass It On
Found in Multi-Sensory Parables by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 20. This book is really written for small groups but plenty of the activities translate well into worship services. Under this heading there is a brilliant introduction to the gospel and a response that could be used after watching either of the above film clips or after a sermon.


Multi Ag
e Resources: Take a Load Off
Found in Welcome Mat by Beth Barnett, Scripture Union (pictured at left). The whole of session 3 - teaching, activities for children, discussion questions, drama and photocopyable resources - is devoted to the gospel reading. Each session is easily adaptable to worship. Welcome Mat is available from and is worth buying as the other eight sessions are also based on Matthew readings.