Sunday, October 26, 2014

Proper 26 Ordinary 31 (November 2): All Saints/What is a Saint?/ Shining in the Dark

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 ( north of the Oodnadatta Track ( near Hamilton Station (or ranch or farm or homestead or whatever you call them in your part of the world) ( 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 Saint
Find this story at

Story: What was Eric Liddell's Secret
Find the answer at

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

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 oth
er, "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 1397817416922
28. This beautiful book fits anywhere in this service - call to worship, children's talk, sermon, or response (pictured at left).

Response Activity:
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

Proper 25 Ordinary 30 A (October 26): Being at home with God

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

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 Ad
rian 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.

Sermon: DIY
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.
Station 2:
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).

Station 3:
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.

Response Activity:
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.