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 ( 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 (,_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 ( 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 to find an amazing story of discipleship.

Story: Life of St Brendan
See and 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:
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

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 ( 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.

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 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 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.

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 - . 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
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.

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.