Sunday, July 31, 2016

Proper 20 Ordinary 25 C (September 18): Values/Praying for Peace/Lament


 
 



















Bible Readings: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, Psalm 79:1-9, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13

About the Images:
Upper Left:
Coopers Creek at the Dig Tree: such a peaceful place with such an odd history.  For more info, please visit http://www.thargotourism.com.au/the-burke-and-wills-dig-tree. This is my photo - please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: Ned Kelly the day before his execution by Charles Nettleton. The photo taken in 1880, so is public domain. Image taken from http://www.statelibrary.vic.gov.au/slv/exhibitions/kellyculture/intro1.html
Lower Left: This is a free image from Imagebank  - see my link column at left - with a line from CeCe Winnans song "Comforter".
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.



Listening song: Peacemaker
by Maire Brennan on her album, Whisper to the Wild Water (pictured at right). This is particularly good if played as a background to a series of images portraying war, anger,
fighting etc as an introduction to the Timothy reading.



Listening Song: Comforter
By CeCe Winnans on her album, Alabaster Box (pictured at left).  This goes well with the Jeremiah reading, particularly Jeremiah 8:18.

Kid's Story:
If you have a dramatist or a mime clown in your congregation, ask them to go through a whole lot of different emotions with the children together eg "let's all be happy, sad, angry, sad" etc. They can use all of their body to show the emotion or just a body part such as a face, or a hand or an arm. Kid's love doing this and I often get the whole congregation to do it because everybody enjoys it. Lead this into a discussion about Jeremiah and about how honest we can be with God about how we feel.


Discussion Questions: For the Luke reading
When do we take risks for the gospel?

When do we put people's needs before financial concerns?

What are our priorities?


Film Clip: Wit
(pictured at right) Show the scene right need the end of the film where Vivian's old professor comes in and, through means of a children's story book, prays for her to die in peace. This goes well with the Timothy reading.

Discussion Questions for Film Clip: Wit
1. How does Vivian's old professor pray for her?
2. Why is it important for us to have peace in our lives?
3. How can we give peace to each other?




Story: Good News
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 161 (pictured at left). This story goes well with the Luke reading.

Story: The Prayer of Compassion

by Anthony Bloom and found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, Page 248 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the Timothy reading.

Quote: Horatius Bonar
Index 3140-3141 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. This quote goes well with the Timothy reading. You can also find this quote at http://www.jude3.net/bgwh8.htm - fifth paragraph up from the bottom.


Prayer for Others:
Introduce this prayer with 1 Timothy 2:1-2.



Prayer for others: Light a Candle
This is an interactive prayer and can involve the whole congregation. It is written by Roddy Hamilton for Pentecost C 2007 and goes well with any of the readings for today. Roddy's site is call Mucky Paws and there is a link in my link section at left.


Adult Response: For the Luke reading
Give everyone a business card sized picture of a slightly dodgy cultural hero. Robin Hood works well as does Ned Kelly in Australia and Arthur Daly from the TV series, Minder.
Ask: As a result of this rather shady story, what is God asking you to do?......Put God first?....Clean up a dodgy part of your life?.....or.....? Write a prayer on the back.

Adult Response Activities for the Timothy Reading:
Have three separate areas for people to pray
for the world in three different ways. At each place have available multiple copies of the Timothy Bible reading or give everyone a copy of the reading before they start.
1. Write a letter to God.
Equipment needed: Good quality parchment paper and good pens or pencils.
Instructions: Some people find it easier to write down their feelings than to verbalise them. Try writing a letter to God expressing what is going on in your mind with regard to this reading today. You might want to say sorry for something you have not done, or there may be a part of the reading you can't understand or don't agree with and you want to make sure God knows how you feel. Maybe you just want to list the leaders you want to pray for? Writing a letter to god often clarifies
what you really want to pray about.
2. Drawing prayers:
Equipment: Art paper and pencils, crayons etc.
Instructions: In response to the Bible reading, divide a piece of art paper in two. On the left side, draw how you think the world, your country or your community is today - particularly the bits/people you think need praying for. On the right side, draw how you would like it to be and/or how you think God would like it to be.
NB: This is between you and God. It is not an art exam. It will not be marked!!! Nobody will see it. So...enjoy praying.
3. Wallet prayers:

Found in Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668, page 14 and 45 (pictured at left).

Proper 19 Ordinary 24 C (September 11): In the Shadow of God's Wings


 
Bible Readings: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, Psalm 14, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10

About the Images:


Upper Left: This is my photo with text from the Third Day song below which is based on a psalm but which generally speaks about God's love for us and how God wants the best for us. The photo was taken at Rainbow Beach, Queensland, Australia (for more info on this beautiful area, visit http://www.rainbow-beach.org). Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.

Upper Right: This is a microsoft free clipart image. I thought it went well with my theme - in the shadow of God's wings.
Lower Left: This is a view of Capernaum.  You can see how dark the building stones are and how dark the inside of a house would have been. You can also see that the floors are cobbled. Consequently there are two reasons to need  a broom.  This is my image - please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.

Listening Song: Your Love O Lord
By Third Day on their album, Time (pictured ay left). This goes well with all of the readings set down for today.

Film Clip: The Holy Man

Show the clip where G tells everybody that even making a difference in one person's life is a big deal. This is that old well known starfish story presented in a slightly different way.  Start at around 1hr 1 -2 minutes with the words "ok, ok, here's the teleprompter....when the red light goes on. .."



Discussion Questions for the Film Clip:

When you hear the starfish story, how does it make you feel?

How does the story relate to you?

Describe someone who has made a difference to you. What did he/she do?

What could we do together to make a difference?

What does it mean to be connected to God?


Skit: The Lost Coin
Found in Let's Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, Page 22 (pictured at left).


Story: It's a Big Ocean to be Lost in
Found in A Guide to the Parables of Jesus by H.H. Staton or at http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/20170.htm - scroll down to find the story and see the bottom of the page for copyright info.


Adult Response:
Give everyone a coin (I used chocolate ones) and ask:

Do you believe that there are parties thrown in heaven just for you?



Also:

Story Plus Other Stuff: Wally the Dodgy Trolley
Found in Wally the Dodgy Trolley and other Stories of Faith and Humour by Ian Johnson, Scripture Union Australia, Lidcombe, 2000, ISBN 0949720984, page 5.

Kids: Cecil The Lost Sheep
By Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2006. Absolutely the best story series around for kids and adults. My whole congregation is delighted every time we use one of these wonderful books.

Kids: Way Home

By Libby Hathorn, Random House,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 29. This goes well with the Luke reading.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Proper 18 Ordinary 23 C (September 4): Letting Go Letting God


 
 Bible Readings: Jeremiah 18:1-11, Psalm 139 1-6, 13-18, Philemon 1-21, Luke 14:25-33.

About the Images:
Upper Left: Sometimes , in order to appreciate beauty, we have to let go of things that make life comfortable.  This is an image of the Simpson Desert in the Australian outback. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities. For more info on the Simpson, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert 
Upper Right: This is a free Microsoft clipart image and goes very well with my theme of Letting Go, Letting God.
Lower Left: This goes with the image above - the things we voluntarily let go of in order to appreciate something better - like swapping a house for a swag when we want to enjoy the beauty of an isolated desert.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.


Listening Song: I've Always Loved You
By Third Day on their album, Time (pictured at left). This makes a great declaration of grace after the prayer of Confession. I made a film clip of this song matching the words with relevant images.



Listening Song: Psalm 139
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at right). I made a film clip of this song putting relevant images up as it played.

Kid's Time: Holidays
Show them some photos of a camping holiday and relate this to the things that they need to leave behind in order to have an exciting time eg you cannot take your bed camping, instead you take a swag, you cannot take your oven, instead you light a fire, you cannot take your electric kettle, instead you take a billy etc etc. Relate this to the gospel reading.



Film Clip: The Apostle
Use the scene right near the end of the film where Sonny lets go of his church and allows himself to be arrested so that he can clean up the wrongs things in his life.






Story: How Will The Church be Lighted?
Just google the title of this story and you will find it easily in any number of places.

Adult Response:
Ask people to find a partner and discuss the following two questions together:

1. What do you find hard to let go of?
2. What sort of things make it hard for you to be a disciple? Is it time, is it energy, is it doubt about God, is it some sadness or loss?
Afterwards ask each person to write a prayer for their partner (provide paper and pens) and seal it in an envelope (also provided) on which they will put their partner's name and address. Ask everyone to put their letters in the offering plate as it comes around. I collected all the envelopes and posted them about a month later. I received heaps of good feedback on this. People were not only touched by the prayer they received, but they also appreciated the reminder it brought to them of their discussion.



Also:

Story Plus Other Stuff: Wuncy Nicks Off
Found in Wally the Dodgy Trolley and other Stories of Faith and Humour by Ian Johnson, Scripture Union Australia, Lidcombe, 2000, ISBN 0949720984, page 75.

Poem/Meditation: Jonah
By Ruth Burgess in Dandelions and Thistles: Biblical Meditations from the Iona Community by Jan Sutch Pickard (ed.) Wild Goose Publications, 1999, ISBN 1901557146, page 32 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Jeremiah reading.


Kids: Jesse
By Tim Winton, Penguin Books Australia,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 49. This goes well with the Psalm reading.

Proper 17 Ordinary 22 (August 28): Hospitality


 
Bible Readings: Jeremiah 2:4-13, Psalm 81:10-16, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14. 


About the images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart image with my text.
Upper Right: This is a photo of my daughter Kate and her friend Adrian, from Singapore, giving each other cross cultural cooking tips. Please feel free to use this image for worship and other related activities.
Lower Left: Staying in the town of Bethlehem on the West Bank regularly , I am always overwhelmed by the depth and the breadth of the hospitality showered upon us when we are there.  This is ka'ak being cooked - best breakfast ever! Please feel free to use this image for worship and other related activities.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.



Listening Song: Come to the Table
by Michael Card on his album, Joy in the Journey, 1984 (pictured at right).

Film Clip: Les Miserables

Use the clip at the very beginning of the film where the bishop invites Valjean in and treats him as an honoured guest. This clip can be sourcesdfrom the excellent Wingclips site - see my link column at left. There is a cost for quality clips but it is minimal and well worth it.



Story: Take As Much As You Can


Index 1602 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990

Story: Robert Coles meets Dorothy Day

A great story which explains the gospel reading beautifully. Found in Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles, Addison-Wesley, 1987, ISBN-10: 0201079747 (pictured at left)

History: The Early Church in Rome
A story about the generosity of the early Roman church written by William Willimon and found in Pulpit Resources, July September, 2001, page 41.


Also:
Prayers: 
Found in The Abingdon Worship Annual by Mary J Scifres and B. J. Beu (Eds.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2012, ISBN 9781426746796, page 205 (pictured at right). There are plenty of prayers for different parts of the service based on all of the readings. 
 
Story: The Quality of Silence
Found in  Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, page 239 (pictured at left).  I think this fits well with any of the readings. 
 
Poem and Prayer: No Such Thing (as a free meal)
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 172 (pictured at right).  This lovely poem and prayer connects well with  the gospel reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Proper 16 C (August 21): Freedom/Hearing God's Call



 

















Bible Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-5, Hebrews 12:18-29, Luke 13: 10-17

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free Microsoft clip art.
Upper Right: This image comes from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com. This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful free images and templates via the site archives.

Lower Left: This is a free image from the Hermano Leon site - see my link column at left.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.


Listening Song: Psalm 103:1-5
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at left). I used this beautiful song as part of the pardon for the prayer of confession and set it to a series of images.

Kid's Story: The Gospel Story
I got this idea from doing mime clown workshops years ago. Talk to the children about the woman's physical disability but then encourage them to mime with their whole bodies how they feel
when they are sad (most go all droopy and slump forward),
when they feeling guilty (ditto)
when they are feeling bullied (ditto)
when they are worried (ditto) etc etc.
I think you probably get the picture from there :-) and can go on and relate it to freedom we have in Jesus. While you are doing the mimes with them you have to over emphasise it and make a bit of a fool of yourself, but I reckon that's not too hard for most of us.


Kid's Story: Jeremiah

Use a balloon to represent Jeremiah. First he was a deflated balloon, unsure of himself, lacking confidence and unsure of what to say. Emphasise that God didn't mind that Jeremiah was young and inexperienced and that God gave Jeremiah all the resources he needed to get the job done. As a consequence, Jeremiah became an inflated balloon filled with God's Spirit.


Film Clip or Story: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Use the dialogue where Susan and Lucy ask Mr and Mrs Beaver to describe Aslan. Start when Mr Beaver says "Aslan a man?" and finish when he says "Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you". Found in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis, Puffin Books, 1950 (pictured at left) or in the film of the same name (pictured at right).





Film: Cocoon
(pictured at left) Use any scene at the start where the elderly people are made out to be the living dead and contrast this with the thoughts of the Psalmist in Psalm 71.


Story: Thermometers and Thermostats 
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 198 (pictured at right). This gos well with the gospel reading.


Quote: John Bell
"Women make up half the world's population
do two thirds of the world's productive work,
own ten percent of the world's wealth,
and one per cent of the world's land."
Found in Ten Things They Never Told Me About Jesus by John Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 2009, ISBN 9781905010608, page 83 (pictured at left). An excellent book!



Quote: Unknown Source
I intend to stay alive for the whole of my life



Poem: My Name is Known to You
by Kathy Galloway and found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, Page 234. This works really well with projected images and music and matches in with each of the readings. For background music I used Immortal Memory by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Kennedy on their beautiful album, Immortal Memory.
Group Discussion:
What do you think God is calling our church to do?
How can we personally be involved?
Where does each one of us fit?

Adult Response:
Give everybody a small card with the following questions and a space to quietly think.
Are we........
  • Like Jeremiah? - despite feeling inadequate or inexperienced we trust God and answer God's call to us
  • Like the Psalmist? - willing and able to share a lifetime of experiences which reflect what we have learnt as we have grown into our relationship with God
  • Like the woman in the gospel? - eagerly sharing what God has recently done in your life.
  • Like the leader of the synagogue in the gospel? - unable to recognise God at work because our religious baggage gets in the way
Also:

Meditation: Old Age
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 81. This goes well with the Psalm.

Proper 15 Ordinary 20 C (August 14): Restoration/Sticking with God


 


STILL WORKING ON THIS ONE - MORE TO COME


Bible Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19, Hebrews 11:29-12:2, Luke 12:49-56



About the Images:
Upper left  This is a free background powerpoint template from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com
Upper right:This is a free image from www.commons.wikipedia.com
Lower Left: Psalm 80 talks about God "enthroned above the cherubim".  This is a reminder to the people reading/singing the Psalm of the Ark of the Covenant, a wooden box with golden carvings of heavenly beings (cherubim), which led the people out of Israel.  This is my photo of a replica which I saw in Timna, Israel a few years back.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.




Listening Song: Standing Outside the Fire
By Garth Brooke on his album, In Pieces (pictured at right). This song goes well with the gospel reading.



Listening Song: Witness
By Nicole C Mullen on her album, Talk About It.


(pictured at left).  This song goes well with the Hebrews reading.

Listening Song: Psalm 80: Restore Us

By Sons of Korah on their album, Resurrection (pictured at right).


Confession Prayer Based on The Balloon Man Story (below):
Give everyone a balloon.

Pray along the following lines leaving spaces for people to pray by themselves: Are you hanging on to a handful of balloons that keep you from sticking with God. Are they friends? Bad Habits? Possessions? your pride? Your career? A complacent faith? A self indulgent faith?

Assurance of Pardon:
Maybe it is time to let go of those balloons so you can stick close to God.

Take home the balloon, find a place to be alone with God, blow up your balloon and, as you let it go, let go of what it represents to you - the things which come between you and God. And remind yourself that God loves you, God wants to be with you and God gives you strength and courage.



Story: The Balloon Man
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 39 (pictured at left). This story goes really well with the Hebrews reading.



Psalm: Psalm 80
A great version to be found in Psalms Now by Leslie F Brandt, Concordia, (3rd Ed.) 2004, ISBN 0758606486 (pictured at left).


Children's Drama: Stick with God

Have a roll of paper and large cut out individual letters for the words "Stick with God" nearby. As you tell the children that they are going to make a banner with the words "stick with God" on it, walk across and pick up the roll of paper and letters. As you return, trip over and drop the lot all over the floor. Make a bit of a drama of the whole thing and wail, 'oh no!! Look at the mess I've made. It's all spoilt!! What am I going to do now?!!". Have a few people in the congregation worded up to offer you advice:
eg., Pray about it.
Yell at God for not helping enough.
Figure it out for yourself.

Give up and do something else.
Ask for help.
Ask the kids what you should do. You will be amazed how astute they will be. Finish by giving them the roll of paper, the letters, glue, scissors and magazines. Ask them to sort the letters, make the banner and put pictures that show situations which we could pray for as we stick with God.

Adult Discussion:
If you were sinking in quick sand (or get them to make suggestions) would you
Pray about it.

Yell at God for not helping enough.
Figure it out for yourself.
Give up and do something else.


Ask for help.

Film Clip: How To Make An American Quilt
Show the clip which shows the making of the laundry wall covered in broken crockery. You will have to introduce this clip by explaining how the sister in law and husband have betrayed the woman very badly.




Discussion: How To Make An American Quilt
What are the obstacles that hinder our faith and prevent us sticking close to God.



Film Clip: Despicable Me
I found this at the Wingclip site (see my links) and I used the clip where Gru lays down the house rules. I think it goes well with the Psalm for this week.




Discussion: Despicable Me
These questions were aimed mainly at the children with adult help.
1. Have you ever found it difficult to work out what the rules are?
2. What happens when you get it wrong?
3. How do you think the people in the psalm were feeling?
4. How do you think God was feeling?




Film Clip: Amazing Grace
(pictured at right). Use the clip where Newton and Wilberforce are talking together in the church. This is one of the film's free clips available from the film's web page. This goes well with the Hebrews reading.



Discussion Questions: Amazing Grace
1. Share what you know about Newton and Wilberforce.
2. What do you think drove each man to persevere for so long for the abolition of the slave trade?

3. How important do you think our determination and our perseverance are to our faith?

Drama: I've Got the Faith
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnston (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 28. This drama fits in well with the Hebrews reading.


Story: Hindrances
Story No. 302 in in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551. This goes well with the Hebrew reading.



Meditation Stations based on the Hebrews reading:
Encourage people to visit these stations in any order and allow about 5 minutes per station.
Station 1:
Have a large Christ candle burning beside tea lights, a bowl of sand and some pens. On enough small slips of paper for everyone, print the following:
The Cloud of Witnesses: Have a think about the people who have influenced your faith and helped you focus on Jesus. They may be biblical characters, they may be figures from history, they maybe past or present friends, workmates, teachers or family members. Think of the one or two who have influenced and encouraged you the most. Write their initials on the bottom of a tea light and then light it and place it on the tray. Spend some time thanking God for that person/s. Also think of the people who you could be encouraging in their faith journey. Pray for them as well.

Station 2:
Print the following on enough slips of paper for everyone:
1. Become aware of the gentle rhythm of your breathing.
2. Remind yourself that God is present here tonight.
3. Read these words from Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
4. What are the things that slow you down and stop you focusing on Jesus? Have a chat with God about them.
5. Which are the phrases or words or feelings in these verses that speak to you. Think about them for awhile and be open to what God is saying to you.
6. Turn the verses into a prayer.
Station 3.
Have a large collection of photos or pictures of people running in all sorts of places, passing batons, resting, puffing, running together and alone. I used all the Microsoft photo clip art using the search word "running", but use any resources you have at your disposal - as long as there is a big enough selection for about a third of your people to choose one each at any given time.
Also print the following on enough slips of paper for everyone:
1. Spend some time looking at all the photos.
2. What kind of a race are you running?
3. How is your determination and perseverance?
4. Are you running with friends?
5. Are you focussed on Jesus?
6. Choose the photo you think best describes how you feel at the moment and then talk to God about it.
7. Return the photo before you move on to the next station.