Sunday, October 15, 2017

Proper 24 Ordinary 29 A (October 22): On Being the Message

Bible Readings: Exodus 33, 12-23, Psalm 99, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22

About the Images:
Upper Left: A copyright free wikimedia commons image on to which I put the text.
Upper Right: My photo, so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: A Microsoft free clipart image with words from Bill Easum's book, Leadership on the Other Side (see Adult Response below).
Lower Right: A Microsoft free clipart with my text

Listening Song: The Message
By 4 Him on their album, The Message (pictured at left) or on WOW 1997 or on Nothing But Pop. This song is a great introduction for the Thessalonians reading.

Kid's Story: An Important Message

Tell the kids about Paul - about how he left the Thessalonians an important message. Have 1 Thessalonians 1:4 printed out on a large sheet of cardboard and then cut it up as a jigsaw puzzle and have the kids help you put the message back together again.

Psalm 99
Divide it up to be read in four or five sections and sing the Taize response: The Lord is my Song in between as a response.

Discussion: Matthew reading

What are some of the things which can make us afraid?

Drama: Church? What Church?
Interviewer: Tell me what you think of the church?
1: I think it's just a money making concern.
2: People who go are just hypocrites. They should practice what they preach.
3: Teaches you good morals, I suppose, but I've got a business to run.
4: It helps us Christians look after each other.
Interviewer: What sort of Christian do you think you are?
1: I've got a Bible at home and I'll use it if I have to!
3: Pretty good actually - I never miss going to church at Christmas and Easter.
2: I think it's fun to go to church but don't tell my friends that. They'll think I am a loser.
4: I'm the sort of Christian who is sure that God loves me.
Interviewer: Why do you go to church?
3; Oh, that's check out the girls/boys.
2: My family make me!
1: To pick up the latest gossip around town.
4; To tell God he's terrific.
Interviewer: What do you do in church?
1: Count the bricks.
2: Read who wrote the hymns and work out how old they are.
3: Check out what everyone's wearing.
4; Get involved!
Interviewer: Why do you belong to church?

Copyright: Ann Scull

Discussion: For
the drama: Church? What Church?
1. Why do you belong to a church?
2. Why do you belong to this church?
3. The Thessalonians reading tells us that faith, loving work and hope are all gifts from God. Which gift do you want most at the moment?
4. What is it about our relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing.

Drama: Caesar

A; Did you see the paper today?
B: (hopelessly) I know, Jesus on the front page again
A: Did you read what he said?
B: Some rubbish about how you shouldn’t worry about what anybody thinks of you! What kind of person says that!
A: Someone stuck in the 70’s man!
B: Well we know he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him – you can tell that by his fashion sense…… and his friends.
A: Hippy fishermen!
B: and how only what God wants, counts!
A: What sort of citizen says that? What about what the Prime minister wants!
B; What about what the Queen wants!
A: What about what the taxman wants!
B: He’s a traitor!
A: He should be arrested
B: Yes! I tried to make him admit that he’s a traitor
A: DID you!
B: I got a HUGE crowd together and I said “OK Jesus, should we use everything we have for God, or should we pay it all in taxes to the government?
A: I thought - If he says “give everything to God” we can arrest him for telling people to be naughty to the government. If he says “we should pay our taxes” then all his followers will see that he doesn’t give everything to God at all!
B: Brilliant! What did he say?
A: Well, first I THINK he called me an idiot, and then he asked me for a coin. Then he said “whose face is on it? I said “The King’s! Then he said Well, it must belong to him then – give him what belongs to him, but give God what belongs to God…you know the difference don’t you? He said.
B: That was a good answer – a very good answer.
Copyright: Rosie Broadstock (free use for worship and related activities).
Story: Sermons versus Witness
Index 4173 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Based on 1 Thessalonians 1:8. This story can also be found at

Story: Tested by the Lord.

Index 2149 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Based on 1 Thessalonians 1:8. This story can also be found at
. Scroll down or search the site for the author: G. Campbell Morgan

Story: Belonging
Found in Stories From the Heart by Alice Gray (compiler), Vision House, 1996, ISBN 1885305419, page 25 (pictured at right).This story fits in really well with gospel reading.

Quote: Jim Elliot (one of the five missionaries killed in south America in the 1950's)

God is on his throne and man is on his footstool. But there is only a knee's distance between.
Adult Response: Handout
Give everyone a business card ((pictured at top) with the question "What is it about my relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing?" This is a Bill Easum question found in his book Leadership On The Other Side, Abingdon Press 2000, ISBN  0687085888.  Encourage people to take the card home and think about their answer and how they could share their answer with others.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Proper 23 Ordinary 28 A (October 15): 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 clipart from Cerezo Barredo - see my link Column at left.
Lower Right: 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

Film Clip: The Parable of the Great Banquet
Also found at the brilliant Max 7 site: A Bollywood version of the Parable.  The congregation - not just the kids - loved it.

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 at right). 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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Proper 22 Ordinary 27 (October 8): 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.
Lower Right:  This is a free Heartlight image - see my link 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
(pictured at right) Show the clip 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.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Proper 21 Ordinary 26 A (October 1): 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.
Lower Right: This slide is mine - however the image in the middle is Microsoft free clip art.   

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

(pictured at right) 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.