Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter 2 A (April 27): Doubt and Discipleship



















Bible readings: Acts 2:14a, 36-41,Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31

About the Images:
Upper Left: Free from
http://www.brazilbrazil.com/scenic.html
Upper Right: Free Microsoft clipart to which I have added the Bible text and the cross
Lower Left: Sunrise or sunset pictures are useful when talking about what we trust to happen each day - that the sun will rise or set without fail etc.  This is my image of  sunset in Lightning Ridge - an opal field in Outback Australia.  Please visit http://lightningridgeinfo.com.au/ if you want to know more about this place and its fantastic sunsets (and opals).

Listening Song: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
By U2 on their album, Joshua Tree (pictured at left) or Best Of 1980-1999. This song matches in well with how Thomas is thinking.


Drama: You'll Never Guess What Happened
Found in Let's Make a Scene by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, page 53 ff (pictured at right). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Drama: Thomas Reflecting
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 210 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Prayer: Glory be to You
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 195 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Story: The Death of Doubt
Found in The New Century Version Youth Bible, Word, 1991, ISBN 0849909252, page 1095 (pictured at right). This is story is based on the gospel reading.

Story: Love of God
Story 409 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at left). This story goes well with the 1 Peter reading.

Story: Weakness
Found as story No 291 in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 (pictured at right). This story matches up well with the 1 Peter reading.

Meditation: Fear and Loneliness
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose publications, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 50

Quote: Alexander McLaren

"He puts the key of the treasure chamber into our hand and bids us take all we want. If someone is admitted into a gold bullion vault of a bank and comes out with just one cent, whose fault is it that he or she is poor?" Found on http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/page.php?page_id=4504

Response Activity: Keys of God's Treasure Chamber
Give everyone a business card with a key printed on it. Project the Alexander McLaren quote. Ask people to think about what it is that they need from God today - is it reassurance, love, the power to be a follower, the Holy Spirit, peace, or direction? Give people a silent space to talk about this need with God.

Also:
Poem and prayer: peace be with you.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 21. These are based on the gospel reading.

Response Activity: No Faith without doubt

Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 78ff. 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 100ff.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter day A (20th April): What Keeps us Captive








































Bible readings: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6,Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

About the images:
Above left:

This is the little suburban lake we use for our dawn service. This is my photo and permission is given for it to be used for worship and related activities.
Above right:
This is the brake drum fire we use to cook the bread on at our dawn service.  It leaves no mess in a suburban park. This is my photo and permission is given for it to be used for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is a photo of a tomb in Israel with a rolling stone door. This photo was taken by Mr John Nicholson and permission is given for it to be used for worship and other related activities.
Lower Right: This is a photo of a replica of the inside of a rock tomb in Israel. This is my photo and permission is given for it to be used for worship and related activities.

Dawn Service:
Once again we will be cooking fish and middle eastern flat bread over an open fire beside a small lake at some unearthly hour of the morning. But it is something that is too beautiful not to experience. And you don't need a lake or a beach - any bit of water will do :)


Po
em/Meditation: I'd had Enough
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 79 (pictured at left).


Taize Service: Breakfast With Jesus
Found in Worship Feast: 20 Great Services in the Spirit of Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004, page 28


Easter Service at a More Reasonable Hour:

Decor:

Have the Good Friday cross totally wrapped in the brightest material you can find - strips of satiny stuff looks great. Have it covered in black material until an appropriate moment.

Connection with Good Friday
Show a few images of Good Friday with some down music (I used Endorphin by Burial from the album, Untrue - pictured at left), followed by a silence with no image at all and then show lots of images of the resurrection to a piece of upbeat or music that builds (I used Intermezzo from Karelia Suite by Sibelius but stopped it before it tapered off again).

Prayer: Jesus We Greet You
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 188 (pictured at right). This prayer is based on the gospel reading.

Prayer: Here Are Your Disciples
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 198(pictured at right). This prayer is based on the gospel reading.

Kid's Story: Some Things Are Scary
By Florence Parry Heide (Author), Jules Feiffer (Illustrator), Candlewick, 2000, ISBN 0763612227 (pictured at left).

Drama: The Three Women
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 192. This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Drama: If Only
Found in Let's Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, Page 58

Film Clip: Amistad
Show the scenes where Yamba looks through the bible and afterwards, on his way to court, notices all the cross symbols everywhere. These two scenes are amazingly powerful and full of Easter messages


Film Clip: The Amazing Adventures of Mr Bean
Show The Exam (pictured at right).

Discussion on Mr Bean Volume 1.
1. How does doubt, confusion and fear affect Mr Bean?
2. How do they affect us in our Christian lives?

Listening Song: Libera
On Robert Prizeman's album of the same name.

Listening Song: He Reigns

By the Newsboys and found on their album, Adoration, Sparrow Records or on WOW 2004.

Poem: Psalm 118:22
Found in In Due Season by Herbert F Brokering, Augsburg Publishing, 1966 in the Summer section under Psalm 118:22.

Story: Imprisoned
The day Harry Houdini couldn't escape - find this story at http://dev.bible.org/netbible/illustration.php?topic=794

Story: Prison

In Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells the story about some of his fellow prisoners in the Dachau Nazi prison Camp during World War II. They had been held captive so long that when they were released he said, “they walked out into the sunlight, blinked nervously and then silently walked back into the familiar darkness of the prisons, to which they had been accustomed for such a long time.”

Story: Prison Accidently Opens Gate for 500
Found in Incredible Illustrations by Mikal Keefer, Group Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0764426141, page 62

Response Activity: Every Day is Easter
This is a great response written by Roddy Hamilton and found via his Mucky Paws site (see my links at left) archived under March 2008.

Response Activity: Resurrection Remembrances II
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 207. This activity is based on the gospel reading.

Response Activity:
Give everyone a balloon and string or streamers to wave at appropriate parts of the service and then to take home to be tied to their car aerials and/or to be fixed to their gateposts, letterboxes or front doors.

Multiple ideas: "I Have Seen the Lord"
Found in Multi-Sensory Seasons by Wendy Raynor and Annie Slade, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271757, page 36.


Also:
Poem and prayer: still dark.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 21. These are based on the gospel reading.

Response Activity: Love and Determination

Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 55ff. 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 94ff.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Good Friday A (April 18)
























Bible Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, John 18:1-19:42

About the images:
Upper Left: This image is free from the Hermano Leon site which you can find via my links at left. This is a really great lectionary based clip art site.
Upper Right: This image is free from the Image Bank site which you can find via my link at left.

Lower Left: This image is mine -  it is of the high country in Victoria, Australia.  I added the cross digitally.  Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.

Start the servi
ce
by projecting images from Jesus life to music. I used about 20 images and backed them with 'In Mcdonalds" by Burial on his album, Untrue (pictured at left).

Poem: The Pain of Peter

Found in A Bloke Called Jesus by Norman Habel and Pro Hart, Rigby, 1982, ISBN 0727017586, page 32. (pictured at right). As the title suggests, this goes with the gospel reading.

Poem: The Politics of Pilate
Found in A Bloke Called Jesus by Norman Habel and Pro Hart, Rigby, 1982, ISBN 0727017586, page 34 (pictured at right). As the title suggests, this goes with the gospel reading.


Listening Song: Thief
By Third Day on their album, Third Day (pictured at left). This is a song about the men on the cross with Jesus.

Listening Song: Walk Him Along
by Leigh Newton - download found at
www.leighnewton.com This is basically a crucifixion song.

Drama: Stages on the Way

Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 44 (pictured at right).These stages represent different aspects of Jesus' journey towards the cross as seen by a variety of bystanders.

Drama: The Signal
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book Publishers, 2001, ISBN 0859109151, page 82 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Reading: They went Out and Followed Him

Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 130 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Response Activity: The Colours of Good Friday

Found in Multi-Sensory Seasons by Wendy Raynor and Annie Slade, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271757, page 29 (pictured at right). I used the George McLeod quote and put the words with images to the music of Novio by Moby on his album, Songs.

Meditation: Voices From the Crowd
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 144 (pictured above right). This drama is based on the gospel reading
Response Activity: Laying Our Burdens Down
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 163 (pictured above right). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Useful music for praying/meditating:
Albinoni: Adagio in G Minor
Bach: Air on a G String
Moby: Novio
Part: Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Vivaldi: Largo from Flautino Concerto in C Major.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Palm Sunday A (April 13): What is my Donkey?






Bible Readings: Matthew 21:1-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Philippians 2:5-11 

About the images:
Upper Left:
This is a photo of an Australian tree fern - it is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.

Upper Right:  This is an image from Church Galleries.  See ,y link at left in my Links column.
Lower Left: This is an Imagebank free image - see my link to their site at left - with text from the Philippians reading.

Listening Song: The Chorus of Faith
By Michael Card on his album, Joy in the Journey (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Listening Song: Carmen Christi
By Michael Card on his album, The Final Word (pictured at left). It is a sung version of the Philippians reading.

Kid's Story: The Donkey's Tale
By Margaret Gray, Scripture Union, 1984, ISBN 0862012414 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospel reading.

Drama: Look He's Coming
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910915, page 71 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Drama: Not Quite What I Expected
Found in Let's Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book Publishers, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 56 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Poem: Psalm 118:22Found in In Due Season by Herbert F Brokering, Augsburg Publishing, 1966 (pictured at left) in the Summer section under Psalm 118:22.

Prayer for others: Ride on, Ride on
From Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Resource Group, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 78. This prayer is linked with the gospel reading.

Response Activity: What is my Donkey?
The following is a response to a reflection/sermon which concentrates on the gift of the donkey by an unknown donkey owner and what sort of gifts we have which we have the option of using to further God's work in the world. Give everyone a small business card with a palm Sunday illustration on it together with the words "What is my donkey". Give people time to think about their gifts and talents and how they use them to further God's kingdom.
 
Response Activity: Towards the Cross
Found in Multi-Sensory Seasons by Wendy Rayner and Annie Slade, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271757, page 18. Heaps of great stuff based on the gospel reading.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lent 5 A (April 6): The Power of God/God's Big Surprises


































Bible Readings: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45
 
About the Images:
Upper Left: Just an image of surprise - it is mine so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This is a Microsoft free clipart image. I liked the way it portrays God's new life as something that we discover and find in unexpected places and that all of that is part of a reality bigger than the one we see in front of us.

Lower Left: Another excellent free image from the Heartlight site - see my link in the column at the left.

Listening Song: Panis Angelicus
By Russel Watson on his album, The Voice (pictured at left). Great song to use for the introduction or during a communion service.


Listening Song: You Raise Me Up
By Selah on their album, Hiding Place, (pictured at right) and on WOW 2005.. This goes well with pretty much all the readings.

 Kids: Emotion Faces
As I have mentioned in earlier blogs I have a set of large cards with dinner plate sized round faces drawn upon them. Each face depicts a different emotion; happy, sad, puzzled, angry, surpised etc etc. The gospel story this week really lends itself to these emotion cards. Tell the story (or get a good story teller to tell the story) and either have kids pick the face which goes with a particular part of the story or hold up the appropriate card and get the kids (and the congregation) to mimic the face or act out the emotion.

Kids: Bubbles
Give everyone (I am giving one to all the adults as well - why should they be left out of the fun) a small bottle of bubble solution and ask them to blow bubbles without opening their mouths. Have some fun with this before encouraging everybody to blow bubbles. Link: Just as we breathe life into the bubbles so God breathed life into the dry bones, and so God's Spirit breathes life in to us.


Film Clip: The Shawshank Redemption
(pictured at left) After Brooks kills himself after being released from prison and Andy has just completed two weeks in solitary confinement for playing Mozart over the prison speaker system, Red and Andy have a fascinating conversation about hope. Show the conversation.

Discussion: On The Shawshank Redemption film clip

1. What is Red's attitude to hope?
2. What is Andy's opinion of hope?
3. What value is hope for us? 

 
Film Clip: The Hurricane
(pictured at right) Show the scene where Rubin quotes Genesis 49 and tells Lesera (another version of the name Lazarus) that it is Lesera's love that has raised/saved him and given him new life.


Film Clip: Castaway
(pictured at right) Show the clip which is about 1hour 40 minutes in from the credits where Wilson, the volley ball which Chuck becomes so attached to in his loneliness that he treats it as real person, falls loose. Chuck repeats "I'm sorry, Wilson" over and over again.

Discussion: On Castaway Film Clip
What sort of situations cause us to grieve and make us sad?
How can we survive grief?


Artwork: The Raising of Lazarus, 1990

By Pro Hart. Ask people to look at the different expressions on the people surrounding Lazarus. Relate this to the responses some people may have had to Ezekiel's life giving vision. Then ask people to think about how they respond to the Good News of the gospel and mention that, depending on our circumstances at different times, we are not always overjoyed. Ask them to look at the painting to see if they can see their present response somewhere in it.

Bible Reading: John 11:1-45
This is a very long reading for any church service despite being a great story. Try it as a Good News Bible reading via the relevant film clip from the Vision Bible film of The Gospel of John (pictured at left) or read it as a beautiful and moving story from Walter Wangerin Junior's book The Book of God, Zondervan, 1996, ISBN 0310200059, page 756 ff.

Story: Comfort
Found as story No 31 in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 . Fits well with the gospel reading.


Meditation: Lazarus
Found in He Was in the World by John L. Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 1995, ISBN 094798870X, page 77.

Meditation: Prayers That Jesus Hears
Found in Present on Earth by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 2002, ISBN 0901557642, page 93.

Prayer for Others/Response Activity
This one needs a bit of work on your part before the service. Boil the meat off one or two chooks (translate "chicken" for the non Australians) and then dry the bones in an oven (at least you get a good feed for your efforts :-) ) Give everyone a chicken bone before or during the Ezekiel reading. During the prayer for others or response activity project or give out the words of the Bishop Oscar Romaro quote (below). Encourage people in a time of silence to talk to God about a situation they consider to be hopeless or beyond them to solve. Ask them to give the situation to God to deal with by placing their dried bone at the foot of the cross.


Quote: Bishop Oscar Romero
"We are living in a black night but Christianity discerns that beyond the night the dawn already glows. The hope that does not fail is carried in the heart. Christ goes with us."

Response Activity: Three Choices
Let people choose between:
1. Watch a powerpoint meditation. I put images and music to Bruce Prewer's From Death to Life found at http://home.alphalink.com.au/~nigel/DocA/24LENT5.htm
or
2. Group Discussion:
a) How does Jesus' response to Lazarus' death and Mary's weeping help you to trust him more?
b) What have you found helpful when you are called upon to help a friend who is undergoing a hard time?
or
3. Make cards for people who are sad.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lent 4 A (March 29): You Are Special/Lookiing on the Inside/



Bible Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45

About the image:
Upper Left: From Wikipedia Commons and therefore free (indexed under "love") .
Upper Right: This is microsoft free clip art with my text.

Lower Left: This is microsoft free clip art with my text.

Listening Song: Looking on the Outside
By the Allies on their album, Shoulder to Shoulder (pictured at right). This song goes very well with the 1 Samuel reading and is based on the verse about God looking at our hearts more than anything else.

 Listening Song: Into You
By Jennifer Knapp on her album Lay It Down (pictured at left) or on WOW 2001. This also goes very well with the Samuel reading.


Kid's (Adult) Story: You Are Special
By Max Lucado, Christian Art Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1868525791 (pictured at right). This goes well with the Samuel reading. There is also a DVD of this story available.

Activity Related to Above Story

I included all the adults in this activity as well and they loved it. Before the service, make business cards with the words "You are special" printed on one side. Fold each one in half so that the words are on the inside and fix the cards shut with small stickers of stars and dots. Before I read the above story I gave out the cards and I asked everyone to write on the blank outside a couple of words to represent how they thought the world judges/sees them and the way they judge/see themselves. I took pains to explain that nobody else would see these words. After the story, I read the meditation below.


Meditation related to Above story by Rosemary Broadstock c.2002
God is blind…..

To outward appearance
To what seems to be
To labels
To judgement by prejudices
God looks on the heart.
There, God has eyes wide open.

Are our eyes wide shut?
When I look at God’s creation every day,
The stars, the hills, a blue sky, fresh rain
Do I se
e?
When I look at another
Do I take the time
to see?
to listen?
to appreciate?

to marvel?
When I look at the people of other countries
When I look at an immigrant, a refugee
Do I see God’s child?

When I look at the cross
Do I see the courage, the power
In the face o
f God
When I look at the cross
Do I see
the message
"For You
.
Rejoice!
God sees beyond all fault, all mistakes, all past, all facades.
He sees the child He made.
And God says
“For you are beautiful, Son of Adam
For you are beautiful, daughter of Eve
.
May we be blind as God is blind
May we be sighted as God is sighted.
And as we learn what really matters, may all our dots fall off.

Take off the stars or dots keeping your card shut and see what God has to say to you.'
 
Sermon Illustration: A Box of Potential
Found in Case Studies Talk Sheets and Discussion Starters by Jim Burns and Mark Simone, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718842, page 59 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Samuel reading as well.

 
Drama: How to Install Love
A terrific drama but unfortunately now that we are up to Windows 8 and Mac whatever it is becoming a little dated. It is a great idea and worth modernising if you  have the time. It can be  found at http://www.dramatix.org/archive/Preevangelism/how_to_instal_love.html It comes complete with a link to a powerpoint that is necessary for the drama. 

Quote: Paul Tillich
We are free to look at all things unimpeded. But when we are tired of seeing the world in all its disorder, its facades, its hate and separation, its demonic destruction, its adoration of the false, then let us close our eyes. Then we will see someone who looks at us with eyes of infinite human depth and power. And those eyes say to us "come and see".


Offering: Inside Gifts for the Church

During the offering time ask people to think about the person on their right and the person on their left and to think about what inner quality each person has which is a gift to the church. At the conclusion of the offering allow time for people to tell their neighbour what they have been thinking about.


Response Activity: Psalm 23

I first saw a version of this in the MediaCom Whole People of God (http://www.mediacom.org.au) theme conversation for this week in 1999 and have used it in varying ways with psalms ever since. The easiest way to do this activity with a whole congregation is to give everyone (or a groups of people) a printed copy of the psalm with blank spaces where significant words should be. In this case for instance leave out the word "shepherd" and in small brackets or with a verbal explanation ask people to fill in the space with an image they think of as appropriate as a protector and carer. A small child used "father". a mad keen sailing teenager used "captain' and a bushwalker used "guide". Continue through the psalm in the same manner. You will discover that not only do people proudly write amazingly personal psalms , they also write thematic psalms connected to the things they are interested in or hold in high regard. It makes the psalm very applicable and understandable.