Sunday, January 14, 2018

Epiphany 3 B (January 21): Following God/God Gives Second Chances

Bible readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20

About the images:
Upper Left: I took this photo up at Hervey Bay ( a few years ago - two whales were so interested in us and the boat we were on that they hung around for ages popping out of the water beside us to get a closer look. Feel free to use this image for worship and related activities. 
Upper Right: A free Microsoft clipart image with my text.
Middle Left: My image of Uluru with Biblical text.  Please feel free to use for worship and related activities.
Middle Right: A free Heartlight image - see my links column at left
Lower Left: This is my photo of middle eastern fisherman. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities. 

g Song: More
By Matthew West on his album, Happy, universal South/Sparrow Records,or on WOW Hits 2005
(pictured at left). This goes well with the Jonah reading.

Listening Song: I Am
By Jill Phillips on her self titled album and on WOW 2000. (pictured at right). This goes well with the Jonah reading.

Image: "Jonah and the Whale" by He Qi (2001).
Look at the painting. Notice the face looking over the whole scene in the top left hand corner.

Film Clip: The Colour Purple 
ugs father refuses to speak to her but when she returns to the church with all her friends singing "Listen, God's trying to Tell You something" he realises he has been given a second chance her back as his daughter.

Discussion: The Colour Purple
1. Who was given a second chance in this film clip?
2. Do you think God has anything to do with it?
3. How does it feel when someone gives you a second chance?

Film Clip: Veggie Tails: Jonah
I can never work out who usually enjoys Veggie Tales the most - the kids or the adults.

Film Clip: Wild Stories about Jesus by the Australian Bible Society

For Children: Jonah and the Whale
By Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2006, ISBN 1921229020 (pictured at left).  I cannot recommend these books highly enough.  They are excellent and engage all ages.  The website also has numerous extra activities - some free and some at a small cost including each book in powerpoint and apple format.  

Drama: Has God Been Talking To You Lately?
Found in in Mega Drama 2 edited by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2001, page 27 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the Jonah reading.

What is it in the story of Jonah that tells us that God is the God of second chances.

When The Tag Was Changed
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997,
ISBN 0830718834, page 201 (pictured at left). This story goes well with the Jonah reading.

Adult Response: Prayer Stations:
Station 1: A Mirror and Card:
The card reads: Ask yourself: Do you need a second chance from God?

Are you also hard on yourself - do you need to give yourself a second chance as well? Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that it is you that God loves. Read these words from Isaiah 43:4. God says: “You are precious and honoured in my sight and …I love you” What do these words say to you about God’s love for you?
Station 2: Christ candle, tapers and card
The card reads: Think of somebody who you need to give a second chance to. Think about that person now. Light a taper as a symbol, that just as God is willing to give you a second chance, you will give them a second chance.
Station 3: Map, tea lights and card
The card reads: Think of a part of the world that needs a second chance – a place where there is need or a war or natural or man made disaster. Think about that place now and place a lighted tea light on the location of that place on the map.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Epiphany 2 B (January 14): Called by God/Known by God

Bible readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-20, Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, I Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51

About the images:
Upper Left: Old northern Tasmanian jetty - my photo so feel free to use it for worship and related activities. For more info about this part of Australia, visit
Upper Right: My photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. This is part of Ninety Mile Beach. For more info on this part of Australia, please visit
Middle  Left and Lower left: These are free images from the Heartlight site (see my links column at left)
Lower Right: Infant Samuel by Joshua Reynolds found This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain.

  Listening Song: I've always loved You
By Third Day from their album, Time (pictured at left). This song is particularly appropriate for the psalm.

Listening song: Psalm 139
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at right).

Kid's Talk: How Does God Know the Future
Found in Quick Children's Sermons 2: Why Did God make Mosquitoes?, Group Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0764420526, page 22 (pictured at left). This talk is very much based on the Psalm.

Kid's Talk
Give five kids a simply drawn face each, one happy (for Samuel), one sad (for Eli), one sleepy (for Samuel when he is asleep), one exhausted (for all the times Samuel runs) and one awestruck (for when God is mentioned). Then tell the story from the Samuel reading and get kids to hold aloft the face appr
opriate to the part of the story they hear.

Congregational Voice Drama: Samuel's Call
Tell or read the story based on the 1 Samuel read
ing for the day. Have the congregation respond to various words in the story. For example every time they hear the word "Samuel" have them shout "Yes, Lord!". Other responses to include might be: for the word "God" - Woah!; for the word "run" - puff, puff, puff; for the word "sleep" get them to snore and for the word "Eli" have them all say "I can't control my kids!" This is obviously a kid's talk when it is done like this, but the rest of the congregation really enjoys the activity and they seem to have almost more fun than the kids.

Film Clip: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Show the clip below where Frodo accepts the call to destroy the ring.

Discussion: Lord of the Rings
How is this film clip an analogy of Samuel's story.

Film Clip: Simon Birch.
(pictured at left)The readings this week are about being called by God. In this film, Simon struggles with his sense of call, he has issues with the difficulty of his call (he has a disability) and tries to determine exactly what God wants him to do and be. He is not helped by his minister when he goes to him for advice. There is a great scene in his minister's office - the scene asks all the right questions without providing neat answers and therefore provides lots of opportunity for discussion and reflection. This film is based on the book, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. This film clip goes particularly well with the Gospel reading. 

Film Clip: Psalm 139 by Leigh Newton

Drama: A Hearing Problem
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 48-49 (pictured at right). This drama matches up very well with the Samuel reading.

Drama: Yes, Lord, I Believe
Found in Drama Resources 2 prepared by the Commission for Worship, Lutheran Church of Australia, 1986 (pictured at left). This is a good introduction to Psalm 139.

Voice Drama: Called as God's
Found at the Mucky Paws site (see my links column at left) under epiphany 2 B 13th January 2006. This fits very well with all the readings.

Quote: St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
If you wish to see: listen. Hearing is a step towards vision.

Quote: Soren Kierkegaard
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking. Prayer involves becoming silent, and being silent, and waiting until God is heard.

Artwork: Psalm 139
Found in The Psalms: An Artist's Impression by Anneke Kaai, Piquant, 1999, ISBN 0953575705 (pictured at right). This is a breathtakingly beautiful book.

Story: Have We Heard?
By Helmust Thielicke and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, ISBN 10 0664224776, pp51. This story goes very well with the Corinthians reading.

Story: She knows Her Own
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 33 (pictured in an earlier post). This story exemplifies how God knows us and is therefore a good match with the psalm.

Story: Do You Know Me
In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193,page 68 (pictured in an earlier blog).  This story goes very well with the Psalm.

Story: Where Did I Come From
Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 46 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story also goes well with the Psalm. 

Testimonies: A Sense of Call
Ask one or two members of the congregation to share how they feel called to the particular ministry they are involved in.

Response Activity:
Give everyone a card with the following three options printed on it
1. I am not sure about God's call to me
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
b) I would be interested in finding out more about my spiritual gifts, talents and abilities

c)I need some encouragement

2. I have an idea of what God's call to me is but for various reasons I am a little hesitant about it all.
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
b) I would be interested in finding out more about my spiritual gifts, talents and abilities
c) I would appreciate some training in this area
d)I need some encouragement

3. I know what God has called me to do
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
I would appreciate some training in this area
c )I need some encouragement

Tell people they have a choice whether to keep this activity to themselves or to share it. Ask people to consider the three options and to circle the one that is most like where they are at. After a time, tell them to consider carefully the three or four options in the section which they have chosen and to tick the one that speaks to them the most. If they would like to think more about it, suggest they take it home with them. If they would like some follow up on what they have ticked, suggest that they put their name on their card and put it in the offering plate when it comes around.

Response Activity: Offering More
Ask people: What message about your faith and what it means to you might you like to pass on to the groups who use the church building each week.
Have them write their answer down on a scrap of paper and put it in with their offering. After worship, collate all the messages on to a bulletin
sized sheet and have enough to share with all those who come in contact with your church in the following week.