Friday, June 24, 2022

Proper 15 C (August 14): Restoring people/Sticking With God/Hanging In There/Running the Race

 

 













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
Middle 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.
Middle Right:This is a free image from Heartlight - see my link column at left. 
Lower LeftThis is a free image from Heartlight - see my link column at left. 
Lower Right:  I call this "Kindling the Fire".  It is my image taken at Dooleena Gorge so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. (more info on this epic spot: https://destinationpilbara.com.au/attractions/doolena-gorge) 

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 right).


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 (pictured at left). 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 (pictured at right). 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.

Also:

Meditation: The Saints of God
Found in He Was in the World by John L. Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 1995, ISBN 094798870X, page 46 (pictured at left) and based on the Hebrews reading.





Thursday, June 23, 2022

Proper 14 C (August 7): Faith/Are We Ready?

 




 




























Bible Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20, Psalm 50:1-8, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Luke 12:32-40

About the Images:
Upper Left: 
This is a free Microsoft clipart image which I have added my own text to.

Upper Right: 
This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and other related activities. The photo is taken at Metung (http://www.metung.com) on the Gippsland Lakes where my husband, Joe, in a previous job, had to sometimes work at the top of a boat's mast. He had to have heaps of faith in the men who raised his bosun's chair (the thing he is sitting on) and in the ropes they used - that nothing and nobody would let go :)
Middle  Left: This is a free image from http://www.servicioskoinonia.org/cerezo
Middle RightThis image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website - www.churchgalleries.com. which is down at the moment.
Lower Left and Right: These are free images from the wonderful Heartlight site - see my link column at the left. 

Decor:
Have a lit lantern on the communion table.

Listening Song: Treasure
By Iona on their album, 
Beyond These Shores (pictured at left). This song goes very well with the gospel reading.

Listening Song: God of Wonders

by Mac Powell and Cliff and Daniella Young on the album City on a Hill or WOW 2001 (pictured  at right). This song goes well with Hebrews reading.

Confession: Scarlet and Snow
Found in Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668, page 9 and 36 (pictured at left).  This fits in well with the gospel reading.

Kid's Object Lesson: What is faith?
Compare faith to a block of chocolate. Ask the kids whether chocolate is best kept in its wrapper or opened up and eaten. Faith has to be used - if you keep a block of chocolate in its wrapper you will never enjoy it or get any benefit from it......and we all know what a great benefit chocolate is to the human race:-)

Discussion: What Are Your Treasures?
Ask people to think of three things that they would take to a desert island providing there was plenty of food and shelter on the island already.
Ask them to tell the person next to them about at least one of the three things they would take.

Discussion: Faith
1. Define faith
2. How does your own faith make you feel connected to God?
3. Does faith equal success?
4. Is faith about the present or the future or both?

Psalm: No 50
I call this the "turning up isn't enough" psalm.

Film Clip: Keeping the Faith
(pictured at right) Jake is a rabbi and Brian is a priest. Brian defines faith to his congregation in an interesting clip about 12 minutes in from the start of the film.

 Discussion: On the Keeping the Faith film clip
1. Faith is ....?
2. How does your faith make you feel connected to God?
3. Does faith equal success?
4. Is faith about the present or the future?

Ad Clip: Mosquito
Use the ad from X Box entitled Mosquito:



Discussion: On the Mosquito Ad film clip
1.What was the original purpose of the mosquito?
2.What distracted the mosquitos?
3. When it comes to our lives with God, what distracts us?

Drama: Coffee with Jesus
Have five people standing in a line facing the congregation.
They each in turn have a mobile phone conversation with Jesus starting off as follows:
"G'day Jesus, how are you? What's up?"
Then a pause (as if listening) to which they respond: "You want go out for a coffee? That would be great but...
Each of the first four have an excuse. No 1 is too busy keeping fit, No 2 is too busy with their study and/or career, No 3 is too busy with family/house/car etc and No 4 is too busy doing church stuff. When each of these four give their excuses keep it natural by letting them make up the dialogue as they go. As each one finishes their conversation, they look quite sad and turn around and face away from the congregation with their arms folded.
When No 5 has his/her conversation it starts off exactly the same way but this person accepts the invitation with delight and walks off happily.

Drama: I Hate Flying
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 26 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the Hebrews reading.

Story: How to Trap a Monkey
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 118 (pictured at right). This story is connected to the gospel reading.

Story: Seeing What Eyes Can't

Found in When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado, Word, 1996, ISBN 0849913241, page 97 (pictured at left). This story goes well with the Hebrews reading.

Story: Who Changed the Price Tags?
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 112 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the gospel reading.

Litany: The Heavenly City
Found in Rough Diamonds by Paul Burbridge, Monarch, 2001,
ISBN 185424518X, page 129 (pictured at left). This litany fits in well with the Hebrews reading.

Prayer For Others:
Provide a large piece of butcher's paper (if your congregation is large you may need a few),scissors, glue sticks and newspapers. Ask people to prayerfully cut out and glue on to the paper, the articles or pictures that they want to pray about. Pray together and then cut the sheets of paper up in to as many pieces as there are people. Give each person a piece to take home to use in their personal prayer time for the world.

Adult Response:
Light a candle (or use the lantern) and turn off all the lights. Make the point that even a small flame like this gives of energy, light and power - like faith. Ask people to shut their eyes, relax for a moment and listen to some meditative music. Project the following questions for people to consider:
1. What is your greatest treasure?
2. What have you invested your life in?
3. Will these things matter in the context of eternity?
4. What is God calling you to be passionate about?

Also:

Po
em/Meditation: Pilgrimage is a Circular Route
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 81 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Hebrews reading.

Worship Resources: How Loudly do we have to Sing?
Found in Multi-Sensory World by Craig Borlase, Scripture Union/Tear Fund, 2008, ISBN 9781844272662, page 34. This goes with the Isaiah reading.

Brilliant Comments on the Gospel
Found in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey, SPCK, 2008, ISBN 9780281059751, pages 365-378.

Poem: Moving On
Found in The Electric Bible by Peter Dainty, Kevin Mayhew Ltd, 2003, ISBN 1 84417 041 1, page 27.  This poem is based on the Hebrews reading.  

Monday, June 20, 2022

Proper 13 C (July 31): God, The Loving Parent/Good Stuff, God Stuff and Other Stuff/The Things We Leave Behind

 

 



Bible Readings: Hosea 11:1-11. Psalm 107: 1-9,43, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21

About the Images:
Upper Left: 
This is a free Microsoft clipart image and I used it for the Response activity set out below.   I printed six images to an A4 (letter) sized sheet -any more and the image does not have enough room for people to write on it easily.

Upper Right:
 I made this image for the gospel reading. They are both my photos so please feel free to use them for worship purposes and other related activities. The reflected buildings are near Camberwell Junction in Melbourne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CamberwellJunction) and the head stones are from the fascinating cemetery on Norfolk Island(http://www.pitcairners.org/vt_cemetery.html).
Middle Left and Lower Right: These images come 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.
Middle RightThis image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website. This particular one was free on the site a few years back.  The site may be back on line later year. Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.

Lower Left: This is a free image from the Heartlight site - see my link column at left.

Opening Response: In Quietness and Darkness
Found in Present on Earth by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 2008, ISBN 0901557642, page 32 (pictured at left). This matches well with the gospel reading.


Listening Song: The Things We Leave Behind
By Michael Card on his album, Poiema, 1994 (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Drama: The Barn Builder
Found in Forty More Devotions that Work With Youth by Geraldine Anderson (Ed.), JBCE, 1990, ISBN 0858198118, page 38 (pictured at left).

Drama: From the Files of Miles Wenckbach
Found in Drama Resources 1 by the Youth Office of the Lutheran Church of Australia (eds.), Lutheran Publishing House, page 54. This fits well with the Hosea reading.

Discussion: On the Hosea Reading
How/when do we take God's love for granted?
In what ways, do we shut God out of our lives?

Film Clip: The Four Yorkshiremen 
By Monty Python.  Hosea's story is the story to be all "in my day" stories.  Use it to introduce the sermon or the Bible reading.

Film Clip: Stuff Mart Rap 
By Veggie Tales.  This goes well with the Luke reading.

Story: Cliff Hangers
Found in The New Century Version Youth Bible, Word, 1991, ISBN 0849909252, page 1027, (pictured at left). This goes with the gospel reading,

Story: What is Your Price?
Found in When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado, Word, 1996, ISBN 0849913241, page 65 (pictured at right) This goes with the gospel reading.

Story: Materialism
Story No 423 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers edited by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at left). This also goes with the gospel reading.

Response Activity: For the Luke Reading
Somewhere at the beginning of the service, give everybody a picture of a closed gift box with a large label on it (see image above)and ask them to imagine that inside is the thing that they want most in the world. Give them a minute to think what it is and then to share answers. At the end of the service ask people to look at the box again and ask them what they think God would put in the box for them. If you give them a pen or pencil as well, they can write their response each time on the label.

Prayer For Others: Materialism
Found in Worship Ideas For Youth Ministry, Group, 1997, ISBN 076442002X, page 69 (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.


Creative Ideas: Hosea: The Forgiving Prophet 
Found in Multi-Sensory Prophets by Mike Law, Scripture Union, 2007, ISBN 9781844272587, page 43 (pictured at left). This is based on the Hosea reading.

Also:

Kids: The Rich Farmer
By Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen, found in Stories Jesus Told  by the above authors, Candle books, 2005, ISBN 101859855881 (pictured at right).
All Sorts of Useful Stuff: A Fool and his money
By Ian Birkinshaw in Multi-Sensory Parables, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 32 (pictured at left).  This is based on the Gospel. 

Kids: Jelly Beans, Lima Beans and Boxes
Found in Party On Together by Beth Barnett and Dr Keith Dyer, Scripture Union, 2010, page 76 (pictured at right). This is based on the Gospel reading. This resource is also available in electronic form through the Baptist Union of Victoria website, www.buv.com.au. where it can be copied freely for non-commercial use. 

Brilliant Comments on the Gospel
Found in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey, SPCK, 2008, ISBN 9780281059751, pages 298-308.

Story: Cane Toads
Found in Australian Visions by John Pfitzner, Lutheran Publishing House, 1990, page 7ff.

Sermon ideas: The Defeat of the Demonic
Found in Life on the Road by Athol Gill, Herald Press, 1992, page 214.  This is based on the Gospel reading. 

Drama: The Rich Fool
A dialogue-drama based on the gospel and found in Let's Make a Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book Publishers, 1995, page 35.

Drama: What Brings Happiness
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnson (Ed), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0 85910 920 8, page 15.