Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent 2 C: Risking Everything/God's Wings


Bible readings: Genesis 15:1-12,17-18, Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1, Luke 13:31-35
Theme: Risking Everything/God's Wings

Listening Song: Why
b
y Tracy Chapman on her self titled album; 1998.
Discussion: On the Genesis reading

1. What do we learn about God in this reading?
2. What do we learn about Abram?
Drama: Don't You Get It?

4: God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.

1: Yes, but I don’t know if my money is going to out-last me. If I can just do a good job with my investments I know everything will turn out all right.

2: And if we could only get some extra money - the kids will be going off to uni soon and at the moment I can't see how we'll manage. With a little more money I know everything will turn out all right.

4:But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.

3: If only I could get my hands on that hotted up Torana everybody's being eyeing off down the street. Everyone would look up to me, envy me ..... then I know everything will turn out all right.

1: And I am so frightened of the future. All my family live a long way away. If I could work out some way to be near them then I know everything will turn out all right.

4: But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.

2: Yes, but if only we could get the house paid off and the renovations finished then I know everything will turn out all right.

3: If only I could get the results I really want at school then I know everything will turn out all right.

4: But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.

1: Yes, but what if I get sick – what if I can’t look after myself any more. I’m going to find my self the best health specialists in the world… then I know everything will turn out all right.

2: And if I could only make sure than I have the best time possible for as much of the time as possible then I know everything will turn out all right.

3: If only I could convince myself and everybody else that I'm not nearly as much of a dork as I seem to be then I know everything will turn out all right.

4: But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward .......
You know, don’t think any of you get it!
Written by Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull: Permission granted for use and adaption however it would be nice if you could let us know, via this blog, that
you are using it
Discussion on the Drama:
1. How do we stop becoming like persons 1,2 and 3?
2. How do we put our faith in God into action?
Story: The Tightrope and the Wheelbarrow
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 206 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story, featuring Blondin the famous tightrope walker, can also be found in numerous books and by Googling.
Story: Personal
Ask someone in your congregation to share a story from their own life where they had to trust God when they did not know what the final outcome was going to be. Ask the person before hand so that they can prepare what they are going to say.
Story: An Antidote for Fear
Found in The Youth Bible, Word Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0849909252, page 497 (pictured in an earlier blog)
Quote: Darren Beadman, Leading Australian Jockey
"It's all about relationship and what lies within your heart.....Some people are at a stage in their life where they feel secure in their environment and don't want to step out because they don't know what the future holds. But if you've got the relationship with the Lord, and you believe that he is your provider and that this is what he wants you to do, well - do it" This is part of an interview found in Alive Magazine 1998 can't source the month, sorry.
Quote: Old Scandinavian Proverb
Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.
Response Activity:
Give everyone a coloured feather (found in craft shops).
While they concentrate on the feather ask:
1. Where in your life at the moment do you need to hear God say; " Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your very great reward"?
2. What situation are you in at present which should make you seek shelter under God's wings?
3. Are you trusting God or are you looking in other places for shelter and reward?
Have a time of silence.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lent 1 C: Trusting God, Wilderness Times



Bible Readings: Luke 4:1-13
Theme: Trusting God, Wilderness Times

About the photo: Lightning Ridge - northern New South Wales, Australia
Drama: A Very Reasonable Man
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 29 (pictured).
Introductory Discussion Questions: About the drama and any pictures you can show of the devil
How have the artists portrayed the devil? Why?
In the drama, what sort of voice does the devil have? Why?
Story: The Indian and the Rattlesnake

Second last story on the temptation page at www.sermonillustrations.com

Story: Don't Forget to Look After Me
By Max Lucado in the conclusion of his book, In The Grip of Grace, Word Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0849911435 (pictured).
Prayer: Stone Prayers
Give everyone a stone which they can hold comfortably (size wise) and which has both smooth and rough surfaces. Encourage them to shut their eyes in prayer. Ask them to feel the rough surfaces and to think of the rough (hard) areas in their lives at the moment. Encourage them to silently ask God for help with regard to these areas. Then ask them to feel the smooth surfaces and to think of the things in their lives that they are grateful for - the things that make them happy and give them joy. Encourage them to pray silently thanking God for these things.
NB 1. Depending on where you live - enough suitable stones might be hard to find. I dug up a bit of our gravel driveway! Sometimes plant nurseries sell stones but they are often too smooth - you may have to search though the bags to find a suitable lot.
NB 2. I did this first six years ago and met a lady just recently who keeps the stone from that service on a shelf which she passes each morning as soon as she gets up. She still starts each day with a "rough" help prayer and a "smooth" thank you prayer :-)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Transfiguration C: Reflecting God's Light

Bible Readings: Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99, 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2, Luke 9:28-43a.
Theme: Reflecting God's Light

About the Photo:
Norfolk Island sunset
Decor of the worship space:
Decorate the focal point of your worship space with any combination of heaps of lit candles, spotlights, and white and gold material.
Listening Song: Great Light of the World
By Bebo Norman on his album, Myself When I Am Real, 2002, or on WOW 2004
Kid's Story:

I have a collection of large cards with dinner plate sized round faces drawn on them - each face reflecting a different emotion; eg tired, scared, surprised, sad, happy, excited, puzzled etc etc. The transfiguration lends itself very much to a retelling of the story using these cards to reflect the emotions of the disciples. You can either hand out the faces and get kids to hold up the one they have when they think that is how the disciples must have felt or you can hold up a relevant card at the relevant time and ask the kids (and the congregation?) to reflect the same face. It can be lots of fun.
Film Clip: Amelie
Show the clip where Amelie walks the blind man across the road. As she does so, she begins to detail all the things around him so that she gives him his sight.
Discussion Questions: For the film clip or as stand alones
To think about by yourself: When have you felt closest to God's glory?
Brainstorm: How did it make you feel?
Together: Why do you think God sometimes is revealed in these ways?
How has the experience impinged on your daily life?
How are we able to reflect god's glory on to other people?
What happens when we do?
Drama: We Can't Tell You
Found in Mega Drama 5 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109194, page 61
Story: A Candle in the Darkness
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 17 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Story: Reflected Son-light
Index 2166
from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990
Story: Wouldn't He stick Out?
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On
by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 203 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Poem: Transfiguration
By Bruce Prewer and found
his site at www.textweek.com (see my links at left) under Prayers, Prefaces, Litanies, etc. on the Transfiguration C page.
Response Activity:
Project or give everybody a copy of 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 and ask them to underline the part that gives them the most hope. Be generous with time to do this - make it a spiritual exercise. Then ask them to share their response with two other people.
Response Activity:
Give each person a small candle or tea light and ask them to light it at their main meal each day this week to remind themselves of God's love for them and that they are reflectors of God's light.
Response Activity:
Brainstorm ideas on how your congregation can be a light in the community? As each idea is suggested, write it on a separate piece of paper. Put them around the walls. Give everybody three stickers each and ask them to put a sticker on the three which excite them the most.
After the service, give the six with the most dots to a member of your church council or leadership team :-) !!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Epiphany 6 C: Like a Tree/Choices


Bible Readings: Jeremiah 17:8-10, Psalm 1, Luke 6:17-26
Themes:
Like a tree/Choices

About the Photo:
These are cabbage tree palms and other trees growing in the Finke River Gorge in Central Australia. This is desert country but the trees grow in and beside the river bed whether there is water on top or not. They send their roots down deep.

Listening Song: Like a Tree
by Chris Falson on his album, A Tree by the Water, 2006.

Film Clip: Life of Brian
Show the blessed are the cheesemakers scene, however stop it just before the swearing
if you have a sensitive congregation. This scene can be related to the Luke reading and leads into a discussion about how we are prone to hearing only what we want to hear.
Discussion: on the Luke reading.
Divide the congregation into groups and give each group a different pair of blessings and woes ie verses 20 and 24, 21a and 25a, 21b and 25b,
22-23 and 26. Ask each group to determine what their blessing and woe is about and write out in one sentence what each mean to us today. Ask groups to share their answers with the whole congregation. If you want to sum up after each one, here are some handy quotes etc:
Poor or Rich Quote:
"Jesus Christ is precisely God become poor". Gustavo Gutierrez.
Poor or Rich Poem: Blessed
By Louis Evely in Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T Lawrence (ed.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 135 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Hungry or Well Fed poem: Sunday Dinner?
Found on Bruce Prewers site at www.textweek.com (see my links at left) under
Prayers, Prefaces, Litanies, etc. on the Epiphany 6C page.
Hungry or Well Fed Quote:
"If you are striving for spiritual fulfilment and knowledge, God will be there for you, but if you think you know all the Christian answers then you are shutting God out of your life." Group of teenagers.
Weeping or Laughing Quotes:
"A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing." Martin Luther.
"You can't say you can sail until you have weathered a storm." Sailors proverb.

Unpopular or Popular Story: The Visit
Bits of this story by Adrian Plass found in his book of short stories, The Final
Boundary, Monarch,1990, ISBN 1854240935, (pictured) are very helpful.
Response Activity:
Have a photo or a picture or a large branch or even a real tree at the front of your worship space. Give each person a cut out green leaf. Ask them to write on the leaf what it is they need to do to flourish and grow as one of God's people. Have them stick the leaf on the tree. Play quiet music while this is happening.
Alternately:
Make each blessing and woe pair into a station. Ask people to move from station to station and have the quotes, poems etc there for them to read and think about while quiet music plays. Have a response activity at each station for them to complete before they move on eg. rich and poor - a piece of modelling clay which people can model into a gift they have (material or non material) which can be shared with the world; hungry and well fed - invite people to take a piece from a loaf of bread and dip it in a cup of wine and eat it before moving on, weeping and laughing - have a shallow bowl of water to represent tears and ask people to trace a one word prayer on the surface of the water; unpopular and popular - the response activity above fits well here.

Prayer: Rest in my Wings
By Colleen Fulmer in Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T Lawrence (ed.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 133 (pictured in an earlier blog).