Friday, August 25, 2017

Proper 17 Ordinary 22 A (September 3): Living God's Call

Bible readings; Exodus 3:1-5, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is made up of two free microsoft clip art images with my text.
Upper right: This is a free microsoft clip art image with my text.
Lower left: This is a fee image from the Heartlight collection - see my links at left.
Lower Right: My image - feel free to use it for worship and related activities.

Film Clip: The Prince of Egypt
Show the burning bush scene from the film The Prince of Egypt (pictured at left)

Discussion: The Prince of Egypt
Where are some places we may meet God?
What do you think God might say to us as a church?

Quiz: Who Am I?

In line with the Exodus reading which points to God using ordinary people to achieve great things, choose a well known ordinary (and lay) person in your congregation who has a significant ministry, and, with their permission, turn their life and ministry into a game of Who Am I?

Discussion: In pairs or fours

1. How does our relationship with God show up in our relationships

a. with outsiders
b. with those we don't get on with, and
c. with those who suffer?
2. Talk together about dreams for our congregation and how we could put our dreams into practice.

Drama: The Sheep
(dressed very simply as a sheep eg. woolly ears wanders up the centre aisle of the church calling out): Hey, where is everybody? Is this Mt Horeb?

Barbara (dressed similarly, at lectern): Yeah, here we are, Bartholomew. Come over here. Did you get lost coming over the desert again?

Yeah, I stopped too long at that first rest area. I'll never be anything but a straggler. (sighs)

Barbara: My word, you certainly missed out on all the excitement today anyway.

Bartholomew: Why, what ever happened?

Barbara: Well, just as Moses was about to have a bit of a smoko after getting us all here he stopped dead in his tracks because right in front of him was this great big humungous burning bush.

Bartholomew: A bush fire - out here?

Barbara: No, no…. not a bush fire just a bush on fire and it didn't burn away like you'd expect it too and .......(whispered loudly) it had an angel of the Lord in it!

Bartholomew: Fair dinkum - you must have all been scared out of your wits.

Barbara: We all scattered like sheep - but I didn't go too far because I wanted to see what happened.
Bartholomew: What did Moses do?

Barbara: Well, you could see he was interested. He went over to have a closer look and God's voice came out of the bush saying "Moses, Moses.

Bartholomew: Wow (breathed) And then?

Barbara: Moses said " I am..m…m…m

Bartholomew: Huh, he'd be stuttering worse than usual, I bet. I can just imagine!
Barbara: God said " Don’t come any closer. Take off you sandals because the place where you are standing is holy ground." Well, by this stage Moses had both his sandals off and he was face down on the ground. He was just too scared to look at God. Mind you, none of us were looking either but I kept my ears open.

Bartholomew: I dunno if I'd have had the guts to hang around.

Barbara: Well, God spoke again. He said "I‘ve seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and I am very concerned about their suffering. So I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey - So now, go, I am sending you to lead my people out of Egypt."

Bartholomew: Well, that's a bit of a promotion for Moses - from a leader of sheep to a leader of a whole nation of people! (Looks around) Is he still here? Did he go?

Barbara: Well, actually he had a bit of crisis in confidence. His actual words were "W..w..who am I, that I should g..g..go to Pharaoh and b..b..bring the Israelites out of Egypt."

Bartholomew: Wow, that's almost like giving cheek. What happened to him? Did God give him a bit of a zap or something?

Barbara: Nuh. Nothing. God understood and said " I’ll be with you and when you bring the people out of Egypt you will worship me right here. That’ll be the proof that I have sent you."

Bartholomew: So... then what.

Barbara: Well then Moses got a little cheeky. He said, Ok then, who will I say sent me. In other words “what’s ya name?”
Bartholomew: Ooooh. God must’ve got mad then?

Barbara: No, not really. He just told him “I AM” ….but in a pretty big voice as you can well imagine. Now look! Its time we stopped talking and got in to a bit of serious grass eating. I think Moses is starting to keep a journal – he’s calling it Exodus or something. You’ll find the rest of the story there.

Copyright Ann Scull 1999 - please feel free to adapt - it has Australian figures of speech that may not translate well into other cultures.

Story: Unbaptised Arms
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 169 (pictured at right). This story is matched with the Romans reading.

Quote: Brother Roger
In the silence of the heart,
tirelessly God whispers to each of us:

"Do not be afraid. I am here".

Response Activity:
Give everyone a small journal (you can sometimes buy tiny little ones in discount shops very cheaply) and ask them to write a few words to God in the silence (or with quiet music playing) about what they think God has been speaking to them about recently.

Father's Day (Australia - and maybe some other places?) Resources:
Listening song; Butterfly kisses By Bob Carlisle on his album of the same name (pictured at right) 

Meditation: God's Call
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 15.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Proper 16 Ordinary 21 A (August 27): Who is this man?/Five Courageous Women

Bible Readings: Exodus 1:8 -2:10 or Isaiah 51:1-6, Psalm 124, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20.

About the Image:
Upper Left: A free microsoft clip art cropped and offset with my text added.
Upper Right: This is an image of reeds along the edge of the Nile river in Egypt. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities.
Lower Left: This is an image of mud brick walls along the edge of the Nile river in Egypt. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities.
Lower Right: This is a free clipart from Heartlight - see my link column at left.

Introduction to Gospel reading:
Ask people to turn to the person on their right and say one positive thing about that person; then ask them
to turn to the person on their left and say one positive thing about themselves.

Worship Outline: Women at the Water
By Katherine Low and found in Before the Amen: Creative Resources for Worship by Marin C and Maria I Tirabassi (Eds), The Pilgrim Press, 2007, ISBN 9780829817508, pages 163ff (pictured at right). This is based on the Exodus reading and includes preparation of the worship space, prayers, and scripted readings. Excellent stuff!

Kids: The Ba
by in the Basket                 
Found in The Picture Strip Bible by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 18599964970, page 26 (pictured at left)

Film Clip: If You Had not been with us
This comes from the excellent sight, The Work of the People and can be accessed via my links column at left. It is based directly on the Psalm.

Drama: Wake Up and Shake Up
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 44 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the Romans reading.

Poem/Prayer: Was He Cracked, Crooked or Correct?
Found in God Thoughts by Dick Williams, Falcon Books, 1969, ISBN 854915214, page 48 (pictured at left). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Poem/Prayer: Moses
By Roddy Hamilton and found in his archives under 1st August 2008 on his Mucky Paws site (see my Links column at left). I put images with this poem and backed it with the Lisa Gerrard music mentioned immediately below.

Listening Music: The Promised Womb

By Lisa Gerrard on her album, The Best of Lisa Gerrard (pictured at right).

Quote: CS Lewis
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' This is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." From his book Mere Christianity, too many editions to list but the front of my copy pictured at left!!

Sermon Ideas: Who Are Our Pharaohs? 
Found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year A by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild (Eds.) Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 066422507, page 224 (pictured at right).


Film Clip: Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
(pictured at left) Show the clip where he escapes from the car crusher. It matches beautifully with the Psalm and goes pretty well with the Exodus reading as well. I found this clip on the Wingclips site - see my links column at left or watch it for yourself: Car Escape - Movie Clip from Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker at

Poem/Meditation: Remember the Rock from which you were hewn.
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 15 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Isaiah reading.

Poem/Meditation: Pharaoh's Daughter
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 25 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Exodus reading.


Poem/Meditation: Rock and Stumbling Block
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 64 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Matthew reading and also could be used next week.

Kids: The Pig in the Pond
By Martin Waddell and Jill Barton, Walker Books,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 35. This goes well with the Romans reading.

For Australians: Refugee and Migrant Sunday: August 27

Listening Song: I Guess I Get a Little Emotional Sometimes
By Paul Kelly and can be downloaded from his site-

TV Series: Go Back to Where You Came From
Watch one of the episodes of this excellent series instead of a sermon. Talk about it together afterwards.   I would suggest you watch either episode two or three. Please check if there are any copyright issues.

TV Clip: Clark and Dawe on Asylum Seekers
Clarke and Dawe have a few of these - I like this one in particular because you can't be accused of siding with a particular major political party if you use it.

Prayer for Others
Have a large map of the world and tea lights
or flowers or both. Ask people to place a lit tea light or a flower on a part of the world where there are refugees in need of our help and prayers. In the background, play the Moby song mentioned below.

Listening Song: Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad
By Moby on his album Play (pictured at right).

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Proper 15 Ordinary 20 A (August 20): Getting Along

Bible Readings: Genesis 45:1-15, Psalm 133, Romans 11:1,2a,29-32, Matthew 15: (10-20)21-28.

About the Images:

Upper Left: This is a free microsoft clipart image .
Upper Right: This is also a free microsoft clipart image. I added the words from Bruce Prewer's version of Psalm 133 which can be found at
Lower Left:This is a free clipart from Cerezo Barredo  You can find a link to this site at the left in my Links column.
Lower Right: This is a free clip art fro the Hermano Leon site. See my link column at left. 

Introduction: Gathering
Found in Ideas for Worship, June to July 1996, JBCE, page 16 (pictured at left) . This introduction is based on the gospel reading.

Listening Song: What You Need
(pictured at right) By Audio Adrenaline on their self titled album. This song goes well with the gospel reading.

Listening Song: Turn
(pictured at left) By Paul Colman Trio on their album,
New Map of the World. This goes well with the psalm.

Object Lesson: The Words We Speak: Constructive or Destructive
Found in Fresh Ideas Volume 2 by Jim Burns and Mark Simone, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 083718842, page 66. This goes well with the gospel reading.

Kid's Activity During the Service

Give everyone in the congregation a length of streamer and get them to each put their name on the streamer. Ask the kids to collect them and then ask whether the individual streamers are representative of a church community united or not. Ask for ideas as to how this could occur (fish for the "making a chain out of them" answer). Have them make the streamers into a chain during the service and use it as a decoration near the end of the service. This goes well with the idea of family unity and reunion in the Genesis reading.

Activity for Psalm 133
Ask people to complete the sentence "when people get along it is better than....."

 Film Clip: Music of the Heart
(pictured at left) Show the clip where the little disabled girl thinks she is too weak to play and her teacher (Meryl Streep) tells her that she is strong on the inside. Relate it to the Caananite woman in the gospel who, to all appearances, starts off in a weak position.

Film Clip: Men in Black

(pictured at right). Show the clip about 25 minutes in when the recruits begin their exam and finish when all the recruits are sitting staring at Edwards. This is a great clip which shows what happens when we do our own thing instead of building community.

Film Clip: Taika Waititi on Racism
Fid this excellent clip at

Drama: Faith

Found in Parable Performing by Kristin Etscheid, Hodder and Stoughton, 1985,ISBN 0340336676, page 36 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Drama: Clouded Thinking
Narrator: Reads Psalm 133 and then says "The best part of life is knowing God is loving me and blessing me". Two people standing back to back have the following conversation:

1: Sometimes I don’t feel as good as that….particularly when I remember what happened.

2: I can’t get over it…I’ll never forgive her! I must keep my self-respect.

1: Sometimes the anger just burns me up.

2: I feel so depressed …… I don’t know what about…just feels like I have a big rock inside me weighing me down.

1: I miss her so much

2: I think I’ll really let her have it. I’ll tell her exactly what I think of her.

1: I know I was right and that’s all that matters to me.

2: What have I got to lose…she doesn’t like me anyway.
Everything she says hurts me…
1: I’m so lonely.

2: She can do it my way or not at all.

1: Nothing’s going to change until she apologises.

2: If only we were friends again.

1: If only she liked me….(sigh) no wonder she doesn’t like me.

2: I’m an idiot.

1: Now I’m angry with everyone. I’m starting to dislike people on sight. I don’t even know if Jesus is there any more

2: And now it’s finished. Is that what I wanted?

Copyright: Ann Scull

Discussion: Re above drama
1. What is happening in this skit?
2. Do you see a connection with the Genesis story?
3. How could this situation be resolved?

Discussion: On the Matthew reading
1. In what ways does this story confront your traditions and prejudices?
2. When has an outsider challenged or helped your faith?
3. How do we prevent ourselves becoming insular or exclusive as a congregation?

Story: Me Too!

Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 115  (pictured at right).

Story: Acceptance

Story No. 2 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers edited by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 .

Prayer: My Souls Desire
Found in Celtic Prayers by Robert Van de Weyer, Bridgewater Book Company, 1997, ISBN 1856082814, page 37 (pictured at right). This fits well with all the readings.


Drama: When Two Or More
Found in All-age Sketches for the Christian Year by Peter Shaw, The Bible reading Fellowship, 2006, ISBN 101841014583, page 44 ff. This is based on the psalm reading.

Meditation: The Peacemakers
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 89. This goes well with the Psalm 133 reading.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Proper 14 Ordinary 19 A (August 13): Risk and Faith

Bible readings: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 or 1 Kings 19:9-18 , Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b, Romans 10:5-10, Matthew 14:22-33 

About the images:
Upper Left: This is my image with the biblical text. The image can be used for worship and related activities. The photo was taken at Narooma on the southern coast of New South Wales, Australia. For more info on this area go to,_New_South_Wales.
Upper Right: This is a free clipart from Cerrezo Barredo.  You can find a link to this site at the left in my Links column.

Lower Left: This is a free Heartlight image.  See my link column at left.
Lower Right: This is a free Hermano Leon image.  See my link column at left. 

Listening Song: Deep Water
(pictured at left) By Serene and Pearl on their album, Crazy Stories. This song goes very well with the Gospel reading.

Kid's Story: Miracles by the Sea
By Catherine Store and Chris Molan, Methuen Australia, 1983 (pictured at right).

Kid's Story: Joseph the Favourite                   
Found in The Picture Strip Bible by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 18599964970, page 18 (pictured at left).

Film Clip: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
(pictured at right) Show the scene near the end of the movie where Indiana Jones has to step out in faith trusting that the bridge, that he cannot actually see, is there.

Discussion: On Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
1. What does this clip teach us about risk and faith?
2. What does the gospel reading teach us about risk and faith?

Drama: A Midsummer Canaanight's Dream
Found at This drama is based on the Genesis reading.

Drama: Joseph and his Brothers
Joseph: Hey, guys! Guess what? I had another one of those dreams last night. It was so cool - well, actually I was so cool. I was the star of the whole show - and famous! It was unreal. Woh, I am just so excellent!
1: You little pain.
2: You never stop, do you?
3: You are just so full of yourself.
4: Go play with your toys and leave us alone.
5: Hey, hang on a minute! You've been dobbing on us again too, haven't you?
2: Yeah, Dad got stuck into us for not watching the sheep properly again.
3: And who'd be the one to tell him, eh?
Joseph: But, I've seen you. You just hang around checking out all the girls. I have every right to tell him if you're not doing your job properly. At least I'm a responsible good son.
4: That'll be the day.
5: Come on then and get your hands dirty for a change - do an honest days work.
Joseph: Oh well actually I can't today. New coat , ya see. I might get it all dirty and sheepy.
1: It's a Billabong (or insert current famous desired-for name brand)!
3: How'd you score yourself a Billabong?
4: All we get is each other's hand me downs.
5: By the time they've gone through six or so of us they're wrecked.
1: How come Dad gets you all the name brand stuff, anyway?
2: You spoilt little brat.
4: Daddy's boy!
5: You're such a show-off.
1: Come on, leave him alone. There's work to do for the real men!
Later, out in the paddocks with the sheep- all put on Akubra's:
2: (shading eyes) Hey, get a load of this. Here comes the hero, the dreamer.
3: (shading eyes) You could spot that coat from a mile away.
5: I bet the old man's sent him out to check up on us.
1: You know what? - this is the perfect chance to get rid of him once and for all.
2: How? ( a bit thick)
1: If we kill him and throw him into one of those pits over there we could easily con everybody into thinking a wild animal got him on the way out here.
3: And nobody'd be any the wiser.
4: Hang on a minute, let's not get too carried away. Just chuck him in the pit and leave him there.
Joseph arrives.
All: Right grab him! Grab him! Get his coat! Get his coat! Heave!
Throw Joseph into the pit.
2: Sweet dreams, Joe baby. Now let's have some lunch.
3: Hey, what's that over there in the distance?
4: It's just a truck convoy.
5: You know what, we could make some big bucks out of this situation.
2: How?( a bit thick)
5: Those truckies are always after workers, no names, no papers. Wink,wink, nudge, nudge. Let's sell Joseph to them!
3: It'd be better than killing him - after all, he is our brother even if he is a pain.
4: And we'd be a little more financial.
1: Excellent!
All: Yeah.
Copyright: Ann Scull. Change wording as you think it fits with your congregation and culture.

Story: Cash the Cheque
Found in Index 3118 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990 or This story is based on the Romans reading.

Response Activity: Meditation on the Gospel
Where do I feel that God is asking me to "get out of the boat" right now: the work that I do
b. in my family or in my relationships
c. in my spiritual life with God
d. something else.

Also (but not road tested):

Listening Song: Call My Name                               By Third Day on their album, Revelation (pictured at left) or on the album WOW 2009. This song goes very well with the Romans reading.

Poem: Joseph the Dreamer
Found in The Electric Bible by Peter Dainty, Kevin Mayhew, 2003, ISBN 1844170411, page 30 (pictured at right).

Kids Talk: In a Hole
Found in Life Plus Ideas For Worship, JBCE 1996, ISBN 1864071079, page15 (pictured at left).

Discussion: Favouritism
Found in Life Application Family Devotions by Len Woods, Tyndale House, 1997 ISBN 0842337504, page 105 (pictured at right).

Poem/Meditation: Elijah's story
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 18 (pictured at left). This goes well with the 1 Kings reading.