Bible readings: Judges 4:1-7. Psalm 123, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Matthew 25:14-30
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free microsoft clipart image onto which I placed text.
UpperRight: This is my photo taken in the Simpson Desert in Central Australia (for more info on this area visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimpsonDesert) with a bit of a line from the meditation below. Please feel free to us this image for worship or related activities.
This is an istock image with words from the dc Talk song below.
Lower Right: Another free image from the excellent Heartlight site - see my link column at left
Call to Worship:
Talk about taking risks. Then ask for people who have never taken an up front part in a service before to volunteer to do some of the things in your service on the spot eg take up the collection, do the Bible readings, pray, take part in a drama, whatever. Make sure they have plenty of instructions and help eg print the bible readings out in large print, have a prayer that can be read, print out the dramas with each actors parts clearly highlighted. Emphasise to the rest of the congregation that these people are taking a bigger risk than usual and that understanding is needed and that they are not "performing" but worshipping. You may have to word up the people on the roster that you will not need them this week.
Listening Song: Fearless
By dc Talk on their album, Supernatural (pictured at left).
Film Clip: Dead Poets Society
Show the clip below where Robin Williams character encourages his students to seize the day.
Film Clip: Lord of the Rings 1
Show the clip below where Frodo and Sam have not long started out on their quest. Sam stops and Frodo walks on. When Frodo asks Sam what he is doing, Sam replies that he is standing at the farthest point from home that he has ever stood without turning round and going back home. and that his next step will take him into the unknown. Frodo has to encourage Sam to keep going.
Discussion: Lord of the Rings 1
1. Why do you think people are afraid to take risks?
2. How can we be like Frodo encouraging Sam, and encourage each other to go further in our walk with God?
Drama: The Ringmaster's Gift
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 48 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospel reading.
Drama: The Talents
Found in Let's Make a Scene by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, page 49ff (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.
Drama : Using our Gifts
Narrator and three people to mime plus others.
Narrator: God has given us certain gifts - things we are good at, or things that we have the potential to be good at, if only we step out and be a bit courageous with Him.
Ist person (with others):
Narrator: (points to Bill or whoever) It's like this guy here is good at cooking. (Bill pretends to cook a meal). His mother was a great cook and he is too. He could even make the pizza for tonight except that we have already ordered it. He has continued to use this gift of preparing and cooking food, and he now helps with the Secondary College breakfasts and is always helping with the catering at the church.
2nd person mimes with others:
Narrator: This guy here (name) is really good at helping others - especially listening to people if they have a problem. He is also part of the prayer team. He doesn't always have the answers, but people feel better for talking to him.
3rd person (by himself)
This person here is great at selling things in a nice way without being pushy. He would be the ideal person to work in retail or to help out in our Op shop. But somehow over time, he didn’t use this special gift God had given him. He couldn’t be bothered making any effort to use his talent. But it’s not too late…..
Narrator sums up (all stop and listen) You see God gives us time, gifts and other resources according to our abilities, and he expects us to use them wisely until he returns. We are responsible to use what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have.
Story: The Survey
A survey was taken recently of people who are over 95. The people were asked one question. It was an open ended question they could answer any way they wished. The question was: If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently? Among all the different answers, these three answers came back most frequently:
1. If I could live my life over again, I would reflect more.
2. I would risk more.
3. I would do more things that would live on after I'm dead.
Found at http://www.cvillechurch.com/BibleClasses/DanielLesson4RebuildSoYourEffortsWillLast.pdf
Group Discussion: The Survey
What are some of the things which stop us doing what the surveyed elderly think are important?
What are some of our excuses?
What do we need to know or do so that we do grab the opportunities that God gives us?
What can we do for each other?
As far as I know the author is unknown although more than one poerson on the net claims to be. Find the poem at http://www.coolfunnypoems.com/inspirational-poems/risk/
Meditation/Poem: Our Deepest Fear
Found in Imaging the Word Volume 3 by Susan A Blain, Sharon Iverson Gouwens, Catherine O'Callagan and Grant Spradling, (Eds.), United Church Press, 1996, ISBN 0829801862, page 72 (pictured at left). I put images with these words and backed them with the following music: End Titles from the Sound Track of Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude (pictured at right).
Before the service I laid out large numbers of cards depicting different gifts and abilities which people may have. I made them slightly bigger than a business card and used clip art picture - the possibilities and variety are therefore endless. I made four per person (making a rough guess as to how many people would turn up) and then asked people as they arrived to take three which best described their gifts. I asked people to consider the cards they had chosen during my sermon on the parable of the talents and then at the end I asked people to get in to groups of four or five and share why they had chosen the cards that they had. Then they discussed the following:
Which talents in your group would be useful for
* developing a welcoming church community
* being involved in leading the worship service
* sharing God's Good News in the wider community.
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 Matthew reading.
All Sorts of Useful Stuff: Active Service
By Ian Birkinshaw in Multi-Sensory Parables, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 65. This is based on the Gospel.