Monday, November 27, 2006

Advent 1 C: Hope, Waiting and Watching

Bible readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16, Luke 21:25-46, ! Thessalonians 3; 9-13, Psalm 25:1-10
Theme: Hope, Waiting and Watching

About the Photo:
This is watch tower built on the south east coast of Australia at Boydtown near Eden by Benjamin Boyd in the 1840s as a lighthouse and as whale lookout. It was never completed and was never used as an official light house, however generations of whalers used it for spotting whales.
Reading: And this Shall Be A Sign to You
By Robert A. Raines in Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T. Lawrence, Jann Cather Weaver and Roger Wedell (Eds.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 78. (pictured in an earlier blog)
Prayer: Blessings Prayer
Found in Seasons of Celebrations by Patricia Mathson, Ave Maria Press, 1995, ISBN 0877935661, page 19.
Use bits of the Jeremiah reading and the psalm.

Kids: Hope
Ask the kids if they have ever planned something that didn't work out the way they intended it to. Share a story from your own life which will illustrate this and show them if possible (mine is a quilt which went horribly wrong between the planning and the completing!!!)
Tell them that Advent is the time when we remember all of God's terrific promises to us that
everything will work out because jesus is the one who brings us ......
Have huge letters H O P E stuck up in random order around the worship space. Ask the kids to help you sort them into a word they know.
Discuss with them what the word means and how it relates to Christmas.
Advent Angels: an advent version of secret buddies
Encourage or organise people (in the sense that you pair people up somehow without them knowing - like you do for secret buddies or Chris Kringles) to be advent angels ie where people do unexpected favours or give unexpected encouragement or praise anonymously to others in the congregation.
Story: Some Things are Immovable
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and greg Mckinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 47 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Meditation: Waiting
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 20. (pictured)
Discussion: In pairs or threes.
What do you think has gone wrong with the world? How do you think it should be?
What do you think has gone wrong with our local community? How do you think it should be?
What do you think has gone wrong with our church? how do you think it should be?
Talk about waiting for change and about changing back or changing forward.
Then discuss:
What are you waiting for?
What are we as a church waiting for?
What is this particular congregation waiting for?
Film Clip: The Man in the Egg
Found on Leunig Animated, Madman, 2001
Accept surprises
that upset your plans
shatter your dreams,
give a completely
different turn
to your day
and - who knows? -
to your life.
It is not chance.

Leave the Father free
himself to weave
the pattern of your days.
By Dom Helder Camara in A Thousand Reasons For Living, ISBN 0800606647.
Prayer for Others; Pinning Our Hopes on Jesus (i)
Found in Cloth For The Cradle, page 54 - see above
Adult Response: Pinning Our Hopes on Jesus (ii)
Found in Cloth For the Cradle, page 56 - see above

Prayer/poem: The Coming Bushman
Found in Outback Christmas by Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Lutheran Publishing House, 1981, ISBN 0859105628 (pictured)
Fridge magnets:
Give everyone a small (laminated maybe) card with the words of Psalm 25:4-5 on it attached to a small fridge magnet.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christ the King B: Who's in charge?

Theme:Christ the King, Who's in charge?
Bible readings:
Revelation 1:4-8, John 18:33-37, 2 Samuel 23:1-7

About the photo: Photos of sunsets and sunrises always remind me of the power and reign of God - they are so big and awe inspiring and beautiful. They lift me up but also remind me of my insignificance - a bit like looking at the stars at night. I took this photo out the front of our place VERY early one morning. It is a part of Duck Arm (taken from Banksia Peninsula) in the Gippsland Lakes near Paynesville in Australia - Google any of those place names or look them up on Wikapedia if you are interested in this little bit of the world.
Film clip: Chariots of Fire
Show the clip where Eric Liddell talks with the Prince of Wales en route to the Olympic Games. Eric had a God space in his week that he was not prepared to give up. His allegiance to Jesus and his heavenly kingdom was more important than his allegiance to
his King and country (pictured).
Discussion Questions:

Story: The Kingdom of God
story No 363 in 750 Engaging illustrations by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured in an earlier blog)
Sermon Help Notes and Response Activity: Revelation by Song
Can't remember where I got this idea from - maybe out of my head but I am not sure - please let me know via email if you can source it for me.
Give everyone a strip of paper with the words of Revelation I:8 printed across it. Under these words, print three pictures entitled as follows:
Picture 1: a cradle and the words "who is"
Picture 2: a spider and the words "who was"
Picture 3: music notes and the words: "who is to come".
1. The God who Is.
Sing Rock a Bye Baby together.
Note that the song does not say "if" but "when the bough breaks". Life is full of surprises - not all of them good - but God is acting and moving in our world. Ask them to talk to the person next to them about how they see God at work in the world today.
2. The God Who Was.
Ask people to sing Ipsy Whipsy Spider together. Note that the song is very like human kind - we repeat our mistakes as nations, as communities, as families and as individuals but we keep plugging away. And "out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain". God repeatedly over history heals, restores, loves and forgives us.
3. The God who is to come

Sing the hymn "Joyful, joyful we adore you" to Beethoven's Ode To Joy. Note that because God is yet to come, the way we live makes a difference.
Adult Response:
In verse 6 we are all called to be ministers. Ask people:
In order to be a minister, where do you need God the most: healing your past, with you in your present, or being your future? Fold your strip of paper in three so that the one you need is uppermost and take it home that way.

Listening Song: For the Glory of Your Name
By Michelle Tumes on her album, Heaven and Earth or on WOW 2000 (pictured)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Proper 28 Ordinary 33 Pentecost 24 B: God can be trusted, The Challenge of our Times

Bible Readings: Hebrews 10:13-25, I Samuel 1:4-20, Mark 13:1-8
Theme: God Can Be Trusted, The Challenge of Our Times

About the photo:
Another piece of street art from the laneways of Melbourne, Australia
Kid's Story: Won't You Help Me
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 35. (pictured in an earlier blog).
Introduction: The Challenges of our Times
Can't remember the source of the following info - probably the web :-)

"Did you know that....
There is more than one mobile phone per head of population in
My ordinary car has more computer power than the rocket that took Neil Armstrong to the moon.

Our computers at home are out of date the moment we buy them.

The World Wide Web puts people in touch with each other like never before … and simultaneously isolates them.

The miracles of modern science have not eliminated pain and grief and loss and family breakdowns."
Link this to the Hebrews reading.
Skit: The End of the World is Coming
Found in Mega Drama 4 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0959109186, page 51 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Discussion Questions:

Do you think we are in times of turmoil and collapse today – in the world, in our society, in our church?

At such times, what sort of things do people place their faith in?
Story: The Power of our Words
Found in
Illustrations, Stories, and Quotes to Hang Your Message On, (as above) page 169 to illustrate Hebrews 10:24.
Story:God’s Trustworthiness,
Story 592 in 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching by Michael P Green, Baker Books, 1989, ISBN 0801063302
(pictured in an earlier blog)
Story: God's Care
Story 98 in Your Point Being by Graham Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 (
Film Clip: Nottinghill
Show the scene in Nottinghill where the characters, in the intimacy and safety of their shared meal together, all share their secret fears and insecurities to illustrate Hebrews 10:25. (pictured)
Adult Response:

nsure that everyone has a small candle and is standing and that you have a lit a large Christ candle that everyone can see.
Read Hebrews 10:24-25 and explain that we are now going to live out these verses by giving each other the light and hope and encouragement. Light your candle from the Christ candle. Explain that you are going to light one person's candle and at the same time tell them something encouraging. That person will do the same to someone else until everyone in the room has a lighted candle. Tell them that when their candle is alight and when they have lit someone else's and encouraged them, they should sit down with their lighted candle.
Listening Song; Bearers of the Light
by Michael Card on his album Poiema.
Adult Response:
Make tiny (20 will fit on an A4 or letter size) cards/photos/drawings/whatever of the symbols of God found in the Samuel reading - make a total of three times as many as there are people in your congregation. Ask people to select one for themselves and one to give somebody else.