Sunday, March 29, 2009

Palm Sunday B (April 5): After the cheering has stopped..../God is Coming


Bible Readings: Isiaah 50:4-9a, Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Philippians 2:5-11,Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16
About the Images: Above: This photo is mine and taken at Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia. If you want to find out more about Broome visit Below: This image comes from Hermanoleum Clipart ( and has my text added. Skit: After the cheering has stopped..... A group of people to come in waving palm branches and coats etc. yelling and cheering. As they reach the front of the church one person notices the cross, points it out to the others and they all become very subdued. This person then lays his/her branch/coat at the foot of the cross and the others follow suit. The worship leader, after a short silence, says " …and after the cheering has stopped…..what?" This makes a good call to worship. I can't remember if I half inched this idea from someone or somewhere else or whether it is my own. Let me know if you know of another source for this idea and I'll gladly make due acknowledgement. Skit: The Extraordinary Event Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (Ed.) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 60, (pictured in an earlier post). Prayer/Confession: Going Up to Jerusalem Found in Eggs and Ashes by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, ISBN 1901557871, page 127 (pictured at left). Listening Song: Chorus of Faith By Michael Card on his album, Joy in the Journey, Birdwing Music, 1994. Listening Song: Talk About It By Nicole C. Mullen on her album Talk About It (pictured at right) or on WOW 2003. Film Clip: John 12:12-16 From The Gospel of John by The Visual Bible Society (pictured in an earlier blog). Film Clips: Jesus Christ Superstar The musical film version of Jesus Christ Superstar (pictured at left) has two useful song clips for this week - because it is a musical, an audio effort could be made instead if you cannot show film clips. The two songs are Hossanna and Christ, You Know How I Love You. Film Clip: Horton Hears a Who There are plenty of clips in this film about Horton going to extreme lengths to save the Who. At one point when he is warmed of the dire consequences of doing so, he reiterates that he is faithful. Very like Jesus who knew that the his entry into Jerusalem was leading him ever closer to his death - but he remained faithful and ever determined to be our Saviour. has a great Horton clip for this idea. Discussion: Horton Hears a Who 1. Why won't Horton give up on the Who even when he is threatened? 2. How are Jesus and Horton similar? Story: The Visit By Adrian Plass in The Final Boundary, Minstral, 1987, ISBN 1854240935, page 149ff. This brilliant modern day parable is too long for a service but the first section has a great scene which challenges us to think about how we would celebrate Jesus' arrival in our midst. Prayer: Headline Prayers Project some news items. Pray together for those who make the headlines this week. Response Activity: Palm Crosses While gentle music plays, encourage everyone to make a palm cross. Have the instructions printed out on A5 sheets for everyone and make sure a few people can already confidently make them so that they can guide others who may have difficulties. Clear instructions are available from www.king At the conclusion of the activity encourage people to lay their cross at the foot of the cross as you pray about the implications of the Easter week. Response Activity: If You Were In the Crowd This idea is found in Worship Ideas For Group Ministry, Group Publishing, 1997, ISBN 076442002X, page 50 (pictured at right). Based on the gospel readings. To Take Home: Business cards or bookmarks Print with the following readings to lead into Easter: Today: The Parade: Mark 11:1-11 Monday:The Temple: Mark 11:12-19 Tuesday: The Conflict: Mark 11:20-13:27 Wednesday: The Preparation: Mark 14:1-10. Thursday: The Farewell: Mark 14:12-31 Friday: The Death: Mark 14:32-15:47 Saturday: The Silence: Mark 16:1 Sunday: The Winner: Mark 16:2-20.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lent 4 B (March 22): Unconditional Love


Bible readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, John 3: 14-21, Ephesians 2:1-10 About the images: Top: Mediacom free clipart with my text. Bottom: My photo - feel free to use it. Listening Song:: Speechless By Steven Curtis Chapman on his album, Speechless, or on WOW 2000 (pictured in an earlier blog). Listening Song: Call My Name By Third Day on their album, Revelation, or on WOW 2009 (pictured at right). This song matches well with the Gospel reading. Prayer of Confession: In this World Found in Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Resource Group, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 55 (pictured in an earlier blog). Film Clip: Les Miserables From the end of the credits (the first scene) startiong with the convict walking the streets and ending with the priest blessing him and giving him a second chance (pictured in an earlier blog). Film Clip: Walking Across Egypt (pictured at left).Show the clip where Mattie argues with her children about when she should stop loving and caring for Wesley. I got this clip from in their "unconditional love" section. This site is well worth the subscription. Discussion: Walking Across Egypt 1. When does God stop loving us? 2. When should we stop loving others? Film Clip: Aladdin Show one of the clips where Aladdin tries to impress Princess Jasmine by pretending he is some thing that he is not - there is one particularly useful clip where his friends encourage him to tell her the truth but he can't do it. Discussion: Aladdin 1. Why was Aladdin pretending to be someone he was not? 2. Who was Aladdin trying to impress? 3. How do we sometimes try to find favour with God and with each other? Kid's Time: Learning John 3:16 Put the individual (or pairs or phrases) words of John 3:16 on big red hearts and distribute to various members of the congregation before the service. Ask them to hold them in front of them at the start of the children’s time. Ask kids to come out and look at the congregation and see if they can see anything odd. Tell them it is a secret message from God to them and ask them to find all the people with hearts, bring them to the front and then try to arrange the secret message so that it makes sense. The adults always help if it gets a little difficult :-) Kid's Story: The Sneeches The first story in The Sneeches and Other Stories by Dr Seuss, Dr Suess Enterprises, 1957, ISBN 0007158505 (pictured at right). This story can lead to a discussion about whether we need to do anything to be loved by God. Drama: The Tune Roughly based on a puppet play (but no longer using as many people or puppets) found in Drama Resources One from the South Australian Lutheran Youth Office. My version makes use of a fairly astute musician. Email me if you would like a copy. Drama: That's Not Fair Based on John 3:16-17 and written by Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull. Email me if you would like a copy. Story: Too Late Based on the Ephesians reading this story is found at You need to scroll down the page to find it. Story: The Kiss In Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1194, ISBN 0310402611, page 131 (pictured in an earlier blog). This links well with the Gospel reading. Story: The First Shall be Last In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 160. (pictured in an earlier blog). This links well to the Ephesians reading. Response Activity: Unity In 40 Devotions that Work with Youth, by Geraldine Anderson (ed).,JBCE, 1983, ISBN 0858194147, page 58 (pictured at left). In the book this was intended to be a youth group devotion for the Ephesians reading however it can be quite easily adapted to suit a congregation and used as part of the sermon or as a conclusion. Try using post-it notes and a small portable cross instead of paper and the floor. Response Activity: Loving as God Loves Hand out pencils and A5 sheets or business cards (it's better to do this bit when people are arriving for the service) with the following words: God loved me and ………………. so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God did not sent Jesus into the world to condemn me or ………….. God sent Jesus to save us. John 3:16-17. Give everyone a minute or two to talk to God and to fill in the blanks. Response Activity: Forgiven by God Found in Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668, page 73 (pictured in an earlier blog). Response Activity: John 3:14-21 In response to this reading, I used three of the above activities: vv. 14-15: Forgiven By God vv. 16-17: Loving as God Loves vv. 18-21 The Tune Closing Prayer: You Call your Disciples Found in Stages on the Way, as above, (pictured in an earlier blog) page 59.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lent 2 B (March 8): Discipleship


Bible readings:Genesis 17:1-7,15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-18 Theme: Discipleship About the image: Above left: A smoky sunset Lake Tyers Beach ( Looking out across an empty ocean is a good reminder that discipleship does not always have a perceived outcome. We must faithfully step out not always knowing what is to come or where we will end up. It is my photo so please feel free to use it. Above right: I just love this verse. The image is from Microsoft free clipart. Listening Song: Edge of the World On Beyond These Shores by Iona, 1993 (pictured at left) The cover insert has some good info on St Brendon. Story: The Chicken and the Pig Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice (ed.) Youth Specialities, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 63 (pictured in an earlier post). This story illustrates the cost of true discipleship. Story: Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Go to to find an amazing story of discipleship. Story: Life of St Brendan See and for more info on St Brendan. Discussion Questions: What scares you most about being a disciple? What are the characteristics of a disciple? Useful Quote: "Christians in the west have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church members, pew fillers, hymn singers, sermon tasters, Bible readers, even born again believers or spirit filled charismatics - but not true disciples of Jesus". Found in Discipleship by David Watson, page 16 This book is out of print and I have lent my copy, never to see it again, so I can give you few details other than what I have here....sorry! Another Useful Quote: "For countless Christians in the West 'Discipleship' means little more than going to church regularly, giving a proportion of one's income -usually at best one tenth and often below that figure - and getting involved in a limited number of church activities". Also found in Discipleship by David Watson. Poem/Prayer: When I Became a Christian Found in Cleaning Away the Rubbish by Adrain Plass, by Minstral 1988, ISBN 1854240250, page 173 (pictured at right) Poem/Prayer: St Brendan's Prayer Found at