Resources for faith and life
Welcome to 'Conversations' ...
Worship, prayer, preaching, inspiration and song
from Aotearoa New Zealand
It's John the Baptist this Sunday.
Here's a Call to Worship for you:
Call to Worship: from Isaiah 40
A voice cries out in the wilderness:
What does it cry?
“Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Make a straight path for salvation
Fill in the valleys, bring down the hills
Smooth out the rough ground
For the Lord is coming, God’s glory will be seen
All people will see it.”
A voice says, “Cry out!”
What shall we cry?
“All people are like grass, wild flowers at the road side
In a hot wind the grass dries up, the flowers fall
Only God’s word stands forever.”
So climb a mountain and call with all your might,
Don’t be afraid, cry to the cities, to all the people -
“Your God is here! Christ has come!”
I'm off this week to the most gorgeous spot where my website banner photo was taken: Hopewell Lodge in Kenepuru Sound, Marlborough. Surely some of the most utterly beautiful places on the planet. I am super excited to be going with my 4 kids (though I can't call them kids any more!) and their partners. It was 6 years since I was there. I wonder if that orange hammock is still there.
by JOY COWLEY
Look now! It is happening again!
Love like a high spring tide
is swelling to fullness
and overflowing the banks of our small concerns.
And here again is the star,
that white flame of truth blazing the way for us
through a desert of tired ways.
Once more comes the music,
angel song that lifts our hearts
and tunes our ears to the harmony of the universe,
making us wonder how we ever could have forgotten.
And now the magi within us gathers up gifts of gold and myrrh,
while that other part of ourselves, the impulsive,reckless shepherd,
runs helter skelter with arms outstretched to embrace the wonder of it all.
We have no words to contain our praise.
We ache with awe, we tremble with miracle,
as once again, in the small rough stable of our lives,
Christ is born.
Photo: Stained glass window
in the chapel at Burnham Military base.
New material ...
STRESSFUL SITUATIONS in ministry
A word of advice for newbies and old hands in ministry
on dealing with crises.
Sooner or later in your ministry, things will get ugly. Shit happens. People get hurt. People get mad. And the underbelly of your coping strategies gets dragged out into the light. When that happens, how you respond as a church leader will make a huge impact on the outcomes.
Updated material on weddings, and some work-in-progress about the Commitments of marriage.
The blessing of God be upon you and go with you
The authority of God be over you and around you
The grace of God be in you and freely given by you
The peace of God be yours, this day and every day. Amen
Fresh work on the Psalms ...
Looking for ideas about how to use Psalms more in a worship service? New page in my Psalms section: HERE
Enriching Worship with Psalms
(a workshop for the Canterbury Lay Preachers Association)
How does the Revised Common Lectionary use Psalms?
I've been right through the 3 year cycle of the Lectionary and drawn up an index of which Psalms are used for which seasons in which years. This has highlighted for me how the Lectionary chooses Psalms and verses within Psalms. I find the results troubling. If you use the Lectionary, check out my new pages & analysis HERE.
Family Tree: Material about my family tree, ancestry, where my ancestors came from in England ...
In 'Conversations.net.nz' you will find:
GOD ... resources for worship, especially 'Calls to worship' and confession
- prayers and home-grown 'psalms'
- Communion liturgies
- all-age worship ideas & reflections for children's ministry
PSALMS ... reflections on Biblical Psalms
interpreted and reworked for prayer and for use in worship
LOVE ... poetry, discussions on marriage & intimacy
and dramatic explorations of Biblical love stories
... reflections on grief and death
SONG ... original music, for worship and for kids
... and lots of lovely photos!
Because I believe ...
that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true!
that growing to maturity in Christ takes work
that courageous honesty of heart and soul is required
that worship is wonderful
that each person is a taonga, a treasure,
no matter the age, assets or abilities
that the local church is the hope of the world.
In conversation ...
... chatting with friends over coffee
... finding words for the moments and movements
of mind & body,
my spirit alive with God-Spirit
... getting to know Jesus Christ,
ever curious as to what he would say and do
... bringing every fibre and phrase into the eternal conversation of Father Spirit Son
... conversations with children and elders,
with church as it is and as it might be
... with my people in my place and offered to everyplace
... with pain and with celebration,
with beauty and with scars,
with the sacred and the ordinary,
with scripture, song and silence.
All material here is copy-right free; you are free to copy and paste to your heart's content. I just ask that you acknowledge the source and help promote my website.