Road Signs

We based one of our services on road signs. Road signs are there to help us on a journey as long as you know what they mean and you take notice of them.

Then I thought that there are parallels with our spiritual journey, so we explored that idea.

We started with a road sign quiz and although we would have learnt the signs when we took our driving test, we found we had forgotten some because we had not looked at the highway code for years. We then drew the parallel with our spiritual highway code, the bible, and reminded ourselves that we need to keep going back to it, if it is to help us on our journey.

We then looked at a few specific signs.

No U-turn sign. – This reminds us that having committed to follow Jesus, if we sometimes feel like giving up, Jesus doesn’t want us to do a u-turn. We looked at the story of Peter, who denied Jesus but Jesus still called him to feed his sheep. You can develop this idea perhaps by using my Peter sketch, or talk about experiences when you wanted to give up.

Stop sign. This reminds us that we have to ‘come apart and rest awhile’. I remember seeing a sign outside a church which said, ‘Come ye apart and rest awhile, for if you don’t rest awhile, you will come apart’. We talked about the importance of finding time in our busy life just to be still with God. You could do a meditation such as one in the ‘Multi-sensory Prayers’ book or use the reading ‘Sharpen your axe’ from Hot Illustrations.

Cross roads sign. This reminds us that there are times when we have to make decisions and we looked at how much we involved God in our decisions? You could use the reading ‘Yes or No’ and discuss how God can be part of our decisions. Or you could discuss decisions you have made in your life, particularly your decision to become a Christian.

We then gave everyone a sheet of road signs to see if they felt any road signs applied to their spiritual journey and then gave everyone time to share their thoughts.

Food

One service we based around food and drew comparisons between different aspects of food and compared them with our Christian discipleship.

Here are some examples.

Food Advertising – Companies have to get their message over to sell their food. We discussed how successful we are at getting our message over, in particular, the need to avoid ‘church jargon’. We further discussed how best we could share God’s message.

Good food/bad food – Some food is good for us, some is not so good. Similarly, with our discipleship, some lifestyle choices are good, some are bad. We discussed what may be affecting our discipleship.

Trying new food – We may be adventurous and like to try new food. Are we equally adventurous with God at trying new things for him?

Preparation and Cooking Food – We often use a recipe book for cooking but sometimes add our own variations. The bible is our spiritual recipe book, so we discussed if it was acceptable to adapt its teachings, in particular to make it more relevant to the 21st century. This is not about changing basic beliefs but interpreting them to a modern society.

Eating together – We like to share meals with friends. Similarly, we need to spend some time together as followers of Christ so that we can support each other. We discussed how we can support each other and who had supported us.

Multi-sensory Prayer

A book that I have sometimes used is called Multi-sensory Prayer by Sue Wallace. It contains 60 ideas for different interactive prayers and meditations.

I have always liked exploring ways to make worship meaningful and relevant. I found this book useful as it has provided me with different ideas for worship.

You are bound to like some ideas more than others, but there is enough here to find something that will appeal to you and get you thinking about how you worship.

I think this book is now out of print but you can get second hand copies on the internet.

Please note that this is purely a personal opinion and therefore it is not an official endorsement by the Community of Christ.

James Chapter 1

Sometimes in our meetings we look at a passage of scripture and look at its relevance to us today. One example was the first chapter of James.

We started by quietly reading the scripture. We then shared our initial reactions, what was particularly significant to us, what puzzled us.

We then looked at the background of the scripture using information in commentaries. It was probably written by James, the brother of Jesus. It was written at a time when Christians were small minorities in a world that did not share their values. It was an exhortation to live by Christian principals and not slip back to the standards of their world.

Then we asked questions relating to the different verses and discussed them. Some of the questions were:-

Verses 2-4 is about trials.

Have you had difficult times that have made you question your faith or what you believe about God?

Have you gained anything as a result of problems in your life?

Verses 5-8 is about asking God  

Have you had any experiences where you asked God for help? In what ways has God answered you.

Verses 9-11 is about status   

How should we view status? What gives you your sense of self-worth?

Verses 12-16 is about temptation

Do you think there are specific things that tempt us away from God? Are there things that stop us doing what God would want us to do?

Verses 17-18 is about God’s gifts    

Do you think God has given you anything? What are the most important things he has given you?

Verse 19-21 is about listening and speaking

Would it make a difference if you put into practice the advice to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger?

Verse 22-27 is about being doers of the word.

How does being a Christian affect your daily actions? Who has shown they were a Christian by what they have done for you?

Then a final question

Is there anything in this chapter that you feel you should act on? 

Hot Illustrations

A book that I have used a lot in our worships is called ‘Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks’.

Don’t be put off by the title saying youth talks. I have found the illustrations were applicable for all age worships. Also, don’t be put off by the fact it is produced in the USA, it’s easy enough to translate it to UK English.

It contains 100 stories and illustrations and each one is accompanied by a reflection relating the story to our Christian discipleship. You could call them modern day parables.

This is probably the best book of worship illustrations that I have found and there are more than enough good stories to make this book worth buying.

Please note that this is purely a personal opinion and therefore it is not an official endorsement by the Community of Christ.