come and see

John 1:46 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael asked.“Come and see,” answered Philip.


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Christmas Awards Ceremony

Yes, I know it’s only September, but Christmas will be here before you know it, and we have certainly already started to think about our Children’s Christmas Service. So we thought it was about time we shared with you what we did last year. This is an original work by Vanessa; feel free to use it or adapt it as you wish, but an acknowledgment of the source would be appreciated.
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The theme was a “Red Carpet Awards Ceremony”, with Vanessa as the reporter greeting the celebrities as they arrived. This enabled her to hold a clipboard which had both her words and the words of each of the participants on it. Made it so much easier all around, with no stressing about forgotten lines. There were no costumes – everyone was invited to dress as if they were going to a real awards ceremony, but we did have some Angels there as well.

I have included a note of the songs that we used between each “celebrity”, but you may well have your own favourites that you want to use.

So, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to:

THE GOVERNORS BAY CHRISTMAS AWARDS CEREMONY!

Song: They Came to a Christmas Party (Starshine Singers, from Jesus’ Christmas Party)

Interviewer: Good morning everyone and welcome to WWJD TV, where we are live at the Governors Bay Christmas Awards Ceremony. We hope to be able to bring you interviews with many of the Nominees as they arrive on the red carpet today. And look, here is our first celebrity arriving now!

MARY
Interviewer: Hi Mary. It must be exciting to be at the 2013 Governors Bay Christmas awards. I know you have an important part to play in Christmas. You are the mother of Jesus. Wow you must have a really amazing story to tell so please share it with us here today and for all the viewers at home…

"Mary" on the red Carpet

“Mary” on the red Carpet

Mary: Look I am just a girl who believes in God. A while back I got the fright of my life, first when an angel appeared and then when I was told I was pregnant, and I wasn’t planning that, not yet  – I hadn’t even got the wedding invitations out.

Interviewer: Crickey, an angel what was that like?

Mary: His name was Gabriel and he was big, bright and beautiful. He told me not to be afraid because I was going have God’s son.  I was pleased I was already sitting down when he said that. Can you imagine being chosen to have God’s son. But wait there’s more …. my cousin Elizabeth who hadn’t been able to get pregnant was going to have a baby too, at the same time, so I went to see her to give glory to God for our babies and, of course, swap swollen ankle stories.

Interviewer: It must have been nice to have some relaxation before the birth.

Mary: Relaxation, if only! Just after I got back from Elizabeth’s, Joseph tells me we have to go to Bethlehem and the only transport left is a donkey. I suppose it is better than having to walk the whole way.

Interviewer: Thanks for your time Mary. You really were blessed by God weren’t you.

Song: Mary’s Boy Child

 JOSEPH
Interviewer: Hi Joseph. I gotta say it must have been bad news to hear that Mary was pregnant. First because you weren’t married, and even worse than that, it wasn’t your baby. So come on tell us your Christmas story.

"Joseph" tells his story

“Joseph” tells his story

Joseph: Mary and I were sorting out the wedding – well, Mary was. She loves organising all that.  And, yeah, I was not happy when Mary told me she was pregnant because I knew it wasn’t my baby.  Nazareth is a small town and everybody knows everybody, and of course that also means everybody knows everybody’s business. I really wanted to do the right thing and stay with her, but I was thinking about breaking up.

Interviewer: I didn’t know you were going to break up. So why did you stay?

Joseph: I had a visit from an angel who told me that God was the father of Mary’s baby, and I was to name the baby Jesus. Well that settled it for me, I wasn’t going to argue with an angel  – would you? So  straight away I married Mary, but just before the baby was born we had to go Bethlehem.

Interviewer: Bethlehem that’s about 130km from Nazareth – like going from Governors Bay to Hanmer Springs. It must have been something important to go to, especially with Mary just about to give birth.

Joseph: Yeah, it was very important. The Roman Emperor ordered a census, which meant you had to go back to where your family came from. I come from the tribe of David and our home town is Bethlehem. Pregnant or not we had to go, so we packed up and went on a road trip. There are quite a lot of us now from the tribe of David, so Bethlehem was busy, but we finally got somewhere to stay. That was lucky because pretty soon after that Mary gave birth to our son. We were in with the animals mind you. Did you know I am a carpenter? I just wish I could have carried all my tools to make a cot. We had to lie our baby in a manger. A manger! .. you know, that thing they put hay in to feed the animals. Wasn’t made that well either!

Interviewer: Thanks Joseph. We can see what a special guy you are because God chose you to raise his son. And I’d like to add what a great man that son turned out to be.

Song: Away in a manger

 INNKEEPER
Interviewer: And look here comes the innkeeper whose place was where Jesus was born. Hang on, I will try get a word with him as he goes past. Hi, I’m from WWJD TV. Can you please give us a moment to hear your story?

Our Innkeeper looks back on a profitable time

Our Innkeeper looks back on a profitable time

Innkeeper: Yeah, sure. I’m Donald from The Do Duck Inn. Mention you saw me on TV tonight and you can have a 5% discount on the room rate!
Well that first Christmas it was real busy. Bethlehem was the home town for the tribe of David, so it was like a huge family reunion. I filled up every room we had – and at a full rate price too. But all these people kept knocking on the door even though I had a sign out saying there was no room in the inn.  Then a couple came to the door, and I was about to turn them away like all the others, but I saw the woman- she was pretty close to having a baby and if that happened I could charge for another person!
So I let them sleep with the animals. No way was I giving them my bed. My bed is made from beautiful exotic wood, carved by the best artists and my sheets are made from the finest Egyptian cotton. They’re weren’t royalty you know, just from that small town of Nazareth. Nothing good will ever come from Nazareth.
I remember their names too, Mary and Joseph. Mary – how common! Everyone these days is called Mary. And they had visitors all night too. How did all these people hear about the birth of the baby? Someone must have posted it on Facebook.

Interviewer: Great, thanks for that, all the best at the awards.

Song: Knock on Another Door (Starshine Singers, from A Wriggly Nativity)

 ANGELS
Interviewer: Well this lot need no introduction…..here come the angels. I love you all! I have an angel at the top of our Christmas tree at home. So how was that first Christmas for you?

The Awesome Angels!

The Awesome Angels!

Angel: What a busy time we angels had with the birth of Jesus. It was brilliant! We hadn’t been that busy… ever. I always love seeing how those people react – sometimes frightened  like this (pulls face), sometimes surprised like this (pulls face) and sometimes both like this!!! Remember Mary – she did both faces. Her and Joseph were really surprised finding out there was an unexpected baby on the way, and it was God’s son too. Gabriel was the angel who visited Mary. Pretty scary seeing Gabriel, mind you; he is really big and really shiny. I would just like to say if you ever see an angel we aren’t scary at all.

Interviewer: So some of you angels visited Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. Did you scare… I mean visit… anyone else?

Angel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gabriel went to tell some shepherds about Jesus being born, and they were NOT happy to see him. But when a whole heap of us angels joined Gabriel and we sang the shepherds beautiful songs of praise to God, they weren’t scared anymore and took off into Bethlehem to find Jesus.Thank goodness we got the next few days off!

Interviewer: It must have such a busy and exciting time as you raced around telling everyone about God’s son, Jesus, coming here to earth. Just like you are doing again today – telling all these people about that the very first Christmas,  the day when Jesus was born.

Song: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

 SHEPHERDS

The Shepherds: some of those sheep seem rather lively!

The Shepherds: some of those sheep seem rather lively!

Interviewer: So, hello shepherds! I am pleased to see you could get some time off work and come to the Governors Bay Christmas Awards. As you can see it is a big event here, look at all the people who have come to see the Christmas celebrities. I bet you became celebrities in Bethlehem after that first Christmas.

Chief Shepherd: Celebrities? You betcha! Everyone wanted our autographs after that night. It started out normal enough. We had eaten our tea and were settled in watching the sheep. Then this humungous angel appears! I thought I was seeing things but everyone else was freaking out too.

Interviewer: Can you remember what the angel said to you?

Shepherd: Remember? I can’t forget that night, ever. Well first he said not to be afraid – Yeah right! He said the Saviour, the Messiah, was in Bethlehem. That’s our town. And he said we will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger. Now that’s the oddest thing, because we have been waiting for the one to save us for  generations and he said we would find a baby lying amongst the animals. The animals!

Interviewer: This Christmas story sure has some exciting parts in it.

Shepherd: Hang on, it gets better. So we have one angel, right. Next thing there are so many angels in the night sky that it is as bright as day. And the coolest part is they all begin singing praises to God. It was better than a Justin Bieber, One Direction and a Selina Gomez concert all rolled into one. After that the angels disappeared, and so did we.

Interviewer: What you went to heaven too?

Shepherd: No! We raced into Bethlehem to find the baby and tell everyone about it. We haven’t stopped talking about yet either.

Interviewer: Thank you for your time. What a life changing experience for some shepherds to have.

Shepherd: Here is our agents card, we now do radio and TV interviews, giving our firsthand account of Christmas.

Song: While Shepherds watched their flocks

 THREE WISE PEOPLE
Interviewer: Oh look we have got some interesting looking characters arriving now. Let’s see why they are here at the Christmas Awards.

(Enter three Wise Persons, being led by person carrying star on a stick)

Wise Person 1: Greetings and salutations. We are accredited representatives from the Oriental Association for nocturnal observers of celestial bodies.

Wise Person 3: HUH?

Wise Person 2: We’re stargazers from the East!

Wise Person 1: Affirmative.  In accordance with our customary nocturnal activities…

Wise Person 3: HUH?

Wise Person 2: Let me do this – we are wise, not geniuses! No one will ever understand what happened if you keep talking like that.

Interviewer: Whew, Thank you

The Wise Persons (and star)

The Wise Persons (and star)

Wise Person 2: We noticed a bright star appear in the sky in such a place and formation that we realised a new King of the Jews had been born. We would have arrived sooner in Bethlehem had the maps in the GPS been updated. It wasn’t my fault, someone (secret pointing to WP3) else was in charge of navigation. Really I don’t know why she is even in the wisest of the wise club, because she’s not that clever.Interviewer: So how did you find this new baby king?

Wise Person 2: The first obvious place was to ask the current King, King Herod, but he didn’t know anything about it. Luckily the other GPS worked.

Interviewer: The other GPS, what’s that?

Wise Person 2: Glowing Prominent Star, of course.

Interviewer: Yes of course!

Wise Person 2: So we followed the star all they way to Jesus. We had brought the baby special gifts with us from the east.

Interviewer: What did you get him?

Wise Person 2: I gave gold, she gave frankincense, a very special perfume. And she gave myrrh – an oil for rubbing on dead bodies! It was a baby we were going to visit! I told you, not so bright.

Interviewer: It must have been easier going back home, the same way?

Wise Person 2: Oh no, we didn’t do that. God had warned us in a dream that King Herod was not going to worship Jesus. The King was not happy knowing there was now someone new who would take his throne, and we did not to be any part of that thank you very much!

Interviewer: No, thank you very much for your time today.

Song: We three Kings

CONCLUSION
Interviewer: I am so excited! I can’t wait to meet Jesus. I wonder when he will get here today? That might be him coming down the red carpet now…
(another person comes up and whispers to the interviewer)
What? He’s not coming? But Christmas isn’t Christmas without Jesus! It even has his name in it  – Christ-mas. What am I going to tell everyone? How will they get to meet him?
(more whispering)
God’s gift to us was Jesus, who was born on Christmas Day. Not a gift just for that  day but for everyday. If you want to hear his side of the story…ask him yourself, he would love to hear from you.

Song: Joy to the World

All of the Celebrity Guests, with Interviewer

All of the Celebrity Guests, with Interviewer


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Blurred Vision- John 9: 1-12

This week our service was about Jesus healing the man who had been blind from birth – the one in John 9 where Jesus puts mud on the man’s eyes and tells him to go and wash. We thought about how hard it can be to tell what things are when we can’t use out eyes – for example, how do you describe the colour yellow?

So our GAME was “guess the object”. We made two sets of six canvas bags and had different things in each one. Our two teams then had to work out what was in there just by touch – no cheating and pulling anything out to see what it was. We used:

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  • Sandpaper
  • Wet Wipes
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Feathers
  • Lego
  • Rice

But, of course, there are a huge variety of other tactile things you could use.

 

THE CRAFT:
For this we had cardboard glasses to be decorated. The “glasses” were already cut out, but if you have older children, or more time, you may want them to cut them out themselves. It can be a wee bit fiddly though. I have an oval hole punch which I used for the eye holes. You can download our template for these here:Glasses template

To make the glasses fit, wrap the arms around the child’s head, mark where they overlap, then cut a small, wedge-shaped slit on each arm – at the top on one arm, and the bottom on the other. When you put the glasses back on, lap the slits into each other, and the glasses will stay put.

We had glitter glue, feathers, paper stickers, foam stickers, and sticky paper to use to personalise our glasses – and don’t we all look gorgeous!
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THE MESSAGE:
(Verse 1-2) As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parent’s sin?”

Back in the time of Jesus, it was believed if someone did something wrong (especially really wrong) it would affect themselves, their children, their children’s children  – and so on. That also meant you could be affected by something wrong that your parents did, your grandparents did and so on as well. It went both ways in the family line.

I wonder if this blind man’s family looked at each other wondering what they’d done to cause his blindness. I wonder if they looked at themselves and felt it something they had done, and lived with the shame and guilt.

What a thought. I couldn’t bear the idea that something I could do would adversely affect Luke, or his children. What a lot of responsibility to bear  – what a cloud to live under if you believed that.

As I stand in front of you I have not lived a saintly life, and there was a time that I didn’t do what God would want me to. There are things I have done that were really wrong, sins I have committed that now lay at the foot of the cross, and not over my life – or my family’s.

Verse 3: Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with this man’s sins or his parent’s sins. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him.”
God is a miracle worker. He has the power to make a blind man see – he changed this man’s life. This blind man would be able to work now, he could find himself a wife and have a family, he would no longer be reliant on begging for his daily food. His life was radically turned around. God is a miracle worker – his power can be seen in your life. He can radically turn your life around.

Sometimes we do not see what Jesus is trying to show us. Let us take a moment and ask for Jesus to reveal something to us. Open our eyes, open our minds, open our hearts, open our Spirit to receive what God would like us to see.

Vanessa

 

 


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A Wildlife Encounter – Daniel 6: 1-23

A couple of weeks ago we were looking at the story of Daniel in the Lions Den, and we had great fun playing this game, “Daniel, the Lion, and the King” from Expert Village

 

THE MESSAGE:
Daniel is one of the people I remember clearly from the Bible Stories told in my childhood. I loved hearing about how he faced certain death: once in a fiery furnace (that’s another story) and again in the lion’s den. Don’t worry he survived both times. I remember that in both stories a King made a law that you weren’t allowed to worship or pray to God, and if you did – the punishment was death.

King Nebuchadnezzar had Daniel thrown in a fiery furnace, King Darius had Daniel thrown in a lions den. And as I said earlier, God protected him both times.

And so I came to look at the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den thinking of how he stayed true to his faith and continued to pray to God even though he knew it would mean facing death. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. It is the way we form and grow our relationship with him and to Daniel prayer was more precious than life, even more important than life. “You will have to take my life before you take my prayer”? Is that something you could say? Could you dare to be a Daniel?

Earlier I said I remember clearly the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, but I don’t remember anything about King Darius. But this time I won’t forget him. King Darius was the new ruler of Babylon, and he wanted to keep a close eye on his empire. There was a lot of corruption as people in the King’s service were stealing from him.  King Darius wanted that to stop so he appointed people to help him. Daniel began to shine. He was wise, faithful, honest and had integrity. Here was a man that could really help King Darius run things, and so he decided to make Daniel in charge of everyone. That would be good news for Daniel, but bad news for everyone else. Daniel wouldn’t steal and they would have to stop stealing, or they would have to stop Daniel. They can’t find any fault in Daniel’s work so they look to find fault in Daniel. These men are cunning and get King Darius to pass a special 30 day law that can not be changed – a law stopping any form of prayer. This law was aimed directly at Daniel with both barrels loaded. But it had much wider ramifications. It not only affected Daniel, but every faithful Jew in Babylon could also have been charged, convicted, and put to death if they too continued to pray to God.

King Darius didn’t realise that it would be stopping Daniel from praying, which Daniel did 3 times a day. Daniel stayed true to his faith, and continued talking to God, continued praying as he had always done even with the very real threat of death in the lions den. So of course Daniel is caught and taken to the King.

Now I am just going to summarise verses14-20:
This was not King Darius’ idea. King Darius did not want to send Daniel to the Lions den. He worked hard all day to find some way to rescue Daniel. But the law he made had to be enforced. King Darius reluctantly takes Daniel to the lions and the last words he says to Daniel are these “May your God whom you are serving continually save you.” The stone gets rolled across, and King Darius places his own royal seal on the stone so no one could rescue Daniel. Then he walks away. That night King Darius doesn’t eat or sleep. First thing in the morning as soon there is light, he hurries down not knowing what he would find and calls out “Daniel, servant of the Living God, has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?”

And that is what I now find very interesting about this story. Although it is called Daniel in the Lions Den, these verses are actually all about the King. Daniel and Daniel’s God sure had his attention. This makes me think about our lives  and wonder who is watching us and wondering when the Lord will show up. When He is constantly healing, working, and bringing life to us – are we paying enough attention to notice our daily blessings?  Enough for others to take notice? Are we actually recognising and praising Him for the little or large lion’s dens we face where we can show our faith in God? Is His presence in our lives making a difference in those around us?

My final note is a word that frequently and repeatedly kept popping up again and again in my message. I mean CONTINUALLY. Daniel served and prayed to God continually and others saw that. And it was through that frequent contact with God that made Daniel shine. That made others take notice: there were those who wanted him dead and then there was King Darius who wanted him to stay alive. The way others learnt about God was through Daniel’s actions and God’s action in Daniel’s life.

Just think there are people we know who may not know God, and they could be watching us to see how God affects our lives. Just imagine if we stayed in continual, regular and frequent contact with God that it becomes the most important thing in our life, more important than life. Others may want to know more about God through our actions and God’s action in our lives. I simply ask again Could you dare to be a Daniel?

Vanessa