come and see

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

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Missing Pieces

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)

We are doing a series of services on Parables that Jesus told and started with the story of the Lost Coin. In our reading and research we discovered theories that this might relate to the headdress of coins that respectable Jewish women would have had at that time, and decided to use this as the basis for our craft. We played a visual game with pictures of everyday things, and asked what was missing. Yes, they were all rather obvious, but it was fun to do. Click on the title below the picture for the .pdf file with all four pictures in it.
What's Missing

What’s Missing

After the Bible reading we used this retelling of the story from the point of view of the woman, which was written by Gail.

The Story
“Let me tell you a story.
Now you all know that I am married. My husband is not wealthy, but he is a considerate man and takes good care of me and the children.

My father wasn’t wealthy either, but he provided me with a fair dowry, enabling me to have my headband of silver coins – only 10, which is the minimum for a respectable woman – but as I said, he wasn’t wealthy.

Last Thursday was a bad day. I got up at the usual time, got dressed and went to put on my veil and headdress. But there was something wrong – there were only 9 coins there – one had come loose somehow! Well I searched through my clothes chest, but couldn’t find it there. Then I looked all over the floor, but still couldn’t see it.

I’m sure you can guess that I was by now panicking. My husband is a reasonable man, but even he would have had several words to say at the loss of such a thing – not to mention how people would look at me if I went around with a 9-coin headdress!

Well, after a while (and a few tears, I must confess) I took a deep breath and decided that I had to deal with this in a methodical way.

Firstly I went through my clothes chest again – took everything out and shook it, then felt in all the corners. No luck there, so it must be on the floor somewhere. I’d only put fresh straw down a couple of days before, but never mind that – it all had to be swept up. I lit a lamp so that I could see better, then I started in the far corner and swept out each area separately, shook out all the straw by hand and then replaced it. Two hours it took me – but I found my coin! It had rolled under the table. Must have been when I was clearing up after the meal the night before.

Well, I’m sure you can guess how happy – and relieved – I was! In fact I was so pleased I called my neighbours, Anna and Naomi, in to celebrate with me. That was a time of great rejoicing.”


The Craft
Coin Headdress 1For our craft we made “crown” headdresses and attached 10 silver coins to each one:

  • Take two strips of card and staple them at right angles to each other at either end (see picture). If you prefer you could make the shape a circle, which would just need one long strip of card.

  • We used self-adhesive book cover to decorate the card; leave it as a roll, then cut a thin piece of the end through all the thicknesses to make long strips, which are then wrapped around the “crown”.
  • Coin headdress

  • The thread for hanging the coins off can either be attached as you wrap the shiny strips around, which will make it stick in place, or tied around afterwards. The second method is less fiddly, so a bit better for younger children.

  • We used a round punch to make coins out of silver card. If you can’t get silver card – or it is a bit too expensive – you could use the self-adhesive book cover on both sides of thin card instead, and then punch out the circles.

  • Use a normal hole punch to make a small hole in each coin, and then hang ten from each “crown”



The Message
Isn’t it terrible to lose something – not like a rubber band, but something important, a treasure. I know what I do, you go back to the last place you remember having it …. so then why do I end up looking in the silliest places in the hope of finding it? I mean are my glasses really going to be in the freezer?

Do you know what is worse? Losing someone. I lost Luke once. It’s OK I found him!. Heart rate up, trying to stay calm wanting to panic, trying not to cry – just talking about it brings back how I felt.
I have also been lost. It’s OK I was found— similar feelings to be honest.

Jesus wanted to tell us about being lost and found, not in the way we think of, but about being lost and found to God.

The start of Luke 15 in the Amplified Bible goes like this: “Now the tax collectors and the notorious and especially wicked sinners were all coming near to Jesus to listen to Him.”

That’s right, the really naughty people sought out Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the church leaders were not happy about this, complaining that Jesus accepts, welcomes, and even eats with, these people.

So he told them a parable, which is a simple everyday story with a moral or spiritual lesson. The reading we had today was that parable.

The lesson Jesus was trying to teach to those he spoke to then and to us today, was that God and the angels rejoice and celebrate when one person who is lost is found. When one person who has been doing wrong, realises this and seeks God to do better.

Jesus thought those he was talking to just didn’t get it, so he also told them about the lost sheep – when a shepherd has 100 sheep and one is lost so the shepherd goes out and finds it, then celebrates with this friends and neighbours over finding his one lost sheep.
AND he also told them about the lost son – when a son asks his father for his share of the estate, leaves his family and spends it all, ending up looking after pigs and even eating some of their food, before returning home empty and empty-handed. The father welcomes him home with arms wide open saying “My son was lost and now is found” and then throws a big party to celebrate.

Lost coin; maybe the ladies will get that one. Lost sheep; maybe the men will get that one. Lost son; maybe parents and children will get that one.

When did we get lost? It all started back at the very beginning with Adam and Eve when they ate from the tree God had told them not to. Right back to that first act of disobedience followed by the first feelings of guilt and shame. And that evening when God came into the garden he called out to them “Where are you?”

And God has been calling that out to us ever since.

Let me tell you a true story about how God can find the lost….
His name was John. When he started work he joined with his Dad working on boats. When his Dad retired, he had lined him up another job, working on the land, but John had sea salt in his blood and carried on sailing the seven seas. However, things start to go pretty bad for John. He was captured and forced to join the Navy and he hated it. John gets the chance to change ships and so goes to work on another ship. A slave ship – trading goods for slaves, and slaves for goods. But the crew on this new ship don’t like John and leave him with a slave dealer who treats him like a slave. John was lost, a free man, but treated like a slave in Africa.

But he is found and rescued by a sea captain who had been asked by John’s father to look out for him and bring him home. On the way they encounter a terrific storm, the ship begins to sink, and at that moment John calls out to God to save him. And his life is changed. The ship moves again, the cargo shifts blocking up the gaping hole and the ship drifts to safety.

Later John becomes an Anglican priest having a direct impact on Thomas Scott who set up CMS -Church Missionary Society and William Wilbourforce, a politician whom John encouraged to stay in parliament and serve God where he was. William Wilberforce was instrumental in getting a law passed that ended slavery.

During his time as a priest John Newton wrote many hymns, including one where it tells of being lost and found. Saved by God’s Amazing Grace.



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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:


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

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


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!
IMG_0846 IMG_0847 IMG_0849

(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.




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God the Potter – Isaiah 64:8

You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8


Busy making play-doh – look at those colours!

We used this verse as our basis for the Extreme Makeover – the God Edition service. And what better way to illustrate that than to make play-doh. Am I the only person in the world that thinks play-doh is horrible stuff? Well, I was certainly in the minority on Sunday when everyone else enthusiastically joined in with making it.

For our prayer activity we asked everyone to make something out of the play-doh to represent what they wanted to bring to God in prayer. Those who wished to were able to speak about their creations. After the service, the kids got to take the play-doh home in jam jars.

This is the recipe we used for the play-doh:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cooking oilIMG_06452 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water1 teaspoon food colouring

Mix all dry ingredients, add oil and boiling water with food colouring, mix well.




And Sharon Kirby has written a beautiful poem on the theme of God the potter – God is shaping me – which we used as part of our prayers.


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Jesus is the Reason – an All-Age Christmas Worship Service

Jesus is the reason

Well, Christmas is fast approaching and you may well be going into panic mode – what can we do for the Children’s Christmas Service?? Given below is the whole of one of our previous All-Age Christmas Worship services. Feel free to copy, adapt, or otherwise tweak it for your own use.

(Note: The Leader’s words are in plain text and the responses are in bold.)



(Preparation for this section: Have a Christmas Tree without any decorations on it, and with lights arranged on the tree but not switched on. 

Have a basket of ornaments – enough for the number of children you expect so that each one gets to put a decoration on the tree. During the Call to Worship, after each response ask a group of children to come forward, take a decoration, and put it on the tree)

We have a lovely tree here but there is something missing – can anyone tell me what it is?
that’s it decorations and lights.

Like Mary we ponder the wonder of God acting through us
(First group of children put decorations on tree)

Like Joseph we obey what God was spoken
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the manger we cradle the light God has given
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the angel on the hillside, we announce Jesus is born
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the multitudes of angles we praise God with great joy
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the sheperds we gather eagerly around the baby
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the stars we shine with the brilliance of good news
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the people of Bethlehem we hear what God has done
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

We are called to celebrate the gift of God – his son Jesus Christ
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

(Once the tree is decorated, turn on the lights, saying:)
Thank you for all your help. You know, we are like this Christmas tree and when we have Jesus in our lives he lights us up.

(For this next part you need a narrator, and 5 or 6 helpers)
It is getting very close to Christmas, only 5 sleeps to go! Christmas can mean different things to different people. Maybe it is some of these things for you:

It is about having the best tree in the whole world
(All helpers stand and point at the Christmas tree)

It is about presents
(All rub hands together and say YEAH)

It is thinking the Christmas story starts
(One helper to read first few lines of “Twas the night before Christmas” )

It is about Christmas crackers and Christmas cards
(Helpers snap crackers and pass cards to each other)

It is listening to the Queens message
(One helper to put on a crown)

It is about having too much good food and good wine, then falling asleep
(Helpers pretend to eat, drink, then sleep)

It is about having paid leave
(A helper waves a handful of monopoly money)

It is about Santa with flying sleighs and reindeers
(Two helpers put on Santa hats)

Me, I think Christmas is about something very different indeed. I have a friend who knows a great story about Christmas. Let me get her and she can tell you all about it.

(Here either the Narrator gets dressed as angel, or you can bring in another person to do this part. You also need large signs to hold up with pictures of an Angel, an Inn, Sheep, and a Star, and a further sign with “Jesus” written on it.
You will also need five boxes wrapped in Christmas paper arranged at the front. On the back of each of the boxes– not visible to the congregation –  is one of the letters needed to spell JESUS)

Hello. I hear you want me to tell you a story about Christmas. Well yes, I know a TRUE story about Christmas, and I know it is true because I was there, but I will need you to help me tell it.
The front half of this side, up to say here, when I say ANGEL you say HALLELUJAH  and to help you remember that (helper one) will hold this ANGEL up.

The back half of this side, when I say INNKEEPER you say WHAT IS IT NOW and to help you remember that (helper two) will hold this INN up.

The front half on this side, up to say here, when I say SHEPHERDS you say BAAAA and to help you remember that (helper three) will hold this SHEEP up.

And the back half, when I say WISE MEN you say FOLLOW THAT STAR and to help you remember that (helper four) will hold this STAR up.

BUT, when I say WHAT WAS THE REASON, you ALL say JESUS IS THE REASON, and to help you remember that (helper five) will hold this up (SIGN WITH “JESUS” on it)

Right lets give it a go:
ANGEL (Hallelujah)
INNKEEPER (What is it now!)
WISE MEN (Follow that star!)
WHAT WAS THE REASON?  (Jesus is the reason!)

Great – let’s start

A long time ago, about two thousand years or so, there was a woman named Mary who was engaged to be married to a man called Joseph. One day an ANGEL (HALLELUJAH) came to Mary and told her that she was going to have a baby. When she told Joseph, he was a bit freaked out about it all because he knew it wasn’t his baby as they weren’t even married. So an ANGEL (HALLELUJAH) came to Joseph and told him it was alright, because it was God who caused Mary to be pregnant and they were to name him Jesus. So Joseph and Mary got married and waited excitedly for the day when the baby would be born. Just before the baby was due to arrive, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for a census. This was when the rulers wanted to count everybody. Mary was pretty lucky because she got to ride all the way on a donkey.

What was the reason an Angel spoke to Mary and Joseph: JESUS IS THE REASON

Song: Clippety-clop, clippety-clop, trotting to Bethlehem

Joseph, Mary and the donkey finally arrived in Bethlehem. They found that it was really crowded because a lot of people had come to be counted for the census. All the inns were full and the INNKEEPERS (WHAT IS IT NOW) were very busy. They tried all day to find somewhere to stay but with no luck. It was getting dark. Mary was tired. Joseph was tired and the donkey was tired. Knock, Knock on the last door. A flustered INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW) answered the door. He told them THERE WAS NO ROOM IN THE INN, then he saw how tired and how very pregnant Mary was and he said that they could sleep in the stable. That night, amongst all the animals in the stable, Mary had her baby and laid him in the manger. And they named him Jesus, just as the ANGEL (HALLELUJAH) had told them to.

What was the reason the Innkeeper let them sleep in the stable: JESUS IS THE REASON

Song:  Away in a Manger

While all this was happening in Bethlehem, there were some SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) out in the fields looking after their sheep. Suddenly they were scared out of their wits. There were bright lights in the sky, and some really really good singing. It was ANGELS (HALLELUJAH). They told the SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) not to be afraid. They had come to bring them great news. “Today in Bethlehem a saviour has been born. He is Christ the Lord and is lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes.” They sang praises to God and then they disappeared.
Well the SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) were really excited. This sort of thing had never happened to any of them before.  They immediately leapt up and ran to find the baby. They found the inn, and asked the INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW) where the baby was. He told them that Mary and Joseph were out in the stable. So they went in and found baby Jesus lying in the manger. The SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) then left and told everyone in Bethlehem what had happened that night.

What was the reason the SHEPHERDS went to Bethlehem? JESUS IS THE REASON

Song: While Shepherds watched

Far far away some really really really smart guys – lets call them the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) – had seen something rather amazing. They had spotted a special star shining in the East and thought “Hmmm, this star means a king has been born. We’d better go and find him.” So the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) packed up their camels, followed the star and made their way to Bethlehem. When the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) found the Inn, they asked the INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW) where the baby was. He directed them to the stable and there they found the baby Jesus. The WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) gave Jesus three gifts. Gold because Jesus is a king, Frankincense because that means Jesus is a priest, and Myrrh because Jesus was going to grow up and die on the cross for each one of us .

What was the reason the WISE MEN went to Bethlehem? JESUS IS THE REASON

Song:  We Three Kings

And that’s the TRUE story of Christmas with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, and the ANGELS (HALLELUJAH), and the INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW), and the SHEPHERDS (BAAA) and the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR).

(At this point turn the “present boxes” around to spell JESUS)

Christmas is about the best present we have ever been given, Jesus. It is about having his presence in our lives every day not just Christmas day. Mary and Joseph became a family with the birth of Jesus in their lives, just as we become part of God’s family with the birth of Jesus in our lives. Jesus is the real reason for the season, of Christmas.


SONG:  Carol our Christmas (a New Zealand Christmas Carol)

COLLECTION – including donations for the City Mission



SONG: Joy to the World